Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Bridgnorth offroad racing team triumph at British Cross Country Championship

The Bridgnorth-based Millington Phoenix offroad racing team completed their Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship season last weekend with a second place finish which meant they successfully defended the title they first won in 2011.

The series, which is Britain’s premier offroad racing championship, kicked off in April with a round in mid-Wales. The team’s season got off to a good start as they finished second, a result that was repeated at round two despite their car suffering some electrical troubles.

Problems with the oil seal on the engine meant the team failed to score at round three in Scotland and, with their closest rival winning each of the opening three rounds, it looked as though their hold on the championship was slipping.

However, victories at round four and five saw Rochelle and Hammond head to the last round in South Wales needing to finish in the top three to retain the title. Torrential rain before the event made the conditions on the 7 mile offroad course treacherous and Rochelle drove within himself to hold third place early on. He was promoted to second after a rival driver lost a lot of time when his steering failed and he held this position to the end of the event’s 13 runs to take the championship win.

“I wasn’t really racing on the edge this weekend,” said Rochelle. “A third place was sufficient and, with the very slippery course, I did not want to risk putting the car off the road by driving at my usual flat-out pace.”

“It is absolutely brilliant to win the championship again, it’s been a very tough year so to finish with the victory is fantastic. It has been a real team effort with Chris putting in a lot of work behind the scenes as well as navigating, Roy Millington producing a brilliant engine and Tim Henry doing a great job as our team mechanic, it’s an all Bridgnorth team and we’re brimming with pride."

“The championship has been a very thorough test of our car with six cracking courses through the year, we’ve had everything from extremely tough offroad sections to fast gravel tracks. To end up as championship winners is a real achievement for all the team.”

The 2013 championship will start next April although Rochelle has not yet decided if he will go for a hat trick of title wins.