Rockingham serves up BARC weekend to remember

It was all-out action at Rockingham this past weekend (April 14/15) as the British Automobile Racing Club produced a blockbuster two days of racing, with a host of championships coming to the fore.

On what was the first of what are set to be many visits that the Club will make to the Corby circuit over the course of the 2018 campaign, wheel-to-wheel edge-of-the-seat thrills were on order from the get-go.

The Dunlop Endurance Championship roared into life for a new season with another jaw-dropping array of cars and drivers making up the entry list. In the shorter 50-minute sprint race, Richard Neary powered his Mercedes AMG GT GT3 to victory ahead of the Ferrari 458 GT3 pairing of David Mason and Ross Wylie.

Neary notched a second sprint race win later in the day as the longer two-hour endurance race began to unfold. Following a total of 79 laps being completed, Andreas Demetriou and Luke Williams of Black Mamba Racing stormed to take the chequered flag, a mere three seconds ahead of the KTM X-Bow duo of Mike McCollum and Sean Cooper.

Ben Palmer continued his dominance of the Michelin Clio Cup Series, making it four wins from four races with another double at Rockingham. Living up the mantel of defending champion, Palmer once again swept his way to the top step of the podium in both races, further strengthening his position at the top of the points. The road class saw Nic Harrison win twice too.

The Renault UK Clio Cup Junior Championship saw similar levels of dominance with Gus Burton propelling himself to the top of the point’s standings after notching two wins.

In the Junior Saloon Car Championship, Joel Wren staked his claim as a credible title contender with a double of his own. In what turned out to be another frenetic weekend for the Citroen Saxo category, Wren made a lightening start in race one to take a commanding lights-to-flag victory.

Despite finishing second on the road in race two, Wren was declared the winner following a post-race exclusion for Ben Kasperczak, making it a dream weekend for him. Kasperczak picked up a rostrum finisher in the opener with Steven Chandler. Frankie Taylor and Charlotte Birch meanwhile scored silverware in race two.

Scott Kendall and Nevan Kirkpatrick shared the spoils in the Mighty Minis Championship whilst the Lancaster Insurance MG Owners Club Championship saw two wins go the way of Lee Sullivan in his MG ZR.

The curtain lifted on a new season for the Classic VW Cup with a variety of different models from the German brand doing battle. In what proved to be two thrilling encounters, Daniel Rose and Ken Lark proved to be in a league of their own, with Rose narrowly getting the better of Lark in his Golf to take both wins.

Rounding out the action at Rockingham was the new-for-2018 BARC Saloon Series, which also encompassed the Dream Automotive Honda VTEC Challenge. Open to all manner of saloon cars, the latest series to align itself with the Club enjoyed a strong first showing.

Robert Burkinshaw claimed race honours both in the overall and the VTEC Challenge classifications whilst Alistair Lindsey and Jacob Carter took a win apiece in the BARC Saloons classification.

For the full race results from every championship, click here.

Cadwell Park awaits three BARC championships

The British Automobile Racing Club heads to Cadwell Park this weekend (April 14/15) for a high-octane two days of wheel-to-wheel action.

Renowned for its undulation and the unique challenge that it presents to drivers and teams alike, three BARC championships are set to duke it out.

Following on from their opening event at Oulton Park, the APL Health Caterham Graduates Championship are back in action with it all to play for across all classes. Amalgamating grids once again, spectators will see plenty of the one-make series with the battle for supremacy

In the Classics class, reigning champion Graeme Smith enjoyed a dream start to his year with a dominant double at the season-opener and he will be keen to build on his recent success as the likes of Peter Tattersall and Marc Noaro bid to close the gap.

Jamie Winrow will be one to watch as he leads the way in the SigMax category whilst Lee Collins and Declan Dolan will undoubtedly be out to continue their reigns at the top of the Sigma and Mega class standings as well.

The CNC Heads Sports/Saloon Car Championship also kicked off their 2018 campaign at Oulton Park last month and continues this weekend. Run by the BARC’s North Western Centre, another bumper entry list, packed with a diverse range of cars, has been confirmed for rounds three and four.

Triumphing at the curtain-raiser, 2016 champion Paul Rose heads the 28-car line-up this weekend and will be focused on extending his early points lead.

