Who's got what it takes to come out on top in Cheshire this Saturday? - Photo: Jon Elsey

The second half of the 2019 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship is now underway and the race for the title continues to produce interesting development after interesting development, after an exciting three races last time out at Snetterton. After a few weeks break, the drivers are back in action this weekend with the traditional single day meeting at a firm drivers’ favourite – Oulton Park in Cheshire.

The big takeaway from Snetterton was the emergence of Joe Wiggin as a serious title contender and, for the first time, a race winner. Having waited all season for his first win after debuting in superb fashion with a 3rd place at the Brands Hatch opener, everything clicked into place at Norfolk with Joe taking a near-enough “grand slam” of the entire weekend. He started every race from pole, took the fastest lap and won all three encounters to give him enough points to haul himself into 3rd place in the standings. All of this has helped him move to just 62 points away from the championship leader Will Blackwell-Chambers, and he’ll be keen to keep up this good run of form this weekend at Oulton.

In contrast, Blackwell-Chambers had something of a weekend to forget. While there was no DNF, the results didn’t entirely go his way and Snetterton was the first meeting of the year that Will was unable to secure a podium finish at least. The best he could manage was 4th place in Race 1, but the points he was able to bank in the meantime allowed him to at least maintain his points lead. That said, main rival John Langridge now sits a mere 6 points back on dropped scores at this stage, meaning that the pressure will only increase on WB-C to perform and win races in this latter part of the season. At the same time, he knows that one more slip up could throw everything wide open.

Langridge has had his best season to date in MX-5s and a trio of podiums while finishing ahead of Blackwell-Chambers really helped him close the gap further. John’s last race win came at Cadwell Park but his consistency since then has really helped him keep WB-C in touching distance. Oulton Park is a circuit both drivers seem to favour, so who comes out on top is going to be tough to predict. With Wiggin hunting them both down in 3rd place, Adam Bessell is another driver who is proving to be a dark horse this season. He too is experiencing a personal best year and his confidence was risen by a first Group A at Anglesey, and was always in the lead group over the Snetterton weekend. Oulton Park will be another chance to continue to build on the excellent progress he’s made in 2019 and there’s no reason why a second victory couldn’t be on the cards at Oulton Park.

Oliver Allwood sits in 5th place at this stage as he starts to rediscover some of the form that saw him as a title contender a couple of seasons ago. He too was part of the leading battle pack at Snetterton and has scored a couple of podiums to boot to ensure no-one forgets just how quick he can be sometimes. Jason Greatrex is also another familiar face towards the front of the field and is once again the top Masters driver as he continues to lead those standings from Martin Tolley and Marcus Bailey. Jack Brewer will be another name to watch after he too achieved some of the best results of his career so far with two 2nd places behind teammate Wiggin. Jack is one of the drivers in 2019 having something of a breakout season and his Snetterton form will only leave him with his confidence sky high heading to this Saturday’s meeting. How long will it be before we see him on the top step of a Group A race?

Ben Short makes a late entry to improve on his current 8th place in the points standings after missing out on Snetterton, while Steve Foden and Martin Tolley complete the current top 10 in the overall standings. Other drivers just outside it that will be hoping to take one step closer to breaking in will be Adam Craig, Marcus Bailey and Matt Pollard who have all shown promising signs of improved pace throughout the year and wish to make further strides here at Oulton. Outside of the aforementioned drivers, all of the usual suspects you’ve come to expect will be on the grid including Jack Moody, Bryn Griffiths, Nick Le Doyen, Clive Chisnall, Ivan Leary and Graham Rumsey to name but a few, while Cheshire also sees a welcome return for both race winner Brian Trott and young charger Matt Luff. As well as all of this, we also welcome three new drivers to the paddock with Neil Cogan, Sam Attard and Ash Miller all making their first MX-5 Championship starts – welcome to the grid!

Scott Woodwiss

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Donington Park - 1st - 2nd Aug 2020

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