Feeney and Aiken claim maiden Retro RX victories in South Wales

Feeney and Aiken claim maiden Retro RX victories in South Wales

The penultimate racing weekend of the 2017 Retro Rallycross Championship took place at Pembrey Circuit in South Wales (September 23 – 24), for a double-header weekend of action.

With the Welsh circuit – which is celebrating 25-years of rallycross at the venue – being run in an opposite direction on each of the two days, drivers faced a stiff challenge from the circuit, changeable conditions and fellow Retro RX racers in the competitive field.

It was MG Metro 6R4 driver Roger Thomas who claimed pole position for the final in round five on Saturday, having set the fastest time in each of the three qualifying sessions. He was joined on the front row of the grid by reigning champion Ray Morgan and Irish driver David Aiken, but as Aiken dropped back on the opening lap it was another Irishman, Kevin Feeney who climbed to third in the opening stages.

At the end of the first lap, Morgan made an attempt to pass Thomas’ 6R4 in his rear-wheel drive Ford Escort, Thomas struggling with gear selection problems. However, Morgan was also under attack from Feeney, who moved up to second and hounded Thomas for the rest of the race, as behind Morgan dropped back into the clutches of the pack with a technical issue.

As the race reached its conclusion, Feeney had managed to stay within the five-second margin behind Thomas required to seal his first Retro RX win (four-wheel drive cars receive a five-second penalty post-race), as Morgan fended off Aiken and the returning Gary Dixon in a Vauxhall Nova and Astra respectively to complete the podium. Third, fourth and fifth positions being covered by less than a second. Lance Foster was sixth, while Paul Smith produced his strongest performance of the year to be seventh, ahead of Simon Hart and Paul Easterbrook.

With the circuit running in a clockwise direction for round six on Sunday, Aiken took the lead on the opening lap of the final from pole-starter Foster, the Washington driver campaigning his familiar Green & White Mini Spares Mini Clubman. Feeney also moved into second on lap one, as Thomas made a great start from the third row of the grid, but ran wide at the first corner. Feeney spun out of contention after the loose section on lap three, as Thomas passed Foster for third, Dixon having moved up to second. On the final lap, with the top two places going the way of Aiken and Dixon, Foster performed yet another giant-killing act by passing Thomas’ 6R4 with his Mini in the final corner to secure the final podium position.

“What a great weekend of racing. I think some of the closet racing of the whole British RX weekend was in Retro. The drivers are so respectful of each other, it’s really great to see. It’s fantastic to have drivers coming over from Ireland, and two new winners in Kevin and David,” said Retro Rallycross promotor, Shirley Gibson. “There were a lot of really great performances from everyone. Lance continues to amaze everyone with what he can do in his little Mini and he is looking really strong for the championship, and I must say well done to Paul, who I think had his best weekend in a long time. We’re all really excited for the final round now, where it looks like we might crown a new Retro Rallycross champion, and of course we always enjoy supporting the MSA British Rallycross Grand Prix.”

Fosters’ points haul in the up to 1600cc category from the Pembrey weekend moved him into 15-point class lead, and the North East driver also holds a 16-point advantage in the overall standings ahead of the final round at Croft Circuit next month.

2017 Retro Rallycross Championship: Round Five, Pembrey, Result:
1 Kevin Feeney            Ford Escort
2 Roger Thomas          MG Metro 6R4
3 Ray Morgan             Ford Escort
4 David Aiken              Vauxhall Nova
5 Gary Dixon               Vauxhall Astra
6 Lance Foster             Mini Clubman
7 Paul Smith                Volkswagen Polo
8 Simon Hart               Ford Escort
9 Paul Easterbrook      Toyota MR2

2017 Retro Rallycross Championship: Round Six, Pembrey, Result:
1 David Aiken              Vauxhall Nova
2 Gary Dixon               Vauxhall Astra
3 Lance Foster             Mini Clubman
4 Ray Morgan             Ford Escort
5 Roger Thomas          MG Metro 6R4
6 Kevin Feeney            Ford Escort
7 Paul Smith                Volkswagen Polo
8 Paul Easterbrook      Toyota MR2
9 Simon Hart               Ford Escort

2017 Super Retro Rallycross Championship Standings:
1 Ray Morgan 159
2 Paul Easterbrook 134
3 Kevin Feeney 103
4 Roger Thomas 80
5 Barry Stewart 60
6 David Aiken 55
7 Mark Flaherty 27
8 Mark Richardson 23
9 Darren Grimston 23
10 Terry Maynard 21
11 Jos Sterkens 21 

2017 Retro Rallycross Championship (under 1600cc) Standings:
1 Lance Foster 175
2 Paul Smith 160
3 Simon Hart 75
4 Stewart Bowes 57