Donington Park Preview

Friday 29 – Saturday 30 April, a packed grid will kick off the Mini racing season for the much-anticipated opening rounds.


MINI MIGLIA

Several multi-champions are back to contest what is regarded as one of the most competitive race series on the planet, with four-time winner Aaron Smith joined by fellow titleists Rupert Deeth, Ian Curley, Kane Astin and former BTCC standouts Andrew Jordan and Jeff Smith to name a few.

Several more on the entry list have proven Mini race-winning credentials in the M7RC or in Historics, so picking a favourite could be nigh on impossible, but the likes of Phil Bullen-Brown, Colin Peacock and Nick Paddy should be right in the mix too.

What is possible to predict however is the sheer raucous energy a gridful of these mega-tuned 1.3-litre machines will create on the run down to Redgate for what promises to be a thrilling season-opening double-header.

 

Mini Libre

Donington drew the largest entry of the 1400cc-limit ‘Special Tuning’ category last season, and this time around there will again be some interesting combinations.

Having been narrowly pipped to the national crown, Julian Proctor gained recompense with the winter trophy in his 5-port example, but in 2023 it was Josh Evans’ 8-porter that led the way here with a double-victory. That was on the shorter layout so it will be interesting to see how the additional Melbourne Loop suits each cars’ power set-up in a class that doesn’t always favour the ‘hare’…

 

MINI SE7EN

There are just as many race winners in the 1-litre ‘Heritage’ formula as the power-heavy classes, with reigning national Challenge champion Mike Jordan back to defend his latest crown in a long and successful career in tin-tops.

Looking to deprive him of back-to-back titles though will be the likes of Ross Billison who comes into 2024 as the winter series winner, with Joe Thompson, Spencer Wanstall and Glen Woodbridge likely to be the other main protagonists.

Also on this weekend’s entry list is one name sure to raise a few eyebrows, multi-BTCC champion Colin Turkington no less, who is simply aiming to have fun in various club races before his gruelling BTCC campaign begins in April, and who knows he may be out in future as the M7RC is again billed alongside the touring cars at Thruxton in June…

 

Mini-7 S-Class

Another strong ‘Scholarship’ entry looks set to line-up behind the Se7ens this weekend, with Jonathon Page out to defend his 2023 national title.

Runner-up and winter standout Matt Ayres will be looking to go well at his ‘local’ circuit but Page will have brother Matthew and dad Giles on-track as back-up, the latter no doubt keen to erase memories of last season when his car went up in flames before he could qualify for the race!

Look out too for former class champion Michael Winkworth who was back on form towards the end of last season having missed a few meetings, whilst veteran Andy Hack will be aiming to take big points off the rest as his son Frazer, another title favourite, is scheduled to miss this one.

 

 

LAP RECORDS (2.5-mile GP circuit)

Miglia:             Rupert Deeth                                    1:49.163            82.02 mph            4 June 2017

Libre:                        Peter Crewes                                    1:51.094            80.60 mph            4 June 2017

Se7en:                        Spencer Wanstall                        1:58.983            75.25 mph            24 October 2021

S-Class:            Michael Winkworth                        2:01.456            73.72 mph            24 October 2021

 

 

MIGLIA & LIBRE INFO:

The Se7ens’ younger but more powerful Mini Miglia siblings first graced UK circuits in 1969/70, and have consistently been providing bang-for-buck tin-top action for decades, all trying to win The Peter Collins Trophy. Widely regarded by racing aficionados as ‘mini Touring Cars’, these originally 998cc machines now run with larger capacity 1.3-litre engines, and pack a mean punch.

On the back of the Miglia grids, the M7RC runs its Mini Libre semi-invitational category for other Mini race saloons, with varying interpretations of A-Series tuning.

