Sunday, 27 July 2014

Cox celebrates victory at tough Radnor event

Martin Cox took his second Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship win of the season at a tough event in Radnor forest.

Cox made a great start, quickest overall by 21 seconds on the opening run in his GSR 206. Paul Garner set the pace on the next three runs but Cox still led by 8 seconds.

With Garner retiring on run 6 it was Mike Moran who was Cox’s nearest challenger with Paul Myers in third. Myers soon joined Garner on the retirements list though, a blown head gasket on his Land Rover Tornado forcing him out.

After day one’s 9 runs Cox held a lead of 1m 40s over Moran with Steve Smith in third in his JRG Clio.

A further 7 runs took place on day two. Cox continued to head the leaderboard and, helped by Moran suffering a puncture, he finished over five minutes ahead of the pack.

“I’m happy with the result, it’s more points in the bag for the championship,” said Cox. “We put in a quick time on the first run and maintained the lead from there. It wasn’t a troublefree event though, we had issues with the power steering fluid leaking and the brake pipes had to be replaced amongst other things. We also found a deer running along the course at one point!”

“ The course was very demanding and challenging, it was a real test of the cars and drivers. Thanks to all the marshals and organisers for a great event.”

Moran was pleased with second place to follow up the win he had at round three.

“It was a tough old course and I was pretty nervous with all the mechanical ailments most cars were suffering from. Other than the puncture on day two we had no issues though. Martin was too quick for me, he deserves the win, I’m pleased with second. “

Smith completed a good event in the V8-powered Clio in third overall ahead of Andy Powell who overcame several car issues to finish fourth.

“We spent a fair proportion of time on Saturday fixing the car,” said Powell. “Issues included a broken steering box, stub shaft and king pins. The intercom was faulty too. To round off a very tough event we did the last two runs with a broken exhaust. I’m pleased to come away with fourth after all that.”

Mark Jacques followed up his sixth place in the Welsh Hill rally with fifth at Radnor. Jason Sharpe was 6th in his Isuzu D-Max.

In 7th was Ryan Cooke who had 2013 BCCC champion Dan Lofthouse in the navigator’s seat. Cooke had a trying weekend with a broken shock absorber on the first run followed by a failed power steering belt on run two. His woes continued on day two with the car having cooling issues but he managed to get to the finish. Richard Green finished in 8th, a higher finish was on the cards before fuel pump problems on day two.

Rounding off the top 10 were Paul Harris and Ian Bartlett. Both drivers suffered from car problems over the weekend including a broken ignition switch for Harris in his Bristol Street Motors-supported GSR Maxilight.

Alan Thomas was the only entry in the Trophy championship and despite some car issues he successfully finished. There were no finishers in the Freelander Challenge either. The Race2Recovery car retired after a roll caused by broken rear suspension. Ian Letman had major clutch problems on day one. He eventually got it fixed and was able to do some runs on day two but he had too many maximums to be classified as a finisher. Ian Linford looked to be heading for a repeat of his round three win but a broken cambelt early on the second day put him out of the event.

In the Clubman category 2013 BCCC drivers Andi Skelley and Tom Hipkiss entered their Milners. Skelley’s car had a head gasket failure early in the event while Hipkiss did not contest day two. Jon Damrel battled various issues on his Tornado to take the category win.

The next championship round will take place at Epynt in Wales on 13-14th September.

1. Martin Cox/Paul Carson (GSR 206 Evo 9) 02:08:30
2. Mike Moran/Tony Coid (AT 4x4 Indy Challenger) 02:13:56
3. Steve Smith/John Griffiths (JRG Indy Clio V8) 02:14:54
4. Andy Powell/Phil Ibbotson (Simmbugghini) 02:19:23
5. Mark Jacques/Simon Last (3M Challenger) 02:23:12
6. Jason Sharpe/Russell Sharpe (Isuzu D-Max) 02:37:09
7. Ryan Cooke/Dan Lofthouse (Milner LRM-1) 02:44:00
8. Richard Green/Richard Griffiths (Tomcat 100) 02:44:32
9. Paul Harris/Mark Phelps (GSR Maxilight) 02:50:54
10. Ian Bartlett/Gary Bartlett (Tomcat Tornado) 03:02:01

Sunday, 20 July 2014

All to play for as BCCC championship race heads to Radnor

With three rounds of the Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship complete the title race will move to Radnor forest next weekend for round four.

Martin Cox heads the leaderboard at the halfway point on 235 points, just 10 ahead of Paul Myers. Cox’s lead could’ve been a lot more if a broken throttle cable on the final run had not dropped him down the results at the previous round in South West Scotland. 

Myers finished third in Scotland in his Team Britpart Land Rover Tornado to continue his good run of results in 2014.

