Gooding takes the flag as his Jam-Sport team celebrates - Photo: James Roberts

With the spectacle of Snetterton still fresh in their minds, the contenders in the Fiesta Junior Championship made their way to Silverstone in Northamptonshire for Rounds 3 & 4 on the International circuit for the next two chapters of the season, taking place at the Home of British Motorsport.

Qualifying produced pole position for Bookham’s Carlito Miracco as he only just edged out Jam-Sport’s Callum Hawkins-Row by 0.007s to take the top spot. James Waite and Harry Gooding continued their strong starts to make up the second row of the grid, with Ronan Quinn 5th and points leader Elliot Wilson only able to reach 6th in the wake of his double win in the opening rounds. Lochlan Bearman and Sikandar Hussain took the 4th row with Bradley Burns and Danny Harrison rounding out the top 10. One driver who could have been up towards the front was James Hillery, who showed strong pace in practice and reach as high as 2nd quickest before engine problems forced him to miss qualifying and start from the back of the grid.

Off the start, Jam-Sport’s Angus Dudley made a cracking start from 12th on the grid, while at the front Miracco swept through Abbey ahead of the chasing pack. It didn’t take long for shenanigans to take place as contact between Hillery and Quinn forced the latter into Christopher McKenzie, damaging his front left suspension in the process. This forced the safety car to make an appearance to recover McKenzie’s stricken car, leaving Miracco leading from Gooding, Wilson, Hawkins-Row and Waite in the top 5.

Once the safety car eventually peeled off, Miracco quickly tried to make a gap on the restart, however the trio immediately behind him seemed to have other ideas. Into Vale at racing speeds again, Wilson misjudged his brakes and nudged the rear of Gooding’s car, forcing the Jam-Sport driver wide and down to 3rd. Gooding gave Wilson a friendly nudge in return exiting Chapel on the following lap before repassing into Stowe, before Hawkins-Row followed his teammate through soon after.

Miracco was eventually caught by Gooding in the final third of the race, however he proved his overall pace was greater and eventually re-opened the gap, running to the flag to take his 4th career FJC win from Gooding and Hawkins-Row. Wilson lost out on 4th place thanks to the charging Sikandar Hussain while Ronan Quinn managed 6th from Lochlan Bearman and Bradley Burns. Ben Swift and Lewis Kent completed the top 10.

With the grid for Race 2 made up by the previous race’s finishing order, Miracco and Gooding made the front row ahead of Hawkins-Row, Hussain, Wilson and Quinn. Miracco once again took the hole shot into turn 1, however this time it was the fast starting Hussain who would grab 2nd from Gooding with a brilliant getaway from Row 2. Hawkins-Row’s start was less than brilliant and sadly, he would only have until the approach to Stowe to make up for it. Down the Hangar Straight he was under pressure from James Hillery, however as the latter moved to his outside, Bradley Burns drifted towards the pair. With Hawkins-Row also trying to defend, three into one just wouldn’t go and the resulting incident saw Hawkins-Row and Hillery in the gravel, while a spinning Burns also tagged Ben Swift in the process.

Despite the dramas, Miracco once again quickly pulled away leaving a titanic 3 way battle for 2nd between Hussain, Gooding and Quinn. Gooding’s initial attempt to pass was neutered thanks to the yellow flags at Stowe, but his second saw a major reshuffle in the order. Locked in a braking duel with Hussain into Vale, Gooding tapped the Specialized driver out of shape and unable to slow down quick enough, knocked himself into Miracco pushing him wide. Hussain now had the lead from Gooding and with Quinn passing around the outside of the final corner, Carlito found himself losing 3 places in as many corners.

Hussain then lost out at Stowe next time around dropping to 3rd and almost to 4th thanks to Miracco but to no avail. The following sequence saw a reshuffle in the order once more as James Waite managed to claw his way to 2nd place, leaving Quinn and Miracco to duke it out for the final podium place. Despite several attacks in the remaining laps, there just wasn’t an avenue for Carlito to pass as Quinn remained steadfast in 3rd, putting up a brilliant defensive effort. Eventually both Wilson and Lochlan Bearman joined in the fight and the quartet stayed together until the flag.

However at the front, there was cause for celebration as Harry Gooding swept through the final corner to claim his first win in Fiesta Juniors from Waite in 2nd. Quinn was the man on the last step of the podium with Miracco, Wilson and Bearman following them home to complete the top 6. Lewis Kent managed 7th ahead of a recovering Sikandar Hussain, with Cameron Pugh and Angus Dudley rounding out the top 10 places.

So, as a result of Silverstone’s incredible pair of races, it leaves the championship with just a 4 point spread across the top 3 of Miracco, Wilson and Gooding, all of which having now won at least one race so far. Lochlan Bearman’s solid and consistent results leave him 4th in the points from James Waite, while Ronan Quinn will feel he’s set to crack the top 5 next time as he lies in 6th. Lewis Kent, Angus Dudley, Sikandar Hussain and Bradley Burns have all so far had encouraging points finishes as they populate the remained of the top 10. Other drivers such as James Hillery, Callum Hawkins-Row and Danny Harrison will surely feel their results don’t reflect their true pace and will want more at the next meeting.

Speaking of which, the Juniors now progress just a short way down the road to the combined road course of the Rockingham Motor Speedway for Rounds 5 & 6. Miracco and Quinn look as though they could be the strongest based on last year’s results, but as we’ve seen so far in 2016 anything could happen. One question will certainly have everyone pondering – who’s going to be winner number 4 of the season and will they emerge at The Rock?

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