HALF TIME CALLS AT OULTON PARK

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From one winding circuit to the next, Oulton Park will provide another test of handling and skill for the drivers - Photo: Jon Elsey

The runners and riders of this year’s BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship are already reaching the halfway point of the 2018 season and they haven’t been given a moment to relax. Merely two weeks after their last on-track appearance up north at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire, the Mk1s now venture across to their only North Western venue of the season – the incredible and much loved Oulton Park in Cheshire, and on the favoured International layout to boot.

Back at Cadwell, the trio of Mike Comber Racing cars piloted by Mike Comber himself, Samuel Smith and reigning champion Will Blackwell-Chambers effectively ran riot for most of the weekend. Comber picked up his first two wins on BRSCC shores since 2014, while Smith and Blackwell-Chambers a 2nd and 3rd place each in those races. A further 3rd place for WB-C in Race 3 ensured that on dropped scores he now retakes the lead of the championship, meaning his quest for back-to-back titles remains on track at this stage. However, there was just one fly in their ointment at Cadwell, and it appeared in Race 3…

Having started 5th on the grid, AB Motorsport’s John Langridge managed to scythe his way past everyone on the first two rows ahead of him to take the lead, on a circuit where overtaking is meant to be nigh on impossible. From there, he remained at the head of the field and the former BRSCC Fiesta champion took his first ever Group A victory. Having made steady progress since joining the championship for his first full season last year, Langridge is now a bonafide race winner. Currently up to 6th in the points standings, perhaps he could become something of a dark horse while giving his teammates the extra support they need.

Speaking of which, both of AB’s current main contenders had to endure a weekend without gracing the podium. Brian Trott made the best of it with three top 5 finishes, while Oliver Allwood entered the weekend as the points leader after dominating Snetterton, but couldn’t carry the momentum. All he could muster was a best finish of 7th in Race 3, meaning he will be determined to get back on to the podium in at least one of the races today. As for the remaining drivers currently taking up residence in the top 10 heading into this weekend, they had mixed fortunes between them.

Martin Tolley, one of the front-running drivers in the Masters contest for those aged 45 and over, had to suffer contesting one race in Group B, seeing him drop vital points in both the main and Masters standings, and with Brian Trott now eligible as a Masters driver, his advantage may not stay for too long. Charlie Burge was able to cement his current 7th place by picking up three strong top 10s, including a best of 4th place in Race 3, as did Stephen Foden as he bested 6th while also remaining in the top 10 all weekend. Jason Greatrex, by contrast, wasn’t able to emulate his double Snetterton podium and had to settle for a best of 7th place followed by 15th and 13th. Expect him to bounce back here at Oulton.

Once again, most of the usual suspects are here and in what is now becoming something of a normality, a small mix of new and returning faces also grace us with their presence here today. Paul Hughes makes a welcome return to the grid, as does former Group B race winner Jack Brewer. Plus, Northern Formula Ford veteran Andrew MacGregor decides to swap single seaters for sportscars today as he makes his MX-5 debut at the same meeting his native championship also contest the next rounds of their own 2018 campaign. Last minute entries from Andrew's brother Neil, debutant Orlando Lindsay and Ben Hancy help bolster the grid further, leaving 46 cars scheduled to take part this Saturday.

Every time the MX-5s turn up to Cheshire, the show they put on is usually quite a spectacle. Here’s hoping this year’s visit provides more of the same!

Scott Woodwiss

Next Race

Silverstone National - 28th - 29th Jul 2018

Last Race

Oulton Park 16th Jun 2018

Current Standings

Driver Accrued Points Adjusted Total
1 Will Blackwell-Chambers 1160 892
2 Samuel Smith 932 874
3 Mike Comber 1122 866