Sunday, 5 April 2015

BCCC crews set for season opener


Competitors in the Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship will head to Myherin next weekend for the opening event in this year’s series.

2014 champion Mike Moran will return to defend his title and will be first car on the road at round 1. He will use the same Lofthouse Motorsport-prepared AT 4x4 Challenger as last season but the car has undergone an extensive rebuild over the winter and is now lighter and more powerful than before.

“The car has had its frame blasted and painted after some weight reduction work and the Jaguar engine has been completely rebuilt with a few modifications,” said Moran. “After problems with misting in the rain of Walters last year we've had a new heated screen fitted too. Tony Coid is returning as my navigator and has had a full course of exercise at a local gym! We'll be pushing hard to try and retain our title.”

Paul Myers, from championship sponsor Britpart, will start at car 2 in his Land Rover Tornado after a successful 2014 season. Andy Powell will be next on the road in his Simmbugghini. Powell will have former BCCC driver Phil Ibbotson in the navigator’s seat again.

The Jewson D-Max Rally Team have again entered the championship after a class-winning debut season last year in their Isuzu D-Max. The car will be driven by Jason Sharpe.

After mixed fortunes last year Paul Harris is hoping for better luck this season in his GSR Maxilight. Harris won the BCC Trophy title in 2012 and 2013 before stepping up to the main championship last year in his GSR Maxilight.

“After our success in the Trophy last year was pretty disappointing for us,” said Harris. “We had a lot of niggles with the car and eventually a head gasket failure which meant we didn’t complete the season.”

“Hopefully we’ll have better luck this year and get some good results. I’m looking forward to the racing, especially Bovington, which was great last year, and the new site at Hafren.”

Returning to the BCCC after several years absence is Neil Davey. Davey was an event winner in the 2008 championship so should be one to watch this year. He will use a GSR 206 Evo 8.

In the Freelander Challenge an all-female crew will take part for the first time this year. 2014 Freelander champion Ian Linford has been busy building a second ‘Team Sheepie’ car which will be driven by Louisa Felice and navigated by Jess Reynolds. The crew are new to comp safaris but both have experience of 4x4 trials. Linford will also be returning to the Challenge himself.

Another driver who will join the Freelander fun this season is Andy Kimble. Kimble, who previously competed in rallying, will return to motorsport after a break of 14 years. After making his debut at Bovington Andy Price is planning on contesting a full Freelander season this year. Before Bovington Price had not done any competition driving and he had not even driven offroad but he took his Freelander to a class win.

“I spent two season servicing Freelanders in the BCCC and I really wanted to drive in an event,” said Price. “I was able to get my standard Freelander ready for Bovington in just two weeks and the event was amazing. To top it off I got a class win!”

“I’ve done a lot of work to the car over the winter including strengthening the front end and upgrading the suspension. My aim for the season is to finish every event and hopefully push for a few trophies once we’ve got the car set-up sorted. I know I’m a rookie and the competition will be tough, a lad has got to dream though! I can’t wait for the season to start.”

The event will take place in Myherin forest with access to the site gained via “The Arch” picnic area. The action will start at 10am on Saturday and will go on to around 5pm with Sunday’s runs starting at 9am. The event is expected to finish early on Sunday afternoon. Spectator information is available on www.marches4x4.com.