Quaife MSA British Rallycross Championship, 01.07.10
Belgian first for British championship
The Quaife MSA British Rallycross Championship will make its first trip to Belgium next weekend when the fourth round of the eight event series takes place at the Duivelsbergcircuit near Maasmechelen on July 11.
With three rounds of the series completed the championship is finely poised, Andy Grant (Barnstaple) two points ahead of defending champion Pat Doran (Winkleigh) with David Binks (Newcastle upon Tyne) a further nine points adrift. The Belgian event is a step into the unknown for almost all of the drivers in the British championship, but Doran has previously raced at the Duivelsbergcircuit (the Devil’s Hill Circuit) in European championship events and thus has experience and knowledge of the track that could give him a critical advantage.
Grant has risen to the top of the championship table with a great run through the first three events in his first event with the Ford Focus Supercar he bought at the start of the year to replace the Escort he raced for more than a decade. With second placed points finishes in rounds two and three, Grant leads the championship in what is turning out to be his best year in Rallycross.
The championship leader after round one, Binks dashed away from the Night Race that formed round three of the championship at Blyton (June 11) to get married and heads to Belgium for the next event knowing that he needs a high score to stay in the championship hunt. Binks was a top three qualifier in rounds two and three, but became involved in incidents at both events and lost valuable points. Also out of luck in the third round, where he tangled with Binks, round two two winner Andy Scott (Dumfries) is another driver chasing the pack to make up lost ground.
The event will be the second time this year that British and Belgian racers have shared an event, the second round of the Belgian championship having taken place together with the British season opener at Lydden Hill over Easter weekend.
The four British championship classes will make the trip to Belgium and there are close battles in each category. The overall points battle is reversed in the Supercar class where Doran leads Grant. The SuperModified (two-wheel drive) class is led by Julian Godfrey (Heathfield) who, like Doran, holds what could be a decisive advantage in that he also has raced at Maasmechelen before. Welshman Mike Howlin (Haverfordwest) leads the pursuit of Godfrey and is currently 12 points adrift while Phil Chicken (Barnsley) is a further 17 points down in third place with his VW Golf.
The new for 2010 Suzuki Swift Sport Challenge is led by Dave Bellerby (Northallerton) who has notched up a win and two second places from the first three rounds. After a last minute rush to join the new championship, Tony Lynch (Wigan) has taken a couple of events to get his new Swift up to speed but gained his first win in the series in round three and is now 15 points behind Bellerby in second place. Ryan Lawford (Canterbury) placed third in round three despite concerns about the engine in his Swift and is third in the championship battle, seven points down on Lynch.
With two event wins to his credit already this year, RX150 champion Leo Forster currently appears to be on target to retain his title and has built a 26-point advantage at the top of the class, adding second place in round two to his first and third round victories. Tom Keet is the closest challenger to Forster while championship newcomer Steve Harris has made an immediate impression and holds third place, just two points down on Keet.
15 years ago…
The July 11 event will be the first time that the Quaife MSA British Rallycross Championship has ever appeared in Belgium, and only the second time in the championship’s 34 year history that it has ever ventured to the European mainland. In 1995 (July 23) the British championship staged an event in Holland at the Eurocircuit near Valkenswaard. The event turned out to play a pivotal role in the outcome of championship that year, Irishman Dermot Carnegie coming through to take the victory in Holland after a first corner incident eliminated John Haffey (Escort Cosworth) and Denis Biggerstaff (MG Metro 6R4). Carnegie went on to win the championship in his MG Metro 6R4…
Quaife MSA British Rallycross Championship, round four, Duivelsbergcircuit, Maasmechelen, Belgium, Sunday July 11
Racing from 1000
Gate Price – Adult €10, 12-16 year-olds €5, under 12s free
15km north of Maastricht on A2/E314 and N78 (GPS lat/long: 50.9/5.64)
First Channel 4 programmes scheduled
Broadcast times for the first three Channel 4 programmes covering the 2010 Quaife MSA British Rallycross Championship have been published with the first programme, covering rounds one and two of the championship, to be aired this Sunday (July 4). The second and third programmes in the run will each feature a single event, the Blyton Night Race covered in the second show while the third will deal with the fourth round of the championship at Maasmechelen in Belgium.
The Channel 4 shows are the first time that the MSA British Rallycross Championship has had regular terrestrial television coverage in the UK for more than 20 years.