 

MIGLIA TECH SPEC:

Engines:            1293cc modified A-Series

0-60mph:            4.5 seconds

Top speed:            125 mph

Transmission:            4-speed manual, 3.9:1 final drive

Tyres:                        Dunlop 160/490 x 10” slicks (dries) or treaded (wets)

Wheels:            Any 10” diameter x maximum 7” rims

Fuel:                        Unleaded or Super Unleaded

Yellow/Black door squares/windscreen headers

 

LIBRE TECH SPEC:

Engines:            up-to-1400cc modified, A-Series block

Transmission:            4-speed manual

Tyres:                        Dunlop 160/490 x 10” slicks (dries) or treaded (wets)

Wheels:            Any 10” diameter x maximum 7” rims

Fuel:                        Unleaded or Super Unleaded

Lt Blue door squares/windscreen headers

 

 

SE7EN & S-CLASS INFO:

For over half a century, the Mini Se7en Challenge for The Bob Fox Trophy has been providing great motor racing at an affordable price. Much may have changed since the first ever 850cc Formula Mini-7 race at Brands in April 1966, but the now 1-litre Mini Se7ens still provide superb entertainment for driver and spectator alike, and can stick to the tarmac like the proverbial go-kart!

Starting behind the Se7ens, the milder-tuned 1275cc S-Class offers a more standard, budget introduction, where hopefuls looking to get on the motor racing ladder can also aim for the Graham Hill Memorial Trophy for the leading Under-17 driver.

 

SE7EN TECH SPEC:

Engines:            998cc modified A-Series

0-60mph:            6.6 seconds +

Top speed:            110 mph +

Transmission:            4-speed manual, ratios/final drive free

Tyres:                        Dunlop 500L x 10” CR70 (dries) or

                        CR65 treaded (wets)

Wheels:            5J x 10” alloys

Fuel:                        Unleaded or Super Unleaded

Red door squares/windscreen headers

 

MINI-7 S-CLASS TECH SPEC:

Engines:            Standard 1275cc, limited mods

0-60mph:            7.5 seconds

Top speed:            105 mph)

Transmission:            4-speed, standard

Tyres:                        Dunlop 500L x 10” CR70 (dries) or

                        CR65 treaded (wets)

Wheels:            5J x 10” alloys

Fuel:                        Unleaded or Super Unleaded

Green door squares/windscreen headers

 

 

POINTS SCORING:

All classes:

In each class, 20-19-18-17-etc, down to 3 for 18th, 2 points to all other finishers, 1 point non-finishers

All rounds run less 3 scores to count in main Dunlop Challenge (i.e. best 14)

 

 

CHALLENGE SPONSORS

 

Dunlop

Title sponsor of the Mini Challenges – all cars run on regulation Dunlop racing tyres.

www.dunlop.eu

 

Mini Spares

Title co-sponsor of the Mini Challenges – a leading Mini aftermarket specialist.

www.minispares.com

 

Spax

Sponsor of the Improver awards, for most places made up by a driver in the race from their starting grid position.

www.spaxperformance.com

 

Piper Cams

Sponsor of the Fastest Lap awards.

www.pipercams.co.uk

2023 Awards Night

A fantastic evening celebrating our 2023 season, and the trophies were awarded as follows;

Dunlop Mini Miglia Challenge Supported by Mini Spares

  1. Aaron Smith
  2. Rupert Deeth
  3. Kane Astin
  4. Andrew Jordan
  5. Phil Bullen-Brown
  6. Shaun King
  7. Mark Sims
  8. Colin Peacock
  9. Jeff Smith
  10. Ben Colburn

Dunlop Mini Se7en Challenge Supported by Mini Spares

  1. Mike Jordan
  2. Joe Thompson
  3. Ross Billison
  4. Spencer Wanstall
  5. Darren Thomas
  6. Graeme Davis
  7. Glen Woodbridge
  8. Connor O’Brien
  9. Damien Harrington
  10. Andy King

Dunlop Mini Se7en S-Class Trophy Supported by Mini Spares

  1. Jonathon Page
  2. Matt Ayres
  3. Frazer Hack
  4. Chris Prior
  5. Dave Rees
  6. Michael Winkworth
  7. Matthew Page
  8. Andy Hack
  9. Jack Vanner
  10. Arnold Duncan

