RallyX Nationals 2017 Round 3 @ Herts Race Report

8th Rally X

Cragg Takes Round 3 of the BRCA Rallycross Nationals - Click Read More For The Full Report

 

The weekend of 24th and 25th June was the 3rd round of the BRCA Rallycross Nationals at the superb facility near Ware in Hertfordshire. The track had some new features for the weekend, and they played the part well, mixing things up with the new tricky final jump section and “whoops” catching even some of the best drivers out on occasions.

The weekend started in glorious sunshine and all was set for a great day of qualifying ahead. Elliott Boots and his Reds powered Kyosho were on fire, he took all the days 4 qualifying rounds, quite an achievement at this level of racing, and his TQ was by over 10s in rounds 1 and 2. 2nd in both of those rounds was AE man Neil Cragg, straight off the back of his victory at Kent in the previous round, but Infinity driver  Lee Martin managed to get in on the act taking 2nd place in the final 2 rounds of the day.  There was some fantastic driving by Agama driver Jonathon Skidmore, Junior Mugen driver Lewis Jones, James Le Pavoux and his Kyosho as well as the great looking Sworkz of Kevin Brunsden to all get a 3rd in round, really mixing the qualifying points up behind the top 3, and setting things up nicely for the last round of qualifying on Sunday morning, where all places behind Elliott were to play for.

Elliott Boots TQ Man

Another fabulous morning saw Boots take another TQ in round, securing him pole in the Semi final, and this time it was local young AE driver Jamie Clancy that got the 2nd in round with TLR man Mike Lewis rounding off the top 3 for the mornings 5th and final round of qualifying. This really mixed the overall standings up, with Lee sitting 2nd taking the pole in the other Semi, Neil secured 3rd overall, with Kevin Brunsden 4th, the TLR of Jack Embling 5th, reigning British champ Darren Bloomfield and his Agama made 6th after recovering after some bad luck in Saturdays qualifying. Top Junior Lewis Jones made 7th with some brilliantly fast qualifying drives. The two Agamas of Oliver Currie and Callum Niblett would end up 8th and 9th respectively, and rounding off the top 10 was Kyosho man James Le Pavoux. 

Start of the A Main

With qualifying out of the way just before 10am, it was time for the finals. First was the B 1/64 final and was hotly contested by pole sitter Paul Tapsell and his Kyosho buggy, Wayne Davies of TLR and the AE of Carl Chillingworth. Carl took the lead early on with Paul in hot pursuit. They swapped the lead between them with Wayne ever present behind them, late on in the race Carl had an incident and dropped back through the pack leaving Paul to go on and take the win from Wayne. This also opened the door for Dave Lee and his HB buggy to get 3rd and Kevin Griffin in his debut with his Radiosistemi took the final bump up spot. In the A side the racing was even closer, the top 5 drivers in the end all within 23s of each other. It was the Xray of James Hurst that took the lead in the early part of the race, but an early return to the pits saw his chances go, leaving kyosho man Ricky Clarke to take the win, but only just ahead of the Xray of Jamie Bowen. Neil Daunt and Jordan Shelton and Sam Cobley from the Sworkz team were battling hard for the final two bumps. Neil and Jordan both managed to cross the line ahead of Sam, after a brilliantly close race.

The young Kyosho driver Jordan was on a roll, he went into the A 1/32 with brilliant pace, and come home in a fantastic 2nd place, getting another bump, he was joined by Jamie Bowen, also bumping again. Both coming from the back of the grid, through the field and into the top 4! The JQ of Andrew Rennick was also in the mix and he just pipped Jamie for 3rd, leaving Dave Stanley and his Agama to take the win, eventually getting the extra lap on the field as the buzzer went.

In the B 1/32 pole man and kyosho driver Adam Buckholt had a fantastic start and he was in the top 3 positions for the whole race, he was in a battle with the TLR of Mark Beattie, the Mugen of Dylan Saunders and the AE of Michael Isaacs. The 4 had a brilliant on track scrap with Dylan eventually crossing the line as No 1. Michael managed to get ahead of Adam with 3 laps to go and went on to take the 2nd place, with Adam coming home 3rd and the TLR of Paul Abbot popping up in 4th after Mark had an incident late on taking him back down the field. Onto the 1/16th final and Dylan continued his fine form, his OS powered machine looking brilliant as he went from 11th to finish 4th behind the Kyosho of Rob Forbes. Mick butler from Team Xray finished 2nd and winner was the JQ of Oliver Evans, by over 6 seconds. 