James Auckland, Steve Harris, Guy Carter and Stephen Keenan are just some of the drivers that fans can expect to take the fight to Rose in his Saker.

Whilst the aforementioned championships have already had one event under their belts, the 2CV parts.com Classic Racing Championship launches into life for another season this weekend, with Cadwell Park providing a fitting backdrop.

Always a popular sight wherever they compete, the one-make tin top category has been producing great racing for more than two decades now and that trait is set to continue this year too. Running a pair of sprint races as well as a two-hour endurance race on Sunday, there will be no shortage of drama on track from the 2CVs.

Having won back-to-back titles, Lien Davies will have his sights firmly set on making it a hat-trick of titles however the likes of Ainslie Bousefield, Sandro Proietti and Nick Crispin, all of whom had their moments last year, will be keen to overhaul the defending champion.

Rounding out the action will be a host of high-speed, frenetic encounters from British Superkarts.

Bumper two days of action lie ahead at Rockingham

Rockingham is set for a blockbuster weekend (April 14/15) as the British Automobile Racing Club as a host of championships descend on the Corby venue for two days of flat-out action.

Marking the first of several visits the Club will make to the circuit during the course of the 2018 season, fans are set to be treated to a diverse range of pulsating races over the course of the event.

Boasting a variety of jaw-dropping machinery, Britcar’s Dunlop Endurance Championship is back for another season and the curtain will raise on the 2018 campaign at Rockingham.

With marques such as Ginetta, Ferrari, Porsche, Radical and BMW, to name a few, being represented on the grid, there is something for everyone as the championship roars into life with a 50-minute sprint race and two hour endurance encounter.

The Renault UK Clio Cup Junior Championship continues at Rockingham with rounds three and four taking place. A four-car grid will duke it out this weekend with Nicholas Reeve the man everyone is chasing after enjoying a dream debut at the season-opener.

Bagging both victories, Reeve and the Specialized Motorsport squad enter the event as the ones to beat however Lorcan Hanafin, Louis Doyle and Gus Burton will all be hoping to topple the youngster.

There will be tin top action for drivers aged 14 to 17 in the Junior Saloon Car Championship this weekend too. Renowned for how cost effective it is and giving drivers the perfect stepping stone from karting, the JSCC has long been a proving ground for racers to go on to big and better things.

With some familiar names and returning faces making up the class of 2018 this year, it is all to play for however the early title contender is Ben Kasperczak, who bagged a pair of wins at Silverstone in late March. Whilst the likes of Jemma Moore, Tony Rodriguez and others will be aiming to beat the rapid youngster, Kasperczak sits in the box seat as it stands.

Reigning Michelin Clio Cup Series champion Ben Palmer finds himself in a similar position too after coming off the back of two wins at Silverstone. Securing a late deal to be on the grid, Palmer asserted his dominance early on and will be a favourite for sure at Rockingham.

The Lancaster Insurance MG Owner’s Club Championship is another series that is hitting the track for a second time this season at the weekend. Bringing together some of the most iconic cars that the illustrious brand has produced over countless decades, there is something for everyone during

Iconic is one word to describe the Mini brand and in the Mighty Mini Championship, the popular car is celebrated with edge-of-the-seat thrills ’n’ spills. Pitting the Mighty and Super Mighty classes together on the same grid, wheel-to-wheel battles are the norm with notable names such as Scott Kendall and Jo Polley being drivers to look out for.

Capping off what is set to be a frenetic two days of racing this weekend is the BARC Saloon Series, Honda VTEC Challenge and Classic VW Cup. Sharing grids throughout Sunday, these trio of categories are set to provide some of the best saloon races around, with a diverse range of cars and models going head-to-head with each other.

TOCA test offers BTCC teaser as Thruxton prepares for top-line touring car action

Thruxton welcomed the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship to Hampshire yesterday as the majority of the grid took the opportunity to rack up the miles ahead of their competitive return to the UK’s fastest race circuit, 19-20 May.

The BTCC celebrates its 60th, Diamond Jubilee, anniversary this year and the country’s premier motor racing series has already shown signs that it will be another vintage, and fiercely competitive campaign after a storming opening race weekend at Brands Hatch – with nine different drivers making the podium, three different winners and 10 marques represented in the standings’ top ten.

