BRCA Rally X Round 3 Race Report

8th Rally X

Juliet Exall reports from round 3 of the BRCA Rally X Nationals..... Is there any stopping Elliott Boots this season?

The 3rd round of the BRCA Rallycross nationals returned this past weekend with another new venue to the calendar, the very impressive JC Raceway near Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire. A relatively new venue, with some brilliant features, fast flowing sections and lots of (DXR) inspired track genius. Despite some Friday rain the track was faultless Saturday morning and in the perfect condition for some epic Rc racing.

Lots of drivers had never been to the venue before and for some it took time to master, practice saw lots of different tyre combination as people tried to come up with a steady car set up to generate grip on the slick track surface. It didn’t take long for Elliott Boots and Neil Cragg who took the TQ of every round between them to find the right combination. Boots taking rounds 1,2 and 4 and Cragg round 3 and also round 5 first thing Sunday morning. Their fellow racers were battling for 3rd place back, and the battle for “Best of the Rest” was on with numerous drivers appearing in the top ten throughout qualifying. After 5 brilliant rounds of qualifying the top ten was as follows:

  1. ELLIOTT BOOTS
  2. NEIL CRAGG
  3. DARREN BLOOMFIELD
  4. GRAHAM ALSOP
  5. MICHAEL LEWIS
  6. LEE MARTIN
  7. JONATHAN SKIDMORE
  8. JAMIE CLANCY
  9. LEWIS JONES
  10. SIMON WILLETTS

Finals would start in the blazing sunshine and the 1/64th B was dominated by Agama driver Luke Johns, he lead all but two laps of the race, second place was Agama team mate Jnr driver Maxim Cook. Third was a battle between the Kyosho of Lee Marson, the Mugen of Chris Gregory and another Agama driver Matthew Read, a great ontrack fight saw Lee Marson cross the line just ahead of other 2, taking 3rd and the final bump was taken by Matthew with a great drive from 8th on the grid. 

The other 1/64 final saw a flying start by Kyosho man Paul Knapp, he was in the lead for the first section of the race, the pit stops shock the field up and after 20 mins it was Leon Morrell who crossed the line in 1st place after a great battle with Sworkz driver Paul Taylor, who came home in 2nd. 2nd to 4th we’re separated by just over 2s as the drivers crossed the line together, and fellow Sworkz man Ashley Patterson got 3rd slightly ahead of Mark Beattie in 4th.A great race for the bump by the drivers!

The 1/32b was a great race between three of the drivers, Gavin Uttley and his JQ were pole and he was pushed by AE driver Clive Malland and HB man Ben Turner for the full 20mins. Gavin lead for the majority of the race but Clive also had some laps out front, with the ever present Ben hot on their gear boxes, but in the end it was Gavin who took the win but only by just over 2s from Clive and Ben just 1.5s behind him. The final bump spot was taken by the HB of Jack Preston, all 4 getting the lap on the rest of the field.

The 1/32a saw an amazing start by the bump up drivers, with Leon making his way up to 2nd in the early laps, but unfortunately he had to return to the pits shortly after and retired. The race was dominated by AE driver Matt Cunnington, who drove fantastically to lead ever lap and get an extra lap on the field in the process. Elliot Jones and his Kyosho would cross the line 2nd and a great drive by Paul Taylor saw him take third after bumping from the devious final and starting 12 on the grid. Paul was not the only double bump driver in the race with Mark Beattie also bumping a 2nd time in 4th.

Up to the 1/16B and some awesome driving again by the drivers bumping from the lower finals, both Ben Turner (2nd) and Clive Malland bumping up again, albeit Clive finishing 5th and a driver being DQ in scrutineering for him to go up. The final was lead for the most part by Agama driver Mark Everitt, and 3rd was taken by AE driver Simon Yeung. JQ man Chris Lovell was pole in the 1/16a and he went on to turn that pole into a convincing win after a steady 20m drive. In fact the top 4 drivers starting actually came home in order, but with lots of swap during the race. It was the Losi of Matt Ball that came home second but it was a close one with the Agama of Darren Warburton crossing the line along side the Losi driver, and coming up just 0.6 of a second behind! The forth and final bump up position was taken by fellow Agama driver Sam Dimlow, but that too was exceptionally close as just 1.5s back Matt Cunnington was gunning for his 2nd bump, but was just beat to the line. A fantastically close race!

The 1/8b was a superb race, mostly lead by both pole sitter, Kyosho driver Steve Shakespeare and Mugen man Dennis Holding, a great race between the pair, Dennis pulling out a lead until an unfortunate return to the pits for Him saw Steve go on and take the win. 2nd was Mick Butler and his Agama and 3rd was Jack Hawkins and his HB after a storming drive from 10 on the grid. Another good drive saw Richard McKenzie and his HB get the final promotion spot, he to coming from down in 9th. 

