The Hyperdrive ST-XR Challenges rolls into Croft in North Yorkshire for Rounds 3, 4 and 5 of the 2019 season, having begun in sensational fashion just a few weeks ago at Oulton Park. With a bevy of new drivers and car joining the usual suspects, this year looks to be one of the most competitive in recent history.

The opening rounds at Oulton provided a thrilling three-way tussle all day long between leading Class A runners Adam Brown, William Heslop and Greg Speight in their Fiesta XR2s. The conclusion to Race 1 was nail-biting as the last lap dice provided a rare photo finish at the line between Brown and Speight which saw the former just snatch victory by the tiniest of margins – 0.001 seconds to be exact! Heslop, who took 3rd a further 8 tenths back, would then go on to claim victory in Race 2 with Speight and Brown tailing after him having ended up embroiled in their own battle in the closing stages. All three are present on the grid this weekend at Croft, so expect the trio to pick up where they left off this weekend. Paul Green, Matthew Eldridge and Darren Watson will all be looking to grab more points towards their championship campaigns too, while Tony Mumford had a difficult opening meeting and will be hoping for better fortunes this time.

Jason Hennefer left Oulton Park as the top man in Class B for the Escort XR3i contingent. Ryan Bowron will be looking to be his closest rival here at Croft, along with Peter Futers who rounds out the class. With no Class C cars present, the focus will switch to the ever-growing Class D, introduced in 2018 to accommodate the Ford Fiesta Mk6 ST150. Five cars took to the grid for the opening rounds and the same number will do the same again here, with Christopher Rowlands expected to maintain his place at the head of the class. Having finished 4th overall in both races, this proves that in the right hands the Fiesta STs can and do stand up to the long-standing XR2s that head the pack. Matthew Spencer and Paul Brettell are back to continue giving chase, while we’re delighted to welcome Colin & Mark Upton to the grid in their pair of STs, making their ST-XR Challenge debut here at Croft.

Class E for non-LSD equipped Fiesta XR2s will be something of a straightforward affair with Matthew Morton running as the class’ sole representative this weekend.

Last season, the ST-XRs enjoyed a brilliant trip up north to Croft and it’s excellent to see these rounds so well supported once again. The new track surface should also help drivers set brand new lap records along the way, so expect the ST-XRs to be even faster this time around!

Scott Woodwiss


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