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Driftenberg Project

15th November 2018 — by JimmyDrama1

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That R35 GTR drift car is back, yep the menacing machine of UK drifter, Steve Baggsy Biagioni is once more cranked up to dominate the internet with it’s 1000+hp and fire spewing front mount exhaust

The floor is lava!

Shoot by Thirteen Media, Rikki Doughty, the latest offering is gratuitous mechanical  porn – Baggsy’s R35 is unleashed around the warehouse facilities of sponsor, ST Suspension in it’s home town of Fichtenberg. There doesn’t seem to be any clever storyline, but it’s looking to be packed full of what we want to see; Full send tyre destruction and flagrant disrespect for traction!

The full video drops tomorrow (Friday 16th November) on Baggsy’s You Tube channel, but for now take a look at an exclusive preview just to get you amp’d in advance

Event

British Rallycross Championship Round 9 – Silverstone

13th November 2018 — by Steve White

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Winter is upon us and, as the nights close in, the opportunities to watch motorsport are DWinDLING. Thankfully the British Rallycross Championship is one of the last national series to wrap up this year WITH IT’s CONCLUDING round taking place at Silverstone.

While several of the class titles had either been won or were all but decided prior to the final round, the Supercar category was still wide open with three protagonists all vying for the 2018 Championship.

Ollie O’Donovan Ford Fiesta Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Leading the standings was 2007 British Rallycross Champion Ollie O’Donovan. Trailing Ollie by just four points came four-time title winner Julian Godfrey, with Mark Higgins sitting in third just a single point behind Godfrey.

In the decade or so that I have been following the British Championship, this is easily the tightest Supercar title fight I can recall and I was hoping to see some close racing at the deciding round.

Mark Higgins Peugeot 208 Albatec Racing Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

If one of the leading trio took the win then the calculations were relatively simple; first or second for O’Donovan would see him secure the title, while both Higgins and Godfrey needed to win with O’Donovan finishing third or lower for them to take the Championship.

Oliver Bennett Ford Fiesta Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Of course the calculations became a lot more complex if one of those three failed to win the round and, although Mark Higgins won the first qualifying heat, that began to look like a distinct possibility as both heats two and three were claimed by a hard charging Oliver Bennett.

Oliver Bennett Ford Fiesta Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

After making his first foray into the Supercar class last year, Oliver Bennett has massively stepped up his commitment to rallycross this year with a World Championship campaign in a freshly built BMW MINI and a handful of other outings in his ex-OMSE Ford Fiesta.

Although I have questioned his approach, I certainly can’t critique the enthusiasm that Bennett seems to have for the sport. That appeared to pay off at Silverstone, as his drive was easily the best – and most committed – I have seen from Oliver in the last two years.

Lancia Stratos John Cross Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

There have been several well documented builds for the Retro Rallycross Championship but, aside from a few rumours, I had seen little of the “new” Lancia Stratos of John Cross until it rolled out of the paddock and onto the track.

Originally used for rallying, this car has been heavily reworked and now utilizes modern WRC derived suspension, a turbocharged VR6 engine – developing a very healthy 475 BHP/510 Ft. Lbs – and a plethora of shiny Spec R goodies in the engine bay. Silverstone marked the competition debut of the car and, although John wasn’t able to challenge the leaders, fifth was a very respectable result for the car on its first outing. With the off-season to refine the setup of the Stratos I’m expecting this to be a frontrunner in 2019.

Steve Harris Ford RS200 Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Steve Harris was the early pace setter in the Retro category. After watching Harris win Retro races at both Lydden Hill and Loheac earlier in the year I was hoping that his RS200 would deliver the goods again at Silverstone.

Unfortunately the day came to an early end for Harris as his car broke a driveshaft in heat three and, with no spares available, Steve was forced to retire. It was a real shame not to see the Ford finish the day – especially as it looked likely Rob Gibson was going to give Steve a run for his money – but hopefully the RS200 will be back in action again next year.

James Harrold Volkswagen Beetle Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

With the four-wheel drive Retro title won at Croft, the two-wheel drive titles were the main focus at Silverstone. James Harold was in line for the Super Retro class (for 2WD cars over 1600cc) crown and John Button Memorial Trophy (for all 2WD cars) if he could hold off class rival Gary Dixon and Retro class (for 2WD cars under 1600cc) Champion Ian Biagi.

Rob Gibson Metro 6R4 Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

As the remaining four-wheel drive entrant it was no surprise to see Rob Gibson rocket away from the line at the start of the Retro final. Threading his way through the two-wheel drive competitors, Gibson took an early lead which he wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the race.

Behind Gibson it was Super Retro drivers Ray Morgan and James Harrold who fought for top spot, with Harrold eventually finishing second to Morgan. That was enough to not only win James the Super Retro title, but also scoop the John Button Memorial Trophy as well. The PPJ Beetle is a hugely iconic car in rallycross history and it’s fantastic to see it still collecting trophies.

Luke Tom Constantine Suzuki Swift Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Another of the titles to be decided at Silverstone was the Junior Swift Championship. As I stated in my review of round seven of the Championship from Lydden, the Junior category has provided close racing throughout the season, the resultant of which were the two leading drivers – brothers Luke and Tom Constantine – arriving at the final round with just a single point between them.

