The BRSCC Alfa Romeo Championship wasn’t able to visit Cadwell Park last year but is making a welcome return for rounds 5 & 6 of the 2017 series which started at Oulton at the end of March before moving to the Silverstone International circuit a month ago.
Aiming for back to back titles, 2016 Champion Tom Hill has seen his season make a somewhat stuttering start – a Twin Spark win at Oulton in race 1 was followed by a retirement when leading in race 2. Silverstone saw him excluded for passing under a yellow flag in the first race which meant he had to start from the back of the grid in race 2. A third place podium finish was some consolation but still means that he arrives at Cadwell with a fair mountain to climb if he is to catch current Championship leader Simon Cresswell who has finished all four races with two class second places to his name. Simon’s consistent results took him to the runner-up spot in the Championship in 2016 and the same outcome this year could reap big dividends.
However, there are several other drivers who are likely to be strong Twin Spark contenders here. James Ford won at Silverstone last time out and holds the Cadwell class lap record while James Browning took the first race there and was leading comfortably in race 2 before an engine problem intervened. James hadn’t entered as I write this but could be a late entry – he is relatively local to Cadwell after all! Andrew Bourke created a big surprise at Oulton when he battled with Tom Hill throughout the first race although he was not quite on the pace at Silverstone. Cadwell might suit him better but he has the major disadvantage of not having raced here before. One can never discount Dave Messenger and he will be hoping that he has better luck than in 2015 when he suffered an engine failure. A driver who has shown much improved form this year is Mike Tydeman who was certainly well in contention at Silverstone but he is another who will be learning the circuit. Also watch out for Richard Ford who is due a top result. Jeremy Chilton missed Silverstone but is back in action here. A late entry is Andy Inman whose other great interest is Newcastle United and he wanted to make sure that they had been promoted to the Premier League and his voice was not needed to support their efforts this weekend. Got to get your priorities right! Roger Evans had talked about racing his 145 but seems to have thought better of it.
Overall, the races are not likely to be won by any of the Twin Spark cars although Zolder last year told us that you can never be sure! Making their first appearances of the year in the Modified class are Vincent Dubois with his extremely rapid 156 with 2 litre turbo engine from the earlier 155Q4 and Bryan Shrubb in his familiar orange light and nimble 33 16v. We haven’t seen Vincent since the Festival Italia meeting at Brands last August when the 156 again proved to be extremely fast but fragile. Bryan will be hoping to repeat the superb win he had here in 2015. However, not to be overlooked is Chris McFie which took the first ever series overall win for the Fiat Punto Abarth at Oulton and was well in contention at Silverstone as was his brother Simon in the slightly less powerful Punto HGT. We had been hoping for entries from 2015 Champion Graham Seager in his supercharged GTV (waiting for an elusive part) and the 147 GTA of Ray Foley but it now seems that they will be absent.
Andy Robinson will again be taking the on-the-day co-ordinator role.
Yokohama & Black’n’Rounds remain the Championship tyre supplier and associate sponsors and are joined this year by Corbeau, well known manufacturers of racing seats, Luke Harnesses, Grove & Dean Motorsport Insurance and CL, suppliers of high quality competition brake pads.
After Cadwell, the next two rounds are at Rockingham on June 17th/18th