Saturday, 7 March 2020

Britpart BXCC 2020


A quiet few months in motorsport terms for me. I declined covering the Saltire Classic due to the tumbleweed that greeted my images from the event last year so I've done no events since the final BXCC round last year.

It's soon time for BXCC 2020 to start. Once again I'll be doing the photography and media stuff, alongside Special Stage who'll be providing video coverage. 

The BXCC organisers have their own website which I have access to publish event reports on. Last year I duplicated content on here but now that the official site is established I don't see any point doing that. There's also an official BXCC Facebook group. 

So, if you want to keep up to date with all things BXCC please visit:

Official website: crosscountryuk.org
Songasport Offroad Facebook: facebook.com/songasportoffroad/

I'll leave this page online to act as an archive but visit the above places for new stuff. 

Monday, 28 October 2019

Walters win and Britpart BXCC title for Birchall and Koonja



J
ustin Birchall and Jonny Koonja claimed the Britpart British Cross Country Championship title with a victory in the final round of the season which was held at Walters in South Wales.
With one non-finish already this year Birchall could not afford another retirement if he was to take his first British championship. He made a great start, setting fastest time on the opening run in his Lofthouse M3. Mark Jacques and Adam Nicholson, second in the title race going into the final round, were in second place in their LS3-engined Lofthouse.
Jacques was fastest on the second run but Birchall was quickest on the remaining five runs of day one to take a commanding lead into day two. Jacques was second but with a broken gearbox it was doubtful that he’d start day two. Phill Bayliss and Lance Murfin were in third place in their Land Rover Special.
Torrential rain for 24 hours before the event had made the course very wet and the venue took it’s toll on some cars. Round 5 winner Andy Deguilio broke the clutch pedal on his Milner R5 which he managed to make a fix for but an ominous transmission whine resulted in him calling it a day before likely repairs became even more expensive. Andi Skelley returned to the championship but he was forced out with gearbox problems on his Milner. Steve Smith, fresh from starring in Autocar magazine, put his Clio V8 in a ditch but was able to continue after being extracted by the recovery crew.
Whilst the rest of the service area was asleep Mark Jacques’ team were busy trying to repair the gearbox. Two of the Lofthouse Motorsport team went to get some parts from Preston, around 200 miles away, and then work continued through the night with the fix finally complete at 4am.
The team’s work was rewarded with Jacques successfully making it to the finish in second place, a result which gave in second in the championship also.
“What a season and what a weekend,” said Jacques. “We had a good start to the event but then we lost fourth gear. On the final run of day one we were jammed in third. All the team did a fantastic job to get the gearbox repaired, we didn’t have all the right parts so a couple of the lads had to go to Lofthouse Motorsport to get spares.”
“We nursed it through the second day and made it to the finish. It’s been a brilliant season, thank you to everyone who has helped us and to the BXCC team for putting on the championship.”
Despite a broken alternator belt and a puncture Phill Bayliss finished third, taking third overall in the championship too.
“Like our other third places this season this result was very unexpected,” commented Bayliss. “The weather on day one made things very interesting but it was all good. We had a few issues, as well as the belt and puncture we had the wipers stop on one run and the brakes fail on another but the service crew did a brilliant job as did my navigator Lance.”
“I need to say a massive thanks to all the organisers, marshals, recovery crews and all the other volunteers who take their own time to put on the events for us to enjoy, you’re all awesome!”
The issued faced by Bayliss and Jacques meant that Birchall had a clear run to the win although he didn’t back off at all as his height over the jump on day two’s runs testified! The result gave Birchall his first British title with Koonja adding to the title he won with Dan Lofthouse in 2013.
“It’s been around 10 years in the making,” said Birchall. “The season hasn’t gone exactly to plan but I suppose that has kept everyone entertained! The pressure was on to get the result with already having one retirement but I felt really calm and kept focused. We pulled out a good lead out on day one and then it was a case of concentrating and bringing it home. I’m absolutely over the moon.”
Jason Rowlands was in fourth place in his Can-Am X3 with Dave Hooper in fifth in his new Bowler Tomcat. In sixth was the Lofthouse Freelander of Martin James. James commented: “It was a great weekend of racing. The weather was challenging but we made it through with just one puncture. It’s only the third proper outing with the car so I’m still learning with every lap.”
Oisin Riley completed his season in style with seventh place and another BXC Trophy win in his Polaris. Martin and Aston Cox were eight after a few issues with the GSR 206 including a broken wishbone.
Harry Nicoll and Emily Sibley finished ninth in their Bowler Tomcat despite blowing a front diff on day one. Rounding off the top ten were Steve Smith and John Griffiths in the Clio who, after their day one ditch excursion, required the recovery team again on day two when their steering broke.
With the 2019 championship complete preparations are now underway for the 2020 season which will start on April 4/5. Please visit crosscountryuk.org for more information.
Thank you 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 M3) 02:09:10
02. Mark Jacques/Adam Nicholson (Lofthouse LS3) 02:13:07
03. Phill Bayliss/Lance Murfin (Land Rover Special) 02:18:34
04. Jason Rowlands/Matthew Hall (Can-Am X3) 02:20:03
05. Dave Hooper/Leigh Higginson (Bowler Tomcat) 02:24:24
06. Martin James/Charley Morgan (Lofthouse Freelander) 02:25:00
07. Oisin Riley/Philip Richards (Polaris RZR XP1K Turbo) 02:28:38
08. Martin & Aston Cox/Simon Kerfoot (GSR 206) 02:31:38
09. Harry Nicoll/Emily Sibley (Bowler Tomcat) 02:38:20
10. Steve Smith/John Griffiths (JRG Clio V8) 03:18:54



Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Images from Britpart BXCC R5 Whaddon

















Britpart BXCC Whaddon win for Degiulio


Andy Degiulio and Paul Foley put their bad luck this season behind them with victory at round five of the Britpart British Cross Country Championship which was held at Whaddon in Buckinghamshire.

A quick start by Paul Rowlands and Neil Lloyd gave them a lead of 14 seconds after the opening two runs in their Polaris with Degiulio in second place. Fastest or joint fastest times on the next four runs saw Degiulio close the gap to one second after run 6. Rowlands’ victory hopes were dashed on run 7 though with a broken drive belt resulting in a maximum which dropped him down the leaderboard and left Degiulio leading the event overnight with championship leaders Justin Birchall and Jonny Koonja in second and Ian Gregg and Adam Evans in third.

Whaddon was a new venue for the BXCC and it proved to be tough for some crews on day one. Martin and Aston Cox damaged the steering on their GSR 206, Richard Green broke a track rod end on his Tomcat 100 and Michael Wilson’s Freelander was forced into retirement when the front diff housing exploded and holed the engine sump.

Degiulio maintained his lead throughout the second day, taking the win by 1m 24s.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Degiulio. “It’s a good feeling to be back on the podium after the problems we’ve had this season with crashing and mechanical issues. It was a case of keeping my head down and keeping at it. I enjoyed the event, I enjoy the driving and it’s a privilege to do what we do.”

There was a tense battle for second place. Mark Jacques and Adam Nicholson set the fastest time of the event on the last run of day one in their Lofthouse LS3 and they set the pace on day two also, with fastest time on every run. Jacques completed his runs with Birchall’s car still in service having the front diff changed. Birchall set out on his final run needing to complete the course in less than 6m 09s to get second place but he wasn’t able to achieve it and had to settle for third behind Jacques.

Jacques commented: “It’s been a tough weekend, we arrived late on Friday so didn’t get a chance to walk the course and then the first couple of runs were difficult as we had a misfire. After that though we started to enjoy it and the car was faultless. It was quite different terrain to what we usually race on but we gave it our best. It was a really good event, well organised with a great atmosphere.”

