FIESTA JUNIORS BEGIN A NEW TERM AT BRANDS HATCH
If there was ever an exciting championship to watch develop over the course of 2016, it was the Fiesta Junior Championship. Catering for young racers aged 14-17, it’s an ideal place for those who want to take their first steps into circuit racing from an early age, be it out of karting or simply racing for the first time full stop. The 2016 affair was ultra-competitive with Harry Gooding coming out on top with Jam-Sport in his very first year, but as he moves on to pastures new it leaves a fresh crop of young chargers ready to do battle.
One of the early favourites for this season has to be Specialized Motorsport’s Nicholas Reeve. Making a spectacular debut with 6th in his first race at Rockingham, Reeve went on to clinch his first two podiums at Castle Combe before a phenomenal first win at Silverstone just weeks later. With approx. 2/3rds of a season’s experience and clear natural pace, he must surely start as a bet for the title given his evident natural pace.
Someone else determined to succeed also will be Lochlan Bearman. Making a move to Jam-Sport, he’s hoping to follow in the fortunes of both Harry Gooding and 2015 champ Aaron Thompson to make it a hat-trick of Junior titles for Jamie Going’s outfit. His best moment was undoubtedly his second visit to Snetterton, which netted a 2nd place followed by almost taking a win in the second race later that day. Another youngster with a point to prove, it’s worth keeping an eye on him.
There’s also two more returning faces from last season who could also cause one or two upsets and throw their hats into the ring. The first name is Jack Davidson, with the young Scot having already secured his first couple of podiums last year. It took the first few weekends to find his feet but once up to speed he was a name that was in the hunt for a top 5 at least. The second is James Hillery, a driver who was dogged with awful reliability woes for most of the year. Despite this, he did show real flashes of true pace and by season end was also fighting for top 5s, thanks to top drives at Silverstone and Brands Hatch. Now with new backing and a car that finally appears to be on song, there’s hope for him this season and early testing has already indicated that he just might be a real dark horse this time.
Of course with any new Fiesta Junior season we welcome a raft of new faces ready to tackle what the championship has to offer. Two strong additions to Jam-Sport’s camp are Olly Turner, a former short oval racing hotshot, and Matthew Greenwood who makes the switch to FJC after racing elsewhere in the junior ranks. The former makes his debut in circuit racing while the latter has at least a year’s experience under his belt, so we’ll be watching both with intrigue. Other new boys include Josh Hislop, Gustav Burton, Thomas Horton and even graduate Lewis Kent’s younger brother Bradley, while Warwick Daden, Josh Steed and Scott Cansdale all return from last year’s season finale to have a crack at a full campaign. As ever, we expect more young drivers to appear as the season goes on.
Plus, keep an eye out for Jamie-Lea Hawley, another new driver who also becomes only the 3rd female racer in Fiesta Junior history. Another karting graduate like many drivers in this year's entry, she's definitely one to keep a watching brief on as the season develops.
Since 2012, the Fiesta Junior Championship has continued to grow in stature with a list of incredible alumni already present throughout its history books. Let’s see who’s got what it takes this time to one day eventually end up on that list as well. Pay attention – class is back in session for FJC.
You can tell that Spring has arrived as the weather forecast for this weekend is absolutely glorious. It's set to be clear skies, bright sunshine and a high of 18 degress all the way, meaning it'll be perfect conditions to kick off another year of racing. You can find the full Met Office forecast here - BRANDS HATCH WEATHER.
Also, all of the key information ahead of this weekend at Brands Hatch can be found via the following post on the BRSCC's Facebook page - BRANDS HATCH KEY INFO.