The weekend of the 1/2 May saw the MSA British Rallycross Championship return to Pembrey in Wales, and the two separate rounds saw history being made, with the races being run the opposite way around on the first day.
The Supercar finals were respectively won by Kevin Proctor, and five-time champion, Julian Godfrey, who had a difficult start to his season. Despite this, 18-year-old Dan Rooke, the championship leader, maintained and extended his lead, coming second in the third round, but unfortunately having to retire in the final of the fourth, due to a damaged exhaust manifold.
Rooke commented that, “I think we’ve had a good haul of points from the weekend. I was hoping to push for a win today but we had a problem with the car, I started the race to make sure of getting points but had to retire immediately. It’s a bit disappointing but apart from that it’s been a pretty good weekend. It’s really amazing to have only been driving the car in four events, and a new experience with the wet weather this weekend. It’s great to be in the fight for the championship and hopefully the second half of the season will be as good as the start has been.”
Proctor took the win in round 3, making the best of the wet track conditions, taking the lead from Godfrey and Bellerby, after starting from the second row of the grid. From there, the popular driver maintained a lead for the remainder of the race. As mentioned, Rooke finished the race second, and Bellerby third.
According to Proctor, “it was a difficult day but it was all about trying to keep it going and keep the racing clean. I was a little bit disappointed to qualify fourth, but it worked out for me. I really just had to drive my own race to get it to the end.” He also praised the format of the event, stating that “I enjoyed the day, racing on the track the other way round was really something different.”
Godfrey had a less successful third round, finishing in fourth, just before Pat Doran, Jack Thorne and Andy Grant. Dave Newsham was forced to retire in the second qualifying event, and neither Ollie O’Donovan or James Grint even made it this far, both retiring with engine problems.
Bank holiday Monday was the day of the fourth round, and, with a new engine fitted in his Ford Focus, O’Donovan initially got over the disappointment of the day before, and led the Supercar final for the first lap. But, this lead was short lived, as pole starter, Godfrey, quickly took first place at the beginning of lap two, and didn’t lose his position. This was Godfrey’s first win of the season, and so put him into second place in the championship. He was followed by O’Donovan, who had a tussle with third placed Doran. Fourth went to Horton, and fifth to Steve Hill, despite having clutch problems with his car.
When asked about his race, Godfrey commented that, “it helped me that Kevin [Procter] dropped out today. I made a mistake in the final on the first day, otherwise it could have been an even better weekend.” He also remarked about his closest competition for the rest of the season; “really I need to keep an eye on Dan Rooke, he’s the main competitor. I’ll keep fighting the whole way and try to win the rest of the rounds.”
The bad luck continued for Grant, who retired with mechanical troubles, and Newsham was forced out when his engine stopped. There was also misfortune for Proctor and Bellerby, both of whom didn’t make the final, and as a result, dropped down the points table.
The results are as follows: MSA Supercar results (round three): 1 Kevin Procter (Ford Fiesta), 2 Dan Rooke (Citroen DS3), 3 Dave Bellerby (Ford Fiesta), 4 Julian Godfrey (Ford Fiesta), 5 Pat Doran (Citroen C4), 6 Jack Thorne (Ford Fiesta), 7 Andy Grant (Ford Focus), 8 Simon Horton (Subaru Impeza)
MSA Supercar results (round four): 1 Godfrey, 2 Ollie O’Donovan (Ford Focus), 3 Doran, 4 Horton, 5 Steve Hill (Mitsubishi Evo), 6 Grant, 7 Rooke, 8 Dave Newsham (Ford Fiesta)
In another hotly contested class, the Supernationals, both Guy Corner and Paige Bellerby took a win. But the championship lead went to Tony Lynch after achieving a mass of podium finishes, moving three points clear of Bellerby. Local racer Howlin finished second in round three, but eight in round four, and former champion Stuart Emery had an unlucky weekend, despite looking in good form in the practice sessions, and lost out in both finals after they were red flagged.
The MSA Supernational results (round three) are: Guy Corner (Peugeot 206), 2 Mike Howlin (Ford Fiesta), 3 Tony Lynch (Ford KA), 4 Stuart Emery (Peugeot 206), 5 Steve Cozens (Renault Clio), 6 Todd Crooks (BMW Mini), Vincent Bristow (BMW 328), Gary Dixon (Vauxhall Astra)
MSA Supernational results (round four): 1 Paige Bellerby (Lotus Exige), 2 Lynch, 3 Corner, 4 Dixon, 5 Crooks, 6 Emery, 7 Bristow, 8 Howlin
In Junior Rallycross, newcomer Tom Llewellin impressed, winning the final in both rounds four and five. Both Sam Jones and Tom Constantine took home a second place each, and Matt Rainbow recovered from a difficult Lydden to finish on the podium. Tom Middleton finished fifth twice. The championship lead remains with Jones.
