Hills, Herbert and Harding once again all took a win each - Photo: Jon Elsey

The second weekend of the season for the 2019 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup took place a firm favourite venue for all Mazda drivers, as Oulton Park in Cheshire would see the first race day that the SuperCup would join the timetable for the TCR UK Touring Car Championship and Dunlop Touring Car Trophy this season. Heading into the day’s events, three drivers all had a win each to their names from the opening rounds at Snetterton and all were keen to break the deadlock.

Initially, it looked as though that honour would go to Aidan Hills, as he powered his way to the two fastest lap times in qualifying that would give him pole position for Races 1 and 2, with Race 3’s line up set by a reverse grid draw. His main rivals Jack Harding and defending double champion Luke Herbert were forced to reside on the second row for the start of Race 1, as former BMW Compact Cup champion Steve Roberts would line up on the front row alongside Hills while Will Stacey and Will Stephenson took up Row 3.

Hills was able to take the lead from the start of Race 1, remaining in front for the entire first half of the race with Herbert and Harding chasing him down. However, Herbert is known for enjoying Oulton Park’s fast, sweeping nature and was able to close down Hills once he’d built up momentum, and on Lap 6 he was able to make his move and snatch the lead away. Harding was also able to catch Hills shortly afterwards, before mishaps from Aidan saw him slip all the way down to 5th by the chequered flag. Up ahead at the front, Herbert was able to begin the day with a comfortable race win by more than 4 seconds, while the battle for 2nd place really heated up towards the end. By the last lap of the race Harding’s advantage over Roberts and Stacey had evaporated, as the three cars crossed the line respectively covered by just 0.4 seconds, while Hills came home a distant 5th. The rest of the top 10 was completed by Patrick Fletcher, who was ever improving in a rear wheel drive car in 6th, Will Stephenson, Garry Townsend, Bradley Kent and Jack Sycamore.

Race 2 saw Hills on pole once again with a chance to try and redeem himself after losing the lead in the first encounter, and this time he did just that. Again leading away from pole, Hills knew he had to get his elbows out and defend from the charging pack behind him and so he set about making his MX-5 the widest in the venue for the entire 20 minutes. Despite the best efforts of first Steve Roberts, then Jack Harding and finally Luke Herbert, none of them could usurp Hills’ position at the front and even though Aidan was able to pull out a 1.8 second gap at one stage, Herbert was able to close it back down by the flag. Hills took victory at the same place he’d claimed his first ever SuperCup win last year, but only by 0.274 seconds from Herbert who had to settle for 2nd place. Harding clinched 3rd place some two seconds ahead from Will Stacey in 4th place with Will Stephenson completing the top 5 and the rest of the top 10 filled out by Bradley Kent, Patrick Fletcher, Nick Rutter in an impressive 8th, Garry Townsend who ended up 9th after a time penalty for a jump start and David Henderson in 10th place.

With the reverse grid draw complete, it put rookie Patrick Fletcher on pole position for the very first time in his fledgling SuperCup career with Bradley Kent alongside followed by Stephenson and Stacey behind on Row 2. Incredibly, none of those four drivers would end up leading the opeing lap as Jack Harding stormed his way to the front from the third row to lead the way from Herbert and Harding, while an awful start for Fletcher left him last but one at the end of Lap 1. Just as Hills had done in Race 2, Harding made sure that no-one was able to pass him this time and fended off attacks from both Herbert and Hills throughout the entire race once again. Herbert was able to reveal a small weakness in Harding’s defence and lead for a lap at one stage during the second half of the race, but Jack wasted no time in repassing his rival before the end of the next lap. Harding therefore once again made it three different winners from three races as it had been at Snetterton a few weeks earlier, with Hills snatching 2nd place from Herbert on the last lap forcing the defending champion to settle for 3rd. Roberts and Stephenson completed the top 5 finishers, whilst the rest of the top 10 was completed by Townsend, pole sitter Fletcher, Sycamore, Stacey and Henderson.

After two events, 14 points separate the top three with Herbert leading the way from Harding in 2nd place and Hills in 3rd, but there’s still a long way to go with six more meetings still to play out. The next rounds take place at Anglesey in North Wales on June 8/9, where they will link up once again with the MX-5 Championship and MX-5 Super Series for a superb weekend full of Mazda racing action!

Scott Woodwiss

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