The chase to the end of the season is in full swing - Photo: Jon Elsey

There’s only 6 races left to decide who walks away with this year’s Mazda MX-5 Championship crown, although given his rate of domination there’s many who would be a fool to be against Tom Roche to wrap it up come the end of Silverstone. It’s definitely not impossible for his pursuers to stop him, however with 12 wins this season out of 13 races for Roche, it’s almost looking like a bit of a forgone conclusion.

That said, he certainly wasn’t allowed to relax at Donington Park as the Mk1s tackled both races in dry conditions, something everyone would have been grateful for given that severe rain and thunderstorms had drenched the circuit in between. The closest rival to Roche all weekend was Michael Fisk, who pressed the Blendini man hard all the way through the first race to finish 2nd before briefly taking the lead in Race 2 and still maintaining the pressure when he lost it. Right now, he appears to be the best bet to stop Roche’s dominance, so all he needs is a little more good fortune with the car and his luck and maybe, just maybe, a win could come.

Another man who ran fairly strongly once again was Oliver Allwood, who should be race fit after taking his long awaited prize trip to Laguna Seca in California. Allwood raced well in both races as he ended up finishing _ and _ respectively, a commendable effort for his first time. Back on UK shore, he has a 2nd place in points to reclaim after seeing Simon Baldwin leapfrog him on dropped score to the tune of just 2 points. Baldwin ran well in his backup car after Oulton accident and clinched a solid 3rd in Race 1, so another podium or two could be on the cards if he races well.

In and around the top 5 and top 10, there’s other notable drivers to keep a close watch on. Paul Tucker has moved into 5th place in the standings ahead of Clive Powles, while Martin Tolley is a no-show for this weekend despite his evident pace at times. The Club 100 car shared by Brian Trott and Stuart Symonds has been quick all year and Trott clinched an fantastic second in Donington’s second race behind Roche. Symonds reclaims the driver’s seat for this weekend in the hope he can emulate his driving partner’s top form. Simon Woods had a tricky pair of races by contrast and had to salvage a 3rd in the second Group B race, so he’ll be fired up to make amends.

Joshua Jackson and Jack Brewer are two more racers that have tasted Group B race success and continue to make strides towards becoming regular Group A runners. That along with the father and son pairing of Jake and Sam Bailey, Bryn Griffiths, Paul Maguire, Richard Collins and the Go4It machines of Kevin Brent and Andrew Adams mean that if any of them don’t make the top split, they’ll be prime contenders to take home a winner’s trophy in the second split come the end of Sunday afternoon.

Some will have an obvious favourite to win again this weekend, but as we all know in motorsport, the element of unpredictability is always there to creep up on the drivers at any given moment. Roche may have a lead of more than 60 points in the standings, but all it takes is one piece of bad fortune to potentially make a dramatic change. Who’s leaving Rockingham this weekend with the bragging rights ahead of the season finale in October?

The entry list for the weekend reads as follows:

5 - Richard Collins
8 - Michael Fisk
14 - Jake Bailey
16 - Matt Pickford
17 - Russ Lindsay
18 - Clive Powles
19 - Oliver Robinson
20 - Paul Maguire
25 - Ivan Leary
30 - Paul Austin
32 - Andrew Adams
41 - Kevin Brent/ Joshua Brent (shared car)
42 - Paul Bateman
46 - Simon Goddard
48 - Simon Baldwin
56 - Bryn Griffiths
62 - William Stephenson
63 - Oliver Allwood
67 - Simon Orange
68 - Paul Tucker
72 - Joshua Jackson
74 - Clive Chisnall
80 - Anthony Hutchins
88 - Stuart Symonds
93 - Jack Brewer
96 - Michael Lawson
99 - Patrick Collins
101 - Simon Woods
107 - Sam Bailey
125 - Tom Roche
166 - Ben Short
291 - Martyn Canning

Looking at the weather, it's forecast to be dry but very overcast. That said, it's not expected to rain with precipitation chances at less than 10%. But we know what British weather is like, so sometimes that may not always be the case! Temperatures should be set to reach a comfortable weekend high of 18 degrees on Sunday, where the sun may even try to poke its way through the clouds. The full breakdown is available via the Met Office HERE.

Also, the weekend's final instructions, supplementary regulations, timetable and entry list can be found on the BRSCC website HERE.

Scott Woodwiss

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