XR CHALLENGE PROVIDES THRILLS AT ANGLESEY
Blackburn and Robinson enjoyed a close battle in a rain-affected XR Challenge race – Photo: Rachel Bourne
With a history stretching back to the 1980s it underlines how good the racing was in the Electrovape.co.uk XR Challenge at Anglesey Circuit over the weekend of 5th/6th August when seasoned observers enthused that the 3 races were the best they have ever seen in the category.
The action was fraught right from the first lap of the opening encounter when the leading Escort of Michael Blackburn turned in at The Hairpin only to find Michael Heath diving down his inside. As Blackburn recovered from the shock of finding the black and red Fiesta on his chosen line, Justin Roberts seized the opportunity to move up from fourth to second as Heath claimed a lead he would never relinquish. Hampered by a gearbox problem with his Fiesta in this race, Mark Robinson was pushed down to fourth in the first lap chaos but later overtook Roberts in the Rocket/Peel complex before demoting Blackburn at The Hairpin to claim second. The latter was running ahead of Roberts although the places were changing all the time with Roberts eventually taking third.
While Saturday had been dry, both of Sunday’s races were held in the wet. In the morning, Robinson came out on top, just holding off Heath. Blackburn was third as Roberts was delayed battling in the pack before making fourth his own.
The final thrash was another thriller with plenty of place changing. Although Roberts retired with a clutch problem,it was still a four-way dice for the lead with Steve Poole joining in the fun with his orange Fiesta. At one point, Blackburn was hung out to dry at Rocket and dropped from second to fourth but he was immediately back into third when Poole had a sideways moment at The Corkscrew. The fastest XR3i driver then worked his way to the front and took his revenge for events in race 1 by overtaking leader Heath at The Hairpin to seal the win. Robinson followed him home in second with Heath completing the podium.
It was a nightmare of a weekend for Richard Avery in the Toyo Tyres Porsche Championship. The first time he took to the track the modified Boxster driver found himself in trouble with the stewards after the 3-way dice he was having for second with Ed Hayes and Nick Hull got out of hand when he pushed the latter into a spin. Hull recovered to finished fourth on the road and was promoted to third when a 5 secs penalty was applied to Avery’s race time. Adam Southgate finished 10 secs ahead of everyone else and this advantage was doubled when 10 secs penalties were handed out for jumped starts to the next 3 cars home.
It began raining during the course of race 2. Southgate was once again out in front but had a spin exiting the Bus Stop handing the lead to Hayes. The next driver to get caught out by the suddenly very slippery conditions was the unfortunate Hayes who hit the barriers hard – and nearly rolled – on the exit of Target. The wreckage inflicted on both the car and barriers forced a stoppage. By this time Southgate had recovered to second with Hull third.
Avery was a non-starter for the reverse grid race 3 which Southgate won comfortable from Hayes and Kevin Molyneux after Hull was a lap 1 spinner.
In the Standard Boxster and 924 Classes Andrew Baker and Pip Hammond respectively went home with 3 winners’ trophies.
Another who might have completed a hat-trick was Tom Roche. He took victories in the second and third Mazda MX5 SuperCup encounters – in the last he was simply majestic as he pulled away from everyone else in dreadful conditions. First time out his set up wasn’t quite right causing his tyres to overheat and meaning fifth was the best he could achieve as Jack Harding seized the opportunity to take the win from Luke Herbert and Liam Murphy. Herbert and Ben Short completed the podium in the races that Roche won.
For the Group A drivers in the Mazda MX-5 Championship, race 1 saw a fantastic battle between Joshua Jackson and Mike Comber. There was rarely more than a coat of paint between them. Will Blackwell-Chambers was third. The first pair then found themselves excluded from the second encounter which meant the victory was awarded to Ben Trott from Olver Allwood and Blackwell-Chambers. Trott dropped down to third in the final encounter as Teddy Clark took the flag ahead of Blackwell-Chambers.
The exclusion of Comber and Jackson meant they had to race in the final Group B event of the weekend. Comber won it after a superb dice with Sam Smith in which the pair constantly changed positions. Patrick Collins and Chris Powles were the earlier Group B victors.
Jake Byrne in his Ray took the overall and Post89 honours in the opening contest of the Avon Tyres Northern Formula Ford 1600 Double Header ahead of Matt Round-Garrido (Medina Sport) and Luciano Carvalho (Van Diemen). The Irishman was unable to make it 2 out of 2 when his throttle cable broke later in the day. Round-Garrido therefore took the win from Jaap Blijleven in a Pre90 Reynard – the Dutchman had also won that class earlier in the day. With Carvalho retiring when his dash’ indicated low oil pressure, Mario Sarchet completed the overall podium in his Van Diemen RF91.
The Formula Fordsters also had a couple of non-championship contests on Sunday. Due to his retirement the previous day, Byrne had to start at the back in the first of these. He was still able to catch leader Round-Garrido but couldn’t get by and it was a similar story in the second encounter. Carvalho was third in both of Sunday’s races.
Our guests from the MG Car Club were competing in two rounds of the Cockshoot Cup. Howard Hunt (MG ZR 180) and David Coulthard (MG ZR 190) took a win apiece.
The BRSCC would like to thank the officials and marshals who ran a slickly organized meeting despite the long periods of very inclement conditions. Special mention goes to the dedication of the cadet marshals in the Assembly Area who turned down the offer of taking shelter in Race Control when the driving rain was at its worst.
You can view the full results at ANGLESEY RESULTS