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BRITISH RALLYCROSS REVS UP FOR BANK HOLIDAY BONANZA

Created on Monday, 22 Aug 2016 22:10:41

A total of 87 cars will compete at the sixth round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship in association with ODYSSEY Battery this weekend [August 29] as Lydden Hill in Kent hosts its traditional August Bank Holiday Monday event.

British RX Championship leader Dan Rooke (Holsworthy) heads the 13-strong Supercar field, the 19-year old returning to a circuit at which he has never been beaten in British RX events. Rooke won twice at the Kent circuit in 2015 on his way to the MSA Supernational Rallycross Championship title, and claimed his maiden Supercar victory at the venue in March. A second victory at the fifth round of the championship in Belgium extended the young driver’s points lead in the eight-event series.

Five-time MSA British Rallycross Champion Julian Godfrey (Heathfeild) claimed his only victory of the season so far in round four at Pembrey and heads to his most local event second to Rooke in the standings, 21 points adrift of the leader and with 32 points available in each of the remaining events. Former British Rallycross Champion Ollie O’Donovan (Iver) climbed to third overall at round five in Belgium. The London-based Irishman treats Lydden Hill as his home circuit and has won the August Bank Holiday event for the last two years. O’Donovan is tied on points with Supercar newcomer Dave Bellerby (Northallerton), who is still aiming for his first podium finish of the season in his ex-Dermot Carnegie Ford Fiesta.

Consistency has been key to Steve Harris’ (Hillbridge) season so far, the Citroen DS3 driver lying fifth overall, ahead of Kevin Procter (Northallerton), who has had a season of ups and downs. The former FIA European Rallycross Championship event winner won the opening round of the year at Croft, and the third at Pembrey, but was slowed by a holed intercooler in the final of round two at Lydden Hill and didn’t score any points in round four at Pembrey due to engine failure. The Ford Fiesta pilot then crashed out of the Belgian round in the qualifying stages and will be targeting a fight back this weekend.

Rallycross stalwart Steve Hill (Thame) is currently seventh in the standings with his unique Mitsubushi Evo X, one place ahead of multiple champion Pat Doran (Dolton), who races in the LD Motorsports team alongside Rooke. Like Procter, Albatec Racing’s James Grint (Kimpton) has had a dramatic season so far, the highlight of which was a podium at Lydden Hill in March. The former rally driver will be hoping for a repeat performance this weekend. Simon Horton (Clitheroe) and Andy Grant (Barnstaple) will both return to British RX action at Lydden, while Mark Flaherty (Wokingham) and Mad Mark Watson (Barnard Castle) will also take part.

Multiple rallycross champion Tony Lynch (Wigan) extended his lead at the top of the MSA Supernational Rallycross Championship with victory at round five in Belgium, but will face stiff competition this weekend in the competitive two-wheel drive category. Paige Bellerby (Northallerton) is Lynch’s closest rival for the lead of the points, she raced hard with Guy Corner (Northallerton) for second place in the final at Maasmechelen, the pair now split by a single point in the standings. Gary Dixon (Lincoln) will return to action in his Vauxhall Astra following a roll in Belgium, while Stuart Emery (Faversham) will make his first appearance in the series since May, the former champion having been forced to skip the Belgian round after sustaining an injury while cycling. Paul Easterbrook (Newton Abbot) will make his return to the category with his Toyota MR2 after a break of almost ten years, while Supernational event winner Gary Simpson (York) will make his first appearance of the season in his BMW E30.

The MSA Junior Rallycross Championship will return to the British RX bill at Lydden Hill, where points leader Sam Jones (Bexley) will be aiming to repeat this double-victory performance from the last time British RX visited Lydden in March. Jones holds a slim lead in the championship ahead of Tom Constantine (Richmond). Tom Middleton (Maldon) is third with Matt Rainbow (Stafford) fourth. Tom Llewellin (Haverfordwest), son of double British Rally Champion Dai Llewellin will return to rallycross action following his debut at Pembrey in May, where he twice claimed victory. Cameron Hawkes (Stockton on Tees) missed the Pembrey event but will be back in action at Lydden, while Morgan Wroot (Doncaster) will make his first appearance in the category having recently celebrated his 14th birthday.

In the supporting rallycross championships, Nathan Heathcote (Ashford) heads the order in the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship heading into his home round, having built a small margin over Aidan Hills (Worthing) and another driver local to Lydden Hill, Simon Ovenden (Canterbury), the latter pair split by just two points. 17 Swift Sports will line up on the grid, including two-time European Gymkhana Grid Champion Luke Woodham (Loudwater), who will join the field for the rest of the season, and Abi James (Daventry), making her motor racing debut. Local driver Darren Scott (Sittingbourne) will make his first start of the year. Tomasz Wielgosz (London) leads Graham Rumsey (Tunbridge Wells) in the Hot Hatch Rallycross Championship as the pair head for the circuit closest to their respective homes, while Fred Ling (Ashford) will make his first British RX start at his home circuit.

Defending champion Chrissy Palmer (Chichester) continues to dominate the RX150 Rallycross Championship, while Jake Harris (Canewdon) and Stephen Jones (Havant) are involved in a battle for second overall. Swedish driver Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky (Karlstad) will make her second RX150 start at Lydden Hill, driving the ODYSSEY Battery celebrity buggy, following her debut at Maasmechelen. Kirk Langley (Liverpool) will also compete, making his rallycross debut at the event.

Local driver to Lydden Hill, Tristan Ovenden (Canterbury), currently leads the Super1600 Rallycross Championship, but will face stiff competition this weekend from 2015 champion Criag Lomax (Knottingley), Paul Coney (Dartford) and team mates Michael Boak (Jarrow) and Phil Chicken (Barnsley). In the BMW Mini Rallycross Championship, brothers Keifer and Kris Hudson (Harrogate) appear set to take the title fight down to the wire, while reigning Junior RX Champion Bradley Durdin (Nazing) will make his first start in the class at Lydden.

The Retro Rallycross Championship features an entry of seven cars for the Lydden Hill event. Ray Morgan (Hastings) enters his home round leading the over 1600cc category ahead of Porsche 911 campaigner Barry Stewart (Barcombe), while Stewart Bowes (Middlesbrough) took the lead of the under 1600cc sub-category in Belgium last month despite rolling is Mini. Bowes will be challenged for honors this weekend by Lance Foster (Washington) and Ian Biagi (Dumfries), campaigning similar cars.

The full event entry list can be found of the MSA British Rallycross Championship website here.

Practice gets underway at Lydden Hill on Monday August 29 at 09.00, before Q1, Q2 and Q3. Semi-finals and finals will take place in the afternoon. Admission to Lydden Hill starts from £15. Children 12 and under (accompanied) are admitted free of charge to the circuit.

Highlights of the MSA British Rallycross Championship will be broadcast on BT Sport in 2016.


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