Roche Stamps Out His Rivals At Snetterton

Roche drove all weekend as if he'd never been away! - Photo: Jon Elsey

Sunny skies greeted the teams and drivers at the beginning of April as a new season dawned in the Mazda MX-5 Championship for 2016. The setting for the opening rounds was Norfolk and the superb Snetterton 300 circuit as some 40+ drivers geared up for their first track time of the year.

As in many previous race weekend, the two group system was utilized with the fastest of the bunch taking off in Group A. Straight off the bat the man everyone had to chase was returnee and former Mk1 champion Tom Roche, who seemed to just pick up where he’d left off and dominated the times in practice and his qualifying group.

Undoubtedly, he lined up on pole for Race 1A alongside Oliver Allwood, who put in a sterling effort to grab 2nd fastest, with Richard Breland and James Harris on Row 2. Roche led off the line and was never headed all race as he drove superbly to a winning margin of over 8 seconds from Allwood, who impressed many with his first Group A podium. Championship contender from 2015 Simon Baldwin completed the rostrum in 3rd to kick start a season of redemption after leading the title charge so long last season, before bad luck in the final rounds put paid to them.

For Race 1B, there was another sensational result as a complete newcomer to the Championship claimed his first ever victory. Bristol’s Jack Warry sat on the front row alongside pole man Ivan Leary, however Leary’s fortunes would take a nosedive seconds into the start as contact just after his getaway forced him into the barriers and into the air, sadly ending his race and weekend prematurely. After bringing out the red flag, Warry then proceeded to head the field before clinching a win just ahead of Patrick Collins with Bryn Griffiths 3rd.

Race 2A had Roche again on pole and again spread-eagling the field like he was in a class of his own. The man from Cardiff stormed away to take the top step by almost 14 seconds to his nearest rivals. Speaking of which, it was a nail biter right down to the line for 2nd, as Allwood and Baldwin duked it out right up to the flag, where Baldwin only just held on by the mere margin of 0.011s!

The second Group B race had been scheduled to run as the last race of the weekend, however due to complications with an incident in the race immediately beforehand, the organizers were forced to postpone it. This will now be run as the first race of the weekend at the next rounds of the season, which take place on the Welsh coast at Angelsey on the International layout on May 7/8.

You can find a full breakdown of the events at Snetterton via TSL Timing HERE.

Plus, a more detailed report of the meeting will be produced and become available shortly.

Scott Woodwiss

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