Surely this weekend has to be the one that Michael Fisk finally takes that first win? - Photo: Jon Elsey

With some 50+ cars entered for the opening rounds at Brands Hatch, you’d be forgiven for thinking beforehand that the opening rounds of the Mazda MX-5 Championship were quite possibly just a little bit highly anticipated. Well, based on the racing that occurred, you’d have been right! As such, the teams and drivers now move north to the sublime Cadwell Park after a year’s absence as the title chase really kicks into gear.

Despite having raced elsewhere since the end of the 2014 season, Will Blackwell-Chambers retook to the BRSCC paddock as if he’d never been away. The man from Basingstoke drove superbly all weekend last time out to start all 3 races from pole and duly clinching all 3 wins in the process. With an almost perfect score of 300 points (missing out on the 2 points for each fastest lap), Will tops the table knowing that he’ll be the one they’re all out to beat.

His closest challenger appears to be Michael Fisk, who hounded the #43 practically all weekend but had to settle for two 2nd places just tenths behind the winner. The pace has definitely carried over from last season and if he can get to the head of the pack quick enough, that first MX-5 victory will come. Two more drivers that will also be key names to keep tabs on will be Simon Baldwin and Oliver Allwood. The former took two podiums at Brands Hatch, while the latter managed to salvage a solitary 3rd place from a relatively topsy-turvy weekend. Once again, both are formidable opponents when the car underneath them is on song, so expect them to also challenge for top honours this weekend.

The only other podium visiter was Samuel Smith, making his first appearance in the championship and kicking things off with a 3rd in Race 1. Along with that, other drivers who can be counted on to make an impact will be Paul Tucker, Martin Tolley, Patrick Lay, Charlie Burge and (making his first appearance of the year) Clive Powles who showed good pace at times last year. All of the above have been able to establish themselves as top 10 runners at least and have to be considered to pick up valuable points from their immediate rivals should they fall into strife. Plus, don’t discount rear wheel drive convert John Langridge as apart from a Paddock Hill Bend mishap, he was showing admirable speed in only his 4th weekend

As the entries in the Mk1 Championship often surpass numbers that require split grids, the Group B races are always just as entertaining as their slightly fastest Group A counterparts. Last time out, wins went the way of Nick Le Doyen, the aforementioned Langridge and Brian Trott, the latter another driver who shouldn’t be counted out along with former car-sharing buddy Stuart Symonds. Drivers who have been making rapid progress within Group B races include Mike Close, Russ Lindsay, Matt Pickford, Bryn Griffiths, Jack Warry and Richard Collins, all of whom will be determined to not only reach Group A but stay there on a more regular basis.

This weekend, the Group B grid will be split once more with drivers from the sister series the MX-5 SuperCup, with those who fall outside of the top 28 in qualifying set to feature. As always, the promotion and relegation system will be in force, meaning the bottom 5 drivers in a Group A race or the top 5 in a Group B race will be relegated or promoted respectively.

The tight confines of Cadwell Park means that track space will be at a premium for those looking to obtain it. That said, with a full paddock of MX-5s, you can guarantee it will be a mad dash to the first corner and subsequently to the chequered flag!

Compared to the opening rounds, the weather forecast for Cadwell is expected to be much cooler and despite overcast conditions all weekend, the temperature will still get to 12 degrees at its highest. The chance of rain is also fairly low despite the predicted cloud cover. A full breakdown of the forecast can be found via the Met Office HERE.

Also, all of the key information for this weekend's racing will be found via a post on the BRSCC Facebook page shortly.

Scott Woodwiss

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