Croft Circuit will set the scene for the eagerly-anticipated MSA British Rallycross Championship finale and blue riband MSA British Rallycross Grand Prix this weekend (18/19 October) – with flame-spitting heroics and spectacular sideways slides guaranteed.
Rallycross combines the very best aspects of circuit racing and rallying, with a mixture of asphalt and gravel producing one of the most exciting and unpredictable forms of motor sport around.
To add further spice to the recipe, Emmerdale actor and part-time Porsche Carrera Cup GB competitor Kelvin Fletcher will be in action in a Suzuki Swift, whilst Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) race-winner and freshly-crowned Jack Sears Trophy winner Dave Newsham will make his rallycross debut in XtremeRx’s title-winning Citroën Saxo Hot Hatch.
Not forgetting, of course, a brace of drivers with experience of the burgeoning FIA World Rallycross Championship – Ollie O’Donovan in a Ford Focus and Kevin Procter in a Ford Fiesta that was most recently seen at Lohéac in France.
Croft has always been a popular venue for the national season finale, and in total, there will be more than 70 cars duking it out over the dirt in the pursuit of glory in North Yorkshire this weekend. Amongst them, a number of local drivers will take to the super-fast 0.75-mile track – including Leeming-based Procter, who is the defending Grand Prix-winner.
The MSA Supercar class will be disputed between the likes of Julian Godfrey (Ford Fiesta), Andy Grant (Ford Focus), Steve Hill (Mitsubishi Evo), Simon Horton (Subaru Impreza) and O’Donovan.
Multiple British SuperNational Champion Dave Bellerby from Northallerton is returning in a Lotus Exige, and will be up against daughter Paige in a similar car. Keeping it in the family is 16-year-old Drew, who will be battling with another Northallerton driver, Charlie Bean, for championship honours in the Suzuki Swift Junior class.
Other SuperNational drivers to watch out for include Stuart Emery (Peugeot 206) and Gary Dixon (Vauxhall Astra), whilst Jef Mertens, Kris Fruru and Eric Wilkinson are all making the trip from abroad – such is the international allure and prestige of the event.
There is a tense three-way tussle brewing for the Suzuki Swift Sport Championship laurels between Graham Rodemark, Tristan Ovenden and Chris Mullen, who will be joined by soap star Fletcher and ex-BTCC and WTCC contender Harry Vaulkhard.
Barnard Castle hotelier ‘Mad’ Mark Watson is back from nearly a full season’s absence after rebuilding his Citroën Xsara, with multiple British Rallycross Champion Pat Doran hoping to similarly have his iconic RS200 ready after it was all-but destroyed in a fire earlier in the season.
Indeed, the Retro Rallycross Challenge has a strong entry, with Doran’s RS200, an extraordinary 500bhp VW Beetle and an MG Metro 6R4 amongst the star turns. The local challenge comes from Washington’s Lance Foster, who will be aiming to pilot his ultra-fast Austin Mini to the top step of the podium.
The Grand Prix will run to the same knock-out format as last year, whereby the fastest drivers in the mixed heats progress through to the ten-car final. Superb access is a Croft trademark, and adding to the family fun will be the Star Radio roadshow, bouncy castles, go-karts and quad bikes for children as well as the all-new cafeteria serving excellent food and drink. The event will be televised on Eurosport HD.
“Rallycross is arguably the most spectacular form of motor sport around, appealing to fans of rallying and circuit racing alike – it’s the ideal blend,” enthused circuit manager Mike Cantelo. “What’s more, with titles to be decided and the high-stakes nature of the Grand Prix, there’s sure to be some fast-paced, no-holds-barred action – and we’re delighted to see Kelvin Fletcher and Dave Newsham back here again and stepping outside of their comfort zones!
“It’s a real family event, and excellent value too. If you’re a motor sport fan or simply on the lookout for an exciting weekend’s entertainment, you’d be mad to miss this!”
Adult admission costs £10 on Saturday and £15 on Sunday, with weekend tickets £18. Accompanied under-15s are admitted free, as is paddock entrance and car parking.