The BRSCC Alfa Romeo Championship is once again eagerly anticipating another competitive race weekend as it makes its almost annual visit to the challenging twists, turns and gradients of the mini Nurburgring tucked away in the heart of the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds for rounds 5 and 6 of this year’s championship.
After this meeting, there is a long break until rounds 7 and 8 at Croft in early July and it was hoped that this would result in an increased entry but at the time of writing it looks like we’ll be just into double figures with the hope of perhaps one or two late additions if car problems and logistical difficulties are overcome.
Leading the championship after Snetterton is the Modified 156 Turbo of Barry McMahon. Unfortunately, engine problems sustained in a recent Britcar outing have sidelined the 156 for this weekend and it may be a while before the car reappears with a rebuilt engine. Second placed driver Gary Miller on 73 points is also missing from the entry this time owing to another commitment over in Ireland but we hope to see him back racing at Croft. A trio of drivers are lying in joint third position. 2018 champion Tom Hill has 71 points as has fellow twin spark competitor Richard Ford. Modified class driver Richard Thurbin joins them on 71 after outings at Brands Hatch and Snetterton in the impressive 4WD Lancia Delta Integrale. He is a doubtful for this weekend although he is working hard to overcome some logistical problems in which case he may be a late addition to the entry.
Keith Waite is back with his Alfa 33, choosing to go once again in the Modified class where he is joined by Graham Seager for his first outing of the year in the powerful ex Roger Evans GTV. Graham will be looking to set the pace around the twists and turns of the Lincolnshire circuit although it would be an interesting battle at the head of the field should Richard’s Lancia appear!
Power trophy lap record holder Paul Webster is entered with his 156 GTA and he is joined by Dave Messenger and Jamie Thwaites. Dave is returning to the action after missing the meeting at Snetterton. In his last outing at Brands Hatch, he was rapidly getting to grips with the 156 GTA that he acquired over the winter break and should provide stiff competition to Paul over the weekend. After mechanical problems beset his first outing at Snetterton, Jamie will be hoping that his 3.0 litre 155 will have a trouble free run and show good pace as he lines up alongside the two GTAs.
As is often the case, the strongest entry in terms of both numbers and competition is in the twin spark cup. Joining Tom and Richard will be former champion and lap record holder Andrew Bourke in his 156, lying sixth in the championship but only six points shy of the leading pair. Simon Cresswell returns in his 156 complete with rebuilt engine that was effectively run in at Snetterton and is likely to go strongly this weekend. Steve O’Brien returns in his 147 after some solid performances at the opening two meetings and is no stranger to the circuit having previously competed here in his Fiat Abarth days. Martin Jones is making his first appearance here in a 147 and is looking to build on the experience of his outing at Snetterton as he gets to grips with the challenging aspects of this interesting venue. A late entry is possibly going to come from former Twin Spark champion James Ford who would be making a welcome return to action at his local circuit. James is likely to be in his 156 twin spark that last saw action a couple of years ago, opting for this rather than the 3 litre V6 that requires a bit more attention before its next outing. He will be looking forward to a competitive weekend of racing in a very closely matched field.
The weather forecast at the time of writing looks reasonable and we are looking forward to some enjoyable and competitive racing across all classes ahead of what is an unusually long break. Hopefully, this will give our drivers and preparers some opportunity to address issues that have prevented a number of cars from making the grid this time. It looks likely that qualifying will take place alongside the qualifying for the Porsche Championship with the races scheduled for 17:40 Saturday and 12:25 Sunday.