BUMPER MX-5 SUPERCUP ENTRY GETS SET FOR SILVERSTONE HIGH-SPEED SHOOTOUT

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Can Samuel Smith preserve his championship lead from the chasing pack this weekend? - Photo: Jon Elsey

Incredibly, we’re halfway through the 2020 season now for the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup, but it’s been an absolute cracker so far. The two meetings at Cadwell Park and Donington Park produced three different race winners from five races and some thrilling on track action, including three belting races at Donington that entertained the spectators. Now they move on to the “Home of British Motorsport”, as Silverstone’s National circuit calls for two more rounds as the quest to find the 2020 champion continues.

The Pro Class points leader heading into part two of the season is former Mk1 MX-5 vice-champion Samuel Smith, who may have only won one race but has managed to place high in every one of the five races as well as take advantage of some drivers suffering mishaps. Consistency is particularly key this year with such a shortened calendar, meaning every single point scored is vital in order to ensure you stay in the championship hunt. Samuel’s car is the ex-Joshua Jackson Mk3 which won so many races in the MX-5 Super Series in 2018 and being prepared by BC Cars Motorsport, it’s a solid runner that’s helping Smith bring the best out of both it and himself.

His main rival is three times defending champion Luke Herbert, who has won the most races so far this season with three to his name in 2020, but sits in 2nd place due to a spin at the beginning of Cadwell Park’s second race which forced him to climb his way back up the field and settle for a lowly 14th place. However, given that drivers are allowed to drop their single worst score this year (amended from the regular three due to the shortened season), this could be a saving grace for Luke as he attempts to claim a fourth consecutive SuperCup crown. Despite a lack of testing at race meetings, Herbert has lost none of his pace and is still the formidable adversary he has always been. One has to wonder if Silverstone will again be another meeting that swings in his favour.

Patrick Fletcher is having an enjoyable and competitive second season the MX-5 SuperCup and now he’s receiving driver coaching from Luke Herbert, his pace is only getting better and better as the season progresses. He’s finally been able to reach the podium for the first time in 2020 and has led races on more than one occasion, so the potential to score his first victory is definitely there. Others chasing him down in the points include Jack Sycamore, Adam Bessell and last year’s Mk1 MX-5 champion John Langridge. Jack has a 3rd place from Cadwell Park to his name, while Adam is adapting back to his first season in the SuperCup since 2017 quite well, and as for John his promotion to the Mk3 MX-5 has been something of a baptism of fire with his best result so far being a 5th place at Donington Park. He hasn’t finished outside the top 10 so far this year, which can only indicate that his confidence in the car can only continue to grow.

The shortened season is certainly producing a rather mixed up and interesting top 10 in the points, with the rest of the current positions filled out by Masters points leader Martin Tolley, followed by the Hills Motorsport pair of Declan Lee and James Cossins with Christopher Richardson’s consistent results helping to currently reach 10th. Drivers outside it which should be higher include Simon Baldwin, whose mixture of bad fortune and mechanical issues have cost him strong results and leave him in 12th heading to Silverstone. Michael Knibbs completes the Hills Motorsport trifecta and has adapted to the Mk3 MX-5 brilliantly in the few races he’s contested so far, while Colin Bysouth returns to the grid this weekend after missing Donington Park and if the opening two races from Cadwell are anything to go by, he will be very fired up to make up for lost ground. Brayden Fletcher will be another intriguing contender as he lines up again with the Paddock Promotions Motorsport team conceived by his older brother Kelvin Fletcher and his racing partner Martin Plowman, whom both of which have also had a taste of the SuperCup action and thoroughly enjoyed it thus far.

Plus, there’s another interesting name deciding that a one-off appearance wasn’t enough this season - after her cameo at Donington Park in place of George Grant of championship sponsors Clapham North MOT, 2014 MX-5 SuperCup champion turned racing star Abbie Eaton has decided that one bite of the cherry wasn’t enough to satisfy her appetite and has elected to race once again this coming weekend, which is superb news! On this occasion, Abbie will hand back George’s car as he returns to the grid this weekend and will instead race another MX-5 alongside him. Her pace at Donington Park proved that she’s lost none of her touch behind the wheel of one of these cars and had she not become caught up in an incident early in Race 3, she could have even taken a win. For the record, as Abbie is a guest driver, she scores no championship points in any races she completes, so while her race results will always stand, she will not be awarded anything for them and therefore will not affect anyone else around her that may be fighting for the title, hence effectively making her invisible in the championship standings.

The Club Class, part of the new two-class structure for 2020, appears to be brewing into a nice little battle between Xavier Brooke and Liz Walton. So far, they are the only two drivers in the class to finish every race, hence why they have a sizable gap to the likes of Clive Powles, Seamus Heaney and Duncan Harris behind them. Chris Lindley will make his first appearance this weekend while former short oval, Pickup Truck Racing and OSS star Martin Heath becomes the first driver to elect to make a switch from Pro to Club after he debuted at Donington in the former. Any points scored from Donington will remain in the Pro Class standings, meaning he begins his first Club Class weekend from zero.

The short and fast nature of the National circuit always means that Silverstone produces exceptional racing, particularly on the long straights which promote plenty of slipstreaming and with the wide nature of the circuit, side by side braking duels are sure to be a regular occurrence. Samuel Smith’s lead is 15 points heading into this weekend from Luke Herbert, and with five races left to go, he needs every single point he can manage to try and negate the dropped score rule as much as possible when it comes into effect. Smith, therefore, needs to ensure his pace is good enough to resist Herbert every step of the way starting this weekend, but with the likes of Patrick Fletcher, Simon Baldwin, John Langridge, Jack Sycamore, Adam Bessell, James Cossins and Colin Bysouth all sure to be snapping at both of their heels, plus of course the added element of Abbie Eaton’s presence, they could all yet cause an upset. This should all produce incredible excitement, something the MX-5 SuperCup always delivers in spades!

Scott Woodwiss

Next Race

Brands Hatch (Indy) - 24th - 25th Oct 2020

Last Race

Silverstone (National) 13th Sep 2020

Pro Class

Club Class

Masters

Current Standings

Pro Class

Driver Accrued Points Adjusted Total
1 Luke Herbert 675 402
2 Samuel Smith 685 397
3 Patrick Fletcher 561 382

Club Class

Driver Accrued Points Adjusted Total
1 Xavier Brooke 681 401
2 Clive Powles 400 400
3 Liz Walton 668 388

Masters Championship

Driver Accrued Points Adjusted Total
1 Simon Baldwin 571 401
2 Martin Tolley 486 394
3 Sam Bailey 481 391