The Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship season will commence next weekend in Radnor forest and the series has attracted a high-quality entry list for the first of the five rounds.
Heading the cars away will be Warrington’s Mike Moran in his AT 4x4. Moran finished third in the championship last year and, with his car now powered by a V8 Jaguar engine, he is looking for another good result this season.
Martin Cox is seeded at car 2 in his ex-Richard Kershaw GSR 206 ahead of Richard Wynne-Williams in his AT 4x4 206. Paul Myers from championship sponsors Britpart returns in his Land Rover Special at car 4 with Andy Powell, who enjoyed a good debut BCCC season last year, starting at car 5 in his Simmbugghini.
Further down the entry list Ryan Cooke will give the Milner LRM-1 its BCCC debut at car 7. Cooke tested the car at an event at Manby last weekend and, although there were a few teething problems, the Evoque-shaped car showed impressive pace. Cooke is planning to do further work on the car ahead of Radnor.
Dan Lofthouse will return to the championship in 2013 in his Lofthouse Freelander which has had a lot of work done over the winter. Lofthouse was another driver who used the Manby event as a shakedown for Radnor and it proved to be a successful weekend as he took a dominant victory.
“The car has been rebuilt and we’ve made quite a few changes,” said Lofthouse. “Most of our efforts were concentrated on the engine and suspension. The Manby event went very well, the car feels really together now so hopefully we can get a good result at Radnor.”
2010 BCCC champion Tim Dilworth will do the full championship this year after contesting selected events as a Clubman entry last year. His Subaru-powered Peugeot 206 is one of the cars expected to be near the top of the leaderboard.
Another driver stepping up to the full championship is Mike Hannak. Hannak won the Clubman event at Radnor last year in a time that would have won him the event overall had he been entered in the championship so he should be one of the crews battling for the title this year in his Milner R5. Paul Bramley, making his debut in the BCCC, will navigate for Hannak.
Toby Jefferson is aiming for a good result in his GSR after a strong 4th place at Manby last weekend while Keith Wylde will use his new Milner in the BCCC for the first time accompanied by stage rally co-driver Sarah Ceen who is more used to competing in a Focus WRC.
2011 and 2012 champion Ian Rochelle has opted not to do the championship this year so there will be a new name on the trophy in 2013 and, with some of the top cross country drivers and cars in the UK on the entry list, the battle for the BCCC crown is shaping up to be very competitive.
In the BCCC Trophy 2012 champion Paul Harris heads the field in his GSR Maxilight.
“I’m looking forward to the championship kicking off at Radnor,” said Harris. “I’m aiming to defend the title so hopefully the car will be as reliable as last season. The engine ECU has been chipped to give some extra performance but other than that the car is the same spec as last year.”
Harris will be followed by Alan Thomas in his Warrior with Mark Jacques in his Land Rover Special rounding off the top three Trophy crews.
At the time of writing entrants for the Freelander Challenge were still to be confirmed although it is expected that Nick Lines will return to defend the title he won last year and the Race2Recovery team were hoping to have their Freelander ready also.
The first car will start at 10am on Saturday with runs taking place until late afternoon. The cars will restart on Sunday at 9am with the event finishing early in the afternoon.
Spectators are welcome, please park at the side of the approach road to the service area but do not block the track as it used as an emergency access route. The venue will be arrowed from the A488 near Monaughty. A map showing the route in is available at www.marches4x4.com. There is no charge to spectate.