Monday, 15 July 2019

Mann wins as Jacques takes maximum BXCC points

Rick Mann and Rebecca M Clarkson won the latest Britpart British Cross Country Championship (BXCC) round. which was held at Sweet Lamb in Wales, with Mark Jacques and Adam Nicholson finishing 2nd overall and 1st BXCC crew.
Justin Birchall was joint leader of the championship going into the event and he made a rapid start at Sweet Lamb, setting fastest time on the first three runs in his Lofthouse Freelander to take a seven second lead over Mann.
Birchall and Mann shared fastest times for the remainder of the day one runs but it was Mann who held the lead overnight, six seconds ahead of Birchall with Phill Bayliss in 3rd in his Land Rover Special.
The testing 6.2 mile course proved to be tough for some crews on day one. Andy Powell rolled his car at a hairpin, Andy Deguilio crashed out of the event on the opening run and Michael Wilson put his Freelander on its side. Greg Macleod, doing his first British event for several years, retired his Bowler with a broken engine.
Birchall’s hopes of a second BXCC win this season were dashed when he rolled his car on the opening run of day two, this left Mann to take a convincing win despite a wheel bearing problem on the final few runs.
“It’s my first event for nine months,” said Mann “It’s been a slow rebuild since an accident in France last year. The racing was great, we had a good ding-dong with Justin on the first day. The course seemed to change overnight, it felt rougher and more slippery. The wheel bearing issue was worrying as there was a risk the wheel would come off but we got to the finish. It’s been a great weekend of racing, the organisation was top-notch and the course had a bit of everything, I love racing at Sweet Lamb.”
With Mann not registered for the championship it was Mark Jacques who took maximum points in the title race.
“We’ve had a great weekend, the car has been impeccable,” commented Jacques. “The course was fantastic and we had fun swapping times with Phill Bayliss. I’m looking forward to the next round at Bovington now, it should be good.”
Bayliss followed up his round two 3rd place with another 3rd overall and 2nd BXCC crew. He commented: “I thought our Forrest Estate result was a fluke but we’ve finished well again. We had a fairly hassle-free weekend, the only problem was breaking a shaft on the last run which meant we did most of the course in two-wheel drive. The stage had a good mix of terrain and was spot on.”
Ian Gregg and Adam Evans finished 4th overall and 1st in class in their Polaris RZR. Warrington duo Mike Moran and Tony Coid finished their first BXCC round this season, taking their Lofthouse Evo to 5th place and 1st in class 8. Fellow Lofthouse crew Richard Wynne-Williams and Matthew Lower were 6th ahead of Jason Rowlands and Liam Dudley in their Par Homes Can-Am X3.
Toby Jefferson, who celebrated his 50th birthday at the event, finished 8th in his GSR 206 with BXCC newcomer Tom Jones driving his Can-Am X3 to 9th. Britpart’s Paul Myers gave his Land Rover Special’s new engine its competitive debut, finishing 10th overall.
Phil Ibbotson and Karina James finished 12th despite an almost event-ending moment on day one when they attempted a cut on one corner which nearly saw their 6R4 Evo head down the hillside.
Oisin Riley had his sponsors in the navigator’s seat of his Polaris and they finished 15th overall and 2nd in class.
Rob Bool was classified 17th after being 7th overnight, his AT 4x4 Challenger suffering from a fire caused by a broken exhaust on day two. Fortunately the fire was extinguished with the assistance of Ryan Cooke who was next on the road. Cooke himself finished 13th, his hopes of a good result ended when the fan belt on his Milner LRM-1 came off, resulting in a maximum for one of the runs.
The championship will resume in August at Bovington in Dorset. For more information please visit crosscountryuk.org. For pictures from the event please visit www.facebook.com/songasportoffroad. Video coverage from the event will be available on www.youtube.com/specialstage.
Thanks to all the sponsors of the BXCC: Britpart, Voxcloud, Staffordshire Signs, Par Homes, OFG Land Rover Specialists, Birchall Foodservice, Nicky Grist Motorsports and Bowler.
Top 10 results:
01. Rick Mann/Rebecca Clarkson (RM Dirtstar) 01:36:48
02. Mark Jacques/Adam Nicholson (Lofthouse LS3) 01:40:09
03. Phil Bayliss/Lance Murfin (Land Rover Special) 01:41:02
04. Ian Gregg/Adam Evans (Polaris RZR) 01:42:20
05. Mike Moran/Tony Coid (Lofthouse Evo) 01:42:54
06. Richard Wynne-Williams/Matthew Lowe (Lofthouse BMW) 01:44:33
07. Jason Rowlands/Liam Dudley (Can-Am X3) 01:44:39
08. Toby Jefferson/Megan Jefferson (GSR 206) 01:49:30
09. Tom Jones/Alice Fairbanks (Can-Am X3) 01:49:56
10. Paul Myers/Alastair Myers (Land Rover Special) 01:52:24