Mini Libre ST Trophy

  1. Richard Colburn
  2. Julian Proctor
  3. Phil Harvey
  • Spax Improver Award, most places gained – Rupert Deeth
  • Peter Tisdale Trophy, best prepared Mini Miglia – Aaron Smith
  • Phil West Shield, best prepared Mini Se7en/S-Class – Mike Jordan/Michael Winkworth
  • The SP Trophy, most reliable car – Ross Billison
  • The Bryan Slark Valve, it can only get better – Connor O’Brien
  • Nick Cooke Trophy, best support team – Mike Jordan
  • Chris Inch Trophy, most fastest laps – Mike Jordan
  • Frank Gillibrand trophy, spirit of the M7RC – Ross Billison
  • Tom Jarrett Award, best Mini Se7en newcomer – Kate Fraser Ker
  • Norman Finn Trophy, most Mini Se7en poles – Mike Jordan
  • Mike Fry Trophy, most Miglia poles – Andrew Jordan/Jeff Smith
  • Graeme Hill Trophy, most points under 17 – Kieran Edgecombe
  • Bill Sollis Trophy, most second places – Joe Thompson
  • Fred Jackson Trophy, club person of the year – Amanda Proctor
  • Steve Bell Trophy, most points after round 6, Joe Thompson
  • Chris Tyrell Trophy, most points overall, Joe Thompson
  • 7 Oaks Cup, most points at Brands Hatch, Ross Billison/Glen Woodbridge/Matt Ayres/Rupert Deeth
  • Maurice Leggate Trophy, drive of the season, Aaron Smith
  • Graham Edwards Trophy, one step away, Graeme Davis
  • The Dunlop Cup, most improved – Arnold Duncan/Ross Billison/Phil Bullen-Brown

Thank you to Ollie Read for the excellent pics!

Aaron Smith tries a Mini Se7en

Mini Miglia champion Aaron Smith had the chance to compete in Jordan Sims’ 998-engined Mini Se7en at Silverstone, and he did rather well, staying with the lead pack and even taking the lead at one stage. So after a weekend of trying his hand at our original formula, we checked in to see what he thought…

So, obvious first question – how was it?
I honestly had a great weekend driving the Se7en – I would recommend trying it out to anyone. I had no idea how I would get on initially, as I only drove the car for a couple of 20-minute sessions on the Friday test at Silverstone. Darren Thomas had done all the prep work on the car and it felt really good straight away, so luckily I could get up and running pretty quickly.

The basic principles of driving a Miglia, Se7en or S-Class are all very similar. The main difference between a Miglia and a Se7en is just the mechanical grip. The Miglias are stuck to the tarmac, whereas in a Se7en you have the narrowed tyres, more like a historic Mini, and you need it to move around more so you can carry corner speed. The drivers all battle just as close, and are all great fun to have a go in.

There are always rumours over costs. Do you think you need to spend a fortune to get to the front?
Rumours are an amazing thing, and it’s definitely the first thing people jump to when their car isn’t going as fast! I honestly don’t know how much Jordan’s engine cost, but if it’s a new engine it’s going to be quite a bit in parts alone. If you think – steel crack, steel rods, light weight pistons – you get the idea.

In general, most of the engines are of similar pace – look at the results and this year we had five different race winners and seven different cars have made it to the podium. You will get competitors with the ‘full works’ engines, and that’s the same in any form of motorsport, but that doesn’t mean they are unbeatable by any means. There are plenty of drivers out there with the ability to win.

But to avoid any arguments, I would say Jordan’s car has a very similar spec to everyone else, although I don’t know exactly what he’s spent, I wouldn’t like to get too much into that…!

Ok, fair enough, so how do you go about getting the most from a Mini Se7en?
I would say car prep is a massive step into making your car fast – making sure everything is in good condition. So start with the simple things like wheel bearings, they are very important for rolling resistance. Less resistance equals more speed. That’s just one thing, and it doesn’t necessarily cost you any money.

Driving the car, focus on getting the very best you can out of it. So go and walk the circuits, get to know your way round. Watch other drivers, see if they are braking later, carrying more speed, and it all helps in becoming faster. That’s the key to it.

