2016 MX5 Cup – Rockingham Race Report

Wet Wet Wet

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Rounds 17 and 18 of the 5 Club Racing MX5 Cup took place on the Rockingham Motor Speedway in wet and slippery conditions. With an extremely close championship situation, the races were crucial and some mastered the conditions better than others.

Qualifying

Blackwell-Chambers and Ben Short were well clear of the chasers in Qualifying. WBC set a time of 2:08.23, four tenths faster than Short. Sam Smith was the next best but two seconds further back. Mike Comber was fourth with another big gap back to Adam Bessell, who was fifth and over four seconds off the pole man – showing how difficult conditions were to master.

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Race 1

Short made the best start and led early on but lost out of Blackwell-Chambers on lap two at Gracelands. Smith then passed Short as the cars rejoined the Oval at Turn 4. However, Short got the better of Smith again at Yentwood on lap four.

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Blackwell-Chambers run out wide at Deene on the final lap and Short slid into him and spun as the pair made contact. Blackwell-Chambers went on to win by three seconds to Smith and Short recovered to third.

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Bessell took fourth ahead of Jack Sycamore – who got the better of Ian Tomlinson on lap five. Tomlinson made a great start from tenth to run up there and finished an excellent sixth. He held off Samuel Smith.

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Sam Tatler narrowly beat the recovering Mike Comber, who had a couple of identical offs at Tarzan through the gravel, nudging the tyre wall and continuing. He was outside the top 20 at one point.

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Stuart Symonds won the battle to complete the top ten. He beat Jason Greatrex, Sebastien Fisher and Harry Deane. Comber had passed the battle on the final lap.

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Scott Aprigliano crossed the line in a lonely fourteenth but Marcus Bailey led home a three-way battle behind. He beat Thomas Pughe and Mark Willetts. Ben Hancy was next up.

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Christian Young led home a four-way battle in twentieth. He beat Nick Le Doyen, Matthew Short and Bobby Andrews.

Race 2

A red flag immediately halted race two as Le Doyen spun at turn 1 and was collected by the blinded Stuart Brittle in the spray.

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A shortened restart followed with Blackwell-Chambers and Short taking up the battle at the front. Short got the better of his competitor on lap two at Deene but was repassed on lap four at Pif Paf.

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Blackwell-Chambers held on for a double victory, beating Short by a couple of seconds. Sam Smith ran a lonely third.

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The trio were well clear of the rest, Comber finished fourth nearly 20 seconds behind the winner. He passed Sycamore on lap three. Tomlinson took another sixth.

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He held off the attentions of Bessell and Tatler. Symonds came ninth with Bailey, Deane and Fisher behind as Greatrex retired on the final lap.

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Leach beat Willetts in the battle for thirteenth. Aprigliano, Samuel Smith and Pughe behind. Young, Short and Hancy concluded the top twenty.

A double victory promotes Will Blackwell-Chambers to the championship lead to heading to the final event at Donington Park. He leads Jack Sycamore, who didn’t enjoy the wet conditions so much, by nine points. A further five points back is Ben Short. Sam Smith is still very much in the chance of the championship as he’s only 22 points behind the leader. The Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit will host a pair of very important races at the end of October.

Full Race Results

Words: Joshua Barrett

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

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