MK1 MAZDAS DESCEND INTO DONINGTON

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Harris (#37), Fisk (#8) and Goddard (#46) will all be in hot pursuit of a podium finish - Photo: Jon Elsey

How does anyone find any more superlatives to describe the kind of season that points leader Tom Roche is having in this year’s Mazda MX-5 Championship? There’s nothing more that you can really say that hasn’t been already, with the bright green Blendini man only failing to win one race all year. Donington Park marks the start of the home stretch for Tom as he bids to seal another Mk1 title in due course.

The tricky conditions that Roche and friends faced in the first race at Brands Hatch certainly meant that it wasn’t a simple victory, as the likes of James Harris, Michael Fisk and even a late challenger in teammate Simon Goddard all gave him cause for concern. Despite this, Tom had enough to hold on before clinching a more straightforward win in the second encounter. Donington appears to be another circuit that Tom enjoys, something which won’t necessarily be music to the ears of his rivals!

Michael Fisk has been on a great run of form recently though, so he seems to be the one who could be the main challenger to Roche’s dominance once more, as could Simon Baldwin. Having to get used to his spare car over the Brands weekend after shunting his main race car at Oulton Park, Simon will be keen to get back to speed and the pace that’s served him well at times throughout the season. He does only sit two points away from current 2nd place man Oliver Allwood, who will head to the US in between this weekend and Rockingham to fulfil his prize drive of competing in the Global MX-5 Cup Invitational at Laguna Seca. He’s sure to use Donington as a warm-up beforehand whilst wishing to consolidate his points tally in the process.

There’s also all the usual suspects to think about too who will be fighting hard for solid points hauls. Clive Powles has a pair of podiums from Anglesey under his belt and has fought with Baldwin and the rest on more than one occasion. Martin Tolley scored some great results at Oulton Park with a best of 4th but had a tricky Brands meeting which will have left him determined to recover with a strong performance here. Paul Tucker has managed to secure several top 5 finishes, while Paul Maguire is a constant threat in and around the top 10. Youngster Jake Bailey has continued to grow in confidence and pace across this season as he races alongside father Sam, while Jack Brewer is another young gun who already has a Group B win to his name from Brands Hatch and continues to get quicker. Brian Trott could also feature well in the Club 100 backed car.

Speaking of Group B race winners, there’s been a decent number this season so far. Matt Pickford secured his first with victory at Oulton Park, as he campaigns this season in reigning champion Brian Chandler’s 2015 title winning car. Richard Collins has taken home some 1st place silverware this season, along with Kevin Brent and Joshua Jackson (who has 2 to his name). All 3 are here, while Richard’s sibling Patrick has come close. Plus, Go4It Racing’s 2016 competition winner Andrew Adams continues his circuit racing education after his transition from autograss at the start of the year. Other names you should definitely keep an eye on include Michael Close, Ivan Leary, Bryn Griffiths, Danny Green, Lewis Field, Simon Orange and Simon Woods.

Great racing always seems to follow the MX-5 Championship wherever they go and you’ll be certain to get it in spades here at Donington Park. This one is a true drivers’ favourite, with many sighting it as the one they want to come back to every year. It’s no surprise then that with three race meetings left to go, the fight for points should be getting ever more frantic than ever and, once again, we have to ask – is there ANYONE that can stop Tom Roche?!

The entry for this weekend reads as follows:

#5 - Richard Collins
#8 - Michael Fisk
#10 - Jonathan Fieldsend
#12 - Paul Hughes
#14 - Jake Bailey
#16 - Matt Pickford
#17 - Russ Lindsay
#18 - Clive Powles
#19 - Oliver Robinson
#20 - Paul Maguire
#23 - Martin Tolley
#25 - Ivan Leary
#29 - Adam Craig
#30 - Paul Austin
#32 - Andrew Adams
#34 - Matthew Tasker
#35 - Matthew Simmonite
#36 - James Love
#41 - Kevin Brent / Joshua Brent (sharing the car)
#42 - Paul Bateman
#46 - Simon Goddard
#48 - Simon Baldwin
#56 - Bryn Griffiths
#61 - Lewis Field
#62 - William Stephenson
#63 - Oliver Allwood
#66 - Nick Riley
#67 - Simon Orange
#68 - Paul Tucker
#72 - Joshua Jackson
#74 - Clive Chisnall
#75 - Guy Carter
#80 - Anthony Hutchins
#88 - Brian Trott
#93 - Jack Brewer
#99 - Patrick Collins
#101 - Simon Woods
#107 - Sam Bailey
#111 - Danny Green
#117 - Michael Close
#125 - Tom Roche
#133 - Aaron Mason
#291 - Martyn Canning
#777 - Courtney Milnes

It's looking like a bit of a mixed bag weather wise as there's set to be burst of both bright sunshine and lights showers all throughout the weekend. The temperatures are set to reach as high as 18 degrees, so it'll certainly feel warm although packing an umbrella wouldn't go amiss either. A full breakdown of the forecast via the Met Office is available HERE.

Plus, the final instructions, provisional timetable, supplementary regulations and full entry list for the race weekend can be found HERE.

Scott Woodwiss

Next Race

The 2018 calendar will be announced shortly.

Last Race

Donington Park 14th - 15th Oct 2017

Current Standings

Driver Accrued Points Adjusted Total
1 Will Blackwell-Chambers 2218 2044
2 Oliver Allwood 2130 2000
3 Joshua Jackson 2168 1976