BRC Challenge title up for grabs in Yorkshire Leading the MSA British Rally Championship's support series, the BRC Challenge into its final round, Rally Yorkshire, is the delighted, but somewhat surprised crew of Brett Griffin and Sam ...
BRC Challenge title up for grabs in Yorkshire
Leading the MSA British Rally Championship's support series, the BRC Challenge into its final round, Rally Yorkshire, is the delighted, but somewhat surprised crew of Brett Griffin and Sam Fordham.
The Championship has been bolstered by the UK's Fiesta SportTrophy, but it is Griffin's Peugeot 106 that heads the list of 25 registered drivers by three points, from another non-Ford, that of Nova crew Neil Matthews and John Connor. Griffin has already secured the RC2 class in the Championship, taking straight wins on all five events so far.
Since the BRCC caters for clubmen, it allows not only a choice of overseas events, picking either the Isle of Man or Ulster event for a double-header points scoring rally, but only the best four scores count. This, coupled with points and a half on the final round, means that the series winner has been impossible to predict even as the season has progressed.
Griffin and Matthews' results have been consistently good throughout the five scoring opportunities so far and it is for that reason that they occupy the top two places. Matthews goes to Pickering leading the hotly contested RC1 class from brother and sister team James and Helen Alexander, Julian Wilkes and Will Rutherford holding third in class.
Third placed Matt Edwards and Rob Fagg are arguably favourites for the overall title, having three maximum scores to their credit. They crashed out of the Ulster Rally where they were vying for FST points, so will need to move quickly to repair their Fiesta before Yorkshire. Even with the additional final round points they still need to finish well, as any one of the top ten could still mathematically take the crown.
The Nova pairing of Julian Wilkes and Will Rutherford have three second places, disappointed not to maximise in Ulster as Edwards had nominated the Isle of Man. Their little Vauxhall may have plenty of grunt, but they felt out-gunned by the FST runners' more modern machinery. Robert Barrable eventually won on both days in Antrim, but without the possibility of winning the Championship, his maximum scores have simply made Wilkes' job more difficult.
Having crashed heavily in Ulster, brother and sister team James and Helen Alexander will be another crew struggling to repair their Peugeot 106 before Yorkshire. The unique hand-controlled car not only needs panel work to make it straight, but paraplegic James needs to resolve the electronic clutch problems that plagued him in Northern Ireland too.
Richard Archer and Tom Ward could still theoretically take the title in their awesome Corsa kit car, but after a double retirement on the Isle of Man, their back-to-back Pirelli and Jim Clark wins must seem a distant memory. The Norfolk based driver does, however, have the comforting knowledge that he and his co-driver cannot be caught for the BRC Challenge RC4 class victory, secured by starting the Manx event in July.
The battle for BRC Challenge Junior honours is an all Fiesta affair between current leader Tom Watson, Ulster winner Rob Barrable and John Boyd, who didn't enter the Irish event, missing out on the potential bagful of points.
Whatever the outcome of the BRC Challenge on Rally Yorkshire, the winning driver in the series will benefit from free entries in the 1600 production category of each event in the 2010 MSA British Rally Championship -- a prize worth nearly GBP6000.
The entire event is based at the Pickering Showground where spectators can not only get a feel for the atmosphere of the service area, but they can get close to the action at the special stage which runs around the site. The BRCC kicks off at 09.41 and takes in four stages in the forests above Pickering before the finish and champagne at 2.45pm when the outcome of the 2009 BRC Challenge will be known.