Blackwell-Chambers and Bessell made sure they kept the top step to themselves at Anglesey - Photo: Jon Elsey

The sun was shining on Will Blackwell-Chambers and Adam Bessell this past weekend in the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship, as both drivers ran riot on the coast of North Wales on the Anglesey International GP circuit, with the former continuing his charge towards a third straight title while the other was able to mark off a personal milestone in the championship.

The coastal weather took a turn for the worse on Saturday morning as rain hit both qualifying sessions for the respective groups. That said, it didn’t stop Blackwell-Chambers scoring a fastest lap time that was at least a second quicker than the rest of the drivers in his group, with Mike Comber Racing teammate Steve Foden the closest man to him in 2nd place. AB Motorsport team boss Ali Bray was back at the wheel of one of his own MX-5s and lapped 3rd fastest ahead of Joe Wiggin and Marcus Bailey, the latter picking up one of his best group qualifying results with 5th fastest. Over in Group B, Bessell would go on to take the fastest time with a margin bigger than even that of WB-C in the session prior. His lap was 1.3 seconds quicker than title contender John Langridge in 2nd place followed by Oliver Allwood in 3rd, a brilliant effort from Lewis Cannon with 4th fastest and Ben Short, also in contention for the championship, collecting 5th fastest time despite having a lap time disallowed for track limits. Just behind them, Jack Brewer was 7th quickest, while 8th would see experienced racer Scott Mansell make his MX-5 Championship debut with a solid lap that put him inside the top 10 in the group.

With the groups decided via the qualifying times, Blackwell-Chambers and Bessell took to the front row for the first Group A race on Saturday morning, with the rain having abated somewhat and the circuit drying out as a result even though precipitation was still in the air. Blackwell-Chambers jumped straight into the lead with Bessell in 2nd place, Langridge in 3rd and a superb start for Lewis Cannon to charge into 4th place by the end of the opening lap. Both WB-C and Bessell were quick to work together and pull away from the rest of the pack in a race of their own, leaving Langridge and Cannon to head the battle for 3rd place also joined by Steve Foden and Ben Short in the early laps. While this was happening, Joe Wiggin was collected at the Corkscrew hairpin sending him across the grass and into the tyre barrier. Visibly livid at his ejection from the pack, Wiggin took his car back to the pits and eventually back out into the race, albeit ending up a lap down in 27th place at the flag and facing competing in Group B on Sunday morning.

Back at the head of the field, Blackwell-Chambers had been able to stretch out a gap to teammate Bessell behind and come the chequered flag, he was able to take the win by nearly 4 seconds. That said, Bessell’s pace was also impressive and 2nd pace was just reward for his efforts too. In the scrap for 3rd place, Langridge had been in position until a coming together with Cannon at Turn 1 pushed him down the order and saw him finish in 8th place. Cannon looked as though he could be on course for his first ever Group A podium, but Ben Short was able to deny him with two laps to go and collect the final rostrum spot for himself. Steve Foden would also steal 4th place from Cannon, leaving the BC Cars Motorsport driver in an equally impressive 5th for his efforts. Jason Greatrex scored 6th place at one of his home venues with Bailey in 7th place and Langridge in 8th as mentioned. Scott Mansell picked up an impressive 9th place on his MX-5 debut with Matt Pollard completing the top 10.

The front row for the first Group B race made pleasant viewing for Brian Chandler with two BC Cars Motorsport drivers lining up alongside each other. Adrian Burge had pole next to Ivan Leary, with Christina Holley continuing to make strong progress starting 3rd from Ben Hancy in 4th. Thomas Mallett and Clive Chisnall started on Row 3 ahead of Matthew Fletcher and Michael Knibbs, with the returning Simon Orange and Michael Close completing the top 10 starters.

The race didn’t even complete a lap before the red flags had to be thrown due to an incident involving Andrew Macgregor after he made contact with another car exiting the Rocket complex, hit the bank and ended upside down as a result. Thankfully Andrew appeared to be OK, however his car would be out of action for the rest of the weekend. When racing was able to get underway a short while later, Ben Hancy grabbed the lead from 3rd on the grid and proceeded to keep the chasing pack at bay for the shortened 15 minute restart. A safety car was narrowly avoided at the end of Lap 2 after Paul Hughes spun on the exit of the Bus Stop corner and was then subsequently collected by Bruce Robinson. Both cars were able to remove themselves from the scene of the accident but retired shortly afterwards.

Hancy’s race in the lead was rather straightforward as he never allowed Adrian Burge to get close enough to mount a challenge, heading the field from the start to score victory in Group B. Burge himself was able to collect 2nd place by nearly 2 seconds from Clive Chisnall in 3rd, with Simon Orange enjoying a battle with Michael Knibbs in the second half of the race to pick up 4th place on his return. Ivan Leary ended up 6th after starting on the front row, ahead of Mallett, Bryn Griffiths, Jack Willmott and Matthew Fletcher in the top 10.

