Harrold scoops John Button Memorial Trophy as Morgan wins final round of Retro RX 2018
The final round of the 2018 Retro Rallycross Championship was held at the home of the British Formula 1 Grand Prix, Silverstone (November 4) and it was Volkswagen Beetle driver James Harrold who secured the coveted John Button Memorial Trophy after a season-long battle.
Racing a Group B Ford RS200 in a replica of Mark Rennison’s British Championship winning-livery, Steve Harris set the fastest time in Q1, before MG Metro 6R4 driver Rob Gibson was quickest in Q2. Harris’ event unfortunately ended before Q3 with a broken driveshaft, as former John Button Memorial Trophy winner Ray Morgan stormed to the fastest time, followed by Paul Easterbrook’s Toyota MR2 and Harrold.
Super Retro driver Gary Simpson, on his return to the class with his BMW E30 was also forced out before Q3 with an overheating engine, having been fastest of the two-wheel drive runners in Q1.
Morgan took pole position for the final, with Harrold and Easterbrook completing the front row, while Vauxhall Astra campaigner Gary Dixon was joined on row two by Gibson. The under 1600cc runners of Ian Biagi (Mini Clubman) and Simon Hart (Ford Escort) were joined on the third row of the grid by John Cross on the debut of his Lancia Stratos.
As the lights went green, it was the four-wheel drive 6R4 of Gibson that seized the advantage ahead of Harrold and Morgan. With the battle for the overall title between Harrold and Biagi, the leaders of the respective sub-categories, Biagi initially dropped behind fellow class rival Hart as Harrold was also passed by Morgan.
At the front, Gibson took the four-wheel drive honours and claimed the Martin Schanche Trophy, while being first of the two-wheel drive competitors meant it was Escort man Morgan who sealed victory. Second in the Super Retro points was enough for Harrold to take the title and the John Button Memorial Trophy, while Biagi just missed out on the overall crown but claimed the Retro Rallycross under 1600cc 2018 honours.
“We had our eye on the championship all day really, we knew we only had to finish second in class and we did just that. If I’m honest I drove quite cautiously in the final and second place was good enough. All in all it’s a really good season, it’s a testament to the car and my dad for doing such a brilliant job of keeping the it running,” said champion James Harrold. “This title is more for him than it is for me, which is special. It’s been 30-odd years coming and eventually the car’s completed a full season in rallycross. Dad jokes that the car is a family heirloom, but it really is – it’s an awesome and very special bit of kit. I’m delighted to win the championship.”
Dixon finished the last final of the year fourth with Cross fifth and Easterbrook sixth, ahead of Biagi and Hart.
“The final round was another great event for Retro Rallycross, it was so close and for the second year running we were kept on our toes right up to the fall of the last chequered flag to be able to crown a new Champion. The PPJ Beetle is one of the most iconic cars in the history of rallycross so huge congratulations to James, Paul and the whole team for taking the title,” said Retro Rallycross Championship Manager Shirley Gibson. “Both James and Ian deserved the title and I know Ian is more determined than ever to come back next season and try again to defeat his rivals. Thank you to everyone involved in Retro Rallycross for their continued support and I look forward to bringing you a stronger championship next season where we hope to be joined by new cars and drivers.”
2018 Retro Rallycross Championship: Round Seven, Final Result:
1 Ray Morgan Ford Escort (Super Retro)
2 Rob Gibson MG Metro 6R4 (Retro 4WD)
3 James Harrold Volkswagen Beetle (Super Retro)
4 Gary Dixon Vauxhall Astra (Super Retro)
5 John Cross Lancia Stratos (Super Retro)
6 Paul Easterbrook Toyota MR2 (Super Retro)
7 Ian Biagi Mini Clubman (Retro)
8 Simon Hart Ford Escort (Retro)
9 Steve Harris Ford RS200 (Retro 4WD)
10 Gary Simpson BMW E30 (Super Retro)
Retro Rallycross (under 1600cc) standings:
1 Ian Biagi Mini Clubman 197
2 Mark Finch Ford Fiesta 137
3 Simon Hart Ford Escort 123
4 Stewart Bowes Mini Clubman 52
5 Steve Bowie Vauxhall Chevette 48
Super Retro (over 1600cc) standings:
1 James Harrold Volkswagen Beetle 199
2 Gary Dixon Vauxhall Astra 178
3 Ray Morgan Ford Escort 177
4 Paul Easterbrook Toyota MR2 153
5 Barry Stewart Porsche 911 71
6 Jason Bowes Volkswagen Golf 67
7 Steve Cozens Citroen AX 44
8 Gary Simpson BMW E30 42
9 John Cross Lancia Stratos 23
9 Christopher Dawkins Peugeot 309 19
Retro 4WD standings:
1 Derrick Jobb Ford Escort 109
2 Roger Thomas MG Metro 6R4 87
3 Steve Harris Ford RS200 30