Monday, 8 July 2019

Neck and neck in title race as BXCC heads to Sweet Lamb


The Britpart British Cross Country Championship (BXCC) will return to the popular Sweet Lamb venue in mid-Wales next weekend for round three of the 2019 title battle. The venue has not been used in the championship since 2010 and the organisers have arranged a course which is sure to be popular with the competitors.
After two rounds, taking into account dropped scores, the championship lead is shared by Justin Birchall and Adrian Marfell who both have 86 points. Birchall and navigator Jonny Koonja won at the last round in South West Scotland and also finished second at the opening round while Marfell’s round one victory was followed up by a non-finish at round two after his Fouquet-Nissan went off the road. Birchall warmed up for BXCC round three by winning the shootout at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Offroad Arena in his Lofthouse Freelander.
Another Lofthouse crew, Mark Jacques and Adam Nicholson, are in third place with 81 points. They’ve taken their LS3-engined example to a second place and third place this season.
Phill Bayliss and Lance Murfin are in fourth, on 76 points, after a podium finish at Forrest Estate, the best finish by a beam-axle car in the championship for three years. Rob Bool rounds off the top five championship competitors, a good finish at round two giving him 70 points.
Michael Wilson and Ian Letman are planning on being at Sweet Lamb despite barrel rolling their production-spec Freelander at the last round. They were able to finish the event and win their class although the car’s bodywork was rather bent.
“Gibson’s Auto Body have had the big hammer out on the car,” said Wilson. “A new back door has been fitted and the roof has been jacked out. It looks like a dog’s dinner! We aim to race it like that at Sweet Lamb but then do a re-shell before round four.”
Toby Jefferson will make a return to the driving seat at round three having navigated for Karl Gudgeon at round two. Jefferson will be celebrating his 21st birthday again at the event and he’ll be racing his GSR 206.
For Devon-based Oisin Riley round two was a 920 mile round trip so he’s looking forward to a shorter journey to get to Sweet Lamb. “After Scotland Sweet Lamb will be like a local event for us,” commented Riley. “We’ve hopefully sorted the windscreen wiper problem we’ve had on the first two rounds, they’ve been working when they wanted to rather than when we wanted them to – windscreens are over-rated! We’ve also changed the rear mudguards for the latest version, hopefully they will still be on the car at the finish – we finished the last round with a motorhome awning pole and doormat fixed by cable ties and gaffer tape acting as a mudguard. Other than that the car is ready to go and I’ll have sponsors Phill and Dave Hooper navigating for me.”
Andy Powell and Mason Kershaw are currently in sixth place in the championship although they were forced into retirement at the last round. “We had a gearbox shaft issue which ended our event at Forrest Estate,” said Powell. “That’s sorted now though, there are a few jobs to finish off and then I’ll be ready, I’m looking forward to a good run at Sweet Lamb.”
The action will start at 10am on Saturday with a full day of competition with the event expected to finish around 3pm on Sunday. An image gallery from the event will be online on www.facebook.com/songasportoffroad on Sunday evening. For more information on the BXCC please visit www.crosscountryuk.org.
Thanks to all the sponsors of the BXCC: Britpart, Voxcloud, Staffordshire Signs, Par Homes, OFG Land Rover Specialists, Birchall Foodservice, Nicky Grist Motorsports and Bowler.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Birchall flies to Forrest Estate BXCC win


