Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Pikes Peak news round-up

Andy Degiulio's BCCC season got off to a difficult start as he had fuel vaporisation issues all weekend but he battled on to finish 14th. "I kept losing fuel pressure when the car was driven hard," said Degiulio. "I had to stop numerous times on the course to let the fuel cool down so I could get back to service. I decided to carry on to get a finish and drove round at low RPM to get the laps in. I need to redesign the fuel delivery system before the next round. I still enjoyed the weekend and all the other BCCC crews made myself and my wife Paula feel very welcome."

Ben Duckworth set some very quick times early on be he was hampered by various electrical gremlins on his Milner LRM-1 and eventually retired.

After an extensive rebuild of his Bartletts 3M 206 Ian Bartlett made his BCCC return at Pikes Peak but was sadly forced out of the event on day one with a broken gearbox.

Richard Coleby finished 7th and 2nd in class in his Polaris RZR XP Turbo despite putting the car on its side on his penultimate run. Coleby commented: "It's massively encouraging to run the car as hard as it would go, set some great lap times ahead of some really fast cars and challenge for the class lead."

Lee Mansfield made his BCCC return after ten years away and finished 9th in his Xylo Racing Milner R5. "The car had a few issues over the weekend as it had been stood for so long which doesn't help. I was trying to learn how the car behaves, it was certainly a handful but we all had a great weekend it's a credit to all the people involved in making it happen, and more than happy to be in the top ten."

In the BCC Trophy class the Insanity Racing crew of Jon Damrel and Nic Blundell were enjoying their new manual gearbox and they had a fairly troublefree event to finish fifth.

Ian Evans, more known for flinging front wheel drive rally cars around, made his Trophy debut in his Coronda 2WD and was going well until being forced out with suspension damage.

Justin Brooks had to withdraw his BCCC entry due to work commitments but he entered Pikes Peak as a Clubman in his Yamaha and won the category in a time that would've placed him fifth in the BCCC.

In the Freelander Challenge Brian Chase used his new suspension to good effect as he was fastest on the first run but towards the end of the run his automatic gearbox went into neutral and the engine over-revved, resulting in top-end damage which forced him out of the event.

Finally, Pikes Peak saw the welcome return of Katy, crewed by Debbie and Graham. They had many customers as cars kept falling off and breaking down - the things BCCC drivers will do for a piece of flapjack!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Gould takes the points at Pikes Peak

Reigning champion Martin Gould got his Britpart MSA BCCC title defence off to the best possible start when he won at the opening round of the 2017 championship at Pikes Peak.

In contrast to the blizzard at last year's event, the crews were greeted by unseasonably warm and sunny conditions as they headed out to tackle the first run of what would prove to be a very challenging course.

Gould was immediately on the pace, setting the fastest time on run one ahead of Ben Duckworth's Milner LRM-1 and Adrian Marfell, who was making his BCCC debut in his Fouquet Nissan. The opening run didn't go well for some crews with Mike Moran stopping on the course with a broken propshaft and Justin Birchall dropping over a minute to Gould after issues with his Lofthouse Freelander.

After day one's five runs Gould held a lead of just over a minute from Marfell, with Birchall in third despite further problems when an oil pipe came off causing an engine fire.

The sunny conditions continued for most of day two and with a healthy lead Gould set consistent times to maintain his lead, despite a puncture on the final run.

"It’s been a great weekend,” said Gould. “There were a lot of unknowns with all the new cars and drivers in the championship this year so it was good to be on the pace. We tried to be consistent to build up a lead and then we eased off slightly on the second day. The plan worked well, it’s an excellent start to our season."

Birchall set some very quick times on day two and he moved up to second place on the penultimate run.

"We had a great scrap," commented Birchall. "We lost around two minutes with our problems on day one so we pushed hard on day two to try and get to second place. The mist came down for our later runs and the track became very slippery in places but we did enough to get the position. It's going to be a great battle at round two!"

Marfell completed the event in third ahead of Ryan Cooke's Milner LRM-1 and Adam Evans, who was giving the BRP Can-Am Maverick it's BCCC debut.

In the BCC Trophy it was Simon Adams, also in a BRP Can-Am Maverick, who took the win. Paul Rowlands was second in his Yamaha YXZ1000R despite a roll on day one and Joe Quirk, also in a Yamaha, was third.

