14
Sat, Dec

BRCA Rally X Round 4 - East Shrewsbury

8th Rally X

For round 4 of the national series we headed to a new venue, East Shrewsbury Buggy Racing Club. Juliet Exall Reports.....

The 4th round of the BRCA RallyX national championship took us to ESBRC located near Shrewsbury, the first time this track had made the calendar. A relatively new All dirt track, with technical features, a tight racing line and a longer than average lap time Shrewsbury would be a whole different style of track than the previous JC Raceway.

The few days before the event the great British weather had thrown a spanner in the mix with heavy rain Friday drenching the track....a Herculean effort by the club and other helpers meant that come 10am Saturday it was raceable! A revised schedule of 5 rounds of qualifying Saturday and reduced finals Sunday would come about during the event due to more bad weather predicted on Sunday afternoon.

With Two of the top drivers (Neil Cragg and Lee Martin) missing from JC a few weeks previous they both needed a good weekend to be in contention of the title, and a mix of results over the series also means lots of drivers are in the mix for the Championships podium, as well as in the Jnr/Clubman and Over 40’s Championships. What would this penultimate round bring?

With qualifying underway on a drying track Saturday morning it was Jamie Clancy and his Reds powered AE that edged the TQ from Elliott Boots And his Sworkz Buggy, with Graham Alsop of HB taking 3rd in round. Round two it was Boots who got the TQ and again in rounds 4 and 5. Round 3 it was Jamie again and Graham managed 2nd in the last three rounds as well so overall qualifying was Elliott Boots, Jamie Clancy and then Graham Alsop with the three all dominating qualifying. Mike Lewis ended up 4th and Neil Cragg rounded off the top 5. The strong winds played a part in some heats but the rain had stayed away, we hoped the same would happen on Finals Day...Sunday!

Boots TQ Machine:

All finals being reduced to 15mins apart from the A main which was reduced to 30mins. This did mix it up with most drivers now able to “one stop” a final, meaning strategy didn’t really come into play. 

The first final at a bright an early 8am was the 1/64B. A great start by the pole sitter and Agama driver Sam Dimelow saw him lead from the front for the first half of the race, but during the pit stop window Xray man Liam Brocklehurst took the lead and that’s where he stayed. He took the win with the AE of Andy Cooper 2nd and Sam third as the buzzer went.  The final bump went to Tekno driver Andy Beaumont. 

The A 1/64 was dominated by the AE of Robson White, he led from start to finish and took the win by over a lap! It was a different story behind him as a number of drivers held the bump up spots. As the buzzer went at 15mins it was the Kyosho of Jack Ritchie some 10s ahead of third place man Mark Millard And his HB car. The final spot was taken by Xray man Clinton Smith.

It was another AE that swept the B 1/32 in Ben Turner. He cruised to victory while the battle went on behind him. The first part of the race The Kyosho of Nathan McLoughlin retained the 2nd spot, however, in the 2nd half of the race it was the HB of Darren Moffatt but with a lap to go Nathan got the place back and with just over 2s between the drivers it was Nathan who got 2nd and Darren 3rd with the final bump taken by the AE of Paul Williams.

The A 1/32 was once again all about Robson White. He stormed through the field from 11th to take the first place some 9s ahead of Jnr Kyosho driver Reuben Shakespeare who got the 2nd place after a stunning drive. 3rd was taken by the Xray of Jamie Bowen just 3.5s up from 4th place man Jason Patey And his AE Buggy.

Up next was the B 1/16 and was a great battle between James Burgess and his JQ and Gurdeep Dhami And his Kyosho Buggy. James took up the lead from 7th on the grid in the early part of the race but Gurdeep took the lead away from him just after the midway stage and went on to take the win. It was fellow Kyosho driver Tehannah Cradock who came home second after an excellent drive from 6th. She was some way ahead of the HB of Sam Cobley in 3rd and Ben Turner And his AE took the final bump spot.

Another quality bit of driving in the A1/16 from Young Kyosho driver Reuben Shakespeare saw him go from 12th up to 3rd by lap 6! A very mature drive by the youngster saw him get his second promotion of the day. The front pair were Mike Daniel And his TLR and Owen Luckin And his AE. Luckin was in charge for every lap apart from the important last one! He came home 2nd behind Daniel and the 4th spot was taken by Chris Smith And his Kyosho.

