Motor Sport News - - Racing Reports -

Mazda MX-5 Su­per­cup ti­tle leader James Blake-bald­win looked to have it all in his favour head­ing into race one third on the grid while main ti­tle ri­val Tom Roche lan­guished in ninth.

But the ti­tle pen­du­lum swung when Blake-bald­win was tapped by Brian Chan­dler on the open­ing lap, drop­ping him to 20th, while Roche was in the podium po­si­tions by the end of the sec­ond lap. Jack Hard­ing got a bet­ter start than pole­sit­ter Jamie God­dard to take the lead into Turn 1, go­ing on to claim his first win of the sea­son ahead of Roche. Blake-bald­win limited the dam­age with 10th.

Hard­ing fol­lowed that up with an­other win in race two, but all eyes were on the fi­nal podium spot. Hard­ing made con­tact with Roche at Deene while slid­ing through for the lead, and was fol­lowed by Jonathan Green­smith. It looked like Roche would hang on for third, but Blake-bald­win seared through at Tarzan with Roche drop­ping a fur­ther two places hav­ing lost mo­men­tum out of the cor­ner to fin­ish fifth.

Hard­ing was al­lowed to keep the race two win, but was in­stead given a seven-place grid penalty for race three for the con­tact. A spir­ited drive al­lowed him to fight back to fin­ish sec­ond, be­hind a re­lieved Blake-bald­win.

Roche starred in the Mazda MX-5 Cham­pi­onship Group A trio of bat­tles with a lights-to-flag vic­tory in race one to make it 13 wins from 14, be­fore earn­ing an­other win in race three from Si­mon Bald­win.

In be­tween, he had a solid lead in race two when a driv­ethrough penalty for cross­ing the white line on the in­side of Turn 1 left him back in fourth. Bald­win was pro­moted to the lead and a maiden win of the sea­son, while Roche gamely fought back for a photo-fin­ish on the line with Ben Short, just miss­ing out on sec­ond by 0.001s. The Group B hon­ours went to Joshua Brent, Wil­liam Stephen­son and Paul Bate­man.

In the Pickup Trucks the oval cham­pi­onship-lead­ing pair of Mark Wil­lis and Paul Tomp­kins broke from the pack early on, and held off a late charge from Scott Bourne. But it was Tomp­kins with his sec­ond win of the sea­son that stood atop the podium.

Wil­lis spent much of race two in the lead, but a late safety car for Paul Jones slam­ming into the wall on the pit straight al­lowed David O’re­gan, Scott Bourne and Tomp­kins to get past. Nev­er­the­less fourth was enough for Wil­lis to take the oval crown.

In the In­ter­mar­que Cham­pi­onship, Mal­colm Black­man fended off Daniel Smith, while Black­man’s main ti­tle ri­val, Lewis Smith, failed to fin­ish the first out­ing.

Es­sex driver Smith made amends in race two, earn­ing a win with a re­mark­able launch from 11th to first by the time the pack hit the Deene hair­pin on the first lap, but Black­man was still able to seal the crown.

With Tom Hill hav­ing wrapped up the Twin Spark and over­all Alfa Romeo Cham­pi­onships last time out at Don­ing­ton, it was just pride at stake for the fi­nal week­end of the sea­son. Barry Mcma­hon won a com­fort­able first en­counter by 18.729s from 2015 cham­pion Gra­ham Sea­ger, while third for Hill was enough to top his class once again.

Sea­ger and Mcma­hon traded the lead in race two, but Mcma­hon went wide at the Tarzan hair­pin in the clos­ing stages and ended his race in the gravel. David Mes­sen­ger was the class win­ner.

Mixed event for Blake-bald­win

Photo: Oliver Read

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