The high-speed bowl that is Castle Combe in Wiltshire gets a second visit from the BRSCC in as many months, as our South Western Centre springs into action for what’s set to be another weekend full of intense and exciting action. The timetable is dominated by the always entertaining roster of championships from Caterham Motorsport, although all drivers will need to be careful not to take liberties with Combe’s fast but deceptive nature – one false move here and you could be in trouble!
You’d certainly be forgiven for thinking, then, that bringing a group of drivers in their very first season of racing to a circuit such as Castle Combe would be crazy. Nevertheless, the guys and girls of the CarThrottle Caterham Academy are hardier and more competitive than they’d have you believe. Such is the size of another sell-out group in the Academy that the drivers are split into two groups – Green and White. So far in the Green Group, Justin Heap has been the main to beat with wins in the Rockingham sprint and the first two races at Brands Hatch and Snetterton, although his main rivals at this stage are Andrew Murgatroyd and Ben Buckley, the trio separated by just 6 points. For the White Group, Chris Monks leads the way with two wins followed by Dan Piper and Alan Venters, but be sure to look out for Brands Hatch winner Greg Monks to be in the mix too.
In the Draper Tools Caterham Roadsport Championship, the battle for the title is beginning to shape up between James Murphy and Daniel French. Murphy has never been off the podium with four wins and a bunch of 2nd and 3rd places, while French has also picked up three, but missed out on a top-three finish in the opening race at Snetterton. Dan Halstead was able to break the streak of wins held by the pair with victory in the second race last time at Zandvoort, while Caterham CEO Graham MacDonald has been able to pick up a string of solid points finishes too. Expect all four to be battling for the win this weekend along with Matt Sheppard and Oli Pratt.
From the word go, the contest at the front of the ALACO Motorsport Logistics Caterham Seven 270R Championship has only really been about three men – Jamie Falvey, Jay McCormack and Pete Walters. It’s fair to say that Falvey has been nothing but thoroughly impressive in his debut season and the Team BRIT driver is making the most of his current turn of pace. Having won half of the races run so far, it’s no wonder that he’s edging himself to becoming favourite for the title, although McCormack and Walters will have something to say about that having taken at least one win each. James Wingfield picked up his first at Zandvoort too, so keep an eye out for him to get amongst the top three as well.
The most intense contests could, in fact, turn out to be the Santander Caterham Seven 310R Championship, where the top of the points table makes for fascinating reading. The top 5 are covered by just 14 points, with Christian Szaruta and Chris Hutchinson heading the pack. Both have two wins each so far this year, with Hutchinson’s victories coming in the form of a Zandvoort double. Szaruta’s four 2nd place finishes have helped him top the table, but those directly behind them are ready to pounce. Defending champion Lee Bristow hasn’t finished off the podium from Knockhill onwards, Gordon Sawyer had a strong opening to the season with three wins and Alan Cooper also took a victory at Brands Hatch. Along with the top 5, in total there are a least a dozen drivers in this championship that can at least reach the podium, let alone win a race!
Away from Caterhams, the BRSCC Fiesta Championship racing with MRF Tyres makes a return to Castle Combe after a year’s absence. The fight for the overall title between defending champ Jamie White in Class D and former Fiesta Junior champion Harry Gooding in Class C remains tight as we progress into the second half of the season. Gooding will have the likes of Jamie Going, Ryan Faulconbridge, Danny Harrison and David Nye hunting him down, while White will have to contend with Luke Bannister, Zachary Lucas and Tim Bennett on this occasion. Class A will also see a face-off between leader Colin Newbold and Mark Court.
In the Fiesta Junior Championship racing with MRF Tyres, battle lines are drawn between race winners James Waite and Magnus Kriklywi. Last time out at Snetterton, no one was able to catch Waite as he swept to a perfect double victory, while Kriklywi was forced to retire early from Race 1 before charging back through to a podium finish in Race 2 from the back of the grid. Isaac Smith continues to impress in his first season and must feel that his first win can’t be too far away, while both Olly Turner and Josh Steed will have similar aspirations having graced the podium more than once already this season.
The Cox Motor Parts Civic Cup has had an exciting first season with the BRSCC so far, and Snetterton’s pair of races was undoubtedly intense. So far, the 2018 campaign has produced seven different winners from eight races, which proves how remarkably competitive and evenly matched the field is. At the head of the points table, Area Motorsport team boss Rob Baker who holds the advantage while second place is being hotly contested by Mark Grice, Daniel Reason and Jason Ballantyne. The Civic Cup always brings a grid of well-presented cars with fantastic racing to match, so be sure to catch these guys on Sunday afternoon.
There will also be combined races for two championships across the weekend. The Speed Group OSS Championship sees former multiple champion Josh Smith looking to take advantage in both the class and overall points standings. The favourite for victory outright this weekend almost certainly appears to be Patrick Sherrington’s MCR in Class A. Daniel Prendergast will look to keep Smith in his sights in Class C, while they’re both joined by newcomers Dominic Langdon-Down and Danish driver Nicolaj Lindberg.
The championship they combine with is the Dunlop TVR Challenge, where the leading car here has to be the Class A+ TVR Sagaris of Alan Jones. Matthew Holben will be hoping to keep pace in his Class A Tuscan Challenge race car, while Andy Race’s primary goal will be to sustain his championship lead both overall and in Class C with his Griffith. This championship still holds the legacy of what was the mighty TVR Tuscan Challenge, so the beasts from Blackpool will have plenty of speed and noise about them.
Word by: Scott Woodwiss
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