Croft Circuit gearing up to stage 75th Anniversary Rallycross Trophy

4:17pm Friday 22nd November 2013

CLUBMAN’S rallycross returns in style to Croft Circuit on Sunday for Darlington and District Motor Club’s BTRDA 75th Anniversary Rallycross Trophy.

The event is designed to reflect the early days of the sport when the organising club was mainly responsible in running open grids with a quick turn around and everyone in with a chance of an award. Every competitor will have the opportunity of racing in a Final and the class awards will be extracted from the overall results.

The format for the event will see drivers compete in two qualification heats followed by a final. The competitors will not compete within classes; instead they will race together in a grid of up to eight cars throughout qualification. The action will be further enhanced with ten car grids for the finals with the first two finishers in each Final being promoted to the next one.

Drivers have responded well to the event which has attracted an entry of over 60 cars.

This includes over 20 local drivers including Hartlepool’s Des Wheatley who is returning to the sport in his Judd-powered Rover Metro having last competed nine years ago.

Other top North East drivers include Jarrow’s Michael Boak (Audi TT), Barnard Castle’s Mark Watson (Ford Fiesta), Martin Peters, from Ingleby Barwick (Citroen Saxo) and Lance Foster (BL Mini) who will all be hoping to put on a good show for the locals.

Such is the diversity of competitors entered, another driver normally found doing stunts on film sets and on Top Gear is Darlington’s Paul Swift who will compete in his rallyspecification Ford Escort MK2 and he’ll be joined by fellow rally drivers John Gaskin from Chop Gate in his Citroen Saxo and Northallerton journalist and commentator Larry Carter in his Super 1600 specification Peugeot 206.

The fiercely-contested Stock Hatch class will see Colin and Tim Ramsey from Bedale as well as Great Ayton’s Ian Horn in action whereas Brompton’s Darren Grimston (Citroen Saxo) and Yarm driver John Rook also in a Citroen hoping for honours in the Hot Hatch class. Ripon brothers Kris and Keifer Hudson head the BMW Mini challenge but will come under pressure from Ferryhill’s David Bell whereas after a three year sabbatical, Middlesbrough’s Kelly Bird will be back in action in her older version Mini in the Classic Minicross class.

But if the local contingent fancies their chances, top British competitor Stuart Emery is making the trip from Kent in his Peugeot 206 Turbo where he’ll be joined by Margate’s Vince Bristow (BMW), Gary Dixon from Lincoln in his Vauxhall Astra and Devon driver Steve Cozens, in his Lotus Exige.

Normally found at rallycross events acting as a start line marshal and former BTRDA co-ordinator Andrew Bedford will fulfil his lifelong ambition to compete in rallycross when he takes to the wheel of a 1400cc VW Lupo for the event.

Former BTRDA Champion Gary Cook in his MG ZR will be hoping for a good event and will be joined by fellow regular BTRDA competitors, Barry Dutton (Renault Megane), Dave Ewin (Ford Fiesta), Mike Yates (Proton Satria), Brian Jukes (Audi TT) as well as former Supercar drivers Simon Horton (MG) and Kevin Mc- Cann (Ford Escort).

BTRDA Rallycross committee member and competitor John Rook said: “It is truly fantastic to have such a well supported event talking place at Croft. This event is a stepping stone to a standalone BTRDA Rallycross Championship which will return in 2014.”

Darlington and District Motor Club chairman and event secretary Terry Wright added: “I always felt that there was a demand for a true clubman’s event aimed specifically at the two-wheel drive competitor.

The entry filling up so quickly within a couple of weeks has proved this. All we have to do now is provide a slick event to compliment the competitors’ faith in us.”

The event will also give the BTRDA the opportunity to launch their 2014 Clubman’s Rallycross Championship, which will feature a number of rounds from February to November with a wide range of classes.

Practice starts at 9.30am with the first heats commencing at 10.30am. The second set of heats starts at 12.30pm with the finals from 1.45pm.

Adult admission costs £10 with accompanied children free. Free parking within the circuit is also available.

For more details, visit croft circuit.co.uk THREE years after breaking his leg which required 30 subsequent operations, Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson took an amazing victory in last weekend’s 47th running of the Macau Grand Prix for the Guisborough-based Milwaukee Yamaha team.

Hutchison was sidelined after last year’s Isle of Man TT to try and recover from compound fractures to his left lower leg from a multirider crash in a British Supersport race at Silverstone in 2010. But finally, with only few tests beforehand, Hutchinson threw his leg back over the Shaun Muir’s Yamaha and despite a slow start from pole position which had him in fourth, the Bingley rider recovered to take the lead on lap five and was never headed.

WITH over a month to go before the event on Saturday December 28, Northallerton Automobile Club’s Christmas Stages Rally has seen an unprecedented number of entries received including many of the UK’s leading drivers.

So far, nearly 100 crews have applied for the 80 available places and with entries still arriving, the last ten places reserved by the organisers look to be sought after.

Meanwhile, the Autogas Jack Frost Stages Rally which also takes place at Croft Circuit, is starting to fill up for Darlington and District Motor Club’s annual event on Sunday, January 19.

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