SuperCup heads to North West for Oulton triple header

Tom Roche hopes to extend his championship lead at Oulton Park. Pic: JON ELSEY

Next stop on the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup 2017 UK tour is the 2.692 mile international circuit of Oulton Park for rounds 10,11 and 12.

Come Saturday evening the 24-round championship will have reached the halfway point, and will have seen another impressive grid of 36 Mk3 MX-5s congregating at the Cheshire track. Just as the previous round at Silverstone proved, nothing can be guaranteed in this year’s title race.

Following the opening three meetings, dropped scores are now being taken into account and a pair of victories last time out have helped “Mr MX-5” Tom Roche fire himself to the top of the points table. Despite dominating proceedings in the MX-5 Mk1 championship for the best part of a decade, so far a SuperCup title has eluded him. So maybe 2017 could be the turning point where his chance finally comes around.

Tucked up some eight points behind him is Luke Herbert, who endured a scary moment in the first Silverstone race when an incident with Rob Boston left him facing backwards down the pit straight into oncoming traffic. Having recovered from this little incident, Herbert will take comfort in keeping Roche within touching distance this time round.

Rob Boston’s part in that incident saw him excluded from the race result, and with no way to drop that particular non-score round, it’s left him 100 points back from the lead in 10th on dropped scores. Sadly he’s concluded his championship aspirations are over this year, so we may see the admired winner of five 2017 races compete in far fewer rounds than previously planned.

Liam Murphy has had his best start yet to a SuperCup campaign with a strong and consistent run of results culminating in a 3rd place at Silverstone. Jonathan Greensmith has also seen the podium at Cadwell Park, while former Mk1 MX-5 champion Brian Chandler has been a constant top 10 presence, currently placing him 5th in the standings. Could any of them grab a victory at Oulton Park? You can bet Mike Comber, Silverstone podium scorer Ben Short and Carl Garnett will all be fired up to improve their points tallies.

Some drivers had less than ideal weekends at Silverstone; early championship frontrunner Jack Harding was another driver to suffer an exclusion off the back of a new zero tolerance approach to contact in the championship. Sam Tatler’s luck was sabotaged by getting caught up in other drivers’ incidents, while Steve Roberts was an innocent party in the Boston-Herbert clash. Oulton Park will be a key meeting for all three to bounce back if they can.

One man who’s certainly not intending to waste any time this weekend is reigning champion James Blake-Baldwin. After being unable to make the trip to Silverstone, he now has a mountain to climb as he languishes down in 29th place in the points. Having filled up his quota of non-scores to use as dropped rounds, he needs to make sure that every single result counts towards rebuilding his season. He’ll certainly be keen to get his elbows out this weekend.

Just like in the sister Mk1 championship, the SuperCup has an internal Masters Championship currently being contested too, for the more mature and experienced drivers in the field. Garry Townsend holds the lead ahead of Simon Fleet and Alec Livesley, while Jim Hart has brought in a steady stream of points to sit fourth. Duncan Harris, Geoff Gouriet, George Grant and Jeremy Crook will also be key names to watch.

Saturday will see the first season outings for Will Sharpe and Brett Jones. We wish both them and the rest of our competitors well for this weekend and the challenges it could bring.

Confirmed entry list

1                  James Blake-Baldwin                                                                       

2                  Jonathan Greensmith                                                                       

3                  Liam Murphy

7                  Alex Miller                                                                       

8                  Andy Coombs  (M)                                                                       

9                  Alec Livesley (M)                                                                       

10                William Sharpe  (M)                                                                       

11                 Nathan Bell                                                                       

14                 Jake Bailey                                                                       

17                 Nicholas Dunn                                                                       

19                 Carl Garnett                                                                       

21                 Simon Fleet (M)                                                                       

23                 Adam Bessell                                                                       

25                 Tom Roche                                                                       

26                 Duncan Harris (M)                                                                       

27                 Jim Hart  (M)                                                                       

35                 Alex King                                                                       

36                 David Henderson                                                                       

41                 David Willoughby (M)                                                                       

43                 Jack Harding

44                 Darren Stapleton                                                                       

50                 Luke Herbert  

55                 Brett Jones                                                                       

56                 Steve Roberts                                                                       

58                 Mike Comber                                                                       

66                 Sam Tatler 

67                 Simon Orange  (M)  

68                 Ben Short                                                                       

69                 George Grant  (M)                                                                       

71                 Geoff Gouriet (M)                                                                       

77                 Jeremy Crook  (M)                                                                       

80                 Aidan Hills

85                 Ian McDonald  (M)

100                Mark Holme  (M)                                                                       

176                Brian Chandler                                                                       

223                Garry Townsend  (M)                 

Meeting timetable available to download HERE


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