The notoriously tough venue took some scalps early on as champion leader Justin Birchall had an input shaft break on his Lofthouse Freelander’s gearbox on the opening run which put him out of the event. Neil Davey was another run one casualty as he put his Yamaha YXZ1000R off the road. It was Gould who topped the timesheets on run one with Ryan Cooke his nearest challenger. Cooke’s day would get steadily worse from there though with some runs hampered by cooling issues and then a wishbone bolt coming off the car resulting in jammed steering and a high-speed roll.
Gould continued to set the pace and at the end of day one’s seven runs he held a lead of over four minutes from Richard Wynne-Williams with Steve Smith in third.
A further six runs of the 8.2 mile course took place on day two and Gould maintained his position to take the win.
“It’s been an interesting and difficult weekend,” said Gould. “With our nearest challengers retiring from the event it was hard to judge the pace – we didn’t want to back off too much and lose concentration. I’m really pleased with the result, it’s good for our championship hopes. Hopefully Justin and Ryan will be back out at round four and we should also see Mike Moran’s car so it should be a great event.”
Wynne-Williams had his best result of the season in second and, with Smith’s Clio suffering a double diff failure late on, it was Paul Myers who completed the top three. Mark Jacques took this Lofthouse Freelander to fourth and Andy Powell had his third consecutive fifth place finish after exhaust issues on day one and an unwell driver on day two.
Phill Bayliss won the Trophy category despite completing one run on three wheels. Jon Damrel overcame several punctures to finish second in the Trophy.
In the Freelander Challenge it was Alex Howard who took the win ahead of Ian Linford and Michael Wilson.
1. Martin Gould/Simon Kerfoot (Buxton 4x4 Rivet) 02:16:17
2. Richard Wynne-Williams/Ian Jones (Lofthouse Freelander) 02:22:45
3. Paul Myers/Martin Myers (Land Rover Tornado) 02:24:34
4. Mark Jacques/Simon Last (Lofthouse Freelander) 02:24:41
5. Andy Powell/Evalda Kazla (Simmbugghini) 02:25:04
6. Colin Gould/Aaron Birch (Polaris RZR) 02:26:48
7. Richard Coleby/ (Polaris) 02:34:55
8. Steve Smith/John Griffiths (JRG Clio V8) 02:40:48
9. Alan Thomas/Bob Moulding (Warrior Indy) 02:45:12
10. John Thorne/ (Yamaha YZR1000R) 02:50:17