Godfrey and Tohill claim British RX spoils at Pembrey double-header
Julian Godfrey (Heathfield) and Derek Tohill (Dublin) claimed a win apiece in the third and fourth rounds of the Toyo Tires Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship at Pembrey Circuit in South Wales [June 22 – 23] to hold a joint points lead at the mid-season point of the of the eight-race series.
Racing his multiple title-winning Ford Fiesta Supercar, Godfrey topped the Intermediate Classification in both rounds in South Wales, with the circuit run in opposing directions across the two days.
In round three on Saturday, Godfrey converted pole into a comfortable victory to move into the lead of the Championship, but in a rain-hit final on Sunday, Tohill took the advantage in the opening corners and never looked back, delivering a strong performance, to win his second event of the season and return to the top of the standings, tied with Godfrey.
Tohill initially finished second in round three behind Godfrey, but was handed an eight-second penalty for an overtaking manoeuvre on Ollie O’Donovan (Iver), swapping the finishing positions of the two drivers. O’Donovan was again on the podium in round four, but was overtaken by Godfrey in the final and finished third.
Roger Thomas (Llandysul) debuted a new Ford Fiesta Supercar at his home event and spent the weekend learning about the characteristics of the machine. A brace of fourth place finishes were reward for his effort, his pace improving across the two days.
Steve Hill (Thame) meanwhile contested both rounds with a Ford Focus owned by O’Donovan, as an engine-dyno failure on Friday meant his team couldn’t complete necessary running with his regular Mitsubishi Evo. Hill finished fifth in both rounds, ahead of Andy Grant (Barnstaple) and Simon Horton (Clitheroe), the Lancastrian returning to the series with his updated Subaru.
Ovenden continues Supernational march
Reigning Motorsport UK Supernational Rallycross Champion Tristan Ovenden (Canterbury) entered the double-header weekend in South Wales unbeaten in the defence of his second title, and dominated round three on Saturday to extend his points lead, while closest category challenger Paige Bellerby (Nothallerton) had a torrid day and retired at the first corner of the final after contact. It was Super1600 Rallycross Championship runner Craig Lomax (Knottingley) who finished second to Ovenden on Saturday, with Dave Ellis (Leeds) scoring a maiden category podium.
In the wet conditions of round four, Bellerby chased Ovenden throughout the final and finished second, with Lomax netting another podium finish and extending his Super1600 class points lead with his second Super1600 victory of the weekend. Jarek Suchowiecki (Welwyn) made his first start in a Super1600 Citroen C2 and finished fourth in both rounds.
Vitols doubles up in Junior RX at Pembrey
Latvian driver Roberts Vitols (Latvia) got his title-hopes on track with a pair of wins in the Motorsport UK Junior Rallycross Championship at Pembrey.
Vitols dominated round three of the Junior RX series, setting the fastest time in each of the three qualifiers before leading the final from lights-to-flag. Patrick O’Donovan (Iver) continued his run of second place finishes, running second to Vitols throughout the day, while points leader Luke Constantine (Richmond) completed the podium, his first ever third-place finish. James Constantine (Darlington), Ben Sayer (Northallerton) and Alfie Porter (Waltham Abbey) completed the top six in the single-make category for 1300cc Suzuki Swifts.
It was Luke Constantine who qualified on pole position for the final in round four, but he was passed by Vitols and cousin James Constantine at turn two, before heading straight into the joker. As Vitols led, Constantine climbed back to second when those ahead took their jokers, and challenged Vitols for victory in the closing stages. O’Donovan climbed from sixth on the grid to finish on the podium ahead of James Constantine, Sayer and Archie Thomas (Llandysul).
Door-to-door action and new winners in support category finals
Max Weatherly (Faversham) claimed victory in round three of the series on Saturday, holding the lead from Tom Constantine (Richmond) after the reigning Junior RX Champion took an early joker in the final and then fought his way back through the field. Dominic Flitney (St.Ives) completed the podium. In round four, former Junior RX racer Will Layton took the lead at the first corner and held on to claim his first rallycross victory ahead of Weatherly, while Nikita Abramov finished on the podium on his return after a huge accident at Lydden Hill on Easter Monday.
David Bell (Ferryhill) and Drew Bellerby (Northallerton) took a win each in the BMW Mini Rallycross Championship. Points-leader Bell took the lead of the round three final from second on the grid and only briefly dropped to second as the joker lap strategies played out, to score his third win in a row, but it was Bellerby who led the round four final from lights-to-flag to claim her first win of the campaign. James Osbourne (Maidstone) and Stephen Brown (Bamford) claimed maiden podium finishes in the category with a third place each in rounds three and four respectively.
Jon Armstrong won the third round of the RX150 Championship from defending Champion Chrissy Palmer (Chichester) and Hal Ridge (Shropshire), while in the wet conditions on Sunday Palmer took the lead on the opening lap of the final and dominated to claim his first win of the season. Ridge climbed to second from the outside of the grid at the first corner and held the position to the finish, as Stuart Oliver beat Armstrong to the last podium spot.
In the Retro Rallycross Championship, Gary Simpson (York) claimed victory in both rounds from category newcomer Brian Hardman (St.Helens). Simpson pulled off an impressive overtake for the lead in the round three final, but beat Hardman off the line in round four and won from the front. Steve Cozens (Lifton) initially overtook Hardman for second in the round four final, but dropped back to third, while former Supercar racer John Cross (Basingstoke) completed the podium in round three with his Lancia Stratos.
Highlights of the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship are broadcast on BT Sport and online via BARC TV and the Championship’s Social Media channels in 2019. Programme times will be published when available.
Full results can be found on the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship website here.
The next round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship takes place at Lydden Hill in Kent [August 26].