Thruxton itself celebrates its 50thAnniversary, and the beloved circuit, affectionately referred to as the Hampshire Speedbowl, always yields an unparalleled weekend’s action. Its flat-out characteristics are so unique that TOCA runs an annual test-day for the BTCC and its support series – Renault UK Clio Cup, the Ginetta championships and the F4 British Championship – ensuring all involved are up to speed ahead of their return in five weeks’ time.

Twenty-five of the BTCC’s finest drivers jumped at the chance to rack up the laps (over 1,100 in all on the day), among those, incumbent champion Ashley Sutton (Adrian Flux Subaru Racing) and his team-mate – BTCC legend Jason Plato, Halfords Yuasa Racing’s triple title-winner Matt Neal and Dan Cammish, plus past champs Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan in the West Surrey Racing BMWs.

At the end of the day it was Sutton atop the timesheets, commenting later that evening that his heart rate had finally returned to normal levels after the high-speed Hampshire test!

“That was unexpected, I’ll be honest,” said Sutton. “It’s been a fast day in general and everyone’s been quick. We’ve come here looking for track time and I think we’ve found a few key things. It’s been a general test, not just a Thruxton test.

“We hadn’t done mileage prior to Season Launch at Donington Park, then Brands Hatch later that week but that was rained off. We’ve come to make up time on the others and we’ve achieved some key things and we hope some of those will carry over to Donington.”

Between the two sessions, eight drivers ran inside 2017’s BTCC qualifying lap record time set by the Honda Civic Type R of Matt Neal, so all signs are pointing to a fastest-ever race weekend come May.

Parts of Thruxton’s stunning new £2 million state-of-the-art hospitality facility, The Thruxton Centre, will be open for business by the time the BTCC makes its entry ahead of an official opening at 12:00 midday on Sunday 3 June amid a weekend of 50thAnniversary celebrations. Highlights there include 15 special races as well as high-speed demonstrations from Williams’ 1983 FW08C and other iconic racing cars and bikes. There will be appearances, too, from a number of high-profile guests including Murray Walker and Nigel Mansell.

“It’s always a delight to welcome Britain’s biggest championship on four wheels back to Thruxton,” said Thruxton Group Managing Director, Bill Coombs. “It’s a series that continually produces a fantastic weekend’s racing, with 32 cars and some of the best tin-top protagonists around throwing up a real treat. The test yesterday gave us a little glimpse of what’s to come – it’s going to be a quick one this year, that’s for sure.

“Having had a keen eye on its opening race weekend a fortnight ago, it looks like it’ll be an even more fascinating prospect around the quick stuff here come May. I wouldn’t dare try and pick a winner!

“The track itself is a favourite of many of the drivers, it’s a fast and flowing test of balance, bravery and poise plus a healthy dollop of slipstreaming!

“For 2018, in our 50thAnniversary year, we’re extremely proud to be able to open The Thruxton Centre – our brand-new, top-of-the-line facility comprises a restaurant and bar, exhibition spaces, function rooms, hosting and hospitality suites and a spectacular viewing terrace.

“Parts of the centre will be open for use at the BTCC race weekend but its official opening takes place over the weekend of 2/3 June – as part of a special meeting commemorating our golden anniversary.”

Advance tickets for the BTCC’s visit, 19-20 May, are available from £12, with weekend passes with paddock access running to just £40. Saturday grandstand seats are an additional £5. Accompanied children aged 15 and under will be admitted free of charge.

Action aplenty on opening TOCA support package weekend

The TOCA support package was back in business at Brands Hatch this past weekend (April 7/8) with five championships kicking off their 2018 campaigns.

Once again competing alongside the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, there was high-drama throughout each category as they battled challenging conditions across both days.

In the Renault UK Clio Cup, spoils were shared between two title favourites. Multiple champion Paul Rivett showcased his experience in the opening race of the weekend, only after making contact with Max Coates early on.

Coming off the better of the two, Rivett powered away from the pack to the take a memorable victory. Behind him, the wounded Coates was unable to hold of the advances of James Colburn and Daniel Rowbottom, both of whom rounded out the podium.

