Thursday, 8 March 2012

BCCC crews get ready for new season

After a busy winter working on their cars crews are getting ready for the start of the Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship season which will commence next month.

Round 1 of the championship takes place in Myherin forest in mid-Wales. The venue was first used last year and proved to be very popular with the crews. The course will feature a mix of cat 1 gravel tracks, some of which were used on Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship last year, and more technical off-road sections.

Nesscliff in Shropshire will be the venue for rounds two and five. Like Myherin this venue was used for the first time in 2011 and the mixed surfaces proved to be a stern test of the crews and their machines. In 2012 the championship will use both the same site as last year as well as another site within the same venue.

The crews will head to South West Scotland for round three with a return to the Forrest Lodge venue near St Johns Town of Dalry. This is another venue which tests the crews with a mix of fast straights and tricky quarry sections.

The popular Radnor site will be used for round four with the event again being based near Bleddfa village. The course will run entirely in Radnor forest both on the forest roads and through the numerous off-road tracks that link them.

The championship season will be rounded off with a trip to the South Wales venue of Walters Arena. With recent wind turbine work at the site being completed there are several new tracks available for competition use and, with the likelihood of very variable weather at the hilltop venue in October, crews will face a challenging end to the season.

Several crews have already said they are planning to compete in the championship this year. 2011 BCCC champion Ian Rochelle will return to defend his title in his Millington Phoenix and he is likely to face tough competition in the form of Ryan Cooke and Martin Cox, both of whom showed strong pace last year. After taking the Trophy championship in 2011 Greg Morris will move up to the main championship in 2012 in his Bowler Wildcat and he is looking to repeat the good performances he put in last year which included finishing 10th on the Borders Hill Rally.

Mike Moran is planning to team up with former BCCC driver Tony Coid to do the championship in his AT 4x4 Indy Challenger while Phil Ibbotson will also contest the championship after finishing 10th last year in his Metro 6R4 Evo – although at the time of writing his car was still in many pieces following a winter rebuild! Karl Gudgeon and Pete King are aiming to build on the second place they got at last year’s final round in their GSR Evo X.

The Race2Recovery team will again use the BCCC to help with their training programme for their Dakar 2013 challenge. They are aiming to bring two cars along this year to contest the Freelander Challenger. The team will also be contesting other events through the year including the Tuareg rally in Morocco in which they will field three QT Wildcats. Last year’s Freelander Challenge champion Chris Ratter will also return to try and win the title again.

Regulations and entry forms are available from www.marches4x4.com or from Entries Secretary Lilian Turley at lilianturley@btinternet.com or on 01594 810161.