JUNIORS FACE FINAL CHALLENGE AT BRANDS

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The curtain comes down on the best Fiesta Junior season to date - Photo: James Roberts

If anyone thought that last year’s BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship was sensational, they probably didn’t anticipate just how much that 2016 would see a season that beat it in every single way. Larger grids, close racing and the most competitive field of drivers we’ve ever had. How competitive? 7 different winners across 14 races – that’s how competitive!

The final two rounds take place here at Brands Hatch amidst the grandeur of the Formula Ford Festival, giving our Juniors the best possible platform to complete their racing year. This championship caters to young racers aged 14-17, most of which will be fresh out of karting and looking to take their first steps into circuit racing and potentially start to build the foundations of a professional racing career. Given that a great number of drivers that competed in Fiesta Juniors have since gone on to race in Clio Cup, VW Cup, Pickup Truck Racing and even the BTCC, courtesy of Aiden Moffat, this cements the fact that this is a proving ground for junior drivers that works and works well.

The strength of this year’s field is further testament to that. As mentioned, 7 drivers have won at least one race this year and the competition levels will be higher than ever heading into this weekend. The championship hasn’t quite been decided, but a glimpse at the points table will show that Harry Gooding holds a 52 point advantage heading into the final rounds. His form this year has been superb, racking up 6 wins and a consistent string of podiums. This certainly puts him as the favourite to wrap up the title, however we all know that nothing’s ever certain until the chequered flag flies. You can certainly draw comparisons to fellow Jam-Sport man Aaron Thompson’s 2015 success with the season he’s had.

As for those trying to chase him down, Bradley Burns sits in 2nd having taken wins at Rockingham and Silverstone and has most definitely shown rapid improvement since the start of the year. Despite not reaching the podium since way back at Snetterton in April, Elliot Wilson’s early brace of wins incredibly still puts him 3rd in points, although at times the luck hasn’t appeared to be with him. Lochlan Bearman’s been another real beacon of consistency after managed to clinch a string of top 5s and even a podium at the second Snetterton visit. Perhaps with some good fortune, Brands Hatch could see him end the year with his first win?

Two more young who have also taken the top step and have the taste for more are Callum Hawkins-Row and Nicholas Reeve. The former waited for a long time through several 2nds and 3rds before finally clinching a victory last time at Anglesey, while the latter stormed to his first at Silverstone National from a front row start. Reeve has made incredible progress since debuting at Rockingham and has mostly been in and around the frontrunners at every meeting.

What of the other drivers in the field this weekend who have shown flashes of pace throughout the year? Guys like Lewis Kent, Jack Davidson, Danny Harrison, James Hillery and Cameron Pugh have all pushed themselves towards the front at various stages and will hope that this will propel them into 2017 with some real momentum. As for the rest, Ben Swift and Angus Dudley have both had their moments and will hope to end the year on a high.

We should also give some mention to a few new and returning faces to the grid here at Brands Hatch. Warwick Daden debuted here last year and was set for a full campaign this season before health issues forced him to miss most of the season. Mark Hannigan also makes his first appearance of the year, while two new drivers are also set to join for the first time. Josh Steed and Scott Cansdale are debutants to FJC with a view to going full time in 2017. Welcome one and all to the grid!

It’s sad that this season has to end after what will go down as the best season in the Fiesta Junior Championship’s history to date. Savour the sight of these talented youngsters on track now, as you may find them higher up the motorsport ladder in seasons to come!

Scott Woodwiss

Next Race

Donington Park - 14th - 15th Oct 2017

Last Race

Croft 16th - 17th Sep 2017

Current Standings

Driver Accrued Points Adjusted Total
1 Jack Davidson 336 335
2 James Hillery 337 315
3 Nicholas Reeve 315 315