Coates was the clear race winner in a wet race two, taking control from the start before storming into a lead he would ultimately never lose. Behind him though the tremendous battle for the remaining rostrum spots were decided as Rivett and youngster Jack McCarthy recovered from early struggles to join Coates in lifting silverware.

The Porsche Carrera Cup GB produced two different winners as well, with Dino Zamparelli and George Gamble taking a win apiece. Off the back of clinching pole position, Zamparelli asserted himself as one to watch this year with a dominant display in the curtain-raiser ahead of Tio Ellinas and Lewis Plato.

Plato had been on course to take race two honours until a mistake cost him, handing Gamble top spot on his first weekend in the series. Joining him on the podium was Ellinas and Zamparelli, who left the Kent circuit as championship leader.

The Ginetta Junior Championship delivered its usual mix of thrills ’n’ spills in true style, setting up what is set to be another fascinating campaign.

Last year’s scholarship winner Adam Smalley entered the season as one of the drivers to watch and he backed up his pre-season promise by grabbing the early advantage in the championship standings.

Claiming pole position in qualifying, the Elite Motorsport driver bagged victory in race one ahead of Ruben Del Sarte and Fin Green before then finishing hot on the heels of race two victor Luke Browning.

It is set to be a wide-open year in the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup too with Charlie Ladell cementing his status as an early title favourite. The Rob Boston Racing was in imperious form around the 1.2 mile Indy circuit, taking two wins, with Carl Boardley capping off the weekend with a win of his own.

Rounding out the action in front a bumper trackside crowd was the British F4 Championship, which saw Ayrton Simmons enjoy a near perfect weekend, scoring a brace of wins. Sebastian Priaulx topped the rostrum in the remaining race.

For the full classification of results across all championships, click here.

BTCC delivers memorable season-opener at Brands Hatch

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship kicked off the 2018 season with three high-octane, edge-of-the-seat races at Brands Hatch this past weekend (April 7/8).

Months of anticipation, hype and pre-season testing came to a head at the Kent circuit as the series’ 60th anniversary year roared into life.

Boasting a capacity entry list, the first qualifying session of the year brought with it its own drama as Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish dipped under the lap record to score provisional pole, before then losing his best time due to failing to stop for a red flag upon entering the pit lane.

That promoted Jack Goff to the top of the times and the WIX Racing with Eurotech driver was unchallenged at the summit, going on to record his third consecutive pole position.

Race day saw wet conditions greet teams and spectators alike, further adding to the opening round spectacle. Blasting off the line from the front row, Goff converted pole position into a lead that he would ultimately never lose in the tricky conditions.

Fellow front row start Sam Tordoff saw his return to the series cut short as he struggled with wheel spin off the line and was then caught up in a collision at the end of the lap, ending his charge.

At the front, Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan settled into second and third, the latter dispatching Cammish early on. Turkington soon began to hunt down Goff’s Civic Type R but the Independent driver drove a near-perfect race, defending where he need to and ultimately going on to take victory.

With conditions becoming ever-more difficult to judge, race two turned out to be one of the classic BTCC races. A majority of the front runners elected to stick with the Dunlop wet tyres whilst several further back decided to gamble and run the Dunlop soft option compound.

Turkington’s chances of glory ended before the race even started as his BMW went into limp mode, forcing him to pit and dropping a lap down. Team-mate Jordan launched his 1-Series into the lead from third with Goff and Ingram following.

The trio enjoyed a stellar scrap with Ingram leapfrogging the 2013 champion; further back reigning champion Ashley Sutton slotted into fourth and soon began closing on the top three.

Whilst conditions continued to improve and lap times dropped, it became apparent that the race was only just beginning as those on slicks began to carve their way through. Senna Proctor and Aiden Moffat were the big movers, lapping more than three seconds quicker than everyone else at one stage.

On lap 22 of 27, Proctor and Moffat were on the back of the leaders and took no time in dispatching them. Jake Hill, Ollie Jackson and Tom Boardman pounced just a few corners later and it was soon a five-car battle for the lead.

For Moffat, his aspirations of topping the rostrum came to an end after contact with Proctor sent him into the barrier, however he was able to continue. Proctor meanwhile held his nerve to score his and Power Maxed Racing’s maiden victory in the BTCC, with Hill and Jackson scoring their first podiums too.