So now you’ve had a go, do you fancy a full season in a Se7en?
Yes, I would 100% do a full season. I really enjoy driving any of the cars, be that a Miglia, Se7en or S-class. Just being part of the Mini 7 racing Club is great. There’s always plenty of laughs through the racing and the club as a whole always puts on as great show.

I have been lucky enough to do very well in the championship and will be racing for many years to come.

Out of the four formulas, which would you recommend to a newcomer?
That’s a tough one. When I started, I decided based on what car and spares packages were for sale. I went straight into a Miglia, as the car and spares were being sold as a retirement package, so it had everything to get me going. I even won two races in that car before progressing to a new build.

If you look at running costs, getting the car to the events, entries, fuel, consumables, testing – it’s the same in all classes. So then it just comes down to cost of the car and engine. The S-Class engines are the cheapest to look after, as it’s quite a standard engine. Se7en and Miglia engines will usually cost more to maintain, as they have more advanced parts to them. Then again, if you look after them they will look after you and your wallet!

2024 Calendar Announced

We’re excited to now share with you the complete race calendar for 2024. Please book these weekends out / begin negotiations with the family around these dates!

There’s lots to like about this calendar, including the fact that there will be no combined Mig/Seven races bar the Winter shootout finale at Brands Hatch in November, which will be run to a brand-new format.

We return to Cadwell Park, Thruxton with the Touring Cars, the Mini Festival is back to two days with three races, and we’ll also visit the Castle Combe Historic Festival. Importantly, we have avoided clashes with some of the major Mini race events like Goodwood and the Silverstone Classic.

  • Rounds 1-2, Donington Park GP, 29-30 March 2024
  • Rounds 3-4, Cadwell Park, 27-28 April 2024
  • Rounds 5-6, Snetterton 300, 18-19 May 2024
  • Rounds 7-8, Thruxton BTCC, 7-9 June 2024
  • Rounds 9-10, Anglesey, 6-7 July 2024
  • Rounds 11-13, Brands Hatch Mini Festival, 3-4 August 2024
  • Rounds 14-15, Castle Combe, 21-22 September 2024
  • Rounds 16-17, Silverstone International, 13-14 October 2024
  • Winter shootout, Brands Hatch Indy, 2-3 November 2024

 

Annual Awards Night

We are pleased to announce that the M7RC Annual Trophy Awards will be held on Saturday January 27th at the Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel.

Please be sure to book your place at the dinner table and a room for the night as soon as possible, as the evening is going to be as popular as ever. Note, our Annual Technical Meeting will precede the awards on the afternoon of the 27th.

Do start thinking and gathering feedback / seconders for any Technical and Sporting Regulation Proposals you wish to be discussed / voted on.  

The tickets are available from Mark Sims via mss@clearsons.co.uk, and cost £70 each.

To book your room at the hotel, call 01676 522335, press Option 1 and quote the code MI7 for a special discounted rate of £135.

VENUE:
Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel and Country Club Maxstoke Lane
Meriden
CV7 HR

Brands Hatch Winter Series preview

With the 2023 National titles decided two weeks ago at Silverstone, the Mini 7 Racing Club returns home to complete its seven-round Winter Series…

When the Mini Se7en race series first began at Brands Hatch in 1966, who would have imagined these iconic little machines would still be competing almost 60 years later, let alone still breaking lap records. Yet here we are, with racing development of these classic cars continuing at pace, and three new class lap records set earlier this season at the Brands Hatch Mini Festival.

 

Racing is frantic from lights to flag, with battles throughout the field to keep you enthralled over three 20-minute outings. Relatively low power outputs and a rather brick-like aerodynamics keeps the playing field level, so it’s unusual for any one driver to dominate the proceedings. Look out for the experienced drivers holding back in the top-five places until the very last lap, and a mad dash to the finish!

 

The Winter Series consists of seven rounds, with drivers able to drop their two lowest scores, and this weekend all four classes will be competing together on the same grid, so expect a lot of action!

 

Phil Bullen-Brown currently leads the standings in the fastest 1293cc Mini Miglia series, and will hope to keep up his momentum from a win last time out. Also look out for multiple Miglia champion Rupert Deeth, whose brand new (and rather stealthy) car is very much on the pace after a few rounds of development.

