Back on the Brands podium

2021 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup.
Round 7, Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.

The final races of the year were at Brands Hatch for rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup. Despite missing a meeting earlier in the season, I was a very close fifth in the championship heading into the weekend. It would be tough to stay there, but I love racing at Brands and it was great to have some home support.

The weather forecast for both days was for heavy rain and then drying up, which makes things difficult. Qualifying was fully wet though and the session went well. I was in the top four for the most part but the last couple of laps it dried slightly and I ended up 7th.

Race 1 was tough. I dropped places at the start and was unfortunate as two drivers went off and then re-joined the circuit right in front of me, which slowed me and cost me two places. After a safety car I did a good move to get one position back, but then slid wide at Clearways and dropped to 24th after a trip through the gravel. Overall we didn’t seem to have much pace, but we did find a small issue with the car afterwards.

Issue fixed, and race 2 was very wet. I started 5th and got away really well for once, jumping up to third, but was elbowed aside at the end of the first lap to run fourth. After another safety car I felt good and was able to pass James Cossins down the back straight. I thought I might get the lead shortly after as both the leaders went off. They managed to collect it up, but I was happy to finish 3rd and score my first podium of the year. Amazingly my rival in the championship (Declan Lee) took his first career win, which was good timing for him, but not me!

I started 6th on the grid for race three, but the race was again interrupted with a safety car. Declan had a bad restart, but you can’t over take until the start finish line so the front pack gained a gap on us. The circuit was greasy, but easier than race 1, and I felt more at home in the conditions. Declan had a moment near the end of the race and tried to block me, but happily I passed and stayed ahead to win that little battle.

We ended up 6th overall in the championship. Not what I was aiming for, but not bad considering we missed a round and experienced several problems throughout the year. I’m pleased with our qualifying pace and consistency, which is something I was trying to work on. More speed needs to come for next year though, and I have several things to work on over the winter.

As ever, I don’t do this alone and this season there have been many people helping me along the way. We started the year with BLiNK Motorsport. When they closed we switched to Hills Motorsport, before moving to team up with my Club Enduro team Miller Motorsport for the final two rounds. I’d like to thank them all so much for the help. We had some very difficult days and these guys helped us through.

We also need the support of commercial partners and this year we welcomed a few new faces; Bexhill Property Maintenance, Purple Cow Office Supplies and JLex Networks. It was great having these guys involved and I thank them very much for joining the party. We also had the company of Cambridge FD and Perfect View once again – fantastic to continue to those relationships.

Then there is my Dad. He’s so passionate and supportive of all I do, none of this would even begin to happen without him. My wife and family are less keen on me going away for race weekends (!), but their support is so very valuable as well, allowing me the time to go.

There are others who were involved throughout the year as well – too many to mention – but they know who they are and I appreciate them all.

The plan for 2022 is to race in the SuperCup again, and hopefully make another step up in performance to be able to consistently compete right at the front…