This weekend sees the MSA British Rallycross Championship return to Pembrey circuit in South Wales, for not one, but two rounds. The double event will see a new initiative being introduced.
Thanks to the extensive work by the circuit, led by manager Phil Davies, the only rallycross circuit in Wales can now run in two directions. This means that the first day of the event can run anti-clockwise, which is the opposite direction to the ‘normal route’, but will revert back to the traditional track layout for the second day of racing.
There will be a stellar line up there this weekend, with one of the brightest young stars of the sport, Dan Rooke, who shone in his rookie season in the MSA Supernational category, looking to increase his lead in the MSA British Rallycross Championship. The youngster came a close second to Kevin Procter in the first event of the season at Croft, but really impressed in the second round at Lydden, where he won his final. This moved him four points clear of former FIA European Rallycross Championship winner Procter, who drives his M-Sport Super2000 derived Ford Fiesta Supercar. Another famous face who will be looking to get back into title contention at Pembrey is the 2007 MSA Champion, Ollie O’Donovan, who finished on a strong podium at Croft, but unfortunately suffered from turbocharger failure at Lydden, leaving him in third in the championship.
Another relatively new face to British Rallycross is James Grint, who actually made his début at Pembrey last season, but then focussed his efforts on a European Championship challenge. This season he has decided to focus on British RX, and, his knowledge of the circuit should help him this weekend.
British Rallycross regular Dave Bellerby, who has moved up to Supercar this season in an ex-Dermot Carnegie Ford Fiesta, has been showing good pace and will be hoping to fight back this weekend. He is currently in joint fifth in the championship, alongside Mark Flaherty, who put in a fantastic performance at Lydden Hill to come second.
Despite his unlucky start to the season, five time champion Julian Godfrey is looking to make up for lost ground at the start of the season. Technical issues along with missing his semi-final in round two made for a bad start for the man from Heathfield.
The Power Maxed Racing team is also going to be returning with former MSA British Touring Car Championship race-winner Dave Newsham, who was forced to miss Lydden due to technical troubles. It is a similar story for Steve Hill, who also didn’t make it out for the first two rounds of the championship. Also in action this weekend will be Pat Doran, Andy Grant, Simon Horton, Mad Mark Watson and Steve Harris.
In the MSA Supernational championship, 2014 champion, Stuart Emery, is looking to capitalise on his fantastic performance at Lydden, where he won the final after starting at the back of the grid. He will be contending against current leader Paige Bellerby, who has had two very strong podium finishes, as well as experienced rallycross racer Mike Howlin, and second placed Tony Lynch, also racing is local driver Allan Tapscott.
In the Junior rallycross championship, Pembrey could prove to be pivotal. This weekend marks the fourth and fifth rounds of the eight event series. Winner of the first event, Tom Constantine, and his closest competitor, Sam Jones, winner of the second round, will be there to try and gain an advantage over one and other. Also racing will be Tom Middleton, Cameron Hawkes and Matt Rainbow.
In the RX150s, two-time British Rally champion, Dai Llewellin will make his rallycross début, alongside rally driving son Ben. But the rally champion will be in for a tough race against the 2015 RX150 champion Chrissy Palmer, who is unbeaten so far this year.
In another supporting category, the Super1600s, Paul Coney will start his second event, driving a Vauxhall Corsa. He will be competing against the current leader of the category, Phil Chicken.
In the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship, the winners from the first two rounds of the year, Aidan Hills and Nathan Heathcoat, are tied for points, but hot on their heels is rallycross newcomer, Simon Ovenden.
Another class that will be taking part this weekend is the Hot Hatch Rallycross Championship, led by Robert Potyra, who will be battling it out against the likes of Mark Henry. In the BMW Mini Rallycross Championship, Keifer and Kris Hudson will be making appearances, alongside former Swift Sport racer Dale Cousins.
Hopefully, Pembrey will carry over the excitement and surprises of Lydden, and, for many, be an opportunity to claw back some points from a poor start to the season.