Race three didn’t hold the same drama but it did produce another three different podium finishers as Ingram continued his Brands Hatch love affair with a seventh career victory. Adam Morgan and Rob Austin rounded off the podium, scoring an emotional podium in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Following the opening weekend of the season, Ingram holds a slender three point championship lead heading to Donington Park with Goff and Morgan hot on his heels.

For the full classification of results, click here.

Rounds four, five and six of 2018 take place at the Leicestershire circuit on April 28/29.

TOCA support package ready to blast into life for 2018

Brands Hatch is set for an enthralling weekend (April 7/8) of wheel-to-wheel, edge-of-the-seat thrills as the TOCA support package blasts into life.

Following months of hype and anticipation, five championships will join the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at the Kent venue to kickstart their 2018 campaigns.

Serving as the perfect stepping stone for drivers to graduate into the BTCC down the years, the Renault UK Clio Cup boasts another bumper entry list for this year. With champion Mike Bushell moving on to the BTCC, the quest to find a new title holder begins around the Indy circuit and there are no shortage of contenders.

Multiple champion Paul Rivett will be one to watch, as will the ever-impressive Max Coates, who returns for another crack at clinching the coveted crown. Throw into the mix the likes of Lee Pattison, James Dorlin, Mike Epps, Jack McCarthy and James Colburn, to name a few, and you begin to see how competitive this years crop of contenders are.

Two races around the famed Brands Hatch layout will serve as the perfect starting place for what is set to be another enthralling year.

Serving as the first step on the motorsport ladder for aspiring racers, the Ginetta Junior Championship is set to provide plenty of excitement on the opening weekend of the season too.

Having had the likes of Lando Norris, Tom Ingram and many more cut their teeth in the championship down the years, this years crop of youngsters will be hoping to springboard onto great things too.

The 2018 intake of racers sees a blend of familiar and new faces line up on the grid. Ginetta Junior Winter Series champion Adam Smalley tops the entry list, returning for a shot at the outright title, however the likes of Fin Green, Luke Browning and Matt Luff lead the rest of the pack in trying to stop his charge – starting with this weekend’s two encounters.

Action from the Yorkshire brand will also come from the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup, with immense quality running throughout the Pro and Am categories. Setting its stall out as one of the top proving grounds for young racers in the UK, the championship is back once again, with three races set to be run at the season-opener.

Notable names to keep an eye on include Jac Constable, Michael Crees, Jack Minshaw, Carl Boardley and Ginetta Junior graduate Harry King.

A new champion will be crowned in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB this year, due to title holder Charlie Eastwood moving on to pastures new. With a new car, new points system and new faces; the battle for supremacy this year is set to provoke serious intrigue.

Runner-up last year, Dino Zamparelli enters the season as an early favourite however he will have a whole host of drivers keen to take the fight to him at the front. Junior Scholarship winner Daniel Harper, George Gamble, Rory Collingbourne, Lewis Plato and Tio Ellinas are just a handful of contenders.

To cap things off, there will also be single seater action from the British F4 Championship. Despite the departure of Carlin, another stacked entry list has been confirmed for the 2018 edition of the popular series.

Arden, Fortec Motorsports, JHR Developments and Sharp Motorsport lead the way to Brands Hatch with the likes of Jack Doohan, Sebastian Priaulx, Ayrton Simmons and Patrik Pasma ones to watch.

Ultra-competitive BTCC set for Brands Hatch curtain-raiser

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship returns this weekend (April 7/8) at Brands Hatch with arguably one of the most competitive grids in the modern era set to do battle.

In what is a milestone year for the series as it celebrates its 60th anniversary, another capacity 32-car grid will duke it out for the most coveted prize in British motorsport, starting at the Kent venue where three races will be run.

An unparalleled five champions, four manufacturer entrants and 17 race winners make up the bumper line-up, which will hit the track in anger for the first time.

Heading up this year’s entry list is reigning champion Ashley Sutton, who will adorn the prestigious number one on the side of his Subaru Levorg. Remaining with Adrian Flux Subaru Racing for a second successive season, the 24-year-old will look to make it back-to-back triumphs with BMR Racing and is joined once again by double champion Jason Plato.