In the original 998cc Mini Se7en series, Joe Thompson currently leads the points, and will be keen to stay in front of provisional National Champion Mike Jordan to take a share of the top trophies. Ross Billison and Spencer Wanstall will be there at the sharp end too, on a weekend that traditionally throws in some surprise winners.

The entry-class Mini Se7en S-Class continues to provide bumper grids, with Matt Ayres holding a comfortable points advantage before drop scores, but provisional Champion Jonathon Page will no doubt be as quick as ever. If Frazer Hack and Michael Winkworth are having a good day, both will be contenders for a win.

 

We also have the Mini Libre series, an invitation class for more wild A-Series power units competing alongside the Mini Miglia grid. Craig Edgecombe not only won his class last time out, but overtook all the Mini Miglia cars too – twice! Let’s see who comes out on top at a tighter circuit that tends to favour cornering speed over all-out horsepower.

 

 

 

LAP RECORDS (2.356-mile circuit)

Miglia:             Aaron Smith                                    0:54.092            79.37 mph                        6 August 2023           

Libre:                        David Franks                        0:54.800            79.35 mph                        25 August 2018

Se7en:            Mike Jordan                                    0:58.247            74.65 mph                        6 August 2023

S-Class:            Matthew Page                        0:59.359            73.25 mph                        6 August 2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Croft Preview

A much-anticipated return to Croft should guarantee thrilling track action, as we reach rounds 14-15 of the 2023 season. And what a thrilling season it’s been thus far.

MINI MIGLIA

Competition for top honours in the 1.3-litre Miglia class has never been as fierce, with half a dozen or more aces all capable of winning on raceday. Three-time champion Aaron Smith holds what looks like a clear advantage at the top of the standings but both Kane Astin and Rupert Deeth are also ex-class champions poised to close the gap should Smith falter, as is former BTCC title winner Andrew Jordan who has an outside chance despite missing a couple of meetings this season.

Dropped scores come into play after this weekend’s double-header, and so the title chase could well head off to the Silverstone finale next month with overall placings decided by number of wins – Smith, Astin and Jordan currently have 3 apiece, while Deeth will be hoping he can unlock the winning combination from his all-new car.


Mini Libre

Starting behind the Miglias is the M7RC’s category for alternative A-Series tuning, and leading the way is former S-Class champ Julian Proctor, one win and half a dozen other podium finishes giving him a 21-point advantage. However, reigning title holder Richard Colburn has been steadily closing the gap in his similar 5-porter with three wins on the trot, while Les Stanton, Phil Harvey and Peter Hills (16v) are all still in with a shout.

MINI SE7EN

The highly experienced Mike Jordan is the man on form among the 1-litre frontrunners, eight victories taking him to within 6 points of series leader Joe Thompson who bagged a brace earlier in the season. However, Ross Billison has shown a decent turn of speed so far and with one win plus several runner-up finishes has moved up into 3rd overall just 8 points shy of Jordan.

Similarly, in 4th Spencer Wanstall is not all that far off having also scored a single victory, as has the 2022 champion Connor O’Brien in 6th who looks to have finally overcome his early season reliability woes. These five are the most likely to be in the hunt this weekend, although Glen Woodbridge is edging ever closer to top spot, while Darren Thomas and Damien Harrington cannot be discounted from being on leading pace.

Mini-7 S-Class

Heading into Croft, Jonathan Page tops the milder-tuned 1275cc category having racked up four class victories in the last half dozen starts, five fastest laps adding extra bonus points too. Add to that, he has had brother Matthew picking up points from his rivals including victory at Brands last month to make it a Page double.

Chris Prior lies second overall however thanks to consistent scoring but has yet to repeat his debut victory of last season, while Frazer Hack in 3rd will be keen to get his title challenge back on track, his four wins so far tempered with a fifth DNF last time out in a first corner melée that also saw dad Andy in the gravel, Hack senior having won earlier in the season. Matt Ayres is the other title contender, his early season 3-win pace-setting blunted with a triple DNS at the overseas Zandvoort trip, although conversely this means he has no points to drop either so simply has to go all out for top scores from the four remaining rounds.