The youngest son of two-time British Rally Champion, Dai Llewellin commented that, “it’s very much different to the rallying I’ve done, learning the race craft and having other cars around me was new.” “I’ve never been karting or anything, but when you get to the first corner you can concentrate on the driving and try to get to the front. The Swift is a great car; it handles very well and was a lot of fun. It’s amazing to have won twice this weekend.”
MSA Junior results (round four): 1 Tom Llewellin, 2 Sam Jones, 3 Matt Rainbow, 4 Tom Constantine, 5 Tom Middleton
MSA Junior results (round five): 1 Llewellin, 2 Constantine, 3 Jones, 4 Rainbow, 5 Middleton
Dai Llewellin didn’t just have his son’s success to celebrate, but his own, as the Welshman finished on the podium in round three in his first outing in an RX150. He closely followed his son Ben Llewellin in second, and championship leader Chrissy Palmer, who is yet unbeaten. Unfortunately, Dai spun out of contention in round four, but his son once against came second to Palmer.
In the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship, Nathan Heathcote continued his winning streak in round three, coming in before newcomer Chris Woolett and Brett Harris. However, the fourth round went to championship contender Simon Ovenden, who was closely followed by Jack Brown and Aidan Hills.
The two wins in the Super1600s went to Phil Chicken and Paul Coney, who both fought hard and drove well to take their respective victories. In the BMW Mini championship, brothers Keifer and Kris shared the spoils, whilst David Bell also finished on the podium twice. Graham Hill also managed to achieve his first race win in the Hot Hatch championship, and finished second to points leader, Tomasz Wielgosz in round fourth.
The final category of Retro Rallycross saw Barry Stewart return to the category and win both rounds in his Porsche 911. In round 3, second place went to Rob Gibson, and second in round 4 was won by Ray Morgan.
The results below sum up both rounds from the weekend:
Swift Sport results (round three): 1 Nathan Heathcote, 2 Chris Woollett, 3 Brett Harris, 4 Jack Brown, 5 Simon Ovenden, 6 Jake Taylor, 7 Andrew Hawkes
Swift Sport results (round four): 1 Simon Ovenden, 2 Brown, 3 Aidan Hills, 4 Martin Dalzell, 5 Heathcote, 6 Taylor, 7 Bradley Durdin, 8 Brett Harris
RX150 results (round three): 1 Chrissy Palmer, 2 Ben Llewellin, 3 Dai Llewellin, 4 Jake Harris, 5 Stephen Jones, 6 Kevin Feeney, Mitchell Flaherty
RX150 results (round four): 1 Palmer, 2 B Llewellin, 3 Harris, 4 Feeney, Jones, 6 D Llewellin, Flaherty
BMW Mini results (round three): 1 Keifer Hudson, 2 Martin Hawkes, 3 David Bell, 4 Dale Cousins, 5 Jennie Hawkes, 6 Frankie Helliwell, 7 Kris Hudson
BMW Mini results (round four): 1 Kris Hudson, 2 Keifer Hudson, 3 Bell, 4 M Hawkes, 5 Helliwell, 6 Cousins, 7 J Hawkes
Super1600 results (round three): 1 Phil Chicken (Citroen C2), 2 Tristan Ovenden (Suzuki Swift), 3 Paul Coney (Vauxhall Corsa), 4 Andrew Twomey (Citroen C2), 5 Craig Lomax (Citroen C2)
Super1600 results (round four): 1 Coney, 2 Chicken, 3 Lomax, 4 Ovenden
Hot Hatch results (round three): 1 Graham Rumsey (Citroen Saxo), 2 Tomasz Wielgosz (Peugeot 106), 3 Robert Potyra (Citroen Saxo), 4 Michael Labedz (Citroen Saxo), 5 Krzysztof Frask (Citroen Saxo)
Hot Hatch results (round four): 1 Wielgosz, 2 Rumsey, 3 Frask, 4 Labedz
Retro Rallycross results (round three): 1 Barry Stewart (Porsche 911), 2 Rob Gibson (MG Metro 6R4), 3 Ray Morgan (Ford Escort), 4 Lance Foster (Mini Clubman), 5 Stewart Bowes (Mini Clubman), 6 Paul Smith (Volkswagen Polo)
Retro Rallycross results (round four): 1 Stewart, 2 Morgan, 3 Foster, 4 Bowes, 5 Smith