In the A side the 1/16th final was a fantastic race, Pole sitter Clive Maland and his AE car dominated the 1st half of the race, with fellow AE driver Julian Jessop giving chase. Matt box and his Soar buggy were also in the mix as well as Jordan Shelton once again. Jordan was driving his kyosho buggy for the first time and he was in the hunt for a 3rd bump of the day, quite an achievement for the young driver. The top 8 drivers were all within half a lap of each other for the majority of the race, which eventually saw Dave Stanley, get his 2nd bump up of the day winning by just over 2s from the Blok powered Tekno of Matt bridge in 3rd, with Julian finishing in 2nd, the battle was on for the final bump between Jordan and Matt, with Matt taking the lead in the last lap, but an error on the final section saw Jordan pip him to the line. A brilliant piece of driving by the pair! Unfortunately Julian was later disqualified leaving Matt to get the final bump, with all drivers being promoted one place below him. 

Rostrum Pic

Moving up to the 1/8th finals and the B side was all about the kyosho buggies with the majority of the race being lead by either the Kyosho of Ben Billing or Kieran Cox. It was going to be a great end to the race with both drivers on different strategies. Kieran lead right to his last pit stop where Ben’s 10min pitstop strategy came into force, and he went on to take the lead and win. Kieran had a race on for 2nd with Mugen driver Anthony Conroy, the pair swapping positions in the closing laps but Junior driver Kieran eventually finishing 2nd just over 1.5s ahead of Anthony in 3rd. A steady race by the Alpha powered TLR of Connor Cocker earned him the final bump spot, but only just with the Xray of Mick butler less than 1.5 seconds behind him at the line. The A side 1/8th was also a thriller! The Xray of Paul Crompton had a great start from 4th on the grid, gaining the lead on the first lap and that’s where he stayed for the duration of the race, even clinching the extra lap on the field. The battle was behind the lead car, with a lot of drivers in contention of the bumps. Joshua Marshall and his Sworkz was battling hard with the Tekno man, Carlo De Marco, with the pair both having long periods in 2nd place, but it was Josh that got away in the end securing his 2nd place, with Carlo getting the 3rd. Behind them was a great on track squabble between the TLR of Richard McKenzie and the Xray of Lee Bunker. Lee was holding 4th place for some time, with Richard hovering behind him, but a mistake on the last corner saw Lee tumble on the new Astro section leaving the door open for Richard to take the final place, a brilliant end to a fantastic piece of driving by the pair.

The B ¼ final saw a superb bit of driving from young Kyosho driver Taro Craddock, he took the front in the middle of the race from the Agama of Tony Truman who lead the first half. It would be those two who got away from the field, with Taro pulling out an impressive lead as the drivers finished, Tony also having a massive 17s lead over the third place man, John Holmes and his Radiosistemi buggy. In 4th it was Ashlee Owen, who had a great drive from being last on the 2nd lap, driving his way through the field in some style to clinch the 4th spot from the Mugen of Anthony Conroy. 

In the A ¼ a brilliant start by pole man Elliot Taylor of TLR saw him lead until after the 2st round of pit stops, that saw him then battling to stay in the bump up places. His misfortune was ceased upon by AE man Dave Bailey and HB man Richard Low. Both drivers sharing the lead between them for the rest of the race, it was going to be an awesome race to the line. Dave managed to get the lead on the last lap, and crossed the line just over 1s ahead of Richard, a superb ending to the race once again. Behind the lead pair was the ever present Dominic Nunn and his Xray buggy, from 7th on the grid he managed to stay on pace and brought home his car in a fantastic 3rd place, securing the bump. The AE of Harry Philips and Elliots TLR then were in a straight fight for the last spot to the Semi, and with just 1.2s between them it was Harry who managed to pip the TLR man and get the place in the Semi.

