Charlie Robertson emerged from a memorable 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship season with the coveted title after overcoming both Sennan Fielding and Niall Murray in an enthralling three-way championship fight.
The season was shaping up to be a classic from the off – with an almost unprecedented four second year drivers, Robertson, Fielding, Murray and George Gamble, all race-winners in their rookie season, all returning to battle it out against a group of hard-charging rookies, led by Harry Woodhead, Pepe Massot and Andrew Watson.
It all began back on April Fools Day at Brands Hatch, with Robertson and Murray sharing the wins on the opening weekend to showcase their early championship credentials, while a superb debut for reigning Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner Oliver Basey-Fisher saw him take a maiden podium finish.
While the opening rounds were generally fairly calm, it all kicked off at Donington Park during Rounds Three and Four. Two separate incidents in the opening race caused substantial damage to six cars, with Hillspeed duo Gamble and Nathan Harrison amongst those to have their cars written off, while a dramatic second race saw Murray and Robertson make contact on more than one occasion, leading to a retirement for Robertson and disqualification for Murray.
Murray had taken the opening win, with Fielding emerging victorious in race two, with rookies Massot and Watson benefitting from the madness to take their maiden podiums. The weekend ended with Gamble leaving the championship, a big disappointment for the series, with Harrison following suit two weekends later due to budget problems.
The chaos in Leicestershire had allowed Fielding to seize the early advantage in the championship, though Robertson moved himself to the top as he dominated at the high-speed Thruxton. The HHC Motorsport star took both wins, with Murray and Woodhead completing the rostrum on both occasions, the latter taking his first ever series podiums.
After Robertson’s double, race wins continued to come in pairs in the final two weekends before the summer mid-season break. Murray took both wins at Oulton Park, before it was Fielding’s turn to dominate a weekend at Croft.
Whilst each driver enjoyed their moment in the spotlight, they also all continued to collect other podium finishes to keep the championship battle nice and close. Also continuing his fine form was Spaniard Massot, who added three more podiums before the mid-season break.
After a seven week hiatus, it was Robertson who returned on top form, starting at Snetterton. A win in Norfolk, followed by double success on home tarmac at Knockhill, meant the Surrey-based racer began to assume control of the championship. Robertson followed this with a double second at Rockingham, the scene of a maiden win for Ollie Chadwick, and a second place behind first-time winner Watson in the opening race on the penultimate weekend at Silverstone.
During this time, Robertson’s two main rivals had both suffered indifferent form. While Fielding had picked up just a win and a pair of second places in the eight races, Murray had not returned to the top step of the podium, though he did secure four podium results. Despite their struggles, both were still in contention for the title heading into the final meeting at Brands Hatch thanks to a retirement for Robertson in the final race at Silverstone.
Around the Grand Prix circuit, Murray took the opening win, his first since June, though it wasn’t enough to deny Robertson the title, a hard-fought fourth place giving him the crown. The 15 year old capped it off with second place in the final race, with Fielding snatching the final win to confirm himself as the series runner-up ahead of Murray, who had to settle for third, though his Douglas Motorsport outfit did win the Teams Championship.
Massot’s fine form ensured he ended as the best of the rest in fourth, the Hillspeed ace having taken a maiden win at Snetterton, before doubling his tally at Silverstone. Watson was a close fifth thanks to his win at Silverstone, while Woodhead rounded out the top six with a total of five podium finishes to his name.
Final 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship Standings:
- Charlie Robertson – 507 points
- Sennan Fielding – 481 points
- Niall Murray – 468 points
- Pepe Massot – 395 points
- Andrew Watson – 367 points
- Harry Woodhead – 351 points
- Ollie Chadwick – 319 points
- Keith Donegan – 274 points
- Oliver Basey-Fisher – 261 points
- Tom Jackson – 190 points
- Elliot Paterson – 171 points
- William Palmer – 170 points
- Nathan Harrison – 92 points
- Freddie Lee – 76 points
- George Gamble – 50 points
- Finlay Ractliffe – 21 points
- Ricky Collard – 10 points
- Aiden Moffat – 0 points
All photos: Jakob Ebrey Photography