 

LAP RECORDS (2.125-mile circuit)

Miglia:             Joe Thompson                        1:33.326            81.97 mph                        14 April 2019           

Libre:                        Jos Evans                                    1:35.465            80.13 mph                        14 April 2019

Se7en:            Leon Wightman                        1:43.056            74.23 mph                        14 April 2019

S-Class:            Scott Kendall                        1:44.892            72.93mph                        14 April 2019

 

 

MIGLIA & LIBRE INFO:

Thrilling Thruxton

For the third time in five seasons the Mini 7 Racing Club earned an invite onto the BTCC-TOCA package, and over the first weekend in June once again proved to be the star performers supporting the headline act, with Mike and Andrew Jordan both recording double victories.

The Se7ens and S-Class runners were first up on Saturday afternoon and from pole position Mike Jordan soon had his nose in front, thereafter battling mightily to stave off a concerted effort from Connor O’Brien to usurp the position. T

here were early yellow flags after Tom Mills’ almighty head-on into the Club tyrewall on lap 2, then points leader Joe Thompson dropped out of the lead chase leaving Ross Billison to consolidate 3rd ahead of Spencer Wanstall, Damien Harrington and Darren Thomas.

The S-Class result was even closer, Jonathan Page initially claiming the spoils ahead of Frazer Hack and brother Matthew in a last-gasp, last-corner bid, but a route across the chicane grass after a sideways moment later incurred a 0.2s penalty to reverse the top two places.

Arguably the Miglia race a couple of hours later drew even greater plaudits, with a seven-car swarm exchanging places freely throughout.

When it mattered though, Andrew Jordan sneaked ahead into the chicane, pipping Aaron Smith to the chequer by just 0.239s with Kane Astin grabbing the final podium spot ahead of Jeff Smith, Colin Peacock, Phil Bullen-Brown and Rupert Deeth.

In the Libre class, Josh Evans got the better of Richard Colburn when passing the midfield Miglias, Julian Proctor leading home the rest of a strong entry.

Sunday drew not only more of the same weather for cold drinks and ice cream, but also a massive BTCC crowd to perform in front of, and neither Mini race failed to wow them. This time around, Jordan senior had to work his way to the front from row 4 but once there again had O’Brien glued to his tail, unfortunately for the latter a nose-to-tail tap in the chicane holing his rad which cooked the engine.

Billison took up the chase but fell short by just under half-a-second, with Wanstall 3rd. Jonathan Page got his revenge in the S-Class rematch, this time Fraser Hack losing several places ‘at the death’ as Chris Prior, Matt Ayres, Ben Butler and Lee Poolman all joined in the last corner bomb burst. Hack junior had the consolation of a new S-Class lap record, as did the overall Se7en winner.

If that wasn’t excitement enough, the second Miglia encounter pretty much mirrored the previous day’s spellbinding show, albeit with Scott Kendall joining in with the elite pack which sadly lost Astin at 2/3rds distance with a sick motor.

Even with late yellow flags the result was in doubt right up until Jordan junior held the line through the chicane to outdrag Jeff Smith to the finish by 0.143s, Aaron Smith edging Deeth and Kendall to claim 3rd. Evans looked all set for a Libre double before a late gremlin saw him pull off, leaving Colburn in front but Huw Turner had other ideas and gamely snuck past on the last lap as Les Stanton shadowed both in 3rd.

After four superb races on such a prestigious bill, and with applause ringing all around, not to mention huge captive ITV4 audiences, it couldn’t have been a better audition for a further invite in the not too distant future? Next up in early July, the long-awaited return visit overseas to Zandvoort in Holland for Rounds 9, 10 and 11 in the Dunlop Mini Challenges supported by Mini Spares

 

 

Thruxton3-4 June

 

Race 1            Se7en/S-Class            13 laps

1            88            M Jordan                        7

2            1            C O’Brien                        7

3            49            R Billison                        7

9            725            F Hack                        S

10            706            J Page                                    S

11            703            M Page                        S

 

