2016 MX5 Cup – Donington Race Report

Blackwell-Chambers secures championship

 

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Heading to the final two rounds of the 5 Club Racing MX5 Championship Ben Short, Sam Smith, Jack Sycamore and Will Blackwell-Chambers were all within a really realistic chance of taking the championship. Therefore making the two races on the Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit crucial. And with a capacity 42 car grid, action aplenty was guaranteed.

Qualifying

Qualifying was abandoned, alongside seven 750 Motor Club races, due to a waterlogged track. Therefore, a decision was taken to use the Free Practice times to set the grid for race one.

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That would mean that Short would start on pole with Blackwell-Chambers, Brian Chandler and Mike Comber all within a second of Short’s time of 1:55.86. Jason Greatrex would start next up ahead of Sycamore. However, championship contender Smith only starting 21st.

Race 1

Blackwell-Chambers snatched the lead on a crazy opening lap. He managed to pull out a gap to Short, Sycamore and Comber. Greatrex lost out in melee and spun at Goddards – and later retired to the pits. Samuel Smith ended up in the tyre wall on the exit of the corner. A great opening lap saw Sam Haggarty move from 14th to fifth.

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Blackwell-Chambers continued to pull out a lead from the battling trio behind. Comber got ahead of Sycamore on lap seven and a lap later Short was pushed out wide at Coppice and fell to tenth. Sycamore then retired with a broken front ball joint on the final lap.

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Therefore, Blackwell-Chambers won by eight seconds to Comber, in one WBC’s cars. A fantastic battle had occurred behind and a delighted Jake Bailey took third, although over twenty second behind the winner.

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He just held off Smith – who flew through the order to fourth from 21st on the grid. Short managed to recover to fifth with Sebastien Fisher, Roger Chesneau, Sam Tatler and Haggarty behind.

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Ian Tomlinson crossed the line next – in a lonely tenth. Matthew Short narrowly beat Courtney Miles to eleventh.
Ali Bray took 13th with a small gap over Ben Hancy. Hancy led home a train of cars – Christian Young, Marcus Bailey, Gary Townsend and Harry Deane.

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JJ Clements ran up in fifth but retired on lap six – as did Adam Bessell, a regular top ten runner.

Race 2

With the race one finishing order setting the grid for race two, Blackwell-Chambers led new team-mate Comber on the opening lap, with Smith and Ben Short behind after Bailey fell to fifth.

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Blackwell-Chambers managed again to make a break and went on to win by three seconds and a double victory was by far enough for him to claim the title. Short got the better of Comber on the fourth lap at Goddards but the positions switch around again at Melbourne on the following lap. Comber came home second ahead of Short.

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Smith, who was passed by Short on lap two at Redgate, also lost out to Bailey on the sixth tour and then to Tatler on the following lap at Melbourne.

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However, drama arose on the final lap at Melbourne as Smith outbreaked himself and tagged Bailey into a spin. As cars scattered, Sycamore came out on top. He finished fourth in a remarkable performance as he started in 36th.

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Behind Sycamore, Fisher, Smith, Tatler and Chesneau came passed the chequered flag separated by less than one second. Clements took ninth after starting 40th, in a great performance. Bailey recovered to tenth and finished ahead of Bray, Miles, Matthew Short and Samuel Smith.

Seven victories were taken by Will Blackwell-Chambers on his way to becoming the 2016 champion – four of which came in the last four races. Outgoing champion Ben Short finished second in the standings after just one win in the opener at Oulton Park.

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The strong final race for Jack Sycamore allowed him to beat Sam Smith to third. Sam Tatler, Scott Leach, Jason Greatrex, Ian Tomlinson, Ben Hancy and Adam Bessell completed the top ten in the standings after an almighty competitive season in the 5 Club championship.

Full Race Results

Words: Joshua Barrett

Pictures: Jonathan Elsey (www.jonelseyphotography.photoshelter.com)

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