News THE ROCKINGHAM REPORTRichard Mitcham scored a brace of Formula Jedi wins at Rockingham. Photo: www.johncooperphotographic.co.uk
Scorching hot weather greeted the one hundred and fifty competitors last weekend for the BRSCC Midlands Centre Rockingham Race Weekend. A great two days of racing saw six BRSCC championships battling it out around the ‘International Super-Sports Car Long Circuit’, plus two guest races from the Pickup Trucks, bump-drafting their way around the exciting Rockingham Oval track.
In the BRSCC Formula Jedi Championship, Richard Mitcham once again asserted his dominance with two poles and two wins. However, it was not quite as easy as it sounds, with Matthew Bett chasing him across the line in Saturday’s race, and then Lee Morgan giving him a run for his money in Sunday’s encounter. Mitcham kept his cool under pressure and took the chequered flag by two seconds in both events to make two visits to the top step of the podium.
Michael Saunders is becoming very used to crossing the finishing line well before the chasing pack of Dunlop TVR Challenge competitors, however at Rockingham mechanical issues meant Dean Cook and Mark Hales were left to battle for supremacy. Cook led the duo across the line in race one by the comfortable margin of just over five seconds. Hales turned up the heat on Sunday, grabbed the lead on the first lap and disappeared off into the sunshine. However, once Cook was able to make up for a difficult first lap he set about chasing down the first placed man. With five laps to go Cook had managed to reel in Hales and was looking for a way through, but Hales held his lines and made sure that he came home in first place, with a winning margin of just 0.503 seconds.
In the Logson Group Porsche Championship, the same three drivers locked out the podium on both days. However, no driver stood on the same step twice, as the wins were shared by Richard Styrin and Gerry Taylor, with David Bearman giving both a reason to get nervous as he followed them home to a second and a third place finish. Styrin took the overall honours with a first and a second, missing out on the Saturday win by just over three seconds after losing the lead to Taylor with just five laps to go.
The Pickup Truck Championship produced the closest racing of the weekend, where the eighteen competitors flew around the oval circuit bumper to bumper in a pair of thirty-five lap races at average speeds of over 130mph. In race one, Phil White led into the last lap, but in oval racing strategy very often counts for more than on-track position, as he was swamped by eventual winner Nic Grindrod, Steve Dance and Paul Poulter. Less than one second covered the top five cars, with the lead group of the first eleven cars crossing the line within three seconds of the leader. In the second race, Paul Poulter was able to hold the lead for the last three laps ahead of Grindrod, and took the chequered flag with a winning margin of just 0.033s! White was once again at the sharp end of the field taking a podium in race two, and Dave Longhurst made up for a retirement in race one with a fourth place finish in race two, only 0.270s behind the leader.
Chrissy Palmer looked sure to take a clean-sweep in the Ma5da MX5 Cup Championship after Pole and wins in the first two races. However, Luke Herbert kept him close enough to challenge in the third race after the grid shuffle left Palmer down in seventh. After initially falling behind Jordan Stilp on the second lap, Herbert stuck to his rear bumper and finally made a move stick on the straight as they started lap eight. Stilp had no reply, leaving Herbert able to take the chequered flag just ahead of him, with Palmer slicing his way back through the field to the bottom step of the podium.
In the Mx5 Championship for Mk1s, it was a particularly successful day for Alan Henderson, who won both of his races, just pipping Alexander Preston to the line in the Group C vs D race by around half a second. Adam Gore won the group A vs B race with a comfortable margin back to Tom Roche, who then went on to take a win in his second race against the group F drivers, whereas Gore could only manage third against the group C drivers. Rhys Jenkins also came home with double-silverware, as he beat Gore and Brian Chandler to the B vs C race win, and then took third in his second race just behind Alexander Preston and our double-winner Henderson.
Jamie Ingram was the victor in both Ma5da MX150-R Championship races. Stewart Mutch also had a positive weekend finishing second and third. Kevin Dengate was third in the first outing but had problems in the second, finishing right at the back of the field behind all the MX5 Mk1s. Jonathan Blake thus closed the gap on Dengate in the MX150-R points table with a fourth and a second. Adam Gore was the first MX5 Mk1 to cross the line in each encounter.
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