Birchall’s third place keeps his BXCC title hopes alive. He commented: “It was an extremely hard event, the nature of the course meant trying to do the same speed as usual was very difficult. It was tough on both car and crew, I’ve got blisters on my hands from hanging on to the steering wheel. We had a knocking noise on the car on day two so we changed the front diff but then we had no fourth gear on the final two runs. It’s been a good weekend though.”

Gregg finished fourth in his Polaris with Paul Rowlands fighting back from his day one disappointment to take fifth. Jason Rowlands also had a drive belt failure which meant he could finish no higher than sixth in his Can-Am X3.

Martin and Aston Cox had further steering issues on day two but were still able to finish seventh. Oisin Riley was eighth in his Polaris and Phill Bayliss ended his run of third places in ninth after a challenging event which included damaging his wrist on day one after hitting a bump at speed, resulting in the rest of the event having to be driven one-handed. Liam Griffin rounded off the top ten in his Bowler Bulldog on what was his first BXCC event.

Chloe Jones completed her class 7 championship win and finished 11th overall with Richard Green completing the finishers in 12th after several problems with his Tomcat.

The championship will finish in October at Walters in South 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. Andy Degiulio/Paul Foley (Milner R5) 01:49:08
02. Mark Jacques/Adam Nicholson (Lofthouse LS3) 01:50:32
03. Justin Birchall/Jonny Koonja (Lofthouse Freelander) 01:50:51
04. Ian Gregg/Adam Evans (Polaris RZR) 01:51:05
05. Paul Rowlands/Neil Lloyd (Polaris RZR) 01:55:11
06. Jason Rowlands/Matthew Hall (Can-Am X3) 02:00:10
07. Martin & Aston Cox/Josh Thomas (GSR 206) 02:03:31
08. Oisin Riley/Philip Richards (Polaris RZR XP1K Turbo) 02:04:20
09. Phill Bayliss/Lance Murfin (Land Rover Special) 02:05:56
10. Liam Griffin/Robert Daniels (Bowler Bulldog) 02:10:40

Monday, 9 September 2019

Britpart BXCC crews to face new challenge at penultimate round


The penultimate round of the Britpart British Cross Country Championship takes place next weekend and the competitors will face a new challenge with the first ever visit of the series to the Whaddon venue in Buckinghamshire.
Justin Birchall got his season back on track at the last round in Bovington, a win taking him to the top of the championship leaderboard on 252 points. Birchall’s navigator has prepared for the event by taking part in Rallye Des Cimes, partnering Dan Lofthouse in Mike Moran’s Lofthouse Evo.
Fellow Lofthouse driver Mark Jacques is in second place with 243 points after salvaging fifth place at round four following transmission problems on the opening day.
In third place, with 233 points, is Phill Bayliss who has finished third overall on each of the last three events in his Land Rover Special.
Paul Rowlands was unlucky not to get a win at Bovington but the second place he achieved was enough to put him in fourth place in the championship on 203 points.
Just behind Rowlands, on 199 points, is Aston and Martin Cox who are in fifth place despite missing the last round.
“Unfortunately harvesting got in the way of racing at Bovington,” said Aston. “We’ll be out in the Can-Am X3 at Whaddon rather than the GSR 206. We’re looking forward to a nice local event for a change!”
Another driver returning after missing Bovington is Michael Wilson who will be looking for another production class win in his Freelander.
“Both the car and my navigator weren’t in a suitable condition to race at the last round but both are fine now so we’ll be at Whaddon,” commented Wilson. “A new screen is going on the car this week and there are a few other jobs to do when I get back from my holidays but nothing major.”
Chloe Jones presently leads class 7 and just needs to get a point for starting to wrap up the class championship.
“I start at university the day after the event so it’s likely to be our last racing of the year,” said Jones. “With only having to cross the start line to win the championship we’re going to be playing for overall points as we having nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
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.