It was the championship leaders that came out on top for Silverstone, during the fourth round of the MINI CHALLENGE – JCW series. A win apiece for Brett Smith and Max Bladon ensured both drivers came away with silverware and stretched Smith’s lead in the championship.
Elsewhere, two fairly clean races from the 28-car grid allowed Mark Wakefield to take third in the championship with two third places, the latter of which could have been better was it not for a red flag.
The star of the weekend though turned out to be Rob Smith, as two second places jumps him forward in the overall championship. Strong weekends would also be had from James Turkington and George Sutton.
Pole Position: Brett Smith – Eurotech Racing
Qualifying turned into the story of one man as Brett Smith set a number of laps early on to become untouchable around Silverstone. He was initially challenged by Max Bladon and Mark Wakefield but both fell back as the times improved.
Going into this weekend, Rob Smith was looking for more consistency and joined the battle in the closing stages, going second by just 0.030 seconds. Bladon would take third as Charlie Butler-Henderson rounded out the second row.
CB-H has had an up and down season and like R.Smith will be aware that consistency is the key to the crown. Wakefield would collect fifth as new entrant Ben Winrow managed an impressive fifth. Elsewhere, Reece Barr and James Turkington rounded out the top eight.
Winner: Brett Smith – Eurotech Racing
It was a clean start from the field, with Brett Smith maintaining his lead from Rob Smith. Behind them, a strong getaway from George Sutton saw him jump four places up into eighth, making the best start of any of the front runners.
With the race settling in attention turned to the battle for third as Max Bladon attempted to hold off the field behind. Mark Wakefield was the first to make it past as Bladon struggled to maintain momentum.
A solid race from Charlie Butler-Henderson was short lived, with the MINI UK VIP driver slowing on the back straight after Chapel. CB-H eventually pulled into the pits, suffering another poor opening event.
Wakefield failed to break away in third, with James Turkington hounding him over the final few laps. Wakefield would regain the place in the closing laps, as contact for those behind allowed Henry Neal to jump up the order.
Back at the front, Rob hounded B. Smith with the gap fluctuating throughout the race, but rarely opening out to over a second. With the final lap imminent, Rob dropped back allowing a comfortable victory for Brett Smith as Wakefield completed the podium.
Turkington would settle for fourth as Bladon, Neal, Sutton and Reece Barr rounding out a competitive top eight.
Winner: Max Bladon – Privateer
Pole sitter Henry Neal had made a strong start, until he spun at Maggots, dropping him into the midfield. This left Max Bladon up front as a four car train chased him into Club corner. James Turkington had emerged in second, but it wouldn’t last long as Rob Smith pressured.
The field was moderately static during the opening two laps, with a safety car called after the #52 Littman crash into the barrier after Kevin O’Connor spun in front of him.
As the lights went back to green, Bladon led R.Smith away with all eyes on the battle for second as Mark Wakefield got the run on Smith into Maggots.
Wakefield was not slowing down either, immediately pressuring Bladon, who was forced to go defensive through Village. Wakefield would line up for a successful overtake but a red flag was waved rejecting his opportunity.
The race was stopped as Stuart Gough hit Ryan Dignan, stalling Dignan on the track at Club corner.
The results were thus counted back a full lap, ensuring Bladon was handed the win ahead of Rob Smith and the disappointed Wakefield. Brett Smith inherited fourth from Turkington and Reece Barr, while George Sutton and Brad Hutchinson rounded out the top eight.