“We’ve made no changes to the car after Scotland, we’ve just done the usual checking and swapping of ball joints as well as sorting out a bent steering rod we suffered after hitting a large rock,” said Myers. “We were very pleased with the round three result as we lost a lot of time on one run with two punctures. Other than that we had a great event, with our Cooper ST Maxx tyres performing and wearing well. We’re looking forward to Radnor.”

Ryan Cooke is in third place in the championship after a fine second place last time out in his Milner LRM-1, his best ever result in the car. Cooke commented: “The car has had a full checkover and the transfer box has been stripped and visually checked. We’ve upgraded the chassis ECU for Radnor and we’re hoping for a good reliable run to build on our performance on the last round.”

Milner R5 driver Andrew West is aiming to get his championship challenge back on track at Radnor after lower arm mechanical issues forced him out of round three. Navigator Peter Widdop said: “We’ve repaired all the damage and also changed the lower arm on the other side of the car as a precaution. The exhaust has been modified slightly too, we’re all set for round four.”

Andy Powell and Phil Ibbotson are another crew looking for a better event than they had in Scotland. After his truck broke down near the venue Ibboton was forced to make an overnight journey home and then back to Scotland, arriving just in time for the first run. Sadly the gearbox on their Simmbugghini broke during the first day.

“We’re hoping for better luck at Radnor after not having much at the first three rounds,” said Powell. “I have rebuilt my manual shift autobox, I’ve never taken one apart before so I hope I’ve not missed anything. Thanks must go to Steve Hiatt for his help on parts and information on the rebuild. I’ve had a very busy time in the workshop but we will be there, Phil has fixed his wagon too. I’m really looking forward to the Fishpools course, it was excellent last year.”

Lying in 10th place currently is Paul Harris who has had mixed fortunes so far this season in his Bristol Street Motors-supported GSR Maxilight.

“We’ve had a few car issues so far this season so a good clear run is the aim for Radnor ,” said Harris. “After the very wet conditions of the last two rounds I hope we get a dry event this time. I’ll be pushing hard to try and get up the leaderboard. We had major issues on the first run in Scotland which put is down the field right from the start.”

In the Trophy championship Alan Thomas is well on his way to taking the title in his Warrior Gemini despite retiring at the last event. He’ll be looking to return to winning ways in Wales.

The Race2Recovery team presently lead the Freelander Challenge although, after taking a win on only his third Freelander event, Ian Linford is just 6 points behind. With Ian Letman a further 13 points back in third the Freelander Challenge title race is still wide open.

In the Clubman category Andi Skelley will make his long-awaited BCCC return. Skelley crashed his Milner on the Borders Hill Rally last November and work commitments have meant that the repairs have taken several months to complete.

“I can’t wait to get back competing,” said Skelley. “The car needed repairs to the roll cage and a new cab as well as lots of other work and I’ve been extremely busy with my business so it’s taken a while to get the car back up and running.”

“We’re there now though and we’re all set for Radnor. I expect it’ll take a while to get used to the Milner again as I’ve not done many events in it but hopefully we can get a decent result and have troublefree weekend.”

Skelley will be joined by Jon Damrel who won the Clubman class at round three in his Insanity Racing Tornado.

The event starts at 10am on Saturday with the crews racing until around 5pm. Sunday’s action starts at 9am with the final run taking place early in the afternoon. Spectators can park at rally HQ at the Fishpools entrance to Radnor forest and walk to the course. Spectator information is available on

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Profile - Ian Linford & Demelza Scholes

Ian Linford had a long-held ambition to compete at BCCC level after winning numerous accolades in clubman events in his V8 Special. Following much persuasion he took the test to get a National B licence to allow him to compete with the BCCC crews. A 100% pass showed that the skills were there and he decided to put those skills to good use by putting an entry in for the 2014 Freelander Challenge.

The quest to take part in the Challenge started in December 2013 with a search for a suitable motor. An ideal candidate was soon found on ebay in the form of a white 1999 non-running Freelander for £350. The car was aptly named Rudolph.

After replacing the engine and gearbox Linford made the long journey from his home in Hertfordshire to Lancashire where Dan at Protection & Performance fitted a roll cage. The car was finished just one week before the first event of the season.

With the car all sorted all Ian had to do was source a navigator. He took a risk with a rookie Demelza Scholes but she makes up for her lack of experience with enthusiasm, encouragement and fearlessness. Ben Brough and Brian Taylor complete "Team Sheepie" as service crew and the team is supported by, who supply Yokohama tyres, and the Brewery Tap in Furnuex Pelham (Ian's local) who, as well as backing the car, provide celebration or commiseration drinks!

When he is not competing Ian works as an RAC patrolman in Hertfordshire, a job he has had for many years. Before that he worked in an independent Land Rover specialist in Essex so he has plenty of ability and experience under the bonnet which will prove invaluable in the Freelander Challenge.

The team's season can be followed at