Round two of the BRCA Off-Road Nationals saw the racers head to the Kidderminster track in the West Midlands. After terrible weather at the first round of the series it was looking a bit better this time round with much less wind, although it still started unseasonably cold and there was a threat of rain.
For the 2WD the mixture of Astroturf, tarmac and cobbles saw a twisty track with some unexpected bumps thrown in for good measure, and grip was high straight away.
The first three rounds of qualifying was all about the drivers currently tied at the top of the points table. Neil Cragg took the first two rounds with Lee Martin taking the third. Up until now there had only been a few spots of rain but towards the end of the fourth and final round it fell heavier. Enough to slow the track by a couple of seconds a lap and putting paid to any chance Lee might have had to take the overall TQ. This meant up and coming driver Ritchie Thorn took a fine round win, and with it he secured his first national A final.
The first final was a nail-biting race. On the damp track Neil was able to pull away as Lee fell into the clutches of Tom Yardy, with Tom making a great pass on the very last corner to take second place. Leg two saw carnage at the start as Neil rolled his car at the top of the hill and the ensuing mess held everyone up enough for Neil to re-take his position at the front – rather fortuitously it has to be said. He never looked back and went on to take the leg and with it the overall victory. In the final leg Neil made an early error and Lee went through to claim an easy win this time and seal second place overall. The final spot on the podium was still up for grabs with Simon Moss winning the battle to take third overall.
Result – 2WD
1.Neil Cragg – Team Associated
Lee Martin – Yokomo
3. Simon Moss – Schumacher
4. Tom Yardy – Team Associated
5. Tom Cockerill – Yokomo
6. Craig Collinson – Team C
7. Lloyd Storey – Schumacher
8. Ellis Stafford – TLR
9. Greg Williams – Team Associated
10. Ritchie Thorn – Schumacher
The forecast for 4WD on Sunday was not good with heavy rain expected overnight, and it definitely delivered. This had died down to drizzle early on at the track and the decision was made to delay proceedings by an hour. With no more heavy rain and with some track work done the surface was usable and a single round of practice was held – in fact the sun even came out for later rounds.
The track layout now saw a faster design with more bumps to catch out the unwary. Some interesting elevation changes with quick chicanes proved to be very testing too, especially with track conditions changing every round as it dried out.
Into qualifying and Neil Cragg took the first two rounds, who was supreme in the slippery conditions. A breakage in round three for Neil meant Lee went top of the pile and with the track now fully dry it was all down to the final run. It was Tom Yardy who found the pace to go quickest to clinch third overall on the grid, with Lee in second and Neil once again on the pole position.
Just like Saturday it was a two-horse race in the A finals with Neil and Lee dominating proceedings. The first leg was extremely close and after a messy start it was Neil that took the win from Lee. There was drama in leg two with Neil looking like it was in the bag when inexplicably a front driveshaft popped out – a bit of a mystery as he hadn’t even crashed. Such was the lead Neil drove the last minute with limited drive and still managed to finish second behind Lee to set up a decider. This was another cracker and the decisive moment came when Neil ran wide coming onto the straight and Lee dived into the car sized gap. That was enough for the leg and the overall win for Lee with Neil in second and Tom Yardy putting in a great drive in the final leg to take third after some tough finals.
Result – 4WD
1. Lee Martin – Yokomo
2. Neil Cragg – Team Associated
3. Tom Yardy – Team Associated
4. Tom Cockerill – Yokomo
5. Danny McGee – Schumacher
6. Craig Collinson – Team C
7. Ellis Stafford – TLR
8. Nathan Waters – Schumacher
9. Simon Moss – Schumacher
10. Ed Kerry – Team Durango
Next stop is a new venue to the series and in just three weeks its off to round three at Telford.