Thankfully, Sunday’s conditions at Anglesey were substantially better with brighter skies and sunshine breaking through to allow a fully dry circuit. For the second Group A race, Blackwell-Chambers was once again on pole position, but off the start he was beaten to Turn 1 by Ben Short, who made one of his customary strong starts to charge from the second row to the lead by the opening corners. However, his time at the front only lasted a lap as Bessell and Blackwell-Chambers both squeezed their way past to demote him to 3rd. Straight away, Bessell opened up a 1 second gap but was closed down in just a couple of laps by WB-C before the #1 lost two spots to 4th place falling behind Langridge and Short; Will would repass them on the next lap. From there, Blackwell-Chambers chased down Bessell once again with Langridge trying to keep in touch in 3rd, but despite closing in late in the day there was nothing he could do to overhaul the man in front.

So it was that Bessell took the flag to clinch his the first Group A victory of his career to his delight, followed by Blackwell-Chambers taking another key step in his title charge with 2nd place. Langridge picked up 3rd only 1.4 seconds away from the leader, with Short taking 4th and Steve Foden in 5th, while Jason Greatrex finished 6th on the road and was originally given a 5 second time penalty for track limits before it was later rescinded. Jack Brewer claimed 7th place from Lewis Cannon and Scott Mansell, with Oliver Allwood completing the top 10.

Martin Tolley started the second Group B race from pole position after choosing to drop down after car troubles subsequent to the first race the day before. With Tim Dore and Nick Le Doyen lining up behind him, the top four also saw Joe Wiggin looking to make up for his bad luck in Race 1. With that said, he went into the encounter as the favourite to win and sure enough the lead was his come the end of the opening lap. Tolley did his best to keep close in 2nd place, but Wiggin had more than enough pace to pull out as much as a 5 second lead at one stage. Dominating from start to finish, Wiggin went on to take an unchallenged victory and easy passage back into Group A for his final race of the weekend. Tolley would also join him in promotion with 2nd place while best of the rest was Charles Mugglestone in 3rd ahead of Bryn Griffiths and Nick Le Doyen. Tim Dore and Ivan Leary took 6th and 7th with Matthew Fletcher, Tom Mallett and Bruce Robinson rounding off the top 10 finishers.

For the final Group A race it was yet another MCR front row lockout, albeit this time it was Adam Bessell on pole position courtesy of his race win. However, he was unable to maintain the place at the start as Blackwell-Chambers beat him away and picked up the lead in the opening corners. Even though Bessell remained on his bumper for the entire 20 minutes, Blackwell-Chambers was able to keep his teammate at bay as much as just over a second until the chequered flag. Will made it two wins for the weekend while Bessell completed his best weekend to date in the championship with another 2nd place, but behind there them was cause for celebration for Jack Brewer as he captured his best ever result in a Group A race with 3rd place to his and the Tucker Motorsport team’s delight. Allwood scored 4th place followed by Jason Greatrex in 5th, with Ben Short snatching 6th place from John Langridge in a sprint to the chequered flag. Sebastian Fisher, Lewis Cannon and Marcus Bailey completed the top 10 and while Steve Foden did finish within the top 10 on the road, he was disqualified from the result due to driving standards.

For the final Group B race, it would be Michael Knibbs and Richard Baxter each bidding to try and take their first race wins from the front row, while Tim Dore, Ivan Leary, Tom Mallett, Bruce Robinson and co would be out to claim glory for themselves. From the start, Knibbs moved straight into the lead ahead of Baxter and had control over the race throughout the first half as the #61 followed closely in his wheel tracks. However, Lap 6 would see Baxter finally find a way through past Knibbs and then proceeded to pull away over the second half of the race. By the flag, his leading margin was nearly 4 seconds and Baxter went on to score his first race win in the championship since debuting at the beginning of the season. Simon Orange would end up taking 2nd place after snatching it away from Knibbs shortly after Baxter took the lead, leaving Michael to pick up the final podium place in 3rd ahead of Jack Willmott and Charlie Rawles. Ivan Leary took 6th place from Bruce Robinson in 7th, with the stop 10 rounded off by Michael Close, Tim Dore and Christina Holley.

This past weekend signals half distance in the 2019 season with Blackwell-Chambers extending a 22 point lead over Langridge in the standings. Ben Short is only another 6 points back in 3rd, however everyone will have to make sure that every result counts over the next four race meetings towards the end of the year. First up will be Snetterton at the end of June on the 300 circuit, so make sure to join us there!

Scott Woodwiss

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