The Milltek Sport Civic Cup returns to the tracks this weekend, anticipating a season that promises more exciting racing and stacked grids which comprise an intriguing mx of both youth and experience.
As the championship enters a new era, which includes a 16-round programme that shares its calendar with the massively popular Time Attack Championship and the introduction of the new Production Class, organisers prepare to welcome 29 drivers for the opening two rounds at Cadwell Park on Monday 3rd May – a record figure in recent times.
For many of the drivers, the season-opener will see the first time they have driven the 2.1-mile technically demanding circuit set within the Lincolnshire countryside. And with others not so familiar with the venue, Cadwell Park is destined to provide a level playing field and ultra-close competition that will set the scene for the year ahead.
Now fully integrated on the Maximum Motorsport aspirational racing ladder, the Milltek Sport Civic Cup provides a valuable platform, not only for those looking to race in one of the most exciting single-make championships in the UK but offers a steppingstone for those wishing to progress in UK motorsport. Indeed, 2020 champion Bruce Winfield’s dominant season with Area Motorsport saw him take five wins on the way to secure the title, a performance that enabled him to graduate to the Goodyear Touring Car Trophy in a Cupra TCR for 2021.
The success of Bruce’s campaign will be encouraging to his title rival and former teammate Alistair Camp, who returns to the Milltek Sport Civic Cup this year. Picking up six podiums over the course of the season, the grey and pink #45 finished runner-up in 2020. He’ll be joined once again by front-runner Jamie Tonks in car #4, together with double karting champion and Mazda MX-5 race winner Matt Luff who embarks on his debut season in a Honda.
For those following the championship, several Cup Class competitors will be a familiar sight, with 12 – half of all main entries from last year – making a return for 2021, including last year’s rookie sensation George Alp-Williams. The 17-year-old impressed at the Donington Park finale, picking up an overall win before recording another podium in the second race, making the #5 one of young stars to watch out for.
20-year-old Jay Daniels is striving to be another, along with Cumbria’s Elliot Lewthwaite, as each make their series debut. Regular top six finishes for Bradley Lane in 2020 leaves him with unfinished business in car #40, while the young Morgan Bailey is one of only two drivers to feature a brand new 2021-spec Civic EP3, also driven by Dan Thackeray. One of a handful stepping across from the Type R Trophy, the MJ Motorsport driver will be a likely contender following his title-winning season in 2020. He will be joined by the team’s co-owner Jon Peerless.
While EP3’s remains the model of choice for most of the field, Dave Buky will once again look to upset the order in his 2004 Civic. Although he won’t be alone this season, as Britcar and Ginetta GT4 exponent Eric Boulton joins the championship to drive another FN2. Oliver Barsby and Ryan Bensley will also return with 2020-built EP3s, along with Championship regulars Paul McHugh and Martin Dalzell.
Ross Darlington continued to improve as the 2020 season went on, picking up a famous top five finish in the final round, despite losing fourth gear with a handful of laps to go. The result gave him the momentum for a winter of preparation and will be another to watch in his self-described ‘Old English White and Racing Green’ EP3. Former Swift RallyCross Champion Chris Mullen joins for 2021, along with Type R podium finisher Philip Wright and Kinetic Motorsports’ Simon Waite who completes the 20-strong Cup Class grid.
In the Production Class, designed for 224BHP Type-R models, MJ Motorsport again make a major appearance, running four further machines. Team co-owner Mervyn Beckett heads the quartet in car #32, joined by Finnish/English driver Peter Dell and series newcomers Alfie and Harry Threlfall. Other class challengers making an appearance at Cadwell Park will be Nick Charlier (#97) and Matthew Stenning (#116).
Two drivers who joined the grid for the trail-run of the Production Class at last year’s final round are back for a full campaign this season, with Mark Hughes and Simon Welch hoping to put their experience in the category to good use. Completing the Production Class line-up will be Welsh racer Rhys Lewis.
So, the scene is set and with 29 drivers all trying to get their season’s off to a flying start at one of the most challenging circuits in the country, lights-to-flag action is guaranteed. The meeting is being live-streamed and broadcast via the championship’s Facebook page and You Tube channel.
The 20-minute qualifying session is scheduled to get underway at 10.50, with the two 20-minute races set for 13.50 and 16.00 respectively. Compulsive viewing indeed!