Godfrey claims Pembrey victory as O’Donovan leads three-way British RX title fight
Five-time Champion Julian Godfrey (Heathfield) claimed victory in round eight of the Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship at Pembrey Circuit in South Wales [September 23] driving a Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage Supercar.
Godfrey started second on the grid for the final and took the lead at the start to head the field from lights-to-flag and claim his third win of the season.
Three-time MSA British Rally Champion Mark Higgins (Montgomery) started on pole position but contact in the run to the first corner sent his Albatec Racing Peugeot 208 into a spin, as former British RX Champion Ollie O’Donovan (Iver) climbed to second.
Higgins recovered to run fourth on lap one behind Godfrey, O’Donovan and Tony Bardy (Scotch Corner) and took an early joker lap. He would climb to third when Bardy took his joker on lap four, but at the front Godfrey and O’Donovan were able to take their respective jokers and maintain track position, Godfrey claiming victory from O’Donovan by just over three seconds.
The three Pembrey podium finishers are the three drivers who will battle it out to become the 2018 British Rallycross Champion in the season finale at Silverstone Circuit on November 4.
As the final round’s score must be counted, each driver has now dropped their worse two scores from the first eight rounds of the year, meaning O’Donovan leads the standings by four points from Godfrey, with Higgins another point further back.
“It was a bit of a fight in qualifying but for the final I got an almost perfect launch. I got it just about right with the RPM, made an absolutely brilliant start and from there I just kept it neat and tidy with no mistakes,” said Godfrey. “It’s really close in the points, that makes it very exciting and I’m looking forward to going to the final round at Silverstone.”
Bardy finished his first event of the year fourth ahead of Steve Hill (Thame), who had to fight back after a slow getaway. Liam Manning (Carmarthen) and Nigel Burke (Carmarthen) enjoyed a close fight for sixth, Manning claiming the position. His father Mike (Carmarthen) debuted a new Ford Fiesta Supercar in the event but was hampered by power steering and boost issues and didn’t make it further than practice.
Ovenden closes on Supernational crown with Pembrey win
Reigning MSA Supernational Rallycross Champion Tristan Ovenden (Canterbury) claimed his sixth win of the 2018 campaign at Pembrey to close on his second consecutive crown.
Paige Bellerby (Northallerton) had set the fastest time in Q1 and Q2, but a spin in Q3 dropped her down the order as Ovenden took pole for the final, from where he won the race to the first corner with his Renault Clio V6 and led from lights-to-flag. Bellerby climbed to second on lap one as Jack Thorne (Umberleigh) took an early joker but Bellerby would spin on the loose section on lap two, her Lotus Exige getting collected by Paul Coney’s (Dartford) Vauxhall Corsa, forcing him to retire.
As Thorne climbed back up to second, where he would finish to also claim the Super1600 Rallycross Championship spoils, both Scott Singleton (Ireland) and Craig Lomax (Nottingley) retired during the race, allowing Bellerby to climb back to third by the finish.
“It really was a struggle for us with the wet conditions in Q1, I was scratching my head a bit and we changed a few things on the car, but we were expecting the circuit to dry up and it did,” said Ovenden. “We were back to what we knew and the car was good again. I’m really pleased with how this season has gone, we didn’t win at Silverstone in round one but we’ve made a bit of progress with the car so I’m looking forward to that challenge and hopefully we can have a good result there.”
Luke Constantine takes Junior RX points lead with win
Luke Constantine (Richmond) moved into the lead of the MSA Junior Rallycross Championship standings by a single point by claiming victory in round eight at Pembrey.
It was his older brother, Tom Constantine (Richmond) who led the final from the start and opened a commanding lead in the opening laps, but his single-make 1300cc Suzuki Swift would run into gearbox problems on lap four. Having taken an early joker, Luke moved into the lead when Tom took his joker on lap five, the former race leader then getting passed by both Patrick O’Donovan (Iver) and Marius Solberg Hansen (Norway) for the final podium places. However, following the final Tom Constantine was elevated back to third following a three-second time penalty for Solberg Hansen that dropped the Norwegian driver to eighth.
“Tom was miles out in front, I probably wouldn’t have got him if it wasn’t for his mechanical issues but that’s just how it is sometimes,” said Luke Constantine. “I got lucky, but he will come fighting back at Silverstone I’m sure. I had a good Q1, got spun in Q2 and missed the joker lap in Q3 so it’s been eventful today but I’m happy to get the win.”
Will Layton finished fourth in his second Junior RX appearance, Eleanor Corner (Northallerton) was fifth and Morgan Wroot (Doncaster) recovered from time lost at the first corner to finish sixth. James Constantine (Darlington) was seventh.
Bailey takes Swift Sport title, Bell and Thomas get Pembrey wins
Reigning Swift Sport Rallycross Champion Simon Ovenden (Canterbury) won the eighth round of the series at Pembrey, but second place was enough for Morgan Bailey (Lincoln) to extend his points lead and claim the 2018 crown.
Bailey survived a sideways first corner moment to run second throughout the race and cross the critical 30-pooints threshold ahead of the season finale at Silverstone. Even if Bailey fails to score at the final round, he cannot be beaten to the title. Bailey’s closest challenger in the points, Tom Llewellin (Haverfordwest), retired from the final at just the second corner with engine problems, while another former Junior RX racer, Tom Middleton (Maldon) ran third early in the race but dropped behind Max Weatherley (Faversham) for the final podium spot. Christian Hainsworth (Guernsey) and Joe Booth (Maidstone) finished fifth and sixth.
BMW Mini Rallycross Championship points leader David Bell (Ferryhill) led throughout the single-make final to score his fourth win of the season, but Martin Hawkes (Stockton-on-Tees) was denied a second-place finish when he damaged his car in the joker lap section. Having followed Hawkes into the joker lap, Bradley Durdin (Nazeing) also lost time, allowing Drew Bellerby (Northallerton), who had spun at the first corner, to take second by the finish. Durdin was third, Grant Rees (Carmarthen) finished fourth and Dave Ward (Towcester) finished fifth. Andrew Hawkes (Stockton-on-Tees) completed the top six.
Roger Thomas (Llandysul) won the Retro Rallycross Championship category final at his home circuit in a freshly-restored MG Metro 6R4. Derrick Jobb (Omagh) was second in the other four-wheel drive car, while James Harrold (Norwich) completed the overall top three and took top honours in the Super Retro sub-category. Ray Morgan (Hastings), Gary Dixon (Lincoln) and Steve Cozens (Lifton) completed the top six.
Highlights of the MSA British Rallycross Championship will be broadcast on BT Sport, Motorsport.TV and online via BARC TV in 2018. Programme times will be published when available.
Full results can be found on the MSA British Rallycross Championship website here.
The final round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship takes place at Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire [November 4].