Justin Birchall and Jonathan Koonja battled through two tough days of competition to take victory at round two of the Britpart British Cross Country Championship. The event was part of the Scottish Grand Safari, held over two days and 127 miles at Forrest Estate in South West Scotland.
Birchall was fastest on the first two runs in his Lofthouse Freelander but after run three it was round one winners Adrian Marfell and Paul Bartleman who headed the leaderboard, just three seconds in front after 32 miles of competition.
Sadly the prospect of an event-long fight between Birchall and Marfell ended with Marfell’s Fouquet-Nissan going off the road on run four.
Birchall continued to set the pace, ending the seven runs of day one 2:15 ahead of Mark Jacques and Adam Nicholson with Phill Bayliss and Lance Murfin in third in their Land Rover Special.
The challenging 10.6 mile course was causing problems for some other crews with Jason Rowlands snapping a drivebelt on his Can-AmX3, Richard Wynne-William retiring with gearbox problems and Mike Moran also retiring with a cracked inlet manifold on his Lofthouse Evo.
A further five runs took place on day two and Birchall maintained his pace to take the win with Jacques in second.
“It’s been an extremely hard event, the quarry sections were particularly tough,” said Birchall. “The course was very challenging and it’s been harsh on both the car and crew. I’m very happy with the win, it’s all to play for in the championship now. Hopefully Adrian and Paul are ok after their off.”
For the second consecutive event Jacques achieved his best ever British championship result. He commented: “It’s been a great weekend, a tough course which was hard on the car and hard on the Lofthouse Motorsport team who had to work hard keeping us going. We didn’t really have any major issues though, the main problem was losing the fans but we managed to bypass those.”

It was a best-ever British result for Bayliss in third too, a position maintained despite breaking a propshaft, resulting in the last two runs having to be done with just rear wheel drive.
“We had a lot of niggles with the car but it was a case of just getting on with it,” said Bayliss. “I’m still learning how the new car handles, racing in the damp and slippery conditions here was very different to the dry tracks at Walters. It was a cracking weekend, the course was scary in some places!”
Rob Bool and Steve Llewellyn finished fourth in their AT 4x4 Indy Challenger ahead of Andy Degiulio and Paul Foley who, despite a few punctures, had a successful event in their Milner R5 which had been rebuilt after a high-speed crash at round one. Martin and Aston Cox were sixth in their GSR 206.
Phil Ibbotson and Karina James had a good run to seventh in their Metro 6R4 although Ibbotson needed a change of pants after fighting to avoid putting his car into a ditch after exiting one of the quarry sections, a moment that lasted around 100 metres going from lock to lock.

Chris and Oliver Speakman finished eighth and first of the UTV cars in their Yamaha YXZ. Oisin Riley and Philip Richards were ninth in their Polaris with the Insanity Racing team of Jon Damrel and Nic Blundell taking their Land Rover Tornado to tenth, a great result after the problems the car had at round one.
Steve Smith and John Griffiths finished just outside the top ten in their Clio V8. Chloe Jones and Rebecca Clarkson were 12th overall and first in class on their first event together.
Michael Wilson and Ian Letman had a crash part way through day one, their Freelander rolling twice down a bank, colliding with a tree stump on the way. The car was recovered though and they got their final day one run in with seconds to spare. A less dramatic day two ended with them 13th overall and winning the production class.


