New stars and cars fill British RX grid for Lydden Hill Bank Holiday extravaganza
For the first time since rallycross celebrated its 50###sup/sup### anniversary in February, the birthplace of the sport, Lydden Hill, will be the scene of frantic rallycross action as the Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship heads to Kent for its second round and the traditional Easter Bank Holiday event [April 17].
At the opening round of the season a month ago at Croft Circuit it was Supercar newcomer Nathan Heathcote (Ashford) who claimed victory. The Kent driver heads to his home round top of the standings, racing an LD Motorsports Citroen C4.
Despite 2017 being his first year in the top division, the reigning Swift Sport Rallycross Champion has already driven a Supercar at Lydden Hill in a pre-season test, where he was also joined by LD Motorsports team mate Warren Scott (Buntingford).
Former British Touring Car Championship racer Scott impressed on his rallycross debut in round one by qualifying on pole position in his Citroen DS3 and was unlucky to retire from the final. Second at Croft, Kevin Procter (Northallerton) set a pair of fastest times in the opening round and heads to Lydden Hill second in the points, while Croft podium finisher Ollie O’Donovan (Iver) embarks on his local circuit on the back of scoring his first FIA European Rallycross Championship podium finish in Barcelona two weeks ago.
Supercar newcomer Oliver Bennett (Bristol) also has prior experience of the Lydden Hill circuit having tested at the venue ahead of round one and proved he has the pace to race at the front of the field at Croft by finishing fourth, while five-time MSA British Rallycross Champion Julian Godfrey (Heathfeild) enters his home round of the British RX series fifth in the points.
A new addition to the Supercar field this weekend will be a brand-new Mitsubishi Mirage Supercar run by Welsh team Spencer Sport and driven by 2016 Lydden Hill podium finisher, James Grint (Kimpton).
In another Mitsubishi, Steve Hill (Thame) enters the second round of the Championship with his Evo X hoping to kick-start his season having retired after just two laps of practice at round one. Other drivers looking to get their season fully into gear on Easter Monday include Jakes Harris (Canewdon), whose Citroen DS3 suffered from niggling mechanical gremlins at round one and Mad Mark (Barnard Castle), who retired from the final at his home event.
In the MSA Supernational Rallycross Championship, Paige Bellerby (Northallerton) leads the Championship into round two following victory at her home circuit, Croft. Bellerby headed double Supernational Champion Ash Simpson (York) in the final at round one, while rallycross stalwart Allan Tapscott (Umberleigh) got his 2017 campaign off to a strong start with a podium finish.
Local driver Tristan Ovenden (Canterbury) tested his recently acquired Renault Clio V6 pre-season at Lydden Hill and heads to his home event seeking a maiden Supernational podium, while the car’s former owner, Steve Cozens (Lipton) will be in action in 2015 Champion Dan Rooke’s Citroen AX.
Reigning champion Tony Lynch (Wigan) faces a race against time to make it to Lydden Hill having blown his Ford KA’s engine in the semi-finals at Croft, while Michael Howlin (Haverfordwest) makes his first start of the season in his rear-wheel drive Ford Fiesta.
Tom Llewellin (Haverfordwest) continued his impressive unbeaten run of rallycross victories in round one of the MSA Junior Rallycross Championship, leading 2016 title contender Tom Constantine (Richmond) and Norwegian newcomer Ole Henry Steinsholt (Norway) over the finish line. Constantine and Steinsholt will both be aiming to end Llewellin’s run of success this weekend at Lydden Hill, while race-winner Tom Middleton (Maldon) targets his first podium of the year. James Constantine (Dalton-on-Tees) made his Junior RX debut at his home circuit and heads to another new venue this weekend looking to increase his rallycross experience, while Morgan Wroot (Doncaster) returns to the circuit at which he made his first rallycross start last August.
The supporting rallycross championships thrilled the crowds at round one and are set for more of the same at the traditional Easter Bank Holiday Monday British RX event. Chris Woollett (Herstmonceux) claimed his maiden Swift Sport Rallycross Championship victory at Croft and leads the Championship from Rob Shield (Cleasby), son of 1989 British Rallycross Champion Michael Shield. Christoffer Lia (Norway) made his Swift Sport debut at Croft and finished on the podium in a Peter Gwynne Motorsport run car. He has secured the budget to return to the UK to contest round two. Simon Ovenden (Canterbury) will be targeting his first podium of the year at his home circuit, while Rob Maynard (Deal) and Don Macleod (Deal) will also uphold Kent honour in the competitive single-make field.
Chrissy Palmer (Chichester) won round one of the RX150 Championship to continue his 2016 winning streak but was challenged by John Ward (Dublin) and Kirk Langley (Liverpool) and will have his work cut out at Lydden Hill. 2016 vice-champion Stephen Jones (Havant) makes his first start of the season this weekend, while MSA Academy member Jake Taylor (Retford) finished fourth at round one and will make a second buggy appearance at Lydden Hill.
In the amalgamated Super1600 Rallycross Championship, BMW Mini Rallycross Championship and Hot Hatch Rallycross Championship category Vauxhall Corsa driver Paul Coney (Dartford) leads the field having claimed round one victory ahead of Citroen C2 racers Craig Lomax (Knottingley) and Phil Chicken (Barnsley). Martin Hawkes (Stockton on Tees) fought for a podium finish at round one and was top BMW Mini finisher in fourth, ahead of David Bell (Ferryhill) and former Junior RX Champion Bradley Durdin (Nazing). Two new Kent drivers join the Hot Hatch ranks this weekend, with Lee Keeler (Biddenden) and Leigh-Anne Sedgwick (Paddock Wood) racing a brace of Citroen Saxos.
In the Retro Rallycross Championship, Porsche 911 driver Barry Stewart (Barcombe) makes his return having missed round one, and will take on points leader and Croft victor Ray Morgan (Hastings) at the pair’s home event. Mark Richardson (Chelmsford) will make his Retro Rallycross debut in a Ford Sierra, while RX150 racer Kevin Feeney (Hayes) will make his first start in a Ford Escort MkII.
Full event entry list can be found on the MSA British Rallycross Championship website here.
Action gets underway at Lydden Hill on Monday April 17 at 09.00am. Adult admission £20, reductions for concessions and families. Children 13 and under (accompanied) are admitted free of charge. More details here.
Details of how to find Lydden Hill are available on the circuit’s website here.