Smith became the first person to break teammate Blackwell-Chambers' win streak - Photo: Jon Elsey

Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire played host to Rounds 4, 5 & 6 of the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship and after his domination of the opening races at Brands Hatch, Will Blackwell-Chambers was keen to carry on the momentum he’d built. It’s safe to say that this past weekend just gone, he did just that.

Weather conditions remained cloudy and somewhat chilly as the cars headed out for qualifying on Saturday morning. Returnee James Harris proved he still had plenty of pace with the fastest time in Group 1 ahead of Oliver Allwood, Joshua Jackson, John Langridge and Stuart Symonds, while points leader Blackwell-Chambers was top of Group 2 ahead of fellow Mike Comber Racing driver Samuel Smith, Charlie Burge, Patrick Lay and Jack Sycamore.

This set up a Group A grid of Blackwell-Chambers and Harris on the front row, with Smith and Allwood on the 2nd row ahead of Burge and Jackson. Lay and Langridge made up the 4th row with Symonds and Sycamore completing the top 10. Johnathan “JJ” Clements and Martin Tolley couldn’t better the 6th row while 2016 title contender Michael Fisk was reportedly struggling with power issues and couldn’t better 14th alongside Paul Tucker. Simon Baldwin was also seemingly not able to find the groove and was forced to start Race 1 from a lowly 17th.

Despite starting on Row 2, Smith was able to snatch the lead on lap 1 and hold it for the first couple of laps before teammate Blackwell-Chambers snatched it back with Harris following through a lap later. A fast start from Patrick Lay had also pushed him into 4th place, however he quickly found himself sitting and watching the top 3 drive away before a mishap on Lap 9 dropped him down the field and eventually ended up 8th.

The top 3 remained unchanged throughout the race but did close up to just under a second between the three of them by the flag. Blackwell-Chambers took his 4th win in a row after his Brands domination with Harris and Smith completing the podium. Jack Sycamore had held 5th for most of the race before Lay’s mishap pushed him up to 4th in his first race with the BRSCC since 2012. Brian Trott was another drivers to put in a sterling drive to finish in 5th despite starting 15th on the grid, showing that he clearly know a secret or two about overtaking at Cadwell! Oliver Allwood took P6 ahead of Langridge, Lay, Tolley and Jackson in the top 10. Meanwhile Matt Pickford, Stephen Foded and Anthony Hutchins would all drop down to Group B along with retirees JJ Clements and Kevin Brent.

The first Group B race, again combined with the equivalent SuperCup contingent as it was at Brands Hatch, saw Stuart Brittle on pole alongside Ivan Leary with Ben Hancy and Clive Chisnall on the second row ahead of Bryn Griffiths and Max Norfolk. Nick Le Doyen & Russ Lindsay were on Row 4, with Adrian Burge and Adam Craig completing the top 10.

Leary would jump into the initial lead ahead of the fast starting Griffiths and with pole man Brittle, Lindsay and Chisnall in tow the top 5 set about pulling a gap to those behind them. Leary would eventually end up leading the entire way to the flag, however the quartet behind him would have an almighty sort out in the final few laps, particularly on the last circuit. When it was all said and done, it was Russ Lindsay (ever the opportunist) who swiped 2nd ahead of Bryn Griffiths in 3rd, leaving Max Norfolk to pounce from nowhere and eventually take 4th from Stuart Brittle. Subsequently, all 5 would find themselves progressing to Group A for their next encounter.

Clive Chisnall took 6th ahead of Adrian Burge and Guy Carter, with Adam Craig and Nick Le Doyen rounding off the top 10 finishers.

For the second Group A race it would be Blackwell-Chambers and Harris once again on the front row, with Smith reacquainted with 3rd on the grid alongside Sycamore. Trott would enjoy a much improved starting slot with P5 beside Allwood with Lay, Langridge, Tolley & Jackson completing the top 10 starters.

This time, Blackwell-Chambers was able to successfully convert pole into the lead throughout the first lap, a lead that he would hold on to for the majority of the race. Straight away both he and teammate Smith pulled away from the rest of the pack with the gap eventually stretching out to 1.5 seconds. Then a Code 60 came into play which briefly neutralised the order for a lap before racing got underway again. Incredibly, with just one lap of racing left in a shortened race due to time constraints thanks to earlier incidents, Smith pounced on his opportunity to take the lead and hold on by just under 0.2 seconds at the flag.