Race 1            Miglia/Libre                        14 laps

1            77            A Jordan                        M

2            21            A Smith                        M

3            11            K Astin                        M

12            474            J Evans                        L

13            219            R Colburn                        L

17            595            J Proctor                        L

 

Race 2            Se7en/S-Class            13 laps

1            88            M Jordan                        7

2            49            R Billison                        7

3            73            S Wanstall                        7

10            706            J Page                                    S

11            714            C Prior                        S

12            758            M Ayres                        S

 

Race 2            Miglia/Libre                        14 laps

1            77            A Jordan                        M

2            46            J Smith                        M

3            21            A Smith                        M

14            123            H Turner                        L

15            219            R Colburn                        L

16            133            L Stanton                        L

 

Words: Rich Williamson

Thruxton BTCC preview

Anyone who has ever watched a Miglia race at Thruxton will tell you to “hold on to your hats!”  With aerodynamics akin to a house brick, a key skill in winning here is the art of flat-out slipstreaming rivals all the way round the far side of Thruxton’s 2.356 miles and plan not to be leading before the last corner, although many have found themselves taking the chequer ahead even after a last-gasp nudge across the kerbs!

Atop the standings of a champion-laden entry is Aaron Smith, having won titles between 2018-20 and so far this season has been 1st at Donington in April and 2nd on three other occasions, while not far behind is 2015 champion Kane Astin who has recorded two maximums, also at Donington and last time out at Snetterton too.

Jeff Smith has made his comeback in an equally competitive tin-top arena, and having secured multi-Mini Se7en titles moved up to Migs in 2021. A pair of victories, at Silverstone in March and last time out at Snetterton, shows he is gradually coming to grips after a challenging first season.

Rupert Deeth is another in the ‘triple title club’ (2014, 18, 22) but is further down the standings having missed Donington. Also expected to be bang on the pace are former BTCC champion (not to mention 2021 Miglia title as well) Andrew Jordan, who won the other Silverstone round back in March, and Historic F1 ace Nick Padmore, a Mini winner here at this same meeting back in 2019.

Battling over their own title from the rear of the Miglia grid are the Mini Libres, and they too will make the ground beneath your feet shake. Les Stanton and Peter Hills top the points but the winners’ spoils have been shared between 2021 champion Richard Colburn, Josh Evans and Steve Baker.

Leading the Mini Se7ens into this weekend is Joe Thompson, an established frontrunner in only a few short seasons. Victories at Silverstone and Donington, added to four other podiums, gives him a clear advantage over his nearest rivals.

Despite a trio of wins, one at Silverstone and both races at Snetterton last month, plus a 2nd and 3rd, Mike Jordan is adrift on points partly because he chose Goodwood Historics over Donington on the Sunday of the double-header weekend in April. In third overall lies Ross Billison, the winner of that Sunday race, and whose front-running nous has steadily risen in recent seasons, so don’t rule him out.

Likewise Spencer Wanstall and Glen Woodbridge who both have the pace to be in the mix at the chequered flag. The always immaculate green car of class rep Darren Thomas has won at this fixture before while reigning class champion Connor O’Brien will be hoping for a change of fortune after a reliability-troubled start to the season.

Starting 10 seconds behind the Se7ens, the feeder ‘Scholarship’ category should provide equally intense action, drifting and kerb-hopping in a similar fashion to their senior siblings.

Having graduated from karts, Matt Ayres is the current points leader, taking a double-victory at Silverstone followed up with a third win at Donington, but was off the pace last time out at Snetterton so expect a return to form this weekend.

Behind Ayres in the standings, Jonathan Page’s second season in the formula has seen him in the mix at most rounds but has yet to repeat his victories of last season, while brother Matthew looks to be equally competitive. Frazer Hack is following in dad Andy’s footsteps – literally – and both won a race apiece at Snetterton last month, indeed a father-and-son 1-2 in the first race there.

Hot on their heels however will no doubt be Michael Winkworth, class titleist in 2021, Winter crown in 2022 and already a race winner at Donington this season. With full grids expected this weekend, spectators won’t have much time to catch their breath!

