10 rounds down, from Castle Combe to Brands Hatch, so let’s take a look at how things are settling down in the Mini 7 Racing Club’s championships. Firstly there’s the Mini Se7en grid, which has seen no fewer than 46 entrants so far this year when combined with the S-Class.
Oulton Park will see the busiest S-Class grid yet - 10 cars and well on its way to needing a separate grid if the builds-in-progress are anything to go by. Shaun Tarlton is just edging Ben Butler as things stand, 78 to 76 points, both drivers mixing it up with the highly tuned Mini Se7en class.
That’s pretty impressive for these near-standard 1275 engines and a great incentive for others to join in the entry level class. Down in third is Justin Cooper, with three class wins. He’ll need four more wins to be up there with Shaun - no pressure then with only four rounds remaining!
Before drop scores come into play (the best 11 point scores of 14 rounds count this year) it’s Charlie Budd leading the way in the Mini Se7ens. He’s put everything into the 2017 season and been on the podium eight times. Will he make the top step before the season close?
Lewis Selby has been on form this year with four wins and looks likely to take the championship fight right to the last round with Charlie. It’s going to be a thrilling end to the season, especially as Ashley Davis has found some reliability to match his pace late in the season.
Andrew Deviny is a strong third and could also be a title challenger late in the day. The only other driver to take a win so far this season is Darren Thomas - two wins in fact - but reliability hasn’t been on his side.
Dom Burger has shot up the table from last season and is doing great in the former Paul Spark Se7en.
New to the grid this season is 17-year-old Joe Thompson. He’s currently leading the Novice Championship by a fair margin and eighth overall. Definitely a driver to watch for the future.
Moving to the Miglias, Rupert Death is storming ahead with five wins. He looks set for another title but Aaron Smith will surely be right with him, and don’t forget we missed round two at Castle Combe, so there’s still five races to go.
Dave Drew has made a popular return to form and was driving especially well at Silverstone for a second place in race one. Behind him, Rob Howard and Dan Wheeler have kept Endaf Owens busy all season, regularly exchanging places and an arch or two.
We’re looking forward to seeing Colin Peacock out in a car of his own again, having tried two borrowed Migs with mixed results. Alfie Brown has dominated the Novice race, whilst returns for Peter Baldwin and Nick Padmore have been enjoyed by long-term club supporters.
It’s been a frustrating season of car woes for Kane Astin as he swaps between a Miglia and historic, but a win was his for the taking at Brands Hatch. With new-found pace and determination to take a win or two before the season’s over, he’ll be one to watch in the last five races.
The Libre class has made a strong start for the first season, and it’s Peter Crewes in his tried-and-tested 7-Porter who leads the way. Fellow Libre regulars Gary Warburton and Peter Hills are almost tied for points but on outright pace Peter Hills has had the edge so far.
It seems that two cams aren’t better than one after all, but we’re sure things will develop as the formula finds its feet. Will they ever beat a Miglia for pace? It seems unlikely at the moment, but let’s see what happens at Oulton Park…
Thanks to Matt Barrington for the top race photography.
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