Over the weekend of 6-7 November, the 2021 season of the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy presented by Cooper Tires returned to the home of rallycross, Lydden Hill in Kent. We were provided plenty of action across all classes with the majority of classes being run across the whole weekend but the supercar class held round six on Saturday and round seven on Sunday.
Round six of the championship gave us some awesome battles with championship returnee Jack Thorne winning each of his qualifiers and semi-final races. Another addition to the supercar class was Domonic Flitney with his newly built Volvo C30, the first Volvo rallycross car seen in a very long time. Julian Godfrey had a disappointing day with a mixture of clashes between the wall and a knock with Thorne that resulted in a spin for the engine builder plus a fuel pick up issue causing him to fall back down the standings. Throughout the day, the young Latvian driver, Robert Vitols suffered from mechanical issues and even had to get parts couriered down to the track to be able to partake in the supercar semi-finals.
Once the sun went down and the floodlights came on the action became even more spectacular. Drivers from all classes were given some track time to get used to driving under the floodlights before the action took off once again. All other classes had their other qualifying races in preparation for Sunday, most of which went without much drama but the big race, the one that even more fans had come to watch once it started getting dark, was the supercar final of round 6 of the BRX.
Championship leader, Ollie O’Donovan got the jump at the start, taking an early lead into the first corner from Derek Tohill and Thorne with Vitols in fourth. An early joker for Vitols on lap 2 allowed him to get out of traffic and once the rest of the field had jokered, he came out in the lead for the final 3 laps. The Irish drivers came together on the joker lap exit and O’Donovan drifted onto Tohill’s line. The pair were touching the whole way down the hill to the Devil’s Elbow. In the braking zone, O’Donovan hit Tohill’s front bumper and punctured the right rear tyre. He slid wide and onto the grass during the next corner and dropped down. Trying to defend against Tristan Ovenden he made contact and suffered a second puncture. Trying to push with only 2 inflated tyres he spun and dropped to last. Vitols took the win with guest driver Thorne claiming second, Tohil in Third and Ovenden claiming fourth place.
As soon as the race finished, the drivers made their way back to the starting grid to watch the amazing fireworks display in front of thousands of spectators.
On Sunday, racing resumed for all classes including round 7 for the supercars. All drivers were informed that this may be the final chance to score points as the race weekend at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium had been cancelled and the organisers were seeking alternative arrangements. This news led to the drivers of all ten classes, pushing as hard as possible to claim maximum points over the weekend.
Max Weatherley once again dominated the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship taking victory ahead of Luke Constantine, who won the first two thrilling qualifying races. Tom Ovenden came in third in the final.
Patrick O’Donovan dominated the RX150 Championship again, extending his championship lead leading home reigning champion Stephen Jones. Ewan McGuinness made a welcome return to the series and finished just behind newcomer Nick Priddy.
Meanwhile in the BMW Mini RX Championship, Dave Bellerby was victorious having topped the intermediate standings and winning his semi-final, before going on to win a fraught final. Ben Sayer came home second, with Dave Ellis finishing third to put him joint top with championship leader Stephen Brown.
Over in the All4Mini Championship, Adrian Turner took the spoils after championship leader and reigning BMW Mini RX champion David Bell was sidelined with gearbox issues which brought about retirement in the first qualifying session. Martin Hawkes came home second.
Darren Scott gave it everything he could to wrestle the Super1600 crown from his championship rival Craig Lomax, winning three of the four qualifying races, and the Final as Lomax was sidelined by mechanical woes during lap three of the final his Citreon C1 broke a dive shaft. Lomax had done enough in previous rounds to take an unassailable lead. Phil Chicken brought his Citroen home second to claim third in the overall standings.
The Motorsport UK Supernational Championship gave us a very eventful final with Jason Bleasdale claiming victory after his two main rivals Slawomir Woloch and Paige Bellerby collide on lap five. Bleasdale had been the man to beat all weekend and went into the final having won three of the four qualifying races. The incident caused a red flag situation and at the restart he romped away to win from outgoing champion Bellerby.
The Retro Rallycross Championship classes were, as usual, very exciting and proved popular with the spectators. The Super Retro final provided one of the best races of the weekend with a bumper entry thrilling the crowds. Jos Sterkens took the win but it was championship regular Barry Stewart in his iconic Porsche 911 that claimed the crown with a consistent performance across the weekend. The surprise for everyone, including James Harrold himself, when the rear left wheel of his VW Beetle broke free and had to be chased down by the marshalls.
Reigning Retro Rallycross Champion Steve Cozens took the honours in the final of their class, narrowly beating Terry Moore and championship contender Tony Lynch. The title battle went down to the wire with Simon Hart bringing his stunning Ford Escort to the top of the table, just ahead of Lynch.
Andy Grant took maximum honours once again in his trusty Ford Focus in the Group B & 4WD class to extend his gap at the top of the points table and claim the crown. He was followed home by Steve Harris in his Ford RS200 and Bradley Sampson.
Max Langmaid made good on his early season promise of being the teenager most likely to lift the Motorsport UK Junior Rallycross Championship title, with another strong finish to his weekend. Max Watt came through to take second with Owen Robbins third.
Series returnee, double Super 1600 Champion Jack Thorne (Peugeot 208) took a superb victory in round seven of the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship, after a dominant performance across the qualifying races. However, it was multiple Irish Champion Derek Tohill who finished second to the non-registered Thorne to leap to the top of the standings, three points ahead of early series leader O’Donovan.
We are still awaiting news of how the season will end after Spa confirmed its cancellation.