First time JCW winner Nathan Edwards expressed his view that the result of the opening race of the Vertu MINI CHALLENGE weekend at Oulton Park was ‘massive’ for the supporting Cooper category after three series graduates filled the top three places.

Edwards won more races than anyone else in the MINI CHALLENGE Trophy last season en-route to fifth in the standings before taking the step up into the JCW field this year.

The race one win at Oulton Park marked his first visit to the podium this season and was achieved as a part of a 1-2 finish for the EXCELR8 team ahead of Tom Ovenden.

Ovenden himself stepped up from the Trophy over the winter having secured the championship title last year, with the pair joined on the podium by Nelson King in his Laser Tools Racing car.

King is in his second season in JCWs having been a dominant Cooper champion during the 2022 season.

“This result is a massive thing for the MINI CHALLENGE Trophy because the top three drivers here have all come up from Coopers,” Edwards said. “It shows that the Coopers are a great stepping stone up to this level, and shows the drivers in the series what they can achieve.

“This is only my fourth meeting in the series and I’ve got win, which is absolutely fantastic.”

The second place for Ovenden was his best result of the season so far, with second place being added to a pair of third place finishes at Donington Park.

“To come up from the Coopers over the winter with Nathan, and then get a result like that is fantastic,” he said. “To be part of a 1-2 with him in our rookie seasons is great, but hopefully next time, it’s me on the top step rather than him!”