After a thoroughly successful year of racing from start to finish in 2016, the BRSCC Fiesta Championship has its work cut out to match the ultra-competitive spectacle put on by its teams and drivers last season. That said, those who are contesting it this season have something of an extra little incentive to get them going.
As revealed in a deal secured at the Autosport International show back in January, the Fiesta Championship’s tyre supplier and partner Dunlop will lay on a phenomenal opportunity as a prize for the overall champion – a test drive in a Motorbase-prepared current spec Shredded Wheat Ford Focus BTCC car. Whether it’s treated as a once in a lifetime experience or a potential audition for bigger and better things in their career, the driver who eventually win this prestigious prize will certainly have earned it.
Alongside this amazing opportunity, the Championship will also benefit from the introduction of both a new co-ordinator and eligibility scrutineer. Steven Connor takes up the mantle of Championship Co-ordinator with 30+ years’ experience in motorsport, initially as a course marshal and then obtaining race licence in 1991 along with first race car, a Van Diemen RF82 FF2000, which he still owns and races occasionally. This was followed by moving into team ownership with TeamFBR and runs both his own pair of cars plus cars for other people.
Two seasons as Championship Coordinator with the Monoposto Racing Club included running inside BRSCC meetings, which in turn has led to a new role with the Fiesta Championship for the 2017 season.
With a number of hard working helpers, Steven believes in smoothing the way at a race event by trying to cover all the elements he would appreciate when racing himself. Fiesta racers in 2017 should expect a very active co-ordination presence with a focus on providing the environment where everyone can enjoy good communication off the track and close competitive racing on the track.
In terms of the eligibility scrutineer, Kevin Lewis steps in as the dedicated personnel for the Championship as he too brings a vast amount of experience and knowledge. Working closely with both the drivers and co-ordinator Connor, Kevin will be working hard to ensure that all competitors are running strictly within the Championship regulations and on as level a playing field as possible.
Speaking of competitors, there’s a raft of drivers returning for another shot at glory in 2017, most notably reigning Class C champion Sam Priest. The Specialized Motorsport driver was locked in a season-long duel with team boss and teammate Simon Horrobin before eventually coming out on top at the final rounds at Brands Hatch. With the BTCC test the proverbial carrot dangling in front of his nose, he will be fighting tooth and nail to ensure it’s his come season’s end.
He is certain to have stiff competition from the likes of Joshua and Sam Watkins (a former Fiesta Junior graduate), Ryan Faulconbridge and Lee Dendy-Sadler amongst the class, however given that the points system in the Fiesta Championship allows a driver from any of the 4 classes to win outright, it may not be as simple a task for all involved in the fastest class of them all.
Last year’s champion Alastair Kellett competed in Class D, which is reserved for the Mk7 Ford Fiesta Zetec S model, the most contemporary featured across the board. More interest in this class has meant that competition levels will be at an all-time high, particularly with both Peter Dendy-Sadler (2016 Class A champion) and Luke Bannister (2016 Class B champion) moving up, along with ex-Class C man Tim Glover in Kellett’s title-winning car. John Cooper and Jack Youhill are expected to return, whilst Shaun Andrews is a new face for 2017.
At the time of writing this, Theo Bridgeman-Williams looks to be the main favourite for Class A, while Sean Banks is another new boy as he looks set to tackle Class B. All in all, whoever comes out on top in 2017, they’ll have definitely been made to work hard for it.
This year’s Fiesta Championship should be fascinating whatever happens, and with more drivers expected to sign up before the first meeting at Brands Hatch on April 8/9 and throughout the course of the season, it should be action all the way until the finale at Donington Park in October.
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