Sunday, 24 July 2016

Seconds in it as Gould wins at Ceri

Martin Gould emerged victorious after an event-long battle with Justin Birchall at round four of the Britpart MSA British Cross County Championship which was held at Ceri forest in Wales.

It was Birchall who led early on in his Lofthouse Freelander, his car benefiting from extra power after extensive work on the engine. Gould took the lead on run three and at the end of day one he was two seconds in front.

In third place overnight was Ryan Cooke who, along with his team, had got his Milner LRM-1 back to full health after his problems at the last round.

Crews not faring so well on the opening day included Richard Coleby who snapped a belt on his Polaris and Richard Green who rolled his Tomcat out of the event.

The competition between Gould and Birchall was just as intense on day two and, going into the final run there was only six seconds in it. A slight mistake at a hairpin on the last run lost some time for Birchall and Gould took the win by 13 seconds.

“It’s been a really good race,” said Gould. “I was on edge all weekend, wanting to keep the pace up but not wanting to push too hard and go off the road. Justin and myself were split by seconds all weekend so it was a great battle, I just managed to pip him at the end.”

Birchall commented: “It was very close and a great weekend’s competition. I’m impressed with the new engine, it’s given us some extra pace. The course was fantastic, a good mix of fast stuff and more technical sections. The rain on day two made the course very slippery and we had a few moments, we also blew a pipe on the power steering pump but we made it to the finish.”

Cooke maintained his third position with Andy Powell overcoming a couple of punctures to take fourth. In fifth place was Mike Moran who was debuting his Lofthouse Evo. Electrical problems and a high-speed spin hampered his day one runs but the car went well on day two as Moran got used to the extra power of the Evo 9 engine.

In the BCC Trophy Nick Pritchard took his first win of the season in his Goka buggy following the retirement of day one leader Steve Anning. Phill Bayliss consolidated his championship lead with second and the Tomcat of Ben Clay was third.

Graham White won the Freelander Challenge, his second win of the season. Alex Howard was second and Brian Chase was third.

The Clubman class saw a good entry with former BCCC champion Ian Rochelle driving his Rivet on the opening day and fellow-former BCCC drivers Phil Ibbotson and Gordon Monaghan also entered. It was Justin Brookes who led the Clubman in his Polaris at the end of day one but he didn’t run on the second day. Ibbotson who took the win in his Metro 6R4 Evo with Sian Rogers in second. In third was Dutch driver Maurice Ubachs who enjoyed his first BCCC event in his Toyota Hilux.

The next round of the BCCC takes place at Bovington in Dorset on September 10/11.

BCCC results:

1. Martin Gould/Simon Kerfoot (Buxton 4x4 Rivet) 01:09:57
2. Justin Birchall/Louise Birchall (Lofthouse Freelander) 01:10:10
3. Ryan Cooke/Darren Cooke (Milner LRM-1) 01:17:13
4. Andy Powell/Evalda Bob Kazla (Simmbugghini) 01:20:10
5. Mike Moran/Tony Coid (Lofthouse Evo) 01:20:30
6. Jonny Koonja/Matt Lowe (Simmbugghini) 01:20:32
7. Steve Smith/John Griffiths (JRG Clio V8) 01:22:00
8. Paul Myers/Martin Myers (Land Rover Tornado) 01:22:38
9. Neil Davey/Tony Barley (Yamaha YXZ 1000R) 01:23:41
Mark Jacques/Simon Last (Lofthouse Freelander)