BMW Mini driver Oliver Bennett claimed a maiden outright rallycross victory in the opening round of the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy presented by Cooper Tires at Lydden Hill, on glorious day baked in Bank Holiday weekend sunshine.
Bristol-driver Bennett was the class of the field in the headline Supercar category throughout qualifying with his former World Rallycross and Nitro Rallycross Mini Supercar. The Xite Energy Racing driver then led semi-final 1 and the final from the front to secure his first-ever overall win.
Behind the winner, 18-year-old Patrick O’Donovan delivered a stunning Supercar debut performance to qualify on the front row of the final in his Team RX Racing Ford Fiesta, then take his compulsory joker on lap one before picking his way through the field to finish second.
Reigning 5 Nations BRX Champion, Derek Tohill, finished third despite a clutch issue with his PFCRX Ford Fiesta in the latter stages of the final.
Six-time champion Julian Godfrey (Ford Fiesta) finished fourth, ahead of 2007 title-winner Ollie O’Donovan (Proton Iriz) and Tristan Ovenden (Citroen DS3). Roger Thomas (Ford Fiesta) and Steve Hill (Mitsubishi Evo) completed the list of final finishers.
Dominant reigning champion Jason Bleasdale (Vauxhall VX220) took a clean sweep in round one, winning all three qualifying sessions and the final. Paige Bellerby (Lotus Exige) took second despite a driveshaft issue in qualifying, with Darren Bleasdale (Vauxhall VX220) third in his first Supernational event.
The trio of Max Langmaid, Will Ovenden and Owen Robbins repeated their 1-2-3 in positions from the 2021 standings in the opening round of Junior RX 2022. Langmaid led from the start and was last to joker, staying clear of the battles behind. Ovenden and Robins survived a close joker merge on the previous lap, Ovenden taking the position.
Luke Constantine claimed victory in the Swift Sport final, avoiding first corner action to run clear at the front of the order. Max Weatherley headed the qualifying standings but ultimately finished second, while James Constantine recovered to finish third having been half-spun at turn one. Extreme E driver Catie Munnings made her Swift Sport rallycross debut, but retired from the final.
World Rallycross event-winner Sebastian Eriksson won the RX150 category final ahead of rising British rally star George Lepley, both making guest appearances this weekend. Two-time-Dakar Rally winner Sam Sunderland claimed third in his first-ever race on four-wheels.
BMW Mini RX
Dave Bellerby won round one in the BMW Mini category, but the rallycross stalwart didn’t set a single fastest time in qualifying. He was at the front when it mattered however, winning the first semi-final before leading the final from the front to take the win. Tom Constantine and BMW Mini class debutant Craig Lomax completed the podium.
Reigning champion Martin Hawkes won the first qualifying race in the All4 Mini class but a clutch issue side-lined him for the rest of the event. David Bell took advantage to top the qualifying points and take the flag in the final with ease followed by Adrian Turner.
Jos Sterkens (Ford Escort) won the Super Retro final despite earlier woes and not starting Q3. Vince Bristow (BMW E30) topped qualifying and heads the championship after finish, ahead of Nigel Davey (Peugeot 205)
Citroen AX campaigner Steve Cozens clinched round one Retro Rallycross honours with two qualifying wins final victory. Terry Moore (Austin Mini) finished second ahead of Rob Buckmaster in his Ford Fiesta Mk1 XR2.