OULTON PARK SEES THE HALF WAY MARK

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James Harris and Oliver Allwood will be two drivers in the hunt for victory - Photo: Jon Elsey

With 9 races down and 15 to go, momentum has now picked up for the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship with another strong entry of almost 50 cars heading to Oulton Park in Cheshire. That said, if last time out at Silverstone is any indication to go by it’s far from clear just who the favourite is right now.

Even though his weekend was less than satisfactory, Will Blackwell-Chambers has dropped scores to thank as he still remains at the head of the table, as his Silverstone results are completely nullified for the time being. This means that despite a meeting in which he finished 7th in Race 1, saw hit bonnet fly up forcing him to the pits in Race 2 and only managing a Group B 3rd place in Race 3, he still leads the table by 25 points over fellow Mike Comber Racing driver Samuel Smith. Even though Smith only has one win, he’s also racked up 5 podiums so far, putting him in a very strong position at this stage so far.

Oliver Allwood holds 3rd and has 3 podiums to his name this season, however that elusive first win of the year continues to escape him. The UK representative in the Global MX-5 Cup Invitational at Laguna Seca certainly isn’t short on pace and while he did appear to struggle here last season, his car should be more than capable of challenging for the win. Silverstone, however, was the coming of age for one Joshua Jackson as a stellar qualifying session and 3rd in Race 1 was followed up by two spectacular wins, the first Group A victories of his Mazda racing career. Something seems to have clicked for the man from Bexley and it’s a form which he will be eager to replicate this weekend.

Just behind him in the points are the top contenders in the Masters Championship, as both Martin Tolley and Paul Tucker sit dead level in their points fight for the more experienced drivers in the field. Silverstone was a big weekend for Tolley as his results saw him put one over Tucker all weekend. Paul won’t stand for that so easily and will know his closest rival will be on it from the word go. The rest of the top 10 contains 3 very capable drivers – Charlie Burge’s superb start to the year reached a peak with his first Group A podium at Silverstone, while Brian Trott and John Langridge have both made considerable strides towards the front, the latter adapting to his first full season in a rear wheel drive car brilliantly after previous success as a Fiesta champion. Patrick Lay also put on a stunning display as he worked his way up the order all weekend to eventually be amongst the top 10 fight come the end of the meeting.

While James Harris’ weekend was similar in terms of mixed fortunes to that of Blackwell-Chambers at Silverstone, a race win did go his way and now buoyed by his pace in the last two meetings, he’ll be hoping for another strong showing here. Simon Goddard and Stuart Symonds will also be expecting decent results at a circuit as tricky as Oulton Park.

Last but by no means least, what of the fortunes of Michael Fisk? After such a strong showing at Brands Hatch, the previous two meetings have seen a significant drop in his pace leaving him languishing down towards the bottom of the top 20. To Michael, this will be unacceptable and after pushing Tom Roche all weekend here in 2016, here’s hoping this year’s visit will be the start of his fight back.

The Mazda MX-5 Championship is still as popular as ever and with another strong entry this weekend, it’ll be battles galore all the way through. Oulton Park is always seen as a favourite amongst a lot of the drivers, however some are especially fond of it and will hope their pace matches their enthusiasm of the place. Once this weekend is done, we’ll have hit halfway for 2017, which leaves the question – who will have the edge when the title fight leaves Cheshire?

Scott Woodwiss

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Last Race

Donington Park 14th - 15th Oct 2017

Current Standings

Driver Accrued Points Adjusted Total
1 Will Blackwell-Chambers 2216 2042
2 Oliver Allwood 2130 2000
3 Joshua Jackson 2166 1974