14/08/2019

Three things to look out for at Thruxton

Thruxton, the fastest circuit on the calendar, is one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the calendar. Cue several topics to talk about going into this weekend's round there...
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The title race
There’s no sugar-coating it: the rivalry between current championship leaders Max Coates and Jack Young 'intensified'  last time out at Snetterton in two highly charged races.

While their duelling made for competitive viewing both trackside and on ITV4, both will know the importance of Thruxton’s two rounds.

A failure to score in either race could prove disastrous as there will then only be six more rounds to go (at Knockhill, Silverstone and Brands Hatch).

Neither has to worry about the single dropped score rule – each already has a zero against his name. But that means they have now played their 'get out of jail' cards. There is no more wriggle room…

What’s more, Brett Lidsey and Jamie Bond, next up in the standings, remain within striking distance – Bond, fourth in the standings, is 51 adrift of Coates in the lead, with a maximum of 56 to be had at Thruxton.

More mixing it up at the front?
Rewind to Brands Hatch’s opening rounds in April and Jade Edwards was fighting tooth and nail with Lidsey and Ethan Hammerton over third place.

For one of them it was going to be a maiden podium result and in the end it went to Lidsey (who has since taken six more).

Fast forward to Snetterton a fortnight ago and Hammerton also finally achieved a top-three result.

So could it be Edwards’ turn in Hampshire? Last year at Thruxton she qualified as high as fifth and ran in the leading pack, duelling with the likes of eventual champion Paul Rivett.

Certainly she will go there feeling confident, as will Hammerton – could that Snetterton podium have opened the floodgates for him?

Then there is Ben Colburn... given his team Westbourne's and big brother James' previous race-winning form around Thruxton, there is plenty of knowledge for him to put to good use and, like Edwards and Hammerton, potentially sneak in and take points off the current top four.

On y va, as they say...

The fastest laps in history?
By dint of Thruxton being the most rapid circuit in the land, it’s no surprise that it’s also where, in terms of average speed, the fastest laps in championship history have always been achieved.

This weekend therefore represents one final chance to set what will stand forever two of the most coveted Clio Cup records.

To do that the current official records – ‘official’ because they came during either a qualifying session or a race – will have to be beaten.

Set in 2017, they are:
•    Qualifying: Mike Bushell, 1m22.207s (avg. 103.17mph)
•    Race: Dan Zelos: 1m22.777s (avg.102.46mph)

As ever, a number of factors will come into it: weather, track limits decisions, placing of any foam corner markers, getting ‘the perfect tow’ from Goodwood/Village down to Church and up Woodham Hill to the Club Chicane etc…

If the weather is fair, though, head for the Chicane, stand back and enjoy as the front-runners attack the kerbs.