The manufacturer-backed team are down to three entrants this year with Josh Price filling the final seat, running under the Autoglym Racing Academy banner.

West Surrey Racing are back with the BMW 1-Series and a unchanged line-up with Colin Turkington, Rob Collard and Andrew Jordan flying the flag for the Sunbury-based squad.

Elsewhere it is all change at Halfords Yuasa Racing as the brand new Honda Civic Type R makes its debut in the BTCC. Triple champion Matt Neal remains at the helm of the championship-winning outfit but has a new team-mate in the shape of Daniel Cammish, who replaces three-time title winner Gordon Shedden.

The final Manufacturer/Constructor entrant for the forthcoming season is Power Maxed Racing, who once again fields a pair of Vauxhall Astra’s for reigning Jack Sears Trophy holder Senna Proctor and the returning Josh Cook.

A number of Independent entries will run Honda Civic Type R’s this year too with Jack Goff and Brett Smith locked in at Eurotech Racing, now with WIX sponsorship. Matt Simpson will join them both after switching from Team Dynamics.

BTC Norlin Racing have swapped their Chevrolet Cruze’s for Type R’s and have secured the services of the former Independents champion James Nash, who returns to the series for the first time since 2011. Northern Irishman Chris Smiley remains with the squad for a second full season.

Motorbase Performance will once again run three cars, albeit slightly different to last year. The iconic RS badge has returned to the BTCC on the Ford Focus’ with Tom Chilton and James Cole running under the Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher banner. After a one year sabbatical, 2016 runner-up Sam Tordoff is back and will pilot the third car for Team GardX Racing.

Finishing third overall and wrapping up both Independent titles for Speedworks Motorsport last year, Tom Ingram is set to be one to watch as he bids for outright glory in his Toyota Avensis. Ingram will be the only Toyota on the grid as Rob Austin and HMS Racing switch to the eagerly anticipated Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

AMD Tuning have expanded to four cars this year having acquired the two MG6 GT’s formerly run by Triple Eight Racing. Rory Butcher and the returning Tom Boardman will drive the race-winning machines whilst Ollie Jackson and rookie Sam Smelt will drive the teams Audi s3’s.

Another outfit that expands to four cars this year is Team HARD with their quartet of Volkswagen CC’s. Renault UK Clio Cup champion Mike Bushell, Jake Hill, Bobby Thompson and Michael Caine will spearhead Tony Gilham’s quest for silverware.

Podiums will be expected from Ciceley Motorsport this year too as Adam Morgan returns in his Mercedes Benz A-Class, and the former race winner has a team-mate in the shape of Tom Oliphant. Aiden Moffat will also be back in his Mercedes with Laser Tools Racing.

Rounding out the capacity entry list for this year is Stephen Jelley, who has remained with Team Parker Racing. Embarking on his second season with the Independent squad, Jelley will return to his BTCC roots and drive a BMW – a former West Surrey Racing 1-Series.

Red Devils to dazzle overhead at Thruxton’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

World-famous British Army parachute display team the Red Devils will take to the skies over Thruxton on Sunday, 3 June, with their adrenaline-fuelled aerial choreography set to thrill fans at the popular Hampshire circuit’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Formed back in 1964, the Red Devils have been the official parachute display team of the British Army and the Parachute Regiment since 1979. Remaining ever-faithful to its ‘Ready For Anything’ motto, it is a non-profit organisation whose purpose is to recruit for the British Army and support its charities by raising funds and profile through awe-inspiring public displays.

All recruits are full-time serving paratroopers and as such, can be called back to Regimental Duty at any time. During the winter off-season, team members complete mandatory military training and career courses to ensure their green army skillset can always be relied upon.

The team is currently composed of 14 professional skydivers, who have conducted air shows and tandem parachute descents as far afield as America, Bahrain and at poignant Regimental memorial events such as Arnhem in the Netherlands. Thruxton Group Managing Director Bill Coombs says spectators attending the 50th Anniversary Celebration will be in for a real treat.

“We already have a fabulous line-up of on and off-track entertainment planned for our milestone anniversary weekend, but to now secure the Red Devils as part of the high-octane bill will add another dimension to an event that truly does have something for everyone,” he enthused.

