It’s official. The winter break is over and we’re heading rapidly towards the 2014 season of the British Rallycross Championship! I simply cannot wait!!
Further afield, what a winter it’s been. Rallycross has seen yet another new lease of life, seeing the European Championship step up to the world stage as the FIA World Rallycross Championship. The sport continues to gain interest from other motorsport genres, with the likes of rally champion Petter Solberg committed to taking on his second season, and 1997 F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve jumping into the Albatec Racing Peugeot 208 alongside Andy Scott. Big names attracted to Rallycross for the right reasons – it ticks all the boxes.
Nearer to home, we’ve sadly seen Mallory Park disappear from the calendar amid speculation about it’s future. As a result, the British Championship is comprised of six rounds, making every event more important than last year. We’ve also seen the BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship take shape, which is fantastic for the exposure of Rallycross. Unfortunately, with all rounds of the BTRDA split between Blyton and Pembury, those races are simply too far logistically to compete in. My sole focus remains the British Rallycross Championship.
The awards night in late January was a fantastic event where everyone’s achievements from 2013 were rightly rewarded. It was great to meet some new people I knew by name and reputation but on race weekend not had the opportunity to chat with. Clearly, the highlight for me was seeing my Swift Championship colleagues up on stage, collecting the silverware.
Accompanying us on the night was Graham Strugnell and his lovely wife Lynne. It was great to share the occasion with the one man who guided me through what would have been a very rocky road last year. His commitment to my success, mentally and on track, was insatiable. It’s just a shame I couldn’t reward him with a trophy during 2013. I fear his patience won’t last forever…
Graham Rodemark really did have a very polished, consistent season with a little bad luck but results seeing him rightly crowned champion. Tristan Ovenden gave firm chase all season, keeping Graham honest at every round. A similar amount of bad luck fell his way, but ultimately track position at the end of the final wasn’t his. In the paddock, both these guys and their support teams & families have been amazingly helpful and supportive of me throughout the season – I just simply never got that close to them on the track!
My biggest cheer on awards night went to Kris Fruru. From the first race at Lydden where he helped me to apply my (wonky) coach2.com bonnet sticker to the last round at Croft where it was still mathematically possible for me to take 3rd in the championship, our comradeship and friendship grew against a competitive backdrop. I couldn’t have been happier to see such a committed Belgian get his reward for 3rd place.
Talk on the night was only partly about 2013. It was clear the buzz in the room and at the bar was the anticipation of 2014, with people’s plans still very much up in the air. Everyone let their hair down royally. The next time we’d all see each other would be at Lydden – either the test at the end of February or the first race at the end of March.
So to the test next weekend. Six days to go. I’ve still got a list of jobs to finish on the car (aka “Maud” for new readers), with only a handful of evenings to do them in. But I’m organised.
Before next Saturday, I will post a round-up of my off-season car prep. My mechanical knowledge and race experience is a world away from this time last year, and I approach the test with a completely different mindset to last year.
I have much still to prove, and intend to be stepping up onto that podium during 2014, and to collect some silverware at awards night in early 2015… Dreamer? Don’t you have to be?