Defending champion Pat Masters won the Freelander Challenge with Challenge debutant Michael Smith in second and Graham White in third.

Justin Brooks won the Clubman class in his Yamaha YXZ1000R ahead of Martin Cox and Toby Jefferson, both of whom were in GSR 206s.

The next round of the BCCC is on 13/14 May at Radnor forest.

BCCC Results
1. Martin Gould/Simon Kerfoot (Buxton 4x4 Rivet) 01:29:38 
2. Justin Birchall/Jonny Koonja (Lofthouse Freelander) 01:30:42
3. Adrian Marfell/Paul Bartleman (Fouquet Nissan) 01:31:04
4. Ryan Cooke/Darren Cooke (Milner LRM-1) 01:35:22
5. Adam Evans (BRP Can-Am Maverick) 01:36:36
6. Mark Jacques/Tom King (Lofthouse Freelander) 01:37:16
7. Richard Coleby (Polaris RZR XP Turbo) 01:39:24
8. Darren Johnson (Yamaha YXZ1000R) 01:40:33
9. Lee Mansfield/David Roberts (Milner R5) 01:41:01
10. Mike Moran/Tony Coid (Lofthouse Evo) 01:41:26

Monday, 3 April 2017

From barn to BCCC!

Lee Mansfield will return to the BCCC for the first time in ten years when he races a Milner R5 with David Roberts co-driving.

Three weeks ago the car was sat in a barn where it had been for 19 months. Since then their Xylo Racing team have had a hectic time preparing the car for competition.

"We bought the car three years ago and the intention was to race it straight away," said Mansfield. "We only managed to compete a couple of times in our local club event and then setting up a new business and renovating houses got in the way so the car was parked in my father's barn gathering dust."

"We decided three weeks ago to get the car out of the barn and get it ready for the BCCC. I raced in the championship a few years ago and I'm really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel and seeing what we can achieve. With being flat out with the preparation I've not had any time to drive the car so the first run at Pikes Peak will be the first time I've driven properly for a while."

"The car has a 5.2 litre Rover V8 which has been built by John Eales at JE Developments. It produces around 365bhp and 390 lb-ft of torque so it should push along nicely. We're just about ready for round one, all that remains it to get some graphics on it to complete the transformation from barn to BCCC!"

Saturday, 1 April 2017

BCCC title battle to start at Pikes Peak

Crews in the 2017 Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship will begin the battle for the title next weekend when round one of the series takes place at Pikes Peak in Wales.

Leading the crews away will be 2016 champion Martin Gould in his Buxton 4x4 Rivet. The BMW M3-engined car has had some work done over the winter to increase power and reduce weight. 

"I'm really looking forward to the challenge," said Gould. "As well as the competitors from last year we're going to be up against several quick new drivers and cars too, it promises to be a great season."

Ryan Cooke’s Milner LRM-1 will be car two and he’ll be looking to build on the win he achieved at the final round last year. The Lofthouse Freelander of Richard Wynne-Williams is at car three. Wynne-Williams led the championship for much of last season in what was his first season with the Lofthouse and he's been busy testing his car at Sweet Lamb in preparation for his BCCC campaign.

There will be a new machine at car four as Andy Powell debuts his Walker Adams Revolution. After racing a 5.7 V8 beam-axle Simmbugghini in recent years it will be a big change to compete in the 1.0 independent Walker Adams.

"It will certainly take some time to get used to the new car, it's totally different to what I am used to - I'm going from one extreme to the other," said Powell. "I'd been considering switching to a UTV-style car for a while as they're getting increasingly popular for competition use."

Rounding off the top five is Mark Jacques in another Lofthouse Freelander. The car has been modified over the winter and now features a flat-shift and a new ECU.

Steve Smith starts at car 6 in his JRG Clio V8 with Justin Birchall's Lofthouse Freelander at car 7. Birchall will have Jonny Koonja co-driving, Koonja returning to co-driving after driving in the championship last year. Richard Coleby is at car 8 in the Polaris RZR XP Turbo he took to second place at the final round last year. 