“The skill and courage of these paratroopers is quite extraordinary, and we have no doubt that they will wow the crowds as they perform their spectacular routine above Thruxton’s sweeping curves on the Sunday. As an active airfield, it is almost a ‘home-from-home’ for them and we are sure they will put on an extra-special show to celebrate our landmark year in style.”

The first motorsport event to be held at Thruxton in its current guise was in March, 1968 and half-a-century on, a whole host of single-seaters, sportscars and saloons from the last five decades will hit the track for a spirited sprint down memory lane at the circuit’s 50th Anniversary Celebration on 2/3 June.

The weekend will feature 15 races, high-speed demonstrations from Williams’ 1983 FW08C amongst other iconic racing cars and bikes and a static display of Nigel Mansell’s all-conquering, title-winning Williams FW14B. There will notably also be high-profile appearances from 1992 Formula 1 World Champion Mansell and legendary motorsport commentator Murray Walker, who together will officially open The Thruxton Centre, the venue’s new, £2 million state-of-the-art hospitality facility.

In addition to the Red Devils, off-track activities will include car club reunions, a funfair, live music, overnight camping and a fireworks display in evidence of the festival’s family-friendly appeal.

Advance tickets for Thruxton’s 50th Anniversary Celebration on 2/3 June are available from just £12 for Saturday entry and £15 for Sunday – or £24 for both days. Sunday grandstand seats are an additional £5. Accompanied children aged 15 and under will be admitted free of charge.

Mark Higgins victorious in second round of British Rallycross at Lydden Hill

Bank holiday Monday brought with it plenty of edge-of-the-seat, sideways thrills at Lydden Hill as the Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship put on a show in front of a bumper crowd.

Following on from the season-opener at Silverstone last month, where five-time champion Julian Godfrey grabbed the early advantage in the points, the series descend on the spiritual home of the sport for round two.

With another strong entry list hitting the track, Albatec Racing’s Mark Higgins proved to be the man to beat as he swept his way to make it two different winners from two rounds in 2018.

Kevin Proctor opened the day by charging to victory in Q1, leading the way ahead of Godfrey and fellow Ford driver Ollie O’Donovan.

The returning Liam Doran, at the wheel of a Citroen C4, then staked his claim in Q2 as he utilised his experience and home knowledge to edge out his opponents and score victory.

Showing consistency throughout each of the heats, Higgins imposed himself on the event in the third and final round of qualifying at the wheel of his Peugeot 208 RX Supercar. Going from fourth to first in Q3, Higgins made it back-to-back wins as he produced a dominant display in his semi-final.

With heavy rain battering the circuit for the final, the former British Rally champion made a perfect start, blasting into the lead. Surviving early pressure from Doran, who would later retire, Higgins controlled the final to take victory on just his second outing.

Elsewhere, Tom Constantine was the winner in the MSA Junior Rallycross Championship whilst Supernational honours went the way of Tristan Ovenden.

Bradley Durdin was the victor in the BMW Mini Rallycross Championship, narrowly pipping Leigh-Anne Sedgwick crossing the line.

Morgan Bailey and Roger Thomas took the spoils in the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship and Retro Rallycross Championship respectively, with Chrissy Palmer rounding out the list of winners with an RX150 triumph.

For the full classification of results, click here.

The Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship is next in action at Croft on May 6.

BTRA headlines blockbuster Brands Hatch bank holiday weekend meeting

The BTRA Truck Racing Championship headlined what proved to be a bumper bank holiday weekend at Brands Hatch (April 1/2) for the British Automobile Racing Club, with a total of seven championships in action.

Tackling the infamous Indy layout of the Kent venue in mixed conditions across both days, a bumper crowd was treated to a feast of wheel-to-wheel battles.

In the heavyweight Truck encounters, Division 1 served up a host of storming races with Stuart Oliver kicking off proceedings with victory in race one, narrowly pipping David Jenkins. Roles were reversed in race two however as Jenkins got the better of Oliver to clinch his maiden win of the season.

Despite joining Mat Summerfield as a late entry reigning champion Ryan Smith showed his class on day two as he romped to a host of victories.

