As the crowds gathered for the traditional Bank Holiday Monday British Rallycross Championship meeting at Lydden Hill, despite a back row start, it was reigning Swift Sport Champion Simon Ovenden who set the pace in the opening qualifier. Former Ginetta driver, Ryan Hadfield put the cat amongst the Swifts being second quickest out the box, followed by Morgan Bailey who also started from the back of the grid.
Morgan Bailey left, with Llewellin close behind, Hadfield to the right of Ovenden and Scott following
Former Drifter Dominic Flitney came in fourth ahead of the sixteen year old, Tom Llewellin and returning Swift driver Chris Scott in Sixth.
Ex-Autograsser Bailey found pace in Q2 ahead of Ovenden and Hadfield, whilst Llewellin climbed to fourth ahead for Flitney and Scott in the same top six.
After a gear selector issue was rectified just moments before Max Weatherley was due to head to the track, with the adrenaline pumping, boosted a storming drive to deliver his first race win. Philip Cruickshank was one of many who became a victim of the mighty chicane in the challenging weather conditions and bouncing across the kerbs developed a power issue in which his Swift rolled to a halt resulting in a Q2 DNF.
Tom Middleton's struggles were not left behind at Silverstone when more gearbox issues saw him miss Q2 however the Peter Gwynne Motorsport Team were on hand to fit a replacement gearbox and get him back out for Q3.
Original order was resumed in Q3 with Ovenden, Hadfield and Bailey. Llewellin again in fourth with Weatherley who improved every time out progressed to fifth followed by local Deal driver Rob Maynard.
With dampening conditions in the first of the Semi Finals, Ovenden gave a perfect performance in front of his home crowd, with Bailey second past the flag. Rob Maynard gave his best drive of the day coming in third with Weatherley securing the final qualification place ahead of Flitney, Joe Booth and Middleton in Semi Final one.
The second grid lined up with Hadfield, Llewellin and Scott making up the front row. Guernsey racer Christian Hainsworth and Don Macleod made up the middle row, with Philip Cruickshank completing the line up.
There was all to play for with the last four places up for grabs for the all important final, but where position rather than times counted for the final qualification there were nail-biting moments when PGM teammates Llewellin and Hadfield did battle at the front of the pack with Hadfield finding a way past to take the win ahead of Llewellin. Scott and Hainsworth completed the Final line up.
The final saw Ovenden take the lead into Chessons from his pole position start closely followed by Bailey, Maynard and Hainsworth whilst Hadfield, Llewellin, Scott and Weatherley all headed for the joker. Bailey saw his chance at the hairpin and took the lead over Ovenden whilst Llewellin snuck through the inside of Hadfield into Devils Elbow. Maynard and Hainsworth opted to Joker on their second lap leaving Bailey and Ovenden out front now being hunted down by Llewellin. Hadfield with an over enthusiastic chase in fourth into devils elbow got two wheels on the grass and catapulted Junior Champion Llewellin into the gravel leaving him a spectator for the rest of the race.
Ovenden jokered lap four whilst Hainsworth and Weatherley entertained the crowds simultaneously pirouetting at paddock bend! Both gathered themselves and rejoined, only for Maynard to follow suit on lap five.
Maynard has a moment at Paddock Bend
Whilst all this was going on Bailey had slipped into the joker and rejoined alongside Ovenden where they battled side by side and with a committed charge Bailey had the advantage into Devils Elbow and managed to keep the momentum up Hairy Hill to fend of the Champion to the chequered flag!
Hadfield completed the podium in third followed by Scott, Weatherley, Maynard and Hainsworth limped home with damaged front suspension from his earlier collision with the kerb.
Hainsworth entertains crowds
The Championship heads North next for Round Three at Croft Circuit on 6th May 2018.
For ticket information visit www.croftcircuit.co.uk