HOME HEROES LEAD THE WAY AS RALLYCROSS RETURNS TO CROFT

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A cluster of local drivers will be gunning for glory in the penultimate round of the 2014 Autosport International BTRDA Rallycross Championship at Croft Circuit this Sunday (16 November), with a bumper entry list setting the scene for some spectacular side-by-side action across more than 40 races.

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A colourful cacophony of 65 flame-spitting rallycross cars will take to the gravel and asphalt track at the popular Yorkshire venue, with leading European Rallycross Championship protagonist Kevin Procter topping an impressive bill at the Darlington & District Motor Club-run meeting.

Leeming-based Procter will be in action in his new World Rallycross-spec, turbocharged Ford Fiesta Supercar – capable of hitting 60mph from a standing start in an eye-watering two seconds, making it quicker even than an F1 car. He will be up against the likes of Subaru stars Simon Horton and Gary Pusey and former national champion Andy Grant in his Ford Focus.

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A welcome returnee to the sport following a sabbatical season is ‘Mad’ Mark Watson. The Barnard Castle hotelier has an excellent record at Croft, and his distinctive and revamped 550bhp Citroën Xsara T16 Supercar is sure to be a lead attraction once again this weekend.

Watson was one of three competitors to showcase his car in Darlington town centre last Saturday, alongside Newcastle B&B owner Brian Jukes’ diesel-powered, four wheel-drive Audi TT and Northallerton garage owner Guy Corner with his Supercharged Peugeot 206. The pre-event promotional display was well-received by shoppers and passers-by, many of whom stopped to chat to the drivers and learn about the enthralling discipline of rallycross.

The various two wheel-drive classes will similarly be well-represented at Croft as series regulars, title front-runners and local favourites go head-to-head and wheel-to-wheel. Newton Aycliffe’s Chris Harper leads the overall championship in his Citroën Saxo and also tops the entry-level Production class – which has celebrated a different winner at every round so far this year – whilst Northallerton Peugeot 206 drivers Guy Corner and Larry Carter hold the advantage in the incredibly diverse 2000cc and 1600cc Super Modified series’ respectively.

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Kieran Curran in his rapid 1600cc Vauxhall Corsa is sure to be a contender in the Super Modified class, but with newly-crowned Super 1600 British Champion Jack Thorne (Citroën C2), the powerful RWD Vauxhall Corsa of Allan Tapscott and Brian Jukes in his Audi TT, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will emerge victorious.

Other local drivers include Bedale’s Colin Ramsay (Peugeot 205), Martin Peters from Ingleby Barwick (Citroën Saxo), Stokesley’s Ian Horn (Vauxhall Nova) and Northallerton’s Darren Grimston (Suzuki Swift).

The BMW Mini and Classic Mini categories bring together the old and new versions of the motoring icon, whilst Autocross will enable a clutch of Newcastle-based drivers to get to grips with rallycross for the very first time. All-in-all, it promises to be a real firecracker of an event.

“The main motorsport season might be drawing to a close, but there’s still plenty to enjoy here at Croft between now and the end of the year and the BTRDA Rallycross Championship is always a thrilling event,” said circuit manager Mike Cantelo. “There will be a lot of local drivers in action, and I’m sure the support of their friends, family and fans will provide them with an additional boost.

“Rallycross is a superb sport because it appeals to both circuit racing and rallying aficionados, and it’s extremely enjoyable all-round entertainment. With tickets so reasonably priced, too, it’s just a great day out for all the family!”

Adult admission to the BTRDA Rallycross Championship at Croft on Sunday, 16 November costs £10 per adult on the gate, with accompanied children aged 15 and under admitted free. Parking is also free, with the action getting underway at 09.30.

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