ROCKINGHAM: BRSCC BY JASON NOBLE
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.