Britpart's Paul Myers will be in his usual Land Rover Tornado and he will start at car 9. Ben Duckworth is next up in the Milner LRM-1 he used to take three wins in the 2015 BCCC. Winner of the title in 2014 and 2015 Mike Moran will be in his Lofthouse Evo at car 11. It will be his first full BCCC season in the car which he used to finish third on the Border Hill Rally last year.

The championship has attracted several new crews this season and the first of these off the start line will be Andy Degiulio in his Milner R5. Degiulio has been testing his car to get used to the all-terrain tyres used in the BCCC.

"We had a day at the Phil Price Rally School last week," said Degiulio. "I wanted to get some miles on the car and get used to how it reacts on the new Insa Turbo Ecorace AT tyres as I'm used to racing on mud-terrains. I want to be on the pace for round one as we'll be up against some tough competition and I'm expecting some ferocious battles."

Ian Bartlett makes a return to the championship in his Bartletts 3M 206. The car has contested the BCCC before but it has been having an extensive rebuild for the last couple of years. Rob Bool, who entered a couple of Clubman rounds in 2015 and 2016, will bring his AT 4x4 Indy Challenger. The car is no stranger to the BCCC having previously been owned by Mike Moran who competed in it for several years.

Another driver stepping up to the championship after contesting Clubman events is Justin Brooks who will use a Yamaha YXZ1000R. 

"The friendly atmosphere at the events was a factor in committing to the championship as was the no-nonsense format that fits in well with my work commitments," commented Brooks. "Both my co-driver Caroline and myself are excited at this year's prospects and very much look forward to round one, we're hoping it'll be a wet course and nice and twisty to suit our car."

Joining Brooks in a Yamaha is Darren Johnson who had a successful BCCC debut in the final round last season. Returning to the championship for the first time in 10 years is Lee Mansfield. The Nuneaton-based former Bowler champion will use a Milner R5. Adam Evans will give the new X3 Racing BRP Can-Am Maverick its BCCC debut. The car was recently tested in Tong Forest, including being driven by former BTCC driver and star of Emmerdale Kelvin Fletcher. Rounding off the new drivers is Adrian Marfell who will be in his Fouquet Nissan.

In the BCC Trophy 2016 title winner Phill Bayliss will not be defending the championship so it will be the Insanity Racing Tornado of Jon Damrel who will be first away. The team have undertaken extensive modifications to the car over the winter including converting it from an automatic transmission to manual.

"We've certainly been very busy since the end of last season," said Damrel. "Fortunately the big jobs are complete and we finally got to run the engine for the first time a few days ago which was a major milestone. We've still got a lot of smaller jobs to do but hopefully we'll be ready for Pikes Peak."

2014/2015 champion Nick Pritchard will return in his Goka Buggy ahead of the Peugeot 206 M3 of Steve Anning. Paul Rowlands will be be next away before two new Yamahas which have been built by Landranger Deeside and which will be driven by Ashley Jones and Joe Quirk.

At the time of writing there have been seven registrations for the Freelander Challenge. Pat Masters will return to defend the title he won last year. Next up will be Alex Howard followed by Ian Morson and Graham White. Brian Chase will be out in his V6-engined car and his Ravenol-backed machine has had an extensive rebuild since it was last in action.

"The car has been rebuilt by Harry Hockly Motorsport and has new Bilstein suspension with an increased ride height which should hopefully mean no more dragging the sump guard on the course," said Chase. "I'm pleased to be contesting the Challenge again, I'll have flying Frenchman Ben Le Gendre in the co-driver hot seat."

Double Freelander champion Ian Linford will once again race his Team Sheepie Freelander while Michael Wilson will contest his second Challenge season in his Gibson's of Kendal-supported car.

In the Clubman class Toby Jefferson will be first away in his GSR 206 and he'll be followed by Steve Llewellyn who will be in a Land Rover Tornado. Ben Clay is next up in his Tomcat 100. Clay competed in the Trophy championshp last season and is doing selected Clubman rounds this year. Other Clubman entries include Richard Keasey in his Rakeway Ridgeback and Steve Carroll in a Land Rover Freelander.

The event takes place at Pikes Peak near Devil's Bridge in Mid-Wales. The action starts at 10am on Saturday with day two starting at 9am. Spectator information is available at www.marches4x4.com.