Can Will Blackwell-Chambers (#43) get back to the front of the field? - Photo: Jon Elsey

James Harris will have left Oulton Park a few weeks ago feeling very satisfied with his pace and potential chances to become an outside bet for the title in the Mazda MX-5 Championship, after a dominant display that saw him clinch all 3 victories from pole position. Now, as the teams and drivers move to the Snetterton 300 circuit in Norfolk the momentum appears to be shifting compared to where it was at the start of the year.

Despite missing the Brands Hatch opener, Harris has been a constant front runner since he joined the fun at Cadwell Park, taking his first win of the year at Silverstone before his Oulton hat-trick. With dropped scores meaning he doesn’t need to lose any points from his accrued total, his 8th place in the points means his raw pace should be a concern to his nearest rivals. Everyone in the top 10 will need to be on top form to make sure they don’t end up missing out on valuable results.

Points leader Will Blackwell-Chambers started strong with 5 wins and a 2nd place from the first 6 races at Brands Hatch and Cadwell, but since then he’s found his fortunes to be less than smooth with a difficult Silverstone weekend followed by an inability to reach the podium at Oulton. Nonetheless, the Mike Comber Racing driver is definitely not one to count out as when he’s on form, he’s the fastest man in the field and difficult to overhaul. Expect a possible bounce back this weekend. Stablemate Samuel Smith has also been a regular podium visitor with one win to his name from Cadwell and a string of top 3 finishes. Oulton Park was something of an off weekend for Smith, so he’ll be straight back on it here at Snetterton.

Joshua Jackson is another race winner that’s pleasantly surprised people this season, after breaking through with his first two wins at Silverstone. Oulton could have seen him add more but he was unable to overthrow Harris from the top step and had to settle for 3 strong podiums, pushing him into 4th in points. Two places above him and yet to win a race this year is Oliver Allwood, who seems to be getting closer and closer each weekend. He can and has won races before and his car is one of the strongest in the field, so perhaps he can replicate his pace here in 2016 when he gave Tom Roche headaches in all 3 races to come home 2nd. With Roche out of the picture, the path could be clear for him this time…

Top Masters driver Martin Tolley is having a stellar year as he currently stands in 5th place as he continues to get quicker, while full-time rookies Patrick Lay and Charlie Burge have both been mightily impressive throughout the first four weekends. Brian Trott and Paul Tucker are the other two drivers who circulate amongst the top 10, while others such as Stuart Symonds, Michael Fisk, John Langridge and Clive Powles will also be ones to watch as they battle their way through the pack.

A field of 49 cars is entered for this weekend at the time of writing, as once again there are more new faces appearing on the grid. Andy Shovel, Sam Moores, Bill Taylor and Russell Jones make their first appearances of 2017 and we’re very happy to have them – welcome to the grid, guys!

Snetterton’s long, wide straights will mean that slipstreaming and side-by-side action will be in plentiful supply throughout all 6 races, although points leader Blackwell-Chambers will be hoping he’s not too involved in the battles he’ll wish go on behind him. That said, with the form they’re currently in, his rivals may have something to say about that. Will he leave Norfolk still as championship leader? Let’s find out…

Scott Woodwiss

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Snetterton 300 - 10th - 11th Apr 2021

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