Drivers are gearing up for BTRDA rallycross opener

DRIVING AMBITION: Newton Aycliffe’s Chris Harper will be hoping for better luck at Blyton on Sunday

DRIVING AMBITION: Newton Aycliffe’s Chris Harper will be hoping for better luck at Blyton on Sunday

First published in Sport

THE eagerly-awaited opening round of the 2014 Autosport International BTRDA Rallycross Championship gets under way at Blyton in Lincolnshire on Sunday with a healthy grid of about 50 cars set to contest the event.

Having been postponed for a month following flooding, it has allowed even more drivers to get their cars sorted and entries in for the first of six rounds aimed purely at the Clubmans element and following the success of the inaugural event at Croft Circuit last November, the competitors have responded favourably.

There is plenty of local interest with a good chance of success in the various classes, notably in the Red5Motorsport.co.uk 1600cc Production Championship which will see the Citroen Saxos of Ingleby Barwick driver Martin Peters and his Chop Gate counterpart John Gaskin going for victory. Also in action in the class will be Newton Aycliffe’s Chris Harper and Northallerton driver Chris Ramsey who will be competing in their respective Citroens.

In the FunkMotorsport.com Super Modified Championship, the man to beat is likely to be Hartlepool’s Des Wheatley in his Juddpowered Metro. Wheatley hadn’t been in action for a decade until his appearance at Croft when a misfire halted his bid for victory, but now with the car fettled, he should be at the sharp end and is expected to put in a late entry.

Northallerton driver Paige Bellerby is hoping to debut her Lotus Exige later in the season so won’t be able to battle at the opening round with Brian Jukes, from Barnard Castle, in his Audi TT, nor the Ford Fiesta Evo of Warcop’s Dave Ewin.

In the S1600 class, Durham’s Phil Chicken will be hoping for success in his Citroen C2 and Northallerton driver Larry Carter has recently upgraded his Peugeot 206 in order to contest the full series.

Following in his father Brian’s footsteps, Nick Thornton, from Borrowby, will make his debut in the 1400cc BL Metro which his father took to a couple of British titles in the 1980s.

Teessider Marty Hawkes is hoping his Supercharged Peugeot 206 GTi will be ready but sadly following a roll in her Suzuki Swift at last month’s Lydden test day, daughter Jennie is likely to miss the opening round.

Northallerton’s Drew Bellerby will, however, be looking to build on the excellent form from last season and is one of the favourites for victory in the Junior Rallycross Championship in her Suzuki Swift.

There, amongst others, she will encounter Laura Boak, from Newcastle, whose father, Michae,l is a leading light in the British Championship.

Ripon brothers Kris and Keifer Hudson will be in action in their BMW Minis at the venue near Gainsborough at which admission is free to spectators, with the action starting at 9am.

For more information, visit the official website at clubmansrally cross.weebly.com CROFT Circuit is offering some good deals on 2014 season passes to allow race fans access to all the racing at one of the best circuits in the UK.

Fans can choose from three different packages – a full season, a car season and a bike season pass. Full season pass, costing £165, allows access to all meetings featured on the official race calendar, including the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car weekend and the Croft Nostalgia weekend. A permanent pass is supplied along with a vehicle pass, which allows in circuit parking at the non-major events only.

A car season pass allows access to all car meetings only. This includes the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car weekend and the Croft Nostalgia weekend.

A permanent pass is supplied along with a vehicle pass which allows in-circuit parking at the non-major events only and costs £135.

While there are just three bike race meetings this year, the action is sure to be intense and a season pass costs just £30.

Discounted tickets are available by ordering in advance and as always, children aged 15 and under are admitted free.

For further details, visit croftcircuit.

co.uk THE Guisborough-based FFX Yamaha team officially unveiled their 2014 MCE Insurance British Superbike contender at Bluewater Shopping Centre, in Kent, recently as riders Ian Hutchinson and Andy Reid get ready to pre-season testing.

Hutchinson, from Bingley, and Ulsterman Reid made their first public appearance in team colours at the event as the new FFX Yamaha broke cover before the team head to Spain to begin their preparations ahead of the opening round of the season Brands Hatch over Easter.

The team will run as a satellite outfit to Teesside businessman Shaun Muir’s two-rider Milwaukee Yamaha BSB team, which will see West Countryman Tommy Bridewell and Aussie Josh Brookes battling for honours.

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