WHO WILL CLAIM THE CASTLE AT COMBE?

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Lochlan Bearman (#36) can smell a first win - will it come here? - Photo: Jeff Bloxham

After a break of just over a month, the BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship bursts back into life this weekend, as we begin the second half of the season and the march to crowning our champion for 2016. On this occasion, our field of young guns will tackle the deceptively daunting Castle Combe circuit in Wiltshire. While from above this circuit may not look challenging, do not underestimate it by any means.

Castle Combe is one of the fastest circuits in the country and, unfortunately for some, it’s also known as something of a car breaker. The high speed straights mixed with flowing chicanes and fast corners mean that all of our Juniors will need to keep their wits about them across their pair of races this weekend.

Harry Gooding heads into the weekend as the championship leader, holding an 11 point advantage over 2nd placed Elliot Wilson and a further 5 points ahead of Bradley Burns in 3rd. All 3 have won races this season, however it’s Jam-Sport’s Gooding that has racked up the most of anyone this season with 3. The successes at Silverstone, Rockingham and Snetterton last time out have helped him push his way to the top and there’s hope that he can make it at least 4 come the end of Sunday afternoon.

Wilson appears to have lost a small amount of pace and despite showing signs he’s regained it at Rockingham, misdemeanours meant he wasn’t able to capitalize. A pair of 5th places at Snetterton helped him maintain 2nd, however Burns’ win and two podiums from the last two meetings have seen him rocket up the standings after a shaky start. This circuit is new to both of them, as it will be for Gooding, so how they fare will be met with great intrigue.

Finally making good of his true pace, Ronan Quinn banished any bad luck he’d recently suffered by claiming a stellar win in the first race at Snetterton. His Finsport team now have him up and running at a competitive pace again, as Quinn returns to the place he scored two podiums last season. With the taste of his first victory still fresh, the hunger for more will be strong. Watch out for the yellow and blue #20 if fortunes go his way.

While we’ve had 5 different winners already this season, there are those who are on the cusp of securing their first. Callum Hawkins-Row has had a season of up and downs, with his second visit to Snetterton sadly marked up as a down. Unable to better 9th place all weekend, he’ll wish to return to the glory of podium finishes at Silverstone and Rockingham. Jack Davidson is another who scored a breakthrough podium last time, showing consistent improvement as the young Scot took advantage of the mixed conditions with a top drive. As for coming close to glory, Lochlan Bearman was desperately close to his first win at Snetterton, yet a collision on the final lap saw victory snatched away from him. No doubt he’ll be more determined than ever for redemption this weekend.

Cameron Pugh was another driver to impress here last season and has already claimed one pole this season, so perhaps this time out could be an opportunity to taste glory? Then there are others who are consistently making progress. Sikandar Hussain has never found himself outside of the top 10 very often so far and at times has shown real flashes of pace. The same can be said of James Hillery, although crippling bad luck and reliability issues have scuppered any real chance of turning in a potential podium-scoring performance. Danny Harrison, Ben Swift and Lewis Kent have also thrown themselves into the mix from time to time, the latter of the 3 also having snatched a podium at Combe in 2015.

As for the rest of the field, Angus Dudley will hope to try and emulate his Jam-Sport teammates, while Nicholas Reeve continues making big impressions on the paddock, no less thanks to his incredible debut race at Rockingham followed by a front row start at Snetterton. Christopher Mackenzie has had a tough opening season, yet he carries on striving to bag as many points as possible and capitalize on the misfortunes of those around him.

It’s another of those race weekends where trying to pick a definitive winner isn’t as easy as it may seem on paper. Yes, Gooding leads the standings but as we’ve seen already throughout this year, fortunes can change very quickly and those who stay close to the leaders can capitalize so easily. Nonetheless, the Fiesta Junior Championships remains incredibly competitive and Castle Combe will write another chapter into the already incredible story of 2016.

Your entry list for this weekend’s pair of races reads as follows:

#4 – James Hillery
#5 – Ben Swift
#7 – Cameron Pugh
#9 – Bradley Burns
#12 – Nicholas Reeve
#15 – Sikandar Hussain
#16 – Harry Gooding
#19 – Danny Harrison
#20 – Ronan Quinn
#21 – Jack Davidson
#22 – Elliot Wilson
#33 – Angus Dudley
#36 – Lochlan Bearman
#38 – Lewis Kent
#41 – Callum Hawkins-Row
#77 – Christopher Mackenzie

The weather that’s set to greet our young charges will be overcast but warm. A high of 20 degrees will make it feel that way, however with the cloud cover that could potentially have an effect on track temperatures and therefore car setup. There’s a full breakdown available via the Met Office here – CASTLE COMBE WEATHER.

Also, the final instructions, timetable, supplementary regulations and entry list for the weekend’s racing can be found here – CASTLE COMBE RACE WEEKEND.

Scott Woodwiss

Next Race

The race calendar will be announced shortly.

Last Race

Donington Park 14th - 15th Oct 2017

Current Standings

Driver Accrued Points Adjusted Total
1 Jack Davidson 392 391
2 Nicholas Reeve 378 378
3 James Hillery 364 364