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Local duo finish season in style
1:27pm Friday 1st November 2013 in Sport
WHILE a number of the region’s drivers starred in the various rallycross championships this year, two local drivers ended their season in style with victories at the recent British Rallycross Championship finale held at Croft Circuit, near Darlington.
Chris Mullen, 26, from Brompton, and Northallerton student Drew Bellerby, 15, secured a victory each to round off a successful season in their respective Suzuki Swifts which has seen Mullen contest the Super 1600 class, with Bellerby in her debut season in the Swift Junior class.
For Mullen, originally from Leeds but now based locally, this season saw his tenth year of competition which as seen him amass a number of titles since winning the Sportway Challenge Championship in 2006 and culminated with him winning the prestigious Suzuki Swift Championship last year.
In between, the motor vehicle technician, who commutes daily to his job in Leeds, successfully raced in the National Autograss Championship in a variety of cars in different classes, but mainly competing in a space-framed Peugeot 106 with a 200bhp Vauxhall engine which ran in the Class 6 category. In 2011, Mullen decided to compete in rallycross in the Suzuki Swift Sport Championship where he finished fifth overall in his first ever season. He then competed for a second year and became the Suzuki Swift champion in a memorable season where he was up against Northallerton aces Dave Bellerby and Johny Bean in a quality grid.
This season, Mullen planned to compete for a full season in the Suzuki Swift Championship but when the opportunity to race in the Super 1600 Championship at a round in Belgium arose, he didn’t look back and finished the season winning four out of the four remaining rounds that he was able to compete in, including the final round at Croft.
As a result, he finished second in the series and is now planning for 2014 which includes building the Suzuki Swift up to a full Super 1600 specification with the help of his current sponsors GSF Car Parts and Gourmet Burger Kitchen depots based in Leeds.
The winter months will consist of Chris and the Mullen Motorsport team rebuilding the car along with the social media work from girlfriend Jen and photographer Kevin Noon which has seen his fan base triple in the past few months. The team plans to introduce a new clothing range and other merchandise also in the bid for honours next year.
Meanwhile, hoping to follow a similar career path is youngster Drew Bellerby who has just started competing in rallycross this year. With multiple championship-winning dad Dave and elder sister Paige as established drivers, it was inevitable that Drew would end up in motorsport, although up until now – her horse riding and dancing interests had kept her out of a car!
But half way through this season, Drew decided she would like to try rallycross so made her debut at a very wet Knockhill round, in Scotland, in the junior class and from there she never looked back.
Drew then went to Lydden, in Kent, followed by Pembrey, in Wales, and while she was running at the back of the pack initially, she was able to beat her rivals off the line.
Gaining more and more experience, she had a good, close race with another newcomer at Pembrey, meaning she was full of confidence going into the final round at Croft. Sadly, the competition wasn’t that expansive and Drew ended up racing against another Northallerton driver, Charlie Bean who was in his second full year of competition. Nevertheless, while Charlie was on fine form all weekend, Drew also took her first win on the Saturday, which she followed up with victory in Sunday’s final, much to her delight.
MALTON Motor Club has assembled a quality entry for Sunday’s MEM Malton Forest Rally with no less than 60 crews in both historic and modern cars set to do battle in the Yorkshire forests.
Top seed is Hamsterley’s Stephen Petch and Crook co- driver Michael Wilkinson, although whether they contest the event in their Ford Focus WRC or revert to the SGP Motorsport Hyundai Accent WRC remains to be seen.
Teesside businessman Peter Stephenson is away at number two, with the popular Millington Proton of Ben Mellor at three.
In the historic class, Yorkshire rallying legend Steve Bannister heads the field in his Ford Escort Mk2, with Ripon’s Matthew Robinson and Topcliffe driver Tim Pearcey all expected to show well.
Starting at Dalby Forest Visitor Centre, spectators can catch the action at Langdale (09.23 and 12.34), Cropton (10.47 and 14.33) and Gale Rigg (11.02 and 14.05).
Please note parking restrictions are in place and police will be patrolling. For further information, visit maltonmc.co.uk.
REGULATIONS are now available for Northallerton Auto Club’s Christmas Stages Rally, which this year takes place at Croft on Saturday, December 28. The entry list is already rapidly filling up; to enter online, visit northallerton ac.co.uk
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