Oliver Allwood had become involved in a 3-car battle pack over 3rd which was headed most of the way by Sycamore but on the last lap he, like Smith, seized an instant opportunity to grab a podium spot and took it without hesitation. Sycamore and James Harris, the third contender in the pack, would take the flag in 4th and 5th, whilst a similar quartet behind them was resolved for 6th place in favour of Brian Trott. Patrick Lay, Joshua Jackson and Charlie Burge would finish 7th, 8th and 9th respectively and Stuart Symonds held off John Langridge for 10th. Group B demoted drivers on this occasion were Max Norfolk, Bryn Griffiths, Ivan Leary, Stuart Brittle and Richard Puddle.

For the second Group B encounter, Matt Pickford found himself on pole position with Stephen Foden for company. JJ Clements and Anthony Hutchins comprised the second row with Kevin Brent and Clive Chisnall making up Row 3. Adrian Burge and Guy Carter were 7th and 8th ahead of Adam Craig and Nick Le Doyen.

Without hesitation, Clements jumped into an early lead and for the most part it appeared to be an unassailable one at that, extending the gap on 2nd placed Pickford to as much as almost 3 seconds. Yet despite holding the advantage for the majority of the race, an issue or mistake of some kind on the final lap saw Clements lose all of the advantage he’d worked to build up. As it was, a charging Pickford passed him for the lead just half a lap from home, subsequently driving away in the remaining corners to take the win just over 4.5 second ahead of an ailing Clements. Anthony Hutchins would be the final man on the podium, comfortably ahead of Kevin Brent and Adam Craig in the top 5, all of which would be moving up to Group A. Ben Hancy finished 6th from Adrian Burge and Nick Le Doyen, with Stephen Foden and Michael Close completing the top 10.

Onto the final Group A race with Samuel Smith on pole this time with Blackwell-Chambers alongside. Allwood and Sycamore made up the second row ahead of Harris and Trott, with Jackson and Charlie Burge on Row 4 in front of Symonds and Langridge.

This time, as it was in Race 1, there was no overhauling Blackwell-Chambers as he went on to take a lights to flag victory. That said, it wasn’t completely pressure free as while he made the most of clear track in front, teammate Smith was acting as something of an inadvertent rear gunner as he held off 3rd placed Allwood. As the pair raced hard, they slowly but surely brought Blackwell-Chambers back to them until the trio were nose to tail in the final laps. The 3 cars remained in that order only separated by 0.9 seconds at the chequered flag. It was even closer in the end for 4th place as Jack Sycamore fended up James Harris to finish ahead, with John Langridge snatching a personal best 6th from Brian Trott and Charlie Burge. Joshua Jackson and Martin Tolley were the last two drivers to complete the top 10.

Once again on the front row of the Group B grid, Ivan Leary sat next to pole man Bryn Griffiths for their final encounter of the weekend. Brittle and Puddle were on the second row behind them, while Ben Hancy was left on his own on Row 3 after car trouble put Simon Baldwin’s meeting to a slightly premature end. Adrian Burge and Le Doyen were 7th and 8th on the grid with Foden and Close rounding off the first 10 starters.

Griffiths took the lead instantaneously, however it quickly became apparent that Brittle was the man with the ultimate pace as he first dispatched Leary on Lap 2 before taking the lead from Griffiths a lap later. From there, Brittle appeared to just about have the measure of those behind him and managed to keep a steady gap of at least 1.5 seconds. There was little to no change between the frontrunners as the #11 wound down the laps and drove it home to take his first MX-5 Championship win on BRSCC shores. Griffiths and Leary would indeed hold firm in 2nd and 3rd to take to the podium, leaving Michael Close to finish almost 10 seconds back but secure 4th place from Adrian Burge. The rest of the top 10 was completed by Chive Chisnall, Ben Hancy, Charlie Rawles, Nick Le Doyen and Stephen Foden.

The points table shows Blackwell-Chambers on a theoretical “perfect score” had he won all 6 races, yet the points received for his fastest laps helped balance out the 2nd place. There’s already a 30 point gap to Samuel Smith in 2nd with Oliver Allwood a further 10 points away. Even though he’d endured a much quieter and more low-key weekend, Paul Tucker still remains in 4th place from Martin Tolley and Charlie Burge, while Michael Fisk’s lowly weekend leaves him frustrated in 7th with work to do next time out. Joshua Jackson is enjoying good form in 8th place, with Stuart Symonds 9th and Patrick Lay experiencing an incredible start to the year in the top 10.

It’s on to the Home of British Motorsport next time as Silverstone in Northamptonshire will host Rounds 7, 8 & 9 on the National circuit, the layout which opened the 2015 season in fine style. We hope you’ll join us there!

For a full breakdown of the Cadwell Park weekend’s results you can find the TSL Timing files HERE and HERE.

Scott Woodwiss

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