Croft provided a true test of the Juniors' wet weather credentials - Photo: Jon Elsey

Less than ideal weather conditions greeted the drivers last weekend as the BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship ventured north once again to a brand new venue. For the first time in the Championship’s history, the junior drivers took to Croft in North Yorkshire where by close of play Sunday afternoon, the title battle had changed significantly.

Saturday morning’s first practice session was the only real solid dry running the Junior drivers had to enjoy all weekend, with a damp track greeting them for the second session before a downpour soaked the track for qualifying. This prompted everyone to head out on wet tyres with setup adjustments aplenty, but despite the adverse track conditions the man at the head of the times was the same.

Points leader Jack Davidson took pole once again, while HW Racing’s James Hillery took a brilliant 2nd place on the front row as he showed his wet weather prowess. James Waite took to the second row alongside Josh Hislop, with Matthew Greenwood and Nicholas Reeve lining up on row 3. Scott Cansdale and Magnus Kriklywi were on the fourth row with the grid completed by Jamie-Lea Hawley and Olly Turner, who ran in a spare car provided by Jam-Sport after his Silverstone accident.

Just before the cars headed out to the grid, a heavy but brief rain shower saturated the track further, forcing a mad dash from all the crews to change from dry tyres to wets in order to cope with the now changing conditions.

From the off, it was clear that Hillery was determined to make the most of the conditions has he swept into the lead in the opening corners of the first lap. Hillery would extend his advantage up to almost a second over the opening two laps, but then his moment of glory sadly ran out as a mistake at Hawthorns saw him nose his car into the tyre wall and tumble down the order. Hillery rejoined with little to no damage (other than a loose number plate) and spent the rest of the race chasing and battling Jamie-Lea Hawley for position.

Out in front, Davidson was enjoying the clear track and extending his advantage by approximately a second a lap, leaving 2nd placed Josh Hislop to fend for himself ahead of Nicholas Reeve. The rest of the race proved to be something of a formality, as Davidson would indeed go on to take his 7th win of the season by just over 6.5 seconds at the flag, with Hislop driving superbly to pick up the second podium of his campaign with P2. Reeve, meanwhile, scored a crucial 3rd place which he desperately needed after a weekend to forget at the previous meeting at Silverstone where he scored no points.

Scott Cansdale worked his way into a quiet 4th place, while James Waite crossed the line 5th on the road, but was excluded for failing to adhere to the black and orange flag signals after contact in the race had knocked bodywork onto the right rear tyre, raising the eyre of the stewards and requesting him to come into have the damage attended to, but to no avail. Therefore, Hillery would take the final top 5 spot.

For the second race, Davidson and Hislop would share the front row from Reeve, Cansdale and Hillery. Once again, another rain shower before the race started meant the teams had to almost gamble on what compound of tyres to run with – dry, wet or even a combination of both. When the lights went out, Davidson hit the front from pole with Reeve and Hillery – however his good fortune wouldn’t last. A mechanical issue began to manifest itself at the start of lap 3, allowing both Reeve and Hillery to drive past and before long, the other drivers caught up as Davidson’s problem became worse. Eventually, lap 6 would be his last as Davidson stopped on the side of the track, losing vital points in his continued quest for the FJC title.

As a result, his main rivals benefitted enormously. Reeve, like Davidson earlier in Race 1, made the most of the clear track in front of him and maintained the gap to 2nd placed Hillery to take win #4 of 2017. Hillery’s P2, however, was just reward for a difficult run of recent results and firmly keeps him in the hunt heading to the final rounds. Josh Hislop rounded out a confident weekend with the Scottish youngster clinching another podium in 3rd. James Waite drove well to pick up P4 and Scott Cansdale rounded off the top 5.

Amazingly, Croft’s events now mean that as the Championship progresses to the final two races of the season on the Donington Park National circuit in Leicestershire, it’s left us with a 4-way battle for the 2017 crown. Davidson does still head the table, but now his lead has been slashed to just 20 points ahead of Hillery and Reeve who are tied for 2nd. James Waite is still in with a shout but is a further 19 points away in 4th, so he will need to drive well and hope for some good fortune to remain an outside bet for the title. Nonetheless, whatever happens next month it’s sure to be an amazing spectacle. Once again, the competition levels in the Fiesta Junior Championship have been incredibly high and Donington should see a fantastic showdown to see who leaves the season as #1! Who’s your money on?

Scott Woodwiss

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Current Standings

Driver Accrued Points Adjusted Total
1 James Waite 598 568
2 Magnus Kriklywi 567 567
3 Josh Steed 498 498