Welcome to part two of our ones to watch feature where we will be looking at the Mini Max and Junior Max classes.
Around 20 drivers are expected in the Mini Max class with pretty much all the seeded drivers moving up to Juniors, or in some cases Seniors. The one seeded driver that remains in the class is Doimic Bush who will certainly be a driver that will challenge for race victories, however there are lots of new faces who have looked quick over the winter.
Racing for Persistence Motorsport, Lewis travelled out to the Rotax Winter Cup and raced in the Junior Max class where he showed great pace challenging for the podium. Back in the UK he’s had several podiums at tracks including Rowrah and Whilton Mill. At last weekends O Plate he took pole in qualifying and the win in heat one before an unlucky Pre-Final cost him a real shot at victory. He’s coming in well prepared and I see no reason why he won’t challenge for the title.
Up from Honda Cadets, Alex had a good season in Honda Cadets last year finishing 4th in the championship. He’s now joined KR Sport who are undoubtedly one of the best teams in the class and a recent sponsorship deal has given him budget to do a full assault this year. His recent performances at Whilton Mill and Rowrah have been very impressive and I think he’ll be winning come the end of the season.
However, the man who is looking almost impossible to beat this year is Alex Lloyd. His accident at Fulbeck saw him have to pull out of two rounds last year, but he seems to have come back even stronger and has won, if not all, of the races he has done this year. He’s won at Rowrah, Whilton Mill, PFI most of which the tracks Super One visiting! His win at last weekends O Plate makes him as a nailed on favourite for me.
Although other Rotax grids are struggling one class that certainly isn’t struggling is Junior Max with over 20 drivers expected. Tyler Chesterton and Tommy Foster are two strong names returning to the grid. Finishing 7th and 8th in last year’s championship they are the top seeds and both will be hugely strong title contenders! Most drivers say they are the ‘ones to beat’ and so they should be. Foster won last weekends O Plate and Chesterton has looked strong at several club meetings on the lead up to the season. Who will be the drivers to challenge them?
When it comes to the history of Isaac Smith I don’t know a huge amount apart from the two rounds of Super One he did last year. But the Dan Holland Racing driver has had a huge turn of pace this year and has been creeping up at several club events running at the sharp end. Whilton Mill and Rowrah are just two examples of that where he has been right at the front challenging for podiums. He may not be a name everyone knows in Super One, but by the end of this season he will be!
Bradley was 10th in last years championship and after three consecutive years of Super One I think his time has come to mount a title assault. Bradley was 5th in the OKJ class last year and I think that experience has helped him a huge amount when racing in the Junior Max class. He’s looked strong over the winter and recently took a win at Whilton Mill and was 2nd at the last Rowrah club event. Watch this space!
There’s only a handful of rookie’s entered into Super One this season, but of those I think Tom Edmunds will take the rookie title. He’s been very impressive at club level in 2016, particularly at Whilton Mill. If he can reflect that at other circuits he should take it.
He may not be a seeded driver, but the driver many are tipping to take the title is KR Sport’s Clayton Ravenscroft. He’s been on fire this year and his 6th place in last years Mini Max Championship has given him a great understanding of all the circuits. His performance at the Rotax Winter Cup particularly impressed me as he raced in the Senior class and was quickest on track at certain times during the weekend. Of course Chesterton and Foster will will see themselves as favourites, but others who may play a part could be Guy Cunnington, Finlay Bunce and Klaas Kooiker. However, it just feels like it’s going to be Clayton’s year to me. Roll on Rowrah!
Join us for the third and final part of the ones to watch tomorrow where we will look at the X30 classes
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images courtesy of Stu Stretton, Chris Walker, Paul Babington and Bethanie Lawson