Allwood ensured he will be in title contention for the season finale with a race win - Photo: Jon Elsey

Oliver Allwood took a step closer to a potential title victory in the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship as he claimed a win at the Silverstone National meeting, while one of his main title rivals hit a major stumbling block that could leave his chances of winning the championship in tatters.

A very healthy entry of 60 cars descended on Northamptonshire under weather conditions that were excellent for September with mostly clear blue skies and sunshine lighting up Silverstone for all competitors. The first qualifying group headed out in earnest on Saturday morning and former Ginetta Junior racer Matt Luff would take fastest time in the session from Jack Brewer, Will Blackwell-Chambers, Joe Wiggin and Oliver Graham on a circuit that was still a little damp from overnight rain. By the time the second group were ready to qualify, the circuit had dried out completely, meaning those involved had a better chance at securing the fastest time overall. That honour went to Sebastian Fisher for the first time with Brian Trott, Mike Comber, Oliver Allwood and Matt Pollard completing the top five.  


With the faster time over Group 1, Fisher would top Group A for both of his races and therefore would start both from pole. The first race of the weekend would see Groups B and C race together on Saturday with Luff and Trott taking up the front row ahead of Comber, Blackwell-Chambers, Wiggin and Pollard. Before getting into the race itself, one thing that needs to be mentioned - on the road Joe Wiggin took victory after leading the majority of the 15 minute encounter, but after the race in scrutineering a technical infringement was discovered meaning he was disqualified from the result and therefore invisible in the results on TSL Timing for this race. Therefore, the report of this race will be made at this time without Joe featuring. Should his appeal be successful and his win reinstated, this report will be amended appropriately. 


In the race itself, Comber headed the pack from Trott and Luff on the opening lap, but by the time the second lap was completed it was Trott in front with the top three being chased by Pollard and Fenwick in the top five. A few more cars joined into the lead group, making it as many as nine scrapping over the podium places, but towards the head of it some consistent pressure from Pollard ensured he was able to make it past Luff as Comber continued to pressure Trott. In the end, he would have to settle for finishing behind the AB Motorsport car, as Trott completed the race in 2nd on the road but was awarded the win thanks to Wiggin’s disqualification. This also promoted Comber up a step into 2nd and Matt Pollard was also handed his first overall podium finish with 3rd as a result. Some late moves from Steve Foden put him into an excellent 4th with Fenwick in 5th and the rest of the top 10 filled out by Adam Craig, Michael Knibbs, Matt Luff (who eventually slipped down to 8th in the end), Ben O’Hare and Luke Pullen. 


Next up came Groups A and C on track on Sunday with Fisher ready to start from the first of his two pole positions and Trott on the front row again alongside him for his second race. Brewer and Blackwell-Chambers made up the second row from Allwood and Pollard, with Graham and Fenwick on Row 4. The pack got off the line and through Copse cleanly, but down at Maggotts there was contact further back which eventually saw Ed Worthington’s first MX-5 Championship end rather abruptly and on his roof, as his car was clipped into a roll over. Both Brandon Abraham and Peter Higton were also involved as part of the incident and all three cars would fail to make the restart. The race was red flagged and everyone took the restart in their original grid positions and when it did get underway again, Fisher ensured he took up the lead from Trott and Blackwell-Chambers, with Pollard and Brewer beginning an early fight for 4th before both were passed by Fenwick before the end of the opening lap. 


Trott began pressuring Fisher to take the lead, even getting alongside as Lap 1 ended, but despite trying to cling on in front the #81 had to capitulate as Trott and WB-C both moved through to push Fisher down to 3rd ahead of Fenwick and Allwood, who needed to make progress if he wanted to keep himself in the title fight. Setting the fastest lap of the race early on was a good start and soon he was quickly looking to pick off cars one by one. He demoted Fisher to 4th as up ahead his teammate Fenwick passed Trott for the lead, and then beat Blackwell-Chambers under breaking for Brooklands to make it an AB Motorsport 1-2-3 at the front of the leading group. WB-C went with them as the top four tried to break away from the chasing contenders and sure enough, Allwood was helped into the lead by his teammates with three minutes to go. 


With Trott and Fenwick now acting as rear gunners for their championship-contesting teammate, Allwood knew he had to make the most of his lead in the final minutes and hold on to pick up points. Despite a late challenge from Trott, OIiver managed to hold back the tide of Mk1 MX-5s behind him and take his second win of the season to his absolute delight, while Trott did indeed pick up 2nd place for his troubles. Behind them, pole man Fisher managed to steal 3rd in the final laps for his first podium and best ever finish, likewise for Michael Knibbs too in 4th while Blackwell-Chambers completed the top five. Fenwick was shuffled down to 6th ahead of Brewer and Graham, with Pollard and Owen Mills round off the first 10 finishers. 


The last race of the weekend was reserved for Groups A & B, putting Fisher and Luff on the front row together, and while Fisher managed to maintain the lead initially, a dive into Maggotts helped Luff take it for himself . What followed next was a constant string of lead changes as Luff, Fisher, Comber and Wiggin all took turns in just the opening two laps. Eventually, Jack Brewer managed to squeeze his way into the lead just in time for the safety car to make an appearance after Stephen New and Kevin Pemberton collided at Copse, leaving both cars stranded. After several laps while the recovery of both cars was completed, it left Brewer with just two laps to try and hold on to take his first MX-5 Championship win but with Comber and co lurking behind him it was never going to be an easy task. 


Brewer and Comber got the jump on everyone else as racing resumed and on their first approach to Brooklands off the back straight, Comber decided to stay behind and plot an attack on the final lap. The extra time to set him up appeared to pay off as on the final lap at the same section of track, Comber made the dive and despite Brewer trying to brave it out around the outside, the move was made and Mike grabbed the lead. Jack came close to retaking it on the run to the flag, but Comber just held on to win by 0.084 seconds with Wiggin completing the podium places right behind them in 3rd. Fisher captured 4th ahead of Allwood and Luff, with Foden, Craig, Graham and Owen Mills rounding off the top 10 finishers. 


The championship is to be decided at the season finale, which takes place at Brands Hatch during the Formula Ford Festival weekend on October 24/25 2020. 


Scott Woodwiss 


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