In Division 2, Luke Garrett was in similar form as he set his stall out as an early title contender, triumphing on three occasions. John and Steve Powell were the other victors in the more production-based category.

The Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres was back in action too for their second event of the year and six races being run. Day one saw Miles Rudman notch his first win of the season before 2017 runner-up Ben Power scored wins in race two and the grand final.

Defending champion John Mickel hit the front on day two with a win in race one before Rudman once again underlined his speed with a second triumph of the weekend. Following a high speed crash earlier in the day on the pit straight, Will Gibson bounced back to finish the day on the top step of the podium.

The Pickup Truck Racing Championship saw Lea Wood exert his dominance with a near perfect weekend as he romped to a brace of wins. The former BTCC racer scythed his way through the field in the opener before stamping his authority as a serial title contender in race two with an equally impressive performance.

Dominance was the norm in the Kumho BMW Championship and Scrapco/Avon Tyres Intermarque Championship too as Colin Wells and Malcolm Blackman clinched double wins respectively.

Rounding the list of race winners was Rod Birley, who was back on track in his rebuilt Ford Escort RS, and Adrian Bradley – both of whom took to the top step of the podium in the amalgamated BARC Modified Saloon Car Championship and BARC South East Tin Tops Championship races.

For the full classification of results, click here.

Brands Hatch set for BARC Easter extravaganza

Brands Hatch is primed for a bank holiday weekend of blockbuster proportions on Sunday and Monday as the British Truck Racing Association Championship roars into life for another season.

Headlining what is a bumper programme of track action around the Indy layout, a mammoth crowd is set to descend on the Kent venue for an Easter extravaganza of thrills ’n’ spills.

Weighing in at more than five tonnes and producing more than 1000bhp each, nothing quite compares to British Truck Racing. This weekend’s opening event will see a total of seven races run across both Divisions, however the landscape of both has changed.

In the top tier, double and reigning champion Ryan Smith has elected not to return, meaning his title is very much up for grabs. Leading the list of contenders that fans will be looking out for is multiple champion Stuart Oliver, prolific front runner Dave Jenkins and Luke Taylor, amongst others.

Division 2 champion Mika Makinen will also missing from the grid this year, opening the floodgates in the more production-based category. Former title holder Adam Bint will be keen to get back to winning ways whilst the likes of Simon Cole, John Powell and Luke Garrett lead the long list of fellow contenders.

Elsewhere, one man that will be defending his title this year starting at Brands Hatch is Scott Bourne. Climbing to the top of the Pickup Truck Racing Championship mountain in 2017, Bourne is back with a new livery and the coveted number one adorning his truck.

In what has been a strong off-season for the championship as a whole, with an influx of entries being submitted, the popular category is set for another memorable year. Usual protagonists Lea Wood, David O’Reagan, Michael Smith and Mark Willis are all joined by a host of familiar and new faces – making the opening two races impossible to call.

Following on from a memorable opening weekend in mid-March at Oulton Park, the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres are back in action. Making the first of three visits to Brands Hatch this year, a bumper grid of the 5/8 scale machines are set to put on a show across the six races that are set to be run.

Jack Parker’s opening round consistency has placed him at the top of the standings however he has a host of race winners nipping at his heels. Will Gibson and Steve Whitelegg both took wins at Oulton Park and sit second and third in the points, with reigning champion John Mickel not far behind either.

Fans of all things BMW will be drawn to the Kumho BMW Championship, which gets underway this weekend too. Open to all models of the German manufacturer, the championship will once again run a multi-class system depending on specification.

Notable names to look out for during the season-opener include Russell Dack, Giuseppe Callari, James Card and Gareth Montgomery.

Rounding out the weekend’s jam-packed race programme will be the three categories from the BARC’s South East Centre; the BARC Modified Saloon Car Championship, BARC South East Tin Top Championship and Scrapco Metal/Avon Tyres Intermarque Championship.

All bringing together a diverse range of machines to their individual grids, a wealth of local talent is set to shine through over the course of the two days.

One of the big stories will lie in the Modified Saloon Car races as Rod barley bids to get back on track following his high speed crash at the same venue last November, injuring him and causing substantial damage to his Ford Escort RS.