2016 MX5 Cup – Brands Hatch Race Report

Rogers and Blackwell-Chambers share Brands wins


A fantastic grid of 34 Mazda MX5’s arrived at Brands Hatch for rounds 3 and 4 of the 5 Club Racing MX5  Cup Championship.

James (the First) Rogers and Will Blackwell-Chambers took the victories in two closely fraught races.


Blackwell-Chambers set the quickest time in the fifteen minute qualifying session, which was very busy as 34 cars circulated the Indy Circuit. He set a lap time of 57.52 seconds, just 0.13 seconds faster than Stuart Symonds. Rogers also was within two tenths of the pole time.


Jack Sycamore and Adam Bessell likewise set a lap time under 58 seconds. Reigning champion Ben Short was next up with Roger Chesneau, Sam Smith, Scott Aprigliano and Sebastien Fisher completing the top ten.


The field was fantastically close with all 34 cars separated by 3.5 seconds and seventh to twenty-seventh were amazingly only separated by 0.7 seconds.

Race 1

The opening race saw a very busy entry into Paddock Hill Bend on the opening lap but the capacity-sized field squeezed their way through safely and strong-starting Rogers led but Blackwell-Chambers catapulted his way into the lead at Paddock on lap two. In WBC’s move to the front, Sycamore followed through, dropping Rogers to third.


Sycamore led on lap four but only to be edged wide at Druids on the following lap – allowing both Blackwell-Chambers and Rogers back ahead. Rogers wasted little time to hit the front once more as he passed WBC at Paddock on lap seven.


Sycamore also passed Blackwell-Chambers – but at Druids on lap eight to make it an AB Motorsport 1-2. Their fantastic scrap – which Symonds was closely observing in fourth – came to an end when red flags flew as Ian Tomlinson spun into the gravel.


That ended the race with Rogers winning – ahead of Sycamore, Blackwell-Chambers and Symonds.

It was close behind too. At times up to seven cars battled for fifth. Short held the position early on but dropped behind Bessell on lap five. Bessell would come home fifth with Short behind. Smith and Jason Greatrex were next up – Short, Smith and Greatrex finished with half a second. Greatrex moved up from 14th on the grid in a great drive.


Scott Leach and Chesneau completed the top ten. Stephen Craggs clung on to the two cars ahead but only could manage eleventh.


Sebastien Fisher was next up and finished with a gap to Harry Deane, Paul Monteith and Nigel Garrett who completed the top fifteen.

Race 2

Blackwell-Chambers managed to take the lead of race two at Surtees on the opening lap and never looked back in the 15 lapper. Rogers was unable to find a way back ahead despite only finishing 0.55 seconds back.


Bessell made a great start and was third but couldn’t hold on to that spot as Sycamore took the place on lap eight even though he was down in sixth earlier in the race. Bessell still came fourth and had Symonds and Short on his tail at the flag. Fisher beat Smith by three tenths to seventh.


In another tight finish – Leach beat Greatrex to ninth after Chesneau went off on the final lap. Craggs beat Scott Aprigliano to eleventh by just 0.06 seconds. Craggs moved into that position on lap eleven. Although, Aprigliano only started 21st so drove fantastically to grab twelfth.


Monteith, Deane and Jack Williams completed the top fifteen with Sam Tatler, Dan Stewart, Marco Aghem and Ben Hancy close behind – showing once more there are battles throughout the field in 5 Club MX5 racing wherever you are.

With the wins of James Rogers and Will Blackwell-Chambers at Brands, it has made four different winners so far in the 2016 5 Club Racing MX5 Championship in just four races.

They add their names to Adam Bessell and Ben Short – who won at Oulton Park.

The two races from Brands Hatch will be seen in the 750 Motor Club TV programme in the coming weeks.

Full Race Results

The next meeting is a triple header at Croft.

Words: Joshua Barrett

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