The MSA British Rallycross Championship in association with ODYSSEY Battery descends on Lydden Hill Race Circuit this weekend, for two-days of action-packed competition [March 27 – 28] in round two of the series.
Heading to Lydden, ‘the home of rallycross’ where the sport was first devised in February 1967, Ford Fiesta driver Kevin Procter (Northallerton) leads the title race following victory at the opening round of the championship at Croft Circuit earlier this month. Hot on the Yorkshireman’s heals at his home event was Supercar newcomer Dan Rooke (Holsworthy), who starred on his debut in the headline category driving an LD Motorsports Citroen DS3 and finished second, just 0.455s behind Procter. Rooke returns to the circuit at which he claimed two Supernational victories on his way to the two-wheel drive title last year, in his first season in the sport.
FIA World Rallycross Championship driver Liam Doran (Winkleigh) will join Rooke in the LDM camp this weekend, driving the Citroen C4 that he used to win X Games gold medal in 2011. Doran hasn’t raced in British RX since 2012, where he won at Lydden, but recently tested with the team at his home circuit, having been brought up in Sittingbourne.
London-based Irishman Ollie O’Donovan is third in the championship thanks to finishing third in round one, driving his Tony Bardy Motorsport prepared Ford Focus, and treats Lydden Hill as his ‘home’ event. The former British Rallycross champion won at the Kent venue last August.
Reigning champion Julian Godfrey (Heathfeild) suffered brake problems with his Ford Fiesta in the final at Croft, having started from pole position. Godfrey, for whom this is also the local event, is the master of doing what is required to collect points towards his championship tally and knows his way around Lydden as well as any of his rivals.
Multiple rallycross champion Dave Bellerby (Northallerton) made his first full-time Supercar start at Croft in an ex-Dermot Carnegie Ford Fiesta and finished fourth. He returns to the Lydden circuit this weekend where, in 2007, he became the last driver to win a British Championship event overall in a two-wheel drive car. Another podium finisher from the same event, “Mad Mark” Watson (Barnard Castle) is targeting similar fortune this weekend as he makes his first start of the season, having been forced to miss the opening round due to technical melodies.
British Touring Car Championship race-winner Dave Newsham (Inverness) qualified for the final at Croft on the Power Maxed Racing team’s debut in British Rallycross, but was unable to take the start in the final due to a misfiring engine. Both team and driver will continue their multi-surface learning this weekend, as will former Super1600 champion Jack Thorne (Tiverton) who has graduated to Supercar for this season and finished sixth at round one, behind Steve Harris (Hillbridge).
Andy Grant (Barnstable), James Grint (Kimpton), Steve Hill (Thame) and Mark Flaherty (Wokingham) will all be hoping to improve on their round one results, all suffered from technical issues that ruled them out of contention.
The MSA British Rallycross Championship will be joined this weekend by the Belgian Rallycross Championship for its second round. Jochen Coox won the opening round of the season in his ex-Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo, and will be joined at Lydden by Jos Jansen and Johnny Verkuringen in the Supercar category. Belgian competitors in Super1600 and Supernational will also be in action.
Former MSA Supernational Rallycross Champion Stuart Emery (Faversham) will make his first start of the season this weekend at Lydden Hill. Emery was forced to miss the opening round of the year due to delays in fitting a new sequential transmission to his Peugeot 206, but will be a permanent fixture in the category from round two onwards. Lotus Exige campaigner Paige Bellerby (Northallerton) won the first round of the championship at her home event earlier this month and leads the standings, while Paul Maybourne (Sittingbourne) will make his Supernational debut at Lydden this weekend in a front-wheel drive Renault Clio.
Sam Jones (Bexley) is the most local of the competitors in the MSA Junior Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill, and currently lies second in the Junior RX points behind Tom Constantine (Richmond). Tom Middleton (Maldon) and Matt Rainbow (Stafford) fought over the final podium position at the first round at Croft, while Cameron Hawkes (Stockton on Tees) made his competition debut and will continue his learning this weekend. The Junior drivers will compete in two rounds this weekend over Sunday and Monday, as they do not join the other British RX competitors in the trip to Belgium in July.
In the supporting championships, World Rallycross driver Janis Baumanis (Latvia) will make a guest appearance in the RX150 Rallycross Championship, which is currently led by Chrissy Palmer (Chichester). Double Swift Sport champion Tristan Ovenden (Canterbury) will make his second Super1600 Rallycross Championship start in a Suzuki Swift and will be hoping for better luck than at round one, where he suffered engine failure. Craig Lomax (Knottingley) leads the Super1600 standings. Ovenden’s brother Simon (Canterbury) impressed on his Swift Sport Rallycross Championship debut at Croft earlier this month and will compete at his local circuit this weekend, joined by fellow Kent drivers Rob Maynard (Deal), Don Macleod (Deal) and Nathan Heathcote (Ashford), the latter finishing third at Croft. Aidan Hills (Worthing) leads the Swift points table following victory at round one.
The Lydden Hill event is the home round for much of the Hot Hatch Rallycross Championship contingent. Hounslow-based Polish driver Robert Potyra leads the category ahead of newcomer Graham Rumsey (Tunbridge Wells). Mariusz Mehlberg (London) will make his first start of the season. The BMW Mini Rallycross Championship is led by round one winner Kris Hudson (Harrogate) ahead of younger brother Keifer Hudson (Harrogate), while Ray Morgan (Hastings) embarks on his home round of the Retro Rallycross Championship as points leader.
Action gets underway at Lydden Hill on Sunday March 27 at 10.30am, where the opening qualification races will take place. On Monday March 28, on track activity starts at 09.00am, where the remaining qualification races will precede the semi-finals and finals. Admission to Lydden Hill starts from £15. Children 12 and under (accompanied) are admitted free of charge to the circuit.