The final round of the Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship takes place at Walters Arena in South Wales next weekend with two crews fighting it out for the title.
Both Martin Cox and Mike Moran have taken two wins so far this year and presently, allowing for dropped scores, the crews are level pegging so it will be ‘winner takes all’ at Walters.
Cox was within one run of taking the title at the last round but a large hole in the side of the block resulted in his car being towed out of the course and the maximum time incurred dropped him to fourth place.
“We’ve fitted a new scrap yard special engine for the final round,” said Cox. “At 300ish bhp it’s not as powerful as some out there but it is enough to do the trick and have some fun. We’ve also fitted a new windscreen after damaging the old one being towed for five miles. The tow rope is still fitted to the car just in case!”
Moran debuted a new gearbox at the previous round and he used it to good effect, taking a final run win after Cox’s problems.
“The new Tremec sequential gearbox was built by Lofthouse Motorsport and ACR Deeside with the assistance of PPG and it completely changed the way the car drives,” said Moran. “For Walters we’ve also fitted a flat-shift so we’ll be looking to close the speed advantage Martin has had on us all year.”
“We’ve looked at every element of the car to give us the best chance of taking the title. Even the driver has been looked at – I’ve lost a fair amount of weight and have been doing stamina training at a gym who have a Dakar rally finisher amongst their clients so they understand the punishment off-road racing gives to the body.”
“Walters last year was a disaster for us, we cut a corner early on and hit a boulder which broke the steering rack and ripped the front tyre off as well as nearly rolling the car. After a miracle repair by the Lofthouse team we managed to finish the event which gave us fourth in the championship.”
“We’re in a very strong position and will try our best to win the championship but it will be a tough task.”
Behind the two championship contenders there promises to be a close battle with three crews presently separated by just three points. Jason Sharpe is on 338 in the Jewson Isuzu D-Max Rally Team car, Richard Green is one point behind and Mark Jacques is on 335.
The event is likely to be the last time the Bartletts Racing Bowler will be seen in the BCCC. The car was pressed into action again this year as the team undertook a full rebuild of the 206 they used in 2013.
Team navigator Aaron Burch commented: “We’ve had a great season in the car and have thoroughly enjoyed each event but we are itching to be racing the 206 again next year. All of the Bartletts Racing team would like to thank our sponsors, rustproof.me.uk and Super Pro and thanks to all of the marshals and organisers for making sure we’ve had a superb year of racing.”
In the Freelander Challenge the title race is between the Race2Recovery team and Ian Linford. After a great debut BCCC season Linford will round off his year by competing on Wales Rally GB in his standard Land Rover Freelander.
The event starts at 10am on Saturday with day two starting at 9am. Spectator information is available on www.marches4x4.com.