Tom Constantine Suzuki Swift Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

The Constantine pair took the fight all the way to the last lap, with Tom eventually winning the final and, with it, the 2018 Junior Championship.

Suzuki Swift Marius Solberg-Hansen Kristiane Hvaal Engh Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Further down the field, Marius Solberg-Hansen and Kristiane Hvaal Engh had an excellent scrap for fourth, a duel which Hvaal Engh eventually won.

I am certain the driver roster will change again for 2019, but I hope that the Junior Championship continues to deliver next year as, in my opinion, the class has been the most consistent for providing close racing in 2018.

Suzuki Swift Christopher Scott Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Having already secured the Suzuki Swift title, newly crowned Champion Morgan Bailey elected to sit out the final round of the season.

Outgoing Swift Champion Simon Ovenden looked the strongest competitor in the heats, with second in the opening qualifier followed by first place finishes in heats two and three. However, despite Simon starting the final from pole position, it was Christopher Scott who led the pack at the end of the first lap.

Suzuki Swift Dominic Flitney Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Although he wasn’t able to challenge for the win Dominic Flitney recorded his best result of the season with second place. Tom Llewellin made smart use of the joker in order to take the lead and top qualifier Simon Ovenden slotted into third, relegating early leader Christopher Scott to fourth.

Max Weatherley Suzuki Swift Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Max Weatherley recovered from an impromptu stunt show during the final to finish sixth. Perhaps leave the two-wheel stuff to Terry Grant next time Max?

Suzuki Swift Tristan Ovenden Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Tristan Ovenden had all but taken the Super National Championship and, with his closest rival Paige Bellerby not competing at the final round, Tristan just had to line up for the final at Silverstone in order to claim the title.

Although Paige wasn’t racing, her Lotus Exige was still out on track in the hands of her father (and rallycross veteran) Dave Bellerby.

Lotus Exige Dave Bellerby Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Paige has looked a lot more competitive in the Exige this year but, as an old hand, I was excited to see what Dave could do behind the wheel of the Lotus.

Dave didn’t disappoint and he was the only driver to beat Tristan Ovenden during qualification, winning heat three and placing second in heats one and two.

Jack Thorne Renault Twingo Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Mixed fortunes for all the Super 1600 drivers had resulted in an unpredictable season finish for the class, with four drivers all in contention for the title.

I had seen the announcement from 2014 Super 1600 Champion Jack Thorne referencing two cars, however I didn’t appreciate the significance of his news; I assumed that the two cars in question were Thorne’s original Super 1600 Citroen C2 and his ex-Set Promotion Renault Twingo, but it was only when Jack hit the track that I realized he has now acquired another Set Promotion Twingo. This car is such a recent addition to the Thorne stable that Jack raced the Renault at Silverstone still sporting the RX Academy livery of it’s previous occupant, Jesse Kallio.

Jack Thorne Renault Twingo Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Once again mixed in with the Super National class, Jack Thorne was the quickest Super 1600 driver throughout the heats and only beaten by the fastest of the Super National drivers.

Fellow Super 1600 driver Paul Coney looked close to Thorne in the opening race, but the divide between Thorne and Coney seemed to increase throughout the day. Darren Scott began his day with a roll during the practise session, meaning he had to miss the opening heat race and Craig Lomax was unable to run in any of the qualification races.

Tristan Ovenden Renault Clio Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Paul Coney was the only Super 1600 driver who looked capable of challenging Jack Thorne in the final, but Thorne was blisteringly quick in the mixed weather conditions during the afternoon and even managed to put the Clio V6 of Tristan Ovenden in his rear-view mirror during the final.

The only car ahead of Jack was the Lotus Exige of Dave Bellerby, which was superbly driven to overall victory in the combined Super National and Super 1600 class. Second for Jack gave him maximum class points and netted him the 2018 Super 1600 title, while third for Tristan Ovenden cemented his second Super National Championship. Ovenden has driven fantastically again this year, but Bellerby (senior) proved that the Clio V6 certainly isn’t unbeatable.

BMW MINI David Bell Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

David Bell and Martin Hawkes were the favourites for the BMW MINI title, with Bell holding the advantage prior to action getting underway at Silverstone. A clean day of racing to see David through to the final was all that was needed, but that was exactly what he didn’t get. While his closest rival Hawkes posted top four times in all three heats, fourth quickest in heat two was the best Bell could manage.

Starting the final from the second row of the grid David was unable to challenge for the lead, however he recovered from his woes in the heats to climb up to third which, despite Hawkes taking the win, was enough for Bell to win the Championship. As with the Junior Swifts I have been impressed with the closeness of the MINI racing this year and, with an increased entry vaunted for 2019, I will be paying close attention to this class next year.

Chrissy Palmer RX150 Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Entry numbers in the RX150 buggies have wildly fluctuated this season, but with seven drivers participating at Silverstone there were enough drivers to at least guarantee some racing in the mid-pack.

I say “mid-pack” as, thus far, no one has looked on par with Chrissy Palmer. In the qualifying heats reigning Champion Palmer was as unassailable as ever, with the rest of the field following in his wake.

Leo Forster RX150 Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

There was at least some challenge for Palmer in the final, as Leo Forster snatched an early lead which Chrissy had to fight to take back. Jami Kalliomaki, who last raced at Silverstone in an RX Lite