1/8a saw a brilliant start by Losi Driver Chaz Godwin, he stormed into the front of the pack. AE man Darren Hayden Ball followed him, and soon got comfortable in 2nd and that’s where the pair ended up at the buzzer. 3rd was Pole man Agama driver Josh Graham! The battle for the final bump in the last few laps was between Matt Box, XRAY, and Darren Warburton who had made his way through the pack from 13th on the grid having previously bumped, Matt held the positions after the final pit stops, but Darren took advantage of a bobble and kept ahead, the battle continued to the line with Matt chasing him down crossing the line just 0.65s behind on the final lap. A great race by the pair.

The 1/4 finals now and things were hotting up, in the B side a great start by the top 2, both Agama drivers Callum Niblett and Jon Hazelwood saw them at the head of the pack, but HB man Simon Reeves was hot on their gearbox chasing them down. Later in the race fellow HB man Jack Hirst got in on the act too, all 4 looking good for a promotion to the semi, but catastrophe struck as in the last laps Callum flames out on track! This left young Kyosho driver Kieran Cox to take the 4th and final spot for the semi finals.

The 1/4a was once again a brilliant race, Pole man Dave Bailey and his AE one stopped the final meaning it wasn’t until after the 2nd set of pitstops we could clearly get an idea of the top drivers. Out front in the later part of the race was Tekno driver Mitchell Booth and the HB of Ollie Currie, eventually the pair pulling a lead, and so that’s how they finished, Mitchell took the win with Ollie following. 3rd was sewn up by the AE of Dave Bailey leaving 3 drivers in the hunt for the final bump spot, Taro Craddock and his Kyosho, Jon Spenser and his HB and Anthony Conroy all driving for the place! A swap of places on the last lap saw Jon take it from Anthony! A battle to the line seeing the HB come out ahead!

The Semis are a different to the other finals, with half the field being promoted the battles go on down the field. The first semi saw Neil Cragg on pole and he retained the place for the majority of the race, taking the win by over 5 seconds after the 20mins were up! A typical drive by HB man Graham Alsop saw him take the 2nd place but only just as the Mugen of Simon Willetts crossed the loop just half a second back! The 4th spot was taken by Infinity driver Lee Martin, with the AE of Jamie Clancy taking the 5th place. The race was on for the last few spots with Agama drivers Elliot Taylor and William Skidmore gunning for 6th place James Le Pavoux and his Kyosho Buggy. All three brilliantly close on track, with some superb close racing, but it was James who took the 6th spot and Elliot who took the final promotion just 1.2s up from William who narrowly missed out on the main final.

The 2nd semi was just as entertaining to watch, Agama driver Darren Bloomfield and Current British Champ Elliott Boots would battle hard for the full 20 mins, but it was a stunning drive by Darren to return to winning ways, taking the overall TQ in the process with a very quick time! Elliot wrapped up 2nd in some clear space, and a brilliant drive by Micheal Lewis saw him cross the line in 3rd as Joni Skidmore flamed our in the last lap, but his strong driving and position saw him still qualify for the main final in 6th behind Jack Embling and his Sworkz Buggy and Mitchell Booth after a great race in 4th and 5th respectively. The remaining space was between the HB of Ollie and the AE of Lewis Jones but it was Ollie who managed to keep the young AE man behind him taking the last promotion to the main.

So for the A Main! Darren Bloomfield would start the 45 minute A Main on pole with Elliott Boots in P2 and Michael Lewis an excellent 3rd on the grid. When the flag dropped it would be Darren and Elliott battling hard for the first lap, swapping positions with some great close racing until Darren had a problem and had to return to the pits at the end of lap 1. Michael Lewis, Neil Cragg and Jack Embling were in hot pursuit up until the first round of pit stops when Lee Martin also came in to play with a longer fuel strategy from 8th on the grid. Another driver starting near the back of the grid Joni Skidmore had started to find a good rythm and was also battling for the podium after around 15 laps of the race had passed. This turned out to be a fantastic battle for the remainder of the race between Michael Lewis, Joni Skidmore and Neil Cragg with all 3 drivers swapping positions on a regular basis. Eventually Boots would take the win by a decent margin with Lee Martin securing 2nd by a good distance from the battling pack of Neil, Mike and Joni who fought hard to the end for the final step of the podium. After 45 minutes the experience (and a touch of good fortune after Michael Lewis risky fuel strategy didn't quite pay off) of Neil Cragg shone through to take the last step of the podium with Joni Skidmore coming home in 4th, Graham Alsop's super consistent drive saw him come home in 5th place and Michael Lewis 6th. A special mention to Ollie Currie who signed off from RC Racing with an excellent 8th place overall after bumping up from the 1/4 finals. We wish you all the best in the future.

A great end to a very good national, the track holding up very well in extremely hot conditions, providing us with some outstanding racing. Well done to all the drivers and organisers and especially to the JC crew.

The 4th round of the National series is in just a few weeks down at the awesome Pembrey track near Swansea in South Wales, where the series hots up leading to the last round in September at Slough!

The full list of results and the championship standings can be found at https://www.brca.org/8rx-results.