2015 British Superlite Championship Review
Before we get caught up in the excitement of the season ahead, it would be a good time to reflect on the wealth of action that took place last year.
With competitor licenses up for the fifth consecutive year, it was clear from the outset the action was going to be intense. The very
nature of the sport attracts drivers from a host of motorsport backgrounds, and each bring with them different personalities and driving styles. With a formula that ensures a level playing field, the result is countless adrenaline pumping overtakes and wheel to wheel action you will struggle to find elsewhere.
The British Championship kicked off at Three Sisters near Wigan, one of the birthplaces of Superlite racing and a source of breath taking action from start light to chequered flag. New Race suits, fresh colour schemes and graphics, the drivers on top of their mental game, everything was in place for the spectacle to begin.
The Superlite 600 championship, featuring snappy 600cc two stroke engines and CVT transmission, had shown up in force. Reigning champion Jake Swann No.110 proved to be a strong as ever, however Tony Turner No.84 managed to snatch the first pole position of the season by 5/100th of a second. Once racing got underway, despite the best efforts of Tim Page No.5 from West Yorks, Phil Redfearn who was last years runner-up and Tony Turner, they couldn't match the racecraft from Swann who took home maximum points for the round.
You know when the 900 Superlites hit the circuit, the infectious sound of the Honda Fireblade engine fills the venue and the fast paced action leaves you as worn out as the drivers post race! Simon Nutter running the No.1 plate from last year had all the plans in place to defend his title however the 14 other cars on the grid had different ideas. Once the lights had gone out and rubber laid down the big boys did battle. Phil Lee the super smooth Norfolk farmer took home a well deserved third from Nutter. Once the dust has settled at the front Mark Richardson No. 17 claimed victory only two points ahead of Duncan Macbeth No.150, last seasons 2nd place man.
The championship rolled on to Blyton Park in Lincolnshire for round two. Both classes were incredibly close and had gained extra drivers since once the season got underway, the 900 Superlite class ended with three points separating the four drivers at the top. Jake Difuria No.25 made good use of his home advantage, taking joint overall highest points, however Simon Nutter who also scored 95 points was able to take the win by scoring the best last race result. Phil Lee No.25 claimed third with 93 points and Macbeth on 92 points just behind. The Superlite 600 drivers did not disappoint in terms of spectacle, Swann and Turner fought tooth and nail all day, Jake Swann eventually came out on top by one point. The battle for the last spot on the podium went to Tim Page after some fantastic competition from Antony Jackson No.41 who following technical difficulties missed out on the chance of a podium.
Pembrey Race Circuit in Wales hosted the Third and Fourth round of the Championship with a thrilling double header. The event was run in conjunction with the BTRDA National Rallycross championship and we were proud to come away as the overall fastest category of the meeting by over a second a lap. The fast open layout mixed up the results and rewarded a precise driving style. This played out well for Kent-based Jake Swann, taking two victories on each day. Notably making one of the most impressive overtakes of the season coming into the sweeping off-road section sideways at over 80 mph and making the clean pass at the same time. However he did not have it easy, Turner kept him honest throughout the whole weekend taking two wins in the process. Notable mentions go to Ian Biswell No.113 and Gordon Knox No.47 both showing their ability to adapt to the style of circuit and bringing home solid points for their championship. The 900 Class contenders couldn't get enough flowing corners and ability to make the most of their 6 speed gearbox. Oxfordshire’s Duncan Macbeth showed his talent once again in Round 3 but Nutter managed to wrestle the victory from him in Round 4. Wisbech Heavy Recovery expert Charlie Welbourne No.74 took to the circuit straight away and earned himself joint second overall in Round Three with Jake Difuria. Phil Lee who will be competing for his 25th season in 2016 was third overall in Round Four. Mark Rushton of Bolton was starting to push the front-runners until an unfortunate accident that put him out of contention.
