TIME TO CROWN A JUNIOR KING OF CASTLE COMBE

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The Juniors will need to be careful of Combe's high speed nature - Photo: Jon Elsey

The 2018 edition of the BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship racing with MRF Tyres has been seen this year’s crop of young guns tackle a variety of different circuits throughout the first half of the season already. Starting back on the short Brands Hatch Indy circuit, there then followed the twists and turns of Cadwell Park, the contrasting layout of the Rockingham Motor Speedway and the long straights of Snetterton’s 300 circuit. Kicking off the second half of the season, the Juniors get ready to tackle Castle Combe in Wiltshire, a course that isn’t one that any of them should expect to take liberties with.

Points leader James Waite was once again in fine form last time out at Snetterton, as he raced away to a pair of relatively unchallenged victories. Having done the same at Brands Hatch and taking one of the two wins on offer at Rockingham, this leaves him on dropped scores in the lead but surprisingly only by 14 points. This may be because his low point in the season came at Cadwell Park, where a rollover in Race 1 followed by subsequent mechanical issues in the second race left him losing a ton of points, but could at least count both as his dropped scores. Waite will be expecting to continue his form from Snetterton, and nothing less than a win will satisfy him or the team.

Currently, his chief rival is Race Car Consultants’ young Danish hotshot Magnus Kriklywi. A trip into the Brands Hatch gravel trap in the first race wasn’t exactly the way he’d intended on beginning his campaign, but he bounced back at Cadwell Park and made the most of Waite’s troubles to secure his first two FJC victories. Another came a few weeks’ later at Rockingham before a mixture of fortunes at Snetterton; he barely made it through the first few corners of Race 1 before a mechanical issue put him out on the spot, but he charged through the pack superbly to pick up a 2nd place for his troubles in Race 2. Castle Combe will be something of an unknown for Magnus, but he seems to adapt to new circuits well so don’t expect him to hang around too long before he’s on the leading pace.

Next up in the standings come JamSport’s two other junior racers, Isaac Smith and Olly Turner. Isaac’s FJC career began superbly with two stable 2nd places at Brands Hatch, with a 4th and 3rd place coming up next at Cadwell Park. Amongst other results, Smith has had two DNFs, the second of which came at Snetterton in Race 1, when his car refused to fire up and left him stranded on the sidelines. He rewarded his team’s hard repair work with a demon start and a well deserved 3rd place, and his consistency when things have gone right has helped him remain in the top 3.

Olly Turner has also been making the most of his sophomore year in FJC after he debuted last season. With the car working as he’d like it to, podium finishes have been more and more frequent compared to 2017. So far, he’s graced the rostrum at every single race weekend so far, with a best finish of 2nd place at Snetterton. Olly is a real fighter and knows when to get his elbows out when he has to. The second half of the year will only hold optimism for him and if fortunes go his way, then maybe that first win might not be as far out of reach as he thinks it is.

Another fighter is undoubtedly Josh Steed, who has had to overcome mechanical problems or poor pace in qualifying to charge through and reach the podium on more than one occasion this season. Having secured three podiums of his own including two hard-fought 2nd places, Steed is another driver who can see his first win on the horizon. Maybe just a little bit more luck is what’s needed to get the monkey off his back finally.

The rest of the field are all out in force once again. Nathanael Hodgkiss will be hoping to build on his first podium from Snetterton, while Todd Garner and Alfie Glenie continue to go in search of better results. Also keep a watchful eye on Abby Lock, who is getting closer and closer to the ultimate pace with every lap she drives.

Scott Woodwiss

Next Race

Brands Hatch - 27th - 28th Jul 2019

Last Race

Cadwell Park 11th - 12th May 2019

Current Standings

Driver Accrued Points Adjusted Total
1 Olly Turner 296 204
2 Joel Wren 178 175
3 Alfie Glenie 240 168