THE 2017 rallycross season got off to the best possible start when the opening round of the BTRDA Clubman’s Championship took place at Blyton Park in Lincolnshire with local drivers in amongst the silverware.
Leading the way with a superb victory in the Fuchs Lubricants SuperModified class was Northallerton’s Paige Bellerby who saw off the opposition in her Lotus Exige. Having just returned from a three-month trip abroad, the 21-year old repaid the hard work her dad Dave and the rest of the Bellerby Motorsport Team had put in during recent weeks to win the opening round in the car in which she is contesting the British Championship this year.
Making it a truly memorably day for the family was younger sister Drew who, after three seasons in a Suzuki Swift, made the transition to the BMW Mini class and promptly came away with a class victory. The 18-year old from Romanby took her time to get to grips with the car during the heats before charging through to take her maiden win in the final.
Ingleby Barwick driver Martin Peters finished second in the Mel Williams Tyres Production class in his Preston Farm MOTs-backed Citroen Saxo, which saw Bedale’s Chris Harper also in action in his similar car. Richmond cousins Tom and James Constantine were in action in the Suzuki Swift Junior class with Tom getting the better with second place ahead of James.
HAMSTERLEY rally driver Stephen Petch and Crook co-driver Michael Wilkinson saw their hopes of a good start in the Ravenol BTRDA Championship dashed with a retirement on last weekend’s Malcolm Wilson Rally.
With the original opening round in Wales aborted due to the weather, the pair were hoping for a good result in the classic Lake District forests but an electrical problem stopped their WD-40 sponsored Ford Fiesta WRC on SS4 leaving them to rue their luck.
It was better news for dad Steve, from Scorton, and his Exelby co-driver John Richardson who overcame the tricky conditions in their Ford Fiesta to claim 25th overall and eighth in class after the six-stage event based at M-Sport’s headquarters in Cockermouth.
Ripon’s Matthew Robinson and co-driver Sam Collis had to overcome problems to elevate themselves to 51st and 16th in class in their Subaru WRC whilst Pickhill co-drivers, Bruce Lindsay and Kari Bates, guided their respective drivers Jan Budge (Subaru) and Graham Haigh (Ford Escort) to 68th and 74th overall, the latter claiming third in class.
Such was the high attrition rate that four other local crews didn’t get to the finish including Teesside businessman Peter Stephenson whose Ford Focus WRC he was sharing with Darren Garrod went out with clutch problems on SS2. Faceby’s Alun Pearson and co-driver Simon Brook joined them on the sidelines in their Peugeot 205 at the first service whilst Ingleton brothers, Dan and Matt Thompson were forced out with gearbox issues on their ALM Products-backed Subaru on the penultimate stage. Worse was to follow, however, for Potto’s Andy Davison who retired his Talbot Sunbeam along with co-driver Tom Murphy on the very last stage in Greystoke.
THE much-anticipated British Rallycross Championship blasts into action at Croft Circuit near Darlington on Sunday with another high-quality entry and a host of powerful machinery set to do battle.
With improvements to the track over winter, conditions are expected to be perfect as over a dozen 500bhp Supercars scrap it out around Croft, supplemented by classes for SuperNationals, Suzuki Swifts, Hot Hatches/Super 1600, Juniors, Minis and the historic Retro classes.
Leeming Bar ace Kevin Procter will be one of the favourites for victory in his Procters Luxury Coaches-backed Ford Fiesta whilst following their success at Blyton last week, Drew and Paige Bellerby from Northallerton will be gunning for more glory at their local track.
Practice starts at 9.30am followed by the heats starting at 10.15, with the finals commencing after the lunch interval around 2pm. Adult admission is £18 with accompanied children aged 15 and under admitted free. Free parking, free paddock access and free grandstand admission is also included and for further information, please call 01325 721815 or visit www.croftcircuit.co.uk.