The B1/8 was a great three way battle between Josh Graham And his Agama and the 2 HB buggies of Nick Cox and Jon Spencer. Each having a turn at the front, and all tussling for places for the length of the race, the eventual winner was Jon Spencer with Josh Graham crossing the line in 2nd less than a second up from Cox in 3rd. The AE of Matthew Perry got the final promotion to the 1/4 final.

It was a different story in the A 1/8 as it was dominated by the Mugen of Dennis Holding, leading all but one lap he crossed the line the winner. Pole man Dylan Saunders and his AE cruised home in 2nd some 6s up from the JQ of Scott Walker. Darren Warburton and his Agama had a great final stint and closed the gap down to just over half a second on Scott but come home a narrow 4th, securing the final bump spot.

The B 1/4 was stacked with “A Final” drivers and it didn’t disappoint with 4 different lead cars during the race. Kyosho man James Le Pavoux was one of them, he had a great race, only losing out on the top spot to Sworkz driver Kevin Brunsden on the last lap, but the pair barely having half a second between them at the line. Third with a very steady drive was the JQ of Bradley Baird and 4th was the HB of Ben Billing and his first promotion to a semi final! 

The A 1/4 was more straight forward with the AE of David Bailey, the Pole man taking the victory. A great drive by HB driver Jack Hirst saw him take 2nd just in front of the Agama of Elliot Taylor. 4th saw young Xray driver Kieran Cox. All drivers drove their own race with 12s separating the top 4, they all won promotion comfortably.

The Semi finals now and due to the reduction in time these 15 min races would be fast and furious. First up was the B side and Pole was Jamie Clancy and he held his position for the duration of the race, taking the win from fellow AE driver Michael Lewis in 2nd. The top two drivers were the only one managing the 20 laps in the time. The top two were followed home by another pair of AE cars, with Lewis Jones getting 3rd and Matt Lewis taking 4th. Some fantastic drives by Kevin Brunsden and James Le Pavoux saw them in the mix for bumps to the main, James eventually securing 5th from 12th on the grid and Kevin 7th. In the middle of the double bumping pair was Infinity driver Lee Martin. A brilliantly close race by these three with William Skidmore narrowly missing out on the promotion to the main and all 4 drivers (5th to 8th) finishing within an astonishing 3s of one another! 

The A side was a similar story out front with Boots’ familiar Red machine dominating the final, from buzzer to buzzer. A great start behind him for Graham Alsop and his HB machine saw him hold 2nd place but Neil Cragg managed to get passed on lap 5 and that’s where he stayed, coming home 2nd. Graham would take third. A brilliant battle between Simon Willetts and Callum Niblett for 4th place saw a change in position in the final lap, Callum taking 4th and Simon 5th. A once again stunning drive by young HB driver Jack Hirst saw him rise from 12th at the start to a very impressive 6th. 7th would be hard fought but the Agama of Joni Skidmore narrowly pipped James Harold’s Tekno for the last spot in the main. 

Onto the main event and it was Elliott on Pole with Neil 2nd and Jamie 3rd. Boots and Cragg got off to a flyer with Jamie holding 3rd position but starting to come under pressure from Joni Skidmore who had made an amazing start coming through from 11th on the grid to challenge for a podium. Unfortunately on lap 6 Boots developed a problem and had to return to the pits. The TQ man would take no further part in the 30 minute final handing the lead to Neil Cragg. It would be an Associated 1-2 up until lap 9 when Skidmore made his move on Clancy to take 2nd place. Cragg by this point had already developed a healthy lead and would continue to dominate the shortened A main. Another driver starting near the back of the grid Lee Martin got the hammer down and was soon catching the top 3, by lap 16 he made his move on Michael Lewis and the Infiniti man was up into the podium position where he remained until the chequered flag. So a great win for AE man Neil Cragg followed by Joni Skidmore 2nd and Lee Martin 3rd. Matt Lewis would come home in an excellent 4th place followed by his brother Michael in 5th.

A brilliant weekend of racing, despite the threats of bad weather, and a great final taking the national championship down to the wire at Slough in September with a few drivers in contention will it be another Boots or Cragg year or is it time for someone new to have the honours.

Once again thanks to all of the ESBRC crew who did an astonishing job getting the track into a raceable condition on Saturday morning, and to all that helped, as well as the racers, pit crews, supporters and the BRCA team. The last round of the campaign takes place at Slough (RWMCC) on Sept 7th/8th. All the weekends and championships results can be found at https://www.brca.org/8rx-results

Picture Credits: Juliet Exall, East Shrewsbury BRC and RC Images.

 

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