So now it was time for the Semi finals! The B side saw Darren Bloomfield and his superb looking Bullett powered Agama take the lead from 3rd on the grid, with Infinity driver Lee Martin and the Sworkz of Kevin Brunsden battling behind him. These 3 dominated the race, with all of them leading at some point and not much in pace between them, it was a fantastic race for the top 3 spots, but in the Semi finals the top 7 bump to the main! The first half of the race saw Sworkz young gun Lewis Beach settled in behind the top 3, residing in 4th for much of the first 12 laps, with the young Agama driver Oliver Currie taking up the reins at the midway point and going on to take the 4th spot at the finish. Just behind him was the fantastic looking Nova Rossi powered TLR of Michael Lewis who had managed to pull out a 15s gap on the drivers behind him, who were fighting for the last 2 bump spots to the A-Main. The Kyosho driver James Le Pavoux, the HB car of Graham Alsop and Lewis beach were all in contention, travelling around the circuit within a few seconds of one another, all trying to get the much wanted 6th and 7th places. In the end James and the MX powered machine of Alsop managed to stay ahead of the young Sworkz man, but all crossing the line just a few seconds apart!

The other semi as predicted was all about Elliott Boots, he lead nearly every lap of the race, and his lap times were very impressive. The red and yellow AE of Neil Cragg was in contention of the win early in the race but Elliott was going to be very hard to catch, let alone beat, and he went on to take the win by an impressive margin, nearly lapping the entire field. Neil came home 2nd also some distance ahead of the 3rd place driver. The battle for 3rd was a good one between AE driver Jamie Clancy the HB buggy of Milan Dragojlovic and the Agama of William Skidmore, with Jamie holding the 3rd spot for much of the race with the other 2 in hot pursuit. William was on a fantastic run but he had an unfortunate incident which saw him return to the pits on the last lap, giving up his place, and putting him out of the bumps, extremely unlucky by the Jnr Agama driver! Jamie also had a bobble on his last lap and opened the door for Milan to take the 3rd spot behind Neil, with Jamie just behind in 4th, with barely a second and a half between them, some brilliant driving by both. The next three drivers and the remaining bump ups all crossed the line within 3.5s of each other, Callum Niblett of Agama crossed the line in 5th, with young Mugen driver Lewis Jones just behind and the last of the bumps was fellow Agama driver Jonathon Skidmore. Elliott would start Pole in the main with Lee 2nd and Kevin Brunsden 3rd, and it was all to race for.

Warming up

The main final started and Elliott had a strong opening lap, seeing him retain the lead position, after a few laps it was Elliott and Nemo driver Darren Bloomfield stretching out ahead of the pack! Lee saw himself down in 5th and 6th place for the opening part of the 45min race, but he would back in the hunt for the podium by the end! Elliott was impressive and it was clear he would be hard to overtake, but unexpectedly he returned to the pits on Lap 19, a quick fix and his car was back on track but the damage had been done, we had fallen back down the pack and Neil was out front. Elliott did an amazing job and managed to get back up to battle for a podium again but the problem came back later in the race and unfortunately this time he was out of contention. The battle was now on between Neil and Darren, and by the time the buzzer went both drivers were some way ahead of the rest of the field, with Neil winning by just under 6seconds as the buzzer went! Another brilliant drive by Neil, securing his 2nd win in a row, and taking him to the head of the British championship!3rd place driver on the day was Lee Martin, who had a fantastic drive after an unlucky start, another podium for him too! Next up was the Agama of Callum Niblett, he drove an amazing 45mins, starting 10th and a mature and steady drove saw him finish 4th. Local AE man Jamie Clancy also had a great drive seeing him round off the top 5. 

Another brilliant weekend of racing with the Championship still as close as ever, the next 2 rounds will be crucial. Round 4 of the Nationals will be at Pembrey in South Wales in August. As always the Track team at Herts did a fantastic job getting the track in tip-top condition, and the facilities were brilliant as always. A full list of the results and details of the upcoming events can be found at https://www.brca.org/8rx-results