Bean championship hopes dented after engine problems in Wales

DRIVING FORCE: Johny Bean, who encountered engine problems at Pembrey, in Wales

DRIVING FORCE: Johny Bean, who encountered engine problems at Pembrey, in Wales

First published in Sport

Northallerton rallycross driver Johny Bean was in action at Pembrey, in Wales, last weekend where he was looking to defend his narrow lead going into the penultimate round of the Suzuki Swift Championship.

The opening heat saw the snigwig.co.uk driver claw his way up to second place from the back row of the grid on the opening lap but soon after, the car started to develop an intermittent misfire, although Bean hung on to take the victory.

The CJB team went to work in the paddock but couldn’t trace the problem which reoccurred in the second heat and resulted in Bean dropping to third place.

Further investigation revealed a problem with a snapped camshaft and with the help of a fellow competitor who had retired for the day, allowed them salvage what parts were needed to effect repairs. With the team frantically working against the clock, they just managed to get the car onto the grid for the third heat when the problem with the misfire returned.

As a result, Bean missed the third heat as a bent valve was diagnosed, meaning the team had to again go to work to sort the problem which they did in time for the all-important final.

Starting from eighth place on the ten-car grid, Bean got a poor start and was last into the first corner but with it still not running at 100 per cent, he had no choice but to drive round the problems. Passing one of his title rivals Tony Lynch, Bean was up to fifth by lap three and held onto that position to the chequered flag as main rival Chris Mullan finished second and with it a five point championship lead going into the final at Croft later this month.

Charlie Bean, 14, took a pair of second places as well as a third in the heats before getting as high as second in the Suzuki Swift Juniors final only to make a mistake and drop to third. The result sees him joint second in the standings meaning he still has hopes of landing the title at Croft in two week’s time.

Northallerton teenager Paige Bellerby had a rare outing in the Suzuki Swift Championship which had been won by her father Dave for the past couple of years. In the coach2.com entered car, Paige battled hard through the heats to emerge in fourth place in the final.

GLOBAL rallycross star Andy Scott and Finnish ace Silvo Viitanen are the latest drivers to confirm their participation in the MSA British Rallycross Grand Prix at Croft Circuit on October 28.

Scott, from Dumfries, has been in the US contesting the Global Rallycross Championship alongside Swedish rallying legend Per Eklund and will bring either his Ford Focus or Peugeot 306 Supercar to the North Yorkshire track in a bid to emulate his Superprix victory of 2010.

The former motocross champion finished third in last year’s GP and will join a host of top drivers including another former Superprix winner Kevin Procter who recently confirmed he will contest the event in his Ford Focus Supercar and will lead the local challenge against a strong international field.

Meanwhile Viitanen (Finland) will be bringing his rapid Ford Fiesta MK7 Supercar over for a second year running. The Finn rolled out of last year’s action so will be looking to make amends this year. In addition to the Grand Prix on the Sunday, Saturday will see the final round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship which will see all the titles decided. Sponsorship and hospitality packages are still available by calling 0333-2000-123 or visit rallycross GP.com.

THREE local drivers have been invited to represent England in the Ken Wharton International Autotest this weekend which is held annually at the Arrow Mill Hotel in Warwickshire.

The event, which has been running for more than 50 years and is named after a Formula One driver who was killed during a race in 1957, sees teams comprise of four drivers in different classes of car.

The region is well represented this year with three out of the four English drivers being members of Durham and Hartlepool Motor Clubs who each regularly hold Autotest events in the region.

Richard Pinkney, from Crook, will drive his Caterham and he will be joined by Newcastle’s Lee Valentine (Vauxhall Nova) and Paul Swift from Darlington in his Mini Special.

They will be joined by Shropshire driver Dave Evans as they take on teams from Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

THIRSK-BASED Giles Potter scored a maiden victory in round six of Stockton and District Motor Club’s Ironman kart race series last weekend.

Potter had shown his raw pace in earlier races this season but last Sunday he was untouchable with pole position secured by over half a second and a fastest race lap a second ahead of the next best racer Colin Peacock.

At the start Peacock, from Ingleby Barwick, briefly had the drop on Potter but was soon playing catch up. After the race he admitted that once he had lost the tow from the kart in front he had no way to recover and had a lonesome race 20 seconds from the driver ahead and behind at the chequered flag.

A smaller than usual entry did not diminish the spectacle of the racing. Battles raged throughout the field especially for third place which was contested by five racers and wasn’t secured until the final lap, Redcars Chris Roe sneaking the position by the narrowest of margins over Class A championship leader Mark Asher with Keith Clough from Norton posting a season best of fifth.

Catterick’s Steve Harmsworth scored his first Class B victory with eighth place just ahead of Ste Allan from Redcar. David Carlton scored his fourth Class B second place of the season and moves to within five points of the championship leader, Hartlepool’s Richard Jackson. Jackson suffered a poor race with a problematic engine.

With one round to go Asher has a 12-point cushion over Peacock in Class A once dropped scores are taken into consideration. Third place could go to any of the next six drivers although Class B is slightly less frantic but equally enthralling.

The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship reaches its climax this weekend with the triple-header season finale at Brands Hatch, in Kent, as defending champion Tommy Hill bids to claim the final three race wins of the campaign.

Riding for the Guisboroughbased Swan Yamaha team, Hill arrives at his home circuit 42 points adrift of the championship leader but with a maximum of 75 points available he could yet retain his number one plate at the circuit where he lifted the title last year.

Noriyuki Haga is also determined to end his season on a high; he narrowly missed out on a podium finish on the Grand Prix circuit in August and lies 20 points adrift of seventh place in the overall standings.

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