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BCCC 2008: Neil davey takes last run BCCC Victory at Baden Hall.

Deeside’s Neil Davey clinched a dramatic last run victory in the opening round of the 2008 Britpart MSA British Cross-Country Championship at Baden Hall in Staffordshire on Sunday (April 13th). Huddersfield’s Richard Kershaw eventually finished four seconds behind in second place and Holywell’s Tim Dilworth completed the podium at the wheel of his Peugeot 206 STi, although had he not clipped a tree on the final corner of the last run, a potential victory had been in sight. He finished a mere one second behind Kershaw’s Peugeot 206 Evo9 after a thrilling finale to the event organised by Marches 4x4 Motorsport Management.

Muddy conditions prevailed throughout the weekend, but they did not prevent Ambaston’s Steven Lloyd from taking victory in the Trophy category and Leamington Spa’s Charlie Evans from winning the Clubman event in his Rakeway Ridgeback.

"The conditions were never going to be easy, but it was a great result and the perfect start to the season for me," said a delighted Davey. "It was close right down to the final corner of the last run and that means we could be in for an exciting year."

"When I saw the claggy mud and the bad conditions, I would quite happily have settled for second place," admitted Kershaw. "My car is not really suited to those conditions, but it was a good result under the circumstances and I am quite happy."

Kings Nordley’s Ian Rochelle held a four-second lead over Dilworth and Kershaw after four runs through the muddy special stage on Saturday, but several drivers were still in contention over the final four runs on Sunday.

Dilworth had set the pace through the opening stage in his Peugeot 206 STi and headed into stage two with a seven-second lead over Kershaw, with Davey, Bamber Bridge driver Dan Lofthouse and Martin Gould in close contention. Burbage-based Ryan Cooke was off the pace in his Land Rover Special and decided to withdraw with reported back trouble.

Stirling’s John Cockburn had been one of the pre-event favourites, but decided that team management responsibilities came before competing on this occasion and he was a non-starter. Chelmarsh driver Chris Hammond suffered the disappointment of arriving at Baden Hall only to find that his Milner R5 had not been finished in time to make the start and two other non-starters were Laurie Boyle and James Webb, although Boyle sorted a chronic fuel feed problem on Sunday and was permitted to tackle the last run to test his problematic Range Rover.

Clay Cross-based Simon Bown, Rochelle and Dilworth set the equal fastest time in SS2, after the route had been shortened because of the muddy conditions, but there was disappointment for Beeley’s Jeremy Fearn. He had been a mere 26 seconds behind the leader after the first run, but transmission problems forced his Bowler Wildcat 100 out of the running.

Rochelle was the class of the field through stage three and matched his time on the subsequent run to eke out a four-second overnight lead, with Dilworth and Kershaw in close contention. The Shropshire driver was benefiting from the power of a new Millington Diamond engine in his Matseratti, although his chosen tyre pattern was a bone of contention with some drivers.

Davey held fourth in his Peugeot 206 GSR Evo9, Lofthouse was fifth and Bown rounded off the top six, although at least eight drivers were still in contention for the outright win.

Leamington Spa’s Charlie Evans held a one-second lead in the Clubman category from Bridgnorth’s Tim Henry. Talybont’s Martin James led the Trophy category by 27 seconds in his Land Rover Special, with Steve Lloyd and Robert Seaman his closest challengers.

Event officials reinstated the longer run for the final four tours on Sunday and Rochelle managed to extend his overall lead on run five by posting the second fastest time behind Lofthouse’s fastest lap of 6m 20s. Martin Gould was a second further adrift, but both Dilworth and Davey lost time to the leader.

Intermittent showers and appalling mud hampered progress, but both Dilworth and Davey were in superb form on run six and very nearly broke the six-minute barrier. Rochelle stayed in contention, but the tension was mounting in the mud.

Dilworth, Davey and Kershaw were the class of the field on the seventh run and Dilworth - who had been driving on the ragged edge - found himself in the outright lead, when Rochelle slid wide, clouted a tree and dropped four minutes to the leading pack. He slipped to 11th before retiring after ripping a front left-hand wheel off his battered Matseratti.

Tension was obvious in the build-up to the final run and Dilworth started out with a six-second advantage over Davey, although defending BORC champion Kershaw was a mere seven seconds further adrift. Lofthouse was a distant fourth and realistically too far behind to catch the leading trio.

Quatt’s Tim Henry had forced his way into contention to beat Charlie Evans in the Clubman category in his Simmbugghini and was well clear of Oswestry’s Rupert Astbury and Lampeter’s Malcolm Whitbread.

Ambaston’s Steve Lloyd had overhauled Martin James and took a four-second lead in the Trophy category into the final run, with Ludford’s Robert Seaman in third place.

On the final run Dilworth looked to have the win in the bag, but clipped a tree on the final corner and the incident cost him crucial seconds, the victory and dropped him to third place. Davey duly took the win, defending champion Kershaw was second and Lofthouse was fourth. Mechanical problems troubled Ray Kempster’s Pro Truck R4 on the final run and cost him seventh place. He eventually finished an unofficial 14th.

Evans held on to take the Clubman category win from Henry, Astbury and Whitbread, while Lloyd won the Trophy section from James and Seaman.

"I would like to thank the owners of the Baden Hall facility for the use of their venue this weekend and all our officials for their hard work in adverse weather conditions,’ said clerk of the course Selwyn Kendrick. "We had a tremendous response to the opening round of the year and this bodes well for a successful and exciting season for the BCCC."

Baden Hall - Final results (unofficial) BCCC:

01. Neil Davey (Deeside) I GSR 206 Evo I 43m 54s
02. Richard Kershaw (Huddersfield) I Peugeot 206 Evo9 I 43m 58s
03. Tim Dilworth (Holywell) I Peugeot 206 STi I 43m 59s
04. Dan Lofthouse (Bamber Bridge) I Lofthouse Proto LD4 I 44m 55s
05. Simon Bown (Clay Cross) I Land Rover Special I 45m 44s
06. Dan Evans (Skipton) I Matseratti I 46m 15s
07. Colin Gould (Broadbottom, Hyde) I Milner Protruck R5 I 48m 21s
08. Ken Powell (Kegworth) I Matseratti Lri I 48m 39s
09. Lee Mansfield (Nuneaton) I Bowler Wildcat 200 I 49m 11s
10. Steven Smith (Hatton) I JRG Indy II Special I 49m 16s

Baden Hall - Final results (unofficial) Trophy:

01. Steve Lloyd (Ambaston, Derby) I Milner R4 I 46m 48s
02. Martin James (Talybont) I Land Rover Special I 47m 06s
03. Robert Seaman (Ludford, Hants) I Bowler Wildcat 200 I 47m 45s
04. Adam Evans I Bowler Wildcat 100 I 50m 42s
05. Peter Wood (Stockton-on-Tees) I Kap Bandit I 51m 22s
06. Nick Forsyth (All Stretton, Shropshire) I Range Rover I 53m 56s
07. Paul Myers (Leeds) I Britpart 100 I 59m 45s

Baden Hall - Final results (unofficial) Clubman:

01. Charlie Evans (Leamington Spa) I Rakeway Ridgeback I 43m 07s
02. Tim Henry (Quatt, Bridgnorth) I Simmbugghini I 44m 40s
03. Rupert Astbury (Oswestry) I Special Stealth Pig I 47m 28s
04. Malcolm Whitbread (Lampeter) I Land Rover Special I 47m 54s
05. Kevin Arnott (Lichfield) I Allard Land Rover I 48m 22s, etc

2008/04/15 | 14:08 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Neil Perkins

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