Level pegging entering Pembrey
It could not be closer at the top as the Kumho Tyres MSA British Rallycross Championship heads to Pembrey in South Wales for rounds six and seven of the eight-race championship with 2005 champion Pat Doran (Winkleigh) and 2008 runner-up Steve Hill (Aylesbury) level on points after five events.
Hill led the championship after winning round four but then finished second to Doran at Lydden in round five on August Bank Holiday Monday, the result leaving both men with 130 points.
With two events to complete at Pembrey, this weekend (September 19-20) is crucial in the battle for the championship. Doran won round two of the championship at Pembrey in May and with the round five win under his belt is the man in form. Hill, however, is one of the toughest competitors in the pack and having missed on last year’s title in the final round, is doubly determined to take the crown this year.
The championship remains wide open entering this weekend’s double-header event at Pembrey, current champion Lawrence Gibson (Banbridge) remains in with a chance of retaining the championship even though technical problems hit his MG Metro 6R4 and left him with a low score in round five.
Also out of luck at Pembrey was Liam Doran (Sittingbourne) whose Fiesta ST suffered a broken driveshaft while leading the Superfinal, the third time this year that the 22-year-old rising star of the championship has been stymied by mechanical trouble. In the two events that his car has been reliable, Doran has won and he remains in the title hunt.
Super Sunday as Irish championship joins in!
The programme for the second day of the Rallycross weekend at Pembrey will also include the first round of the 2009-2010 Motorsport Ireland Rallycross Championship. The Irish championship will be run over eight events, most of them taking place at Mondello Park (near Naas in the Irish Republic) during the winter, but will start with Irish drivers making a trip to Pembrey.
Michael Coyne (Naas) starts as the title holder, a magnificent run through last winter’s championship bringing Coyne his second championship title (he also won it in 2001). Coyne hopes to have his new Vauxhall VX220 complete in time to start the defence of his title but the competition is likely to be stiffer than ever with a number of his rivals buying new cars over the summer – including Frank O’Connell (Dublin) who has acquired a former British championship winning Lotus Exige.
Juniors and ‘Off-road racers’ add to the fun
There will be a full programme of racing on each of the two days at Pembrey. Alongside the Kumho Tyres MSA British Rallycross Championship, there will be rounds of the Bill Gwynne Rallyschool Junior Rallycross Championship (for competitors aged 14 to 16-years-old). The championship is currently led by Brad Bailey (Chelmsford) who has won three of the five events run so far and holds a 20-point lead over Simon Quinn (Naas) at the head of the championship.
A new addition to the British championship programme this year, the RX150 championship is for identical 150bhp off-road racing ‘buggies’ and has provided close and thrilling racing at every event. With two event wins to his credit, Leo Forster (Sussex) has established a ten-point lead over Marc Scott (Dumfries) at the head of the championship.
Welsh racers seek motor-vation
It’s been a hugely frustrating year for Welsh drivers and the two most prominent Rallycross competitors are now both working frantically in an effort to try and make on to the grid at Pembrey at the weekend.
Haverfordwest car dealer Mike Howlin has had a troubled 2009 season, and things did not get any better at Lydden last month where the Cosworth engine in his rear-wheel drive Ford Fiesta failed, leaving him with a non-score for the third time in five events. The car ran well at Pembrey in May where Howlin placed fourth but he is now trying to find an engine that will allow him to make the start next weekend. “The engine blew up an at Lydden and the engine builder is on holiday, I’m trying to get another engine so that I can drive in the event but it’s getting a bit late in the day now,” said Howlin.
Closer still to Pembrey, Carmarthen garage proprietor Mike Howlin is also playing the waiting game after the engine in his Ford Puma Supercar failed during a test last weekend. “I thought we were ready in good time for Pembrey we had a lot of new parts in the car and took it for a short test last weekend but the crankshaft broke and I’m now waiting to see if we can get the engine rebuilt in time for next weekend – to be honest it’s not looking good,” said Manning.
Kumho Tyres MSA British Rallycross Championship, rounds six and seven, Saturday and Sunday September 19-20
Racing starts at 1000 each day
Adult admission £12, accompanied children up to 14-years-old free
Pembrey Motor Racing Circuit, Pembrey, Llanelli, SA16 0HX
Phone 01554 891042
2009 Kumho Tyres MSA British Rallycross Championship
Sun Mar 8 Mondello Park (IRL)
Sun May 3 Pembrey
Mon May 4 Pembrey
Mon May 25 Lydden
Mon Aug 31 Lydden
Sat Sep 19 Pembrey
Sun Sep 20 Pembrey
Sun Oct 18 Mallory Park