Team Northbrook Racing takes opening day Student Motorsport Challenge honours at blustery Snetterton

Snetterton Race 1 Podium - April 2024 (Photo: Roger Jenkins)

Reigning Student Motorsport Challenge title holders Team Northbrook Racing took their first victory of the 2024 season when Richard Jepp brought the #65 Peugeot 107 home for his first victory in class of the year and in second place overall. Jepp finished just two-tenths of a second ahead of Joshua Jackson in the #27 QE Motorsport Citroen C1 Jackson’s result meant that SMo Challenge entries made up two-thirds of the overall BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship podium finishers, Stuart Bliss taking the outright win in the #18 Toyota Aygo.

Richard Jepp driving the #65 Team Northbrook Racing Peugeot 107 – Race 1, Snetterton (Photo: Roger Jenkins)
Joshua Jackson Chasing Richard Jepp in Race 1 (Photo: Roger Jenkins)

Completing the Challenge podium was Brady Pollock in the #12 West Suffolk College Toyota, Pollock making his car racing debut on the Snetterton 300 circuit.

Brady Pollock - Snetterton (Photo: Roger Jenkins)

12 of the 13 Student Motorsport Challenge entries for the weekend took the start for the first Challenge race of the weekend. The #26 City College Norwich Peugeot failed to make the grid for the opening contest after the team suffered a blown engine whilst qualifying.

City College Norwich - Car #26 Suffers an Engine Failure (Picture: JP Latham)

Jack Wheeler in the #57 East Surrey College entry finished fourth with James Reilly in the #11 Barracksport Citroen and Haydn Payne in the #72 QE Motorsport Citroen completing the top six.

Finishing 7th in class was Rory Pickles in the #52 Boston College Racing on the debit for the 16-year-old. Andrew Payne, father of Haydn, finished 8th in the Challenge class with TNR’s Ari Barker, Barracksport GSR’s James Smith, Boston College Racing’s Nick Abbott and Glenn Bee, driving for City College Norwich completing the finishers for what was a record grid of Challenge competitors.

Rory Pickles - Debut Race for Boston College Racing - Snetterton April 2024 (Photo: Roger Jenkins)

Jepp and Jackson enjoyed a close battle at the front after the TNR pilot passed the QE Motorsport driver in the opening seconds. Jackson managed to get past the #65 car in the second half of the 15-minute contest before running wide and allowing Jepp to regain second place. 

With less than eight minutes remaining, Stuart Bliss passed Richard Jepp for the overall lead and, having a three-tenths of a second lap advantage around the Snetterton 300 circuit meant that the TNR driver was unable to find way past over the closing laps.

Bliss Passes Jepp with Minutes Remaining - Snetterton Race 1 - April 2024 (Photo: Roger Jenkins)

Team Northbrook Racing Team Principal Emma Norton was delighted to take the win but acknowledged that the Student Motorsport Challenge was a tougher competition in 2024.

“The grid is going to be a lot bigger and a lot harder but we’re really looking forward to this season,” said Emma Norton. “it’s quite a challenge and we’re really looking forward to the competition this year. I think it’s going to be really exciting.”

TNR Team Principal Emma Norton in the SMo Paddock - Snetterton - Post Race 1 - April 2024 (Photo: Roger Jenkins)

With Team Northbrook Racing expanding to a two-car squad, the operational challenges have increased for the South Coast-based squad.

“We have to be a lot more organised connecting the students at the meeting but so far it’s working very well,” continued Emma Norton. “We’ve split the group into two so they each know which driver they’re working with and everyone’s communicating superbly.”

Joshua Jackson, on his racing debut in the Student Motorsport Challenge, was very pleased at how his first race with QE Motorsport had gone.

“I think it’s been brilliant!” said Joshua. “It’s a great start to the season. Will (Snuggs) has been advising everyone and the team has done a great job to get the car ready and it’s all been perfect. It was a shame I couldn’t get it off the line very well but the race was great.”

The triple-header weekend for the Student Motorsport Challenge, part of the BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship, gets underway at 1035 on Sunday April the 7th.