SEASON REVIEW: FORD XR CHALLENGE
Mark Robinson racked up his fifth XR title this season. Photo: www.bournephoto.co.uk
Backed by S&G Response, the Ford XR Challenge is one of the longest continuous running one make race championships in the world. The Challenge caters for the 1980s Ford Fiesta XR2 and Ford Escort XR3i and this season offered a third class in the form of the Fiesta ST.
The Class A Fiesta XR2 is seemingly inextricably linked to the name Robinson – Mark Robinson has become a bit of a legend in the championship and this season he clinched the title for a fifth time,having won in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 . However, that does not tell the whole story as he was made to battle all the way by Peter Lancaster and Simon Sheridan. Mark’s achievement is truly remarkable especially given the intensity of the racing.
The main protagonists in Class B were Jason Hennefer, John-Ifan Jones and Terry Kellaher but the three-way battle for the honours eventually came down to a straight fight between Jones and Hennefer at the last round. Unfortunately, it was decided in the cruellest of ways as a niggling head gasket problem deprived Jones of reliability and after some stunning driving from both men, especially Hennefer, it was Jason who finally made the Class B title his very own.
Class C was a new introduction for 2011 and we had to wait until the Anglesey triple round in September before we were able to see how the Fiesta ST would perform against the Fiesta XR2. Given a like-for-like scenario, the omens for close racing proved to be good as Ford Dealer MD, Ian Fletcher, took time out from the Fiesta Championship to give his Kempster-Ford backed car a trial with the Ford XRs. Fletcher achieved two second place finishes behind five times champion Mark Robinson and won the last race to conclude a fantastic weekend of racing. The performance of the ST will give many ST racers up in Scotland some food for thought!
A big thank you to Dave Fairclough for his smooth co-ordinating role on race days and to his team of supporters who all combine to make the weekends such pleasurable events. Finally, thanks also to S&G Response for their support and to Yokohama for supplying the A048R control tyres.
Click here for the final points table.