This weekend the BRCA 10th Off-Road National series visited ‘sunny’ Southport in the NW of England. As racers descended on the venue they were greeted by an, as usual, excellently prepared track, now sporting some new features in the middle portion of the track to go along with the infamous Southport ‘back section’, that would give the racers a challenging and fresh layout to race on. The national format see’s just 2 rounds of 3 min practice runs before drivers in to 4 rounds of qualifying and then finals, with just the A main having 3 legs to battle it out, 2wd on the Saturday and 4wd on the Sunday.
2wd qualifying was a battle of two drivers, Darren Bloomfield and Chris Evison. Chris laid down his intentions early with TQ’s in Round 1 & 2, whilst Darren found his feet on the tricky track. Round 3 saw Darren top the time sheets, and again in the final round, setting the fastest time of the day to snatch the TQ position. Behind these two, there was plenty of action, with Lee Martin coming out best of the rest in 3rd, Tom Cockerill 4th and Ellis Stafford in 5th.
The finals saw a dominating display from Darren, racing his Cougar KF for the first time outdoors. He took all 3 legs in fairly convincing fashion, as well as laying down the fastest lap of the meeting. Behind him, Chris Evison hit some bad luck in the final starts so fell down the order, allowing Lee Martin & Tom Cockerill to complete the podium for the all-important championship points.
2wd Top 10 Finishing Order:
1st Darren Bloomfield (1) – Schumacher Cougar KF
2nd Lee Martin (3) – Yokomo
3rd Tom Cockerill (4) – Schumacher Cougar KF
4th Neil Cragg (7) – AE
5th Ashley Fensom (10) – Schumacher Cougar KF
6th Nathan Waters (8) – Schumacher Cougar KF
7th Simon Moss (9) – Schumacher Cougar KF
8th Tom Yardy (6) – AE
9th Chris Evison (2) – TP2
10th Ellis Stafford (5) – TLR
Sunday saw a significant track layout change and the racers woke up to a wet track from overnight rain, however this had dried up by 2nd practice and the majority of drivers were back on their old faithful Schumacher Yellow Tyres. Darren couldn’t make the 4wd event due to 8th scale commitments, so we’d see a different winner come the end of the day.
Once again qualifying was a battle of 2 drivers, and two different guys to the previous day. Lee Martin opened up strong taking round 1 TQ, before Neil Cragg found form to take the remaining three rounds. Times between these two drivers were very close, and people were looking forward to some great racing in the finals between them, as they display at most nationals these days! Behind the top 2, Kevin Lee showed great pace to line up 3rd, followed by the Schumacher duo of Nathan Waters & Tom Cockerill in 4th & 5th respectively.
Leg 1 saw a great battle between Neil & Lee, with Lee coming through to take the win, followed closely by Neil and Kevin Lee 3rd. Leg 2 would see the same top 3, but Neil getting the better of Lee, leaving it all to play for in the final leg. Unfortunately for the crowd, and Lee, an early mistake put an end to the race everyone had hoped for, allowing Neil to take an easy win ahead of Kevin Lee and Tom Cockerill, who capitalised on late errors from other drivers. The podium looked the same as qualifying, with Neil Cragg taking the win, Lee Martin 2nd and Kevin Lee 3rd.
4wd Top 10 Finishing Order:
1st Neil Cragg (1) – AE
2nd Lee Martin (2) – Yokomo
3rd Kevin Lee (3) – Team C
4th Tom Cockerill (5) – Schumacher Cat K1 Aero
5th Nathan Waters (4) – Schumacher Cat K1 Aero
6th Tom Yardy (6) – AE
7th Simon Moss (8) – Schumacher Cat K1 Aero
8th Phil Sleigh (9) – AE
9th Richard Lowe (10) – HB
10th Danny McGee (7) – Schumacher Cat K1 Aero
A huge congratulations to the whole Schumacher team, taking a total of 9 of the 20 available A main spots, and a special mention to Ashley Fensom making his first ever National A final. Once again, another superbly run meeting by both the BRCA and Southport club. The next round of the National Series takes place at TORCH at the end of the month, a new track to the national circuit.