It's becoming clear that both Blackwell-Chambers and Langridge are the men to beat in 2019 - Photo: Jon Elsey

Will Blackwell-Chambers and John Langridge have both firmly set themselves up at the main contenders for the title in the 2019 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship, as both once again tasted victory in the recent rounds at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire. The tight, twisty and picturesque venue certainly wasn’t short on action on a weekend that saw mixed weather conditions and some drivers slightly out of position.

A dry track in both of Saturday morning’s qualifying sessions ensured that both Blackwell-Chambers and Langridge would top their respective groups, however it was WB-C who would end up the quicker of the two and take pole position for the first Group A race. When the lights went out, Blackwell-Chambers immediately jumped into the lead while Langridge held on to 2nd place for a lap before losing out to Brian Trott, returning to continue his part season after missing Pembrey. He immediately set off after Blackwell-Chambers and was able to remain within a second of the double champion for the remainder of the race, before a safety car for an on-track incident eventually turned into a red flag to ensure the marshals sufficient time to perform the clear-up. With the result being declared, Blackwell-Chambers was given the win from Trott in 2nd place and Langridge in 3rd, followed by a brilliant effort by Steve Foden to rise six places from 10th on the grid to finish 4th ahead of Joe Wiggin in 5th. Will Hayden, Ben Short, Martyn Tolley, Matt Luff and Ben Hancy completed the top 10.

Prior to qualifying, a practice incident between Mike Comber Racing teammates Adam Bessell and returning 2018 vice champion Samuel Smith forced both drivers to start at the back of the grid for the first Group B race, while Richard Wootten assumed pole position thanks to his efforts in his respective qualifying session. However, Bessell ensured that he wasn’t going to waste any time languishing at the back and at a circuit where overtaking is notoriously difficult, he incredibly carved his way past the entire field to lead the race in just five laps! From there, he was never headed and Bessell took a sensational win after starting on the back row of the grid, while teammate Smith took a little longer to join him at the front. He had to wait until the very last lap to steal away 2nd place from Bryn Griffiths, who settled for 3rd place in the end after leading the opening laps before being overhauled by winner Bessell. Pole man Wootten and Jack Moody would join the top 3 in moving up into Group A finishing 4th and 5th, ahead of Clive Chisnall, Charlie Rawles, Thomas Jenkins, Michael Knibbs and Christina Holley.

Another fierce duel between Blackwell-Chambers and Brian Trott took place in the second Group A race, as WB-C took the lead from pole at the start but was only able to remain ahead of Trott until Lap 5 when the AB Motorsport man made his move to steal 1st place. His reign at the front would only last two laps as Blackwell-Chambers reclaimed the lead shortly afterwards, before a lurking Langridge took 2nd place away as well and began pressuring the leader all the way to the flag. Alas, Langridge settled for P2 in the end as WB-C made it two wins out of two in Lincolnshire, followed by the aforementioned Trott in 3rd. Foden maintained his fine form with another 4th place finished ahead of Ben Short in 5th, while Joe Wiggin took 6th to head the second half of the top 10 from Oliver Allwood, a resurgent Samuel Smith who did superbly to rise to 8th, Will Hayden and Matt Luff.

Lewis Cannon did well to bounce back from retirement in the first Group A race to charge his way to the lead after just 5 laps and go on to take a dominant win in what turned out to be a rather attrition filled second Group B race on Sunday. Picking his way through from 5th on the grid, Cannon was up to 3rd behind fellow Group A demoted driver Jason Greatrex and pole sitter Richard Baxter, with Lewis passing them both before dominating the rest of the way and taking the flag by more than 6 seconds in the end. Greatrex and Baxter would fill out the podium places in 2nd and 3rd respectively, with Charlie Rawles and Thomas Jenkins completing the top 5 cars in the Group A promotion slots. A last lap incident shook out the second half of the top 10 on the final lap, with Christina Holley taking 6th place ahead of Christian Dann who benefitted from Ivan Leary, Oliver Jenkins and Clive Chisnall all coming together to steal 7th by the flag. Debutant MX-5 racer Stuart Ross French, Jake Styles and Graham Rumsey were also benefactors and finished off the remaining top 10 places.

For the final Group A race, Blackwell-Chambers would yet again start from pole, but this time was beaten away from the line by rival Langridge, who immediately assumed the lead of what became a race long duel for victory between the top four cars. Blackwell-Chambers lost out to Brian Trott in much the same way he’d done so in Race 2, moving down to 3rd which is where he would end up for the remainder of the race. Ahead of him, Trott hounded Langridge for the rest of the 20 minute encounter, constantly putting the BLiNK Motorsport man under pressure in his efforts to steal victory away. Nonetheless, Langridge put up a sterling defensive effort to keep Trott at bay and took his 3rd win of the season in fine style. With Trott in P2 and WB-C in P3, it was young Ginetta Junior graduate Matt Luff who continued to impress with a sensational 4th place just a second back from the leader at the flag. Jack Brewer and Lewis Cannon also put in superb performances to wind up 5th and 6th respectively, with Adam Craig in 7th place, Samuel Smith in 8th after a track limits time penalty, Oliver Allwood in 9th and Tom Smith in 10th.

Adam Bessell had suffered more misfortune in the second Group A race which once again demoted him to the Group B field for his final race of the weekend, however he was able to put on a display much akin to that of his success in Race 1, albeit much higher up the grid this time. He instantly jumped into the lead before the end of the opening lap and pushed on to take a very comfortable Group B win, his second of the weekend, by more than 7 seconds over 2nd placed man Sebastian Fisher, with David Waters making it three regular Group A drivers on the rostrum this time. Bryn Griffiths and Christina Holley completed the top 5, finishing ahead of Graham Rumsey, Christian Dann, Stuart Ross French, Bruce Robinson and Clive Chisnall.

The next rounds in the 2019 season take place all the way on the Welsh coast as the MX-5 Championship revisits the awesome Anglesey Circuit in North Wales on June 8/9, where they’ll not only be joined by the MX-5 Super Series as per usual, but also reunited with the MX-5 SuperCup. This will be the first of two mega Mazda weekends where all three series are together, so don’t miss out as it’s sure to be epic!

Scott Woodwiss

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Anglesey - 22nd - 23rd Aug 2020

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