The opening round of the 2-17 Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship took place at Croft circuit near Darlington last Sunday 19th March – With a mixed bag of results for Paige and Drew Bellerby.
Drew started her first event of the BMW Mini Rallycross Championship against stiff opposition, but nevertheless drove with increasing confidence to a promising grid position in the Mini Final. A strong opening lap saw her lying fourth, before disaster struck at the Chicane after Hawthorn, when she was punted into a damaging spin by the car chasing her. Her attack blighted, she set off in dogged pursuit of the pack, only to be further delayed by a slow puncture. Her only reward was a 5th place in the Championship table, where Drew is determined to improve on this for the next round at Lydden Hill circuit on Easter Monday (April 17.
Paige Bellerby, had a succession of fastest times, and qualification wins placing her on the front row of the the semi-final. Her nearest challenger (Ash Simpson), also driving a Lotus Exige, is a long-time friend but also staunch rival. Paige’s best two lap times were each more than a second ahead of Ash’s.
Four largely drama free quali heats saw Paige installed on pole position for the 6 lap final, and a blistering start saw her almost half a dozen car-lengths clear of the pursuing pack before she even needed to brake into Clerveaux . Then Simpson set off in determined pursuit with Alan Tapscott (Vauxhall Corsa) chasing hard, and by the third lap was challenging Paige at every twist and turn. A tense two laps had the sizable crowd on the edge of their seats when on the last lap Simpson made a desperate lunge to take Paige on the outside of the Hairpin – but Paige’s nerve, and line, held steady and he spun off, leaving Paige a clear run to the chequered flag and maximum championship points.
Next event – 17 April – Lydden Hill