 

 

LAP RECORDS (2.356-mile circuit)

Miglia:             Nick Padmore                        1:28.646            95.67 mph                        19 May 2019           

Libre:                        Phil Harvey                                    1:29.809            94.44 mph                        19 May 2019

Se7en:            Paul Thompson                        1:37.933            86.60 mph                        21 August 2005

S-Class:            James Bull                                    1:38.447            86.15 mph                        2 June 2018

 

Sensational Snetterton

Four thrilling Mini races were the highlight of the BARC-run Snetterton weekend in mid-May, with winning margins amazingly as small as 15 thousands of a second!

Saturday’s action kicked off with the first of the Mini Se7en and S-Class encounters, and out in front it boiled down to a straight fight between pole man Mike Jordan and series leader Joe Thompson, the tin-top old stager getting the nod by little more than a car’s length from the youthful charger, with Spencer Wanstall not quite able to stay with them but holding off Ross Billison for 3rd.

Meanwhile, the scholarship class produced a Club first, with a Hack father-and-son 1-2, but in the order of senior in front of junior, Andy having clawed his way up from the back row to slip past the erstwhile leaders as they held themselves up battling, Frazer taking the runner-up spot from Michael Winkworth.

Last race of the day saw the Miglia race burst into life from about mid-point, Aaron Smith’s bid for the lead at the hairpin delaying himself and, up to that point, in-control leader Kane Astin. Jeff Smith, Rupert Deeth and Ben Colburn looked set to take the advantage but further contact allowed a recovered Aaron Smith to come through and take the chequered flag ahead of Astin.

Subsequently Astin was promoted to the race win as both Smiths were handed time penalties for ‘gaining an unfair advantage’, Aaron Smith dropping a place but keeping his new fastest lap, and Deeth being elevated to 3rd. Further back, a good battle among the varied Libre runners produced a long overdue debut win for Steve Baker ahead of Josh Evans and Richard Colburn.

Sunday remained dry and in the early start with a reversed grid it took Jordan a few laps to make his way back to the front where he and Thompson then took turns in front, but with Wanstall a lot closer this time. At the chequer it was Jordan who took a double victory, including new fastest lap, although Thompson retained the overall points lead.

The closest finish came in the S-Class, with Frazer Hack pulling off a dramatic last corner move on Winkworth and drag to the line just 0.015s ahead, with Jonathan and Matthew Page right on their bootlids, the latter also breaking the lap record. Matt Ayres retained the class lead despite finishing down the order in both runs.

Rounding out the Mini action was another multi-leader Miglia cracker, Jeff Smith making a classic last-lap, slipstreaming pass into the Esses stick, and holding on through the Bombhole, around Coram and out of Russell to the flag from Aaron Smith and Astin ahead of Phil Bullen-Brown. The Libres again put on some excellent dicing, Evans going one place better than the day before, with Peter Hills taking a fine 2nd from Baker and Julian Proctor.

All eyes will now be on the next rounds of the Dunlop Mini Challenges supported by Mini Spares, which take place at Thruxton in Wiltshire on 3-4 June, and sees a return to the TOCA/BTCC support bill in front of huge crowds and a prime TV audience. It promises to be another brilliant weekend!

 

 

Snetterton 30013-14 May

 

Race 1            Se7en/S-Class            9 laps

1            88            M Jordan                        7

2            80            J Thompson                        7

3            73            S Wanstall                        7

9            723            A Hack                        S

10            725            F Hack                        S

11            728            M Winkworth            S

 

Race 2            Se7en/S-Class            9 laps

1            88            M Jordan                        7

2            80            J Thompson                        7

3            73            S Wanstall                        7

7            725            F Hack                        S

8            728            M Winkworth            S

9            706            J Page                                    S

 

Race 1            Miglia/Libre                        9 laps

1            11            K Astin                        M

2            21            A Smith                        M

3            23            R Deeth                        M

12            115            S Baker                        L

13            474            J Evans                        L

14            219            R Colburn                        L

 

Race 2            Miglia/Libre                        9 laps

1            46            J Smith                        M

2            21            A Smith                        M

3            11            K Astin                        M

13            474            J Evans                        L

14            126            P Hills                                    L

15            115            S Baker                        L