Back to the Three Sisters motorsport complex near Wigan for Round Five of the championship, the weather and tyre choice proved to be decisive factor in the results. Tony Turner in his Superlite 600 found his form and was the man to beat taking the first two victories and the overall. It wasn't until Race Three his main rival Jake Swann was able to get the better of him. Experienced quad racer Mike Taylor put in an appearance and took the third spot of the podium after holding off a strong challenge from Gordon Knox, Paul Hudson and Jody Hicks No. 24 of Doncaster. With the season at the halfway mark the drivers were doing their utmost to add to their points totals. The Superlite 900 championship was still separated by a handful of points at the top, current leader Macbeth threw everything he had but missed out on victory by one point to Nutter No.19 who put together a clean set of races. Welbourne kept up his form to keep Richardson behind him and secure third overall.
Teeside Autodrome played host to round six of the British Superlite Championship, the circuit features a number of technical sections connected by a long straight and huge 180° sweeping bend. Extremely popular with all the drivers the meeting had a large entry. Phil Redfearn No.50 regained some of last seasons form to earn a solid 4th place and a few blistering laps which showed his potential. Nothing could stop confident Jake Swann from taking all three victories from Turner in second. The Honda powered machines require smooth driver input for success here, The man for the job was Difuria, who held off a furious challenge from Richardson all day. Wayne Harris number 59 proved he is a force to be reckoned with and out-raced the championship leader behind him to take third position.
For 2015 the championship re-visited Lydden Hill Race Circuit in Kent, the World Rallycross Circuit provides some extremely high top speeds and a spectacular off-road section. With the differing circuit came a different set of victors. Superlite 600 veteran Paul Hudson displayed his experience and converted some good starts into an overall win. Second-place was separated by one point with Tony Turner coming out on top from southerner Anthony Jackson. Championship leader Jake Swann suffered some bad luck after taking two victories which pushed him right out of the points. The bright yellow 900 Superlite of Mark Richardson was the target for the grid and he kept it that way taking the overall with 100 points. Macbeth and Lee shared 88 points while Team Absolute Concrete driver Mark Rushton was not far behind on 79.
October, circuit temperatures are getting lower, the weather more unpredictable and championship points more crucial. We returned to 3 Sisters for another different layout at the race complex for round eight. The 600 championship had come down to a battle between two teams and Turner needed to keep Swann behind him to keep his championship hopes alive. After qualifying on pole it looked possible but once the racing was in full swing he couldn't make it stick. Biswell and Taylor got in the mix and finished equal on 92 points but couldn't doing anything about Swann taking home maximum points and the 2015 championship at the same time.
The top 7 drivers in the 900 championship qualified within a second of one another. This set the mood for the whole round as drivers battled for every inch of the Tarmac with no runaway winner until Richardson clinched it at the end from Macbeth and Difuria in third, only 1 point ahead of Harris in 4th.
The finale at Cadwell Park is something the fans and drivers look forward to from the offset. Not only did the rain stay away but daylight held well above average for the time of year. With the championship in the bag and the pressure off Team Big666 driver Jake Swann looked set to give it everything. However Lady Luck chose otherwise and despite two wins his machine decided it wasn't playing ball. This left the overall wide open and everyone wanted a piece of the action. The top four drivers were within a 5 point range at the end of the day with Yorks Tony Turner taking the honours, Ian Biswell a very close second and Paul Hudson pushing them all the way for third. Sadie Redfearn No.55, the best looking driver in the paddock, took no mercy on the boys and grabbed a top 5 finish during the day. Her team manager and father Phil ended his season with a win and fastest lap in the final race of the season.
The 2015 Superlite 900 championship was conquered by Duncan Macbeth despite having a poor day at Cadwell, he had done enough work earlier in the season to earn the title. Mark Richardson who seemed a new man for the second half of the season continued his top form and took victory in 3 out of 3 races. Rushton No.22 finished his season on a high with his best result of 94 points and second place overall in Round 9. Mark has been an incredible part of the community all season helping numerous individuals and deserves the success. The distinctive blue and yellow striped Superlite of Charlie Welbourn finished the day in third after some tough battles to get to the front.
With some new talent entering for the 2016 season, its going to be an even more exciting year of motorsport, with all the drivers running to the same set of Regulations, it all comes down to car setup and driver form on the day. We look forward to seeing you at the first Championship round on the 28th of March back here at Three Sisters. For more information on the series head to www.superlite.co.uk
Yours in sport