With rounds 11 and 12 of the Alfa Romeo Championship at Mallory Park scheduled between the always popular Festival Italia and the eagerly anticipated returns to Silverstone International and Donington Park after an absence of 2 years, it was always likely that healthy grid numbers would be no more than a remote possibility and so it has turned out.

The attractiveness of October’s penultimate meeting venue followed by a championship climax only 2 weeks later at an equally popular venue was always going to put pressure on entries here. Nevertheless, the main championship protagonists are, as you would expect, on the entry list as are a number of regular drivers from the power trophy and twin spark classes. Unfortunately, there are no modified entries to date.

As a result of the two lowest scores being dropped from the points tally in the second half of the season, joint leaders of the championship as we go into the weekend are double champion Tom Hill in the Bianco Motorsport supported 156 twin spark car and Dave Messenger in his first season in the Darnells Engineering 156 3.2GTA power trophy car. Both drivers have put in some excellent and consistent performances so far with Dave’s absence at Snetterton being countered by some bad luck on Tom’s part in a couple of races, these events more or less taking care of their dropped scores. In third place overall but adrift by almost 40 points in his Bianco supported 156 is past champion Andrew Bourke. Andrew will be looking for a strong drive here to try and make up ground on the leaders before the final two meetings next month.

Second placed power trophy runner Paul Webster is once again unable to make the meeting so regular entrant in the improving Mito, Ben Sharich, who is separated from Paul by only 10 points, will be keen to grasp the opportunity to take second place in the class with another strong and improving outing. Jamie Thwaites will be hoping to improve on his misfortune last time out and the 155 3 litre should provide strong competition this weekend. Also returning to the fray is Andy Inman, again at the helm of the Peak Alfa 156 GTA and himself keen to build on his first successful outing in this car at Croft back in July.

Completing the twin spark line-up and themselves looking forward to solid performances are season regulars Simon Cresswell, Martin Jones and Richard Ford. Simon is lying third in the twin sparks on 99 points with Richard only just behind on 93 points, both driving their customary 156s. They will be hoping for strong points scoring performances as will Croft class winner Martin Jones, once again in his now familiar 147.

All the competitive action takes place on Saturday making for a busy schedule for drivers and preparers alike. Once again, we look forward to some close, competitive and clean racing at this scenic circuit set in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside.

Keith Ford