The championship will resume in July at Sweet Lamb in Wales. For more information please visit crosscountryuk.org. For pictures from the event please visit www.facebook.com/songasportoffroad. Video coverage from the event will be available on www.youtube.com/specialstage.
Thanks to all the sponsors of the BXCC: Britpart, Voxcloud, Staffordshire Signs, Par Homes, OFG Land Rover Specialists, Birchall Foodservice, Nicky Grist Motorsports and Bowler.
Top 10 results:
01. Justin Birchall/Jonny Koonja (Lofthouse Freelander) 02:57:40
02. Mark Jacques/Adam Nicholson (Lofthouse LS3) 02:59:59
03. Phil Bayliss/Lance Murfin (Land Rover Special) 03:03:30
04. Rob Bool/ Steve Llewellyn (AT 4x4 Indy Challenger) 03:07:08
05. Andy Deguilio/Paul Foley (Milner R5) 03:17:52
06. Martin & Aston Cox/James Watts (GSR 206) 03:19:05
07. Phil Ibbotson/Karina James (Metro 6R4 Evo) 03:26:31
08. Chris Speakman/Oliver Speakman (Yamaha YXZ) 03:31:52
09. Oisin Riley/Philip Richards (Polaris XP1K Turbo) 03:36:09
10. Jon Damrel/Nic Blundell (Land Rover Tornado) 03:37:56



Sunday, 9 June 2019

BXCC battle to resume at Forrest Estate


The Britpart British Cross Country Championship (BXCC) will resume next weekend when the crews head to the idyllic surroundings of Forrest Estate in South West Scotland for round two.
Adrian Marfell leads the title battle after his win at round one and he went well in his Fouquet-Nissan last time the British championship visited the venue, finishing second overall.
Justin Birchall is in second place in his Lofthouse Freelander. In between BXCC rounds Birchall contested the Welsh Hill Rally where he took a convincing win, he also raced in France.
Another Lofthouse driver is in third, Mark Jacques in his LS3-engined example. Jacques was another driver who did the Welsh Hill Rally, sadly retiring on the final day whilst third overall.
Michael Wilson and Ian Letman will bring their production-spec Freelander to the event after a problematic round one which saw assorted parts of the car needing replaced. “The car is back together after Walters," said Wilson. "We’ve got a new gearbox, stronger driveshafts and new shocks. We have the famous Andy Price on the spanners for the event, he knows his way round a Hippo!”
Chloe Jones won her class at round one and she’ll be looking for a repeat performance in Scotland. Jones has a new navigator for the event with Rebecca Clarkson joining her in the QT 88. Clarkson is driving in the NORC championship this year, finishing third last time out and she also navigated for Aston Cox in the Welsh Hill Rally. Clarkson commented “It’s my first time navigating for Chloe, I’m really looking forward to it and it’s great to have an all-female crew in the National A championship for the first time in many years.”
After using his Land Rover 90 TD5 at the opening round Phill Bayliss and Lance Murfin will be using their new car at Forrest Estate following a successful Welsh Hill Rally last month. “We had a great result at the Welsh Hill Rally, winning our class and finishing 12th overall,” said Bayliss. “I’m excited to be racing the new machine in Scotland, it looks like it’ll be a good long course for us to get our teeth into.”
Insanity Racing’s Jon Damrel is hoping for better luck at Forrest Estate following a troublesome weekend at round one. Electrical gremlins and fuelling issues on day one were followed by event-ending mechanical problems on day two. “It was going really well,” said Damrel. “We were increasing speed and confidence and then the centre bearing on the front prop tore out of its mountings, bending the driver’s floor alarmingly and putting a significant hole in the bell housing. That was our event done. Hopefully Scotland will be kinder.”
Andy Degiulio crashed out of round one but his Milner R5 has been repaired and he’s looking forward to racing in Scotland.
The BXCC crews will be racing over a 10.5 mile course using roads all around the Forrest Estate site. They will be racing alongside crews in the Scottish Cross Country Championship with the event being promoted by the Scottish Hill Rally Club. The action starts at 10am on Saturday with a full day of competition. The event is expected to finish around 3pm on Sunday.
For more information on the BXCC please visit crosscountryuk.org. Pictures from the event will be available to view on facebook.com/songasportoffroad and video coverage will be provided by Special Stage.