THE opening round of the 2018 Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship got underway last Saturday at the brand-new track at Silverstone where a number of the region’s drivers were in action with mixed results.

Local hopes in the Supercar class were high when Scruton’s Kevin Procter qualified his Procter’s Luxury Coaches Ford Fiesta in the semi-finals just behind multiple World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb, but sadly went out with mechanical problems in the final. Barnard Castle driver ‘Mad’ Mark Watson endured a number of problems in his Mend-a-Hose Citroen Xsara which curtailed his day after the heats.

There was to be no silverware returning north from the MSA Supernational class, the best being Northallerton driver Paige Bellerby who recorded fourth in the final in her Fuchs-sponsored Vauxhall VX200 which she was using as her own Lotus Exige was still not ready. Barnard Castle driver Brian Jukes (Audi TT) and East Harlsey’s Guy Corner (MP Groundworks Peugeot 206) finished sixth and ninth respectively after problems in their semi-finals.

However, there was plenty of success in the support classes despite none of the locals managing a win. In the competitive BMW Mini class, Stockton driver Martin Hawkes finished in second place with former champion David Bell from Ferryhill in fourth, Northallerton teenager Drew Bellerby ended up in eighth place whilst Teessider Ashley Hawkes didn’t make the final and was classified in 13th place.

Darlington ace Rob Shield took his Suzuki Swift to runner-up spot in the Suzuki Swift Sport final after winning two heats whilst Stokesley café proprietor Stewart Bowes finished second in the Retro class in his Austin Mini.

But battle of the day was in the Junior class where five out of the seven competitors were based in North Yorkshire. The Richmond-based Constantine family emerged with bragging rights when Luke claimed second place in the final in his CBS-backed Suzuki Swift with elder brother Tom in fourth, after being spun out on the opening lap. Between the two brothers was cousin James in third, who took a heat win earlier in the day. Behind them came two teenagers making their debut in the Junior series and saw Northallerton’s Ben Sayer finish an impressive fifth in his Sayers Road Tankers-backed car with Matilda Procter giving a good account of herself when she followed up a couple of sixth places in her heats with a seventh in the final in her York City Coaches backed Swift.

Stars to visit NYRRSC

SOME legends of British motorcycle racing will be visiting Northallerton on Tuesday evening with the latest in a series of chat shows organised by North Yorkshire Road Racing Supporters Club.

British Superbike riders Taylor and Tarran Mackenzie will be visiting the Golden Lion Hotel along with their dad, ex-GP rider and triple BSB champion Niall Mackenzie. Also taking part will be ex-World Superbike champion Neil Hodgson who now is part of the MotoGP commentary team for BT Sport.

Tarran and Taylor are both very kindly bringing along autographed crash helmets from earlier in their careers to be auctioned, with the money raised going towards helping fund the NYRRSC's sponsored riders, along with the entry fee and raffle.

The venue is The Golden Lion Hotel, Northallerton. (DL7 8PP) and entry costs £12 (£7 for members) with doors opening at 7.30pm. For more details search for NYRRSC on Facebook and Twitter

Coates fastest for new team

ON his first outing with Team Pyro, Scorton’s Max Coates set the pace in the 2018 Renault UK Clio Cup Media Day’s official test at a wet Silverstone last week in readiness for the start of the season with his new team.

Coates produced a late burst of speed to top the time sheets just a few minutes before the end of the day's third and final session in which every driver set their fastest lap time. “The car is absolutely brand new, and this is a great way to start life with Pyro,” said Coates.

Max also used the day to reveal his new 2018 livery featuring local sponsors Harron Homes, Primex Plastics, PLASgran Recycling, Clements Limited and Bennett Renault. The grand unveil was done in front of the BRDC Clubhouse for which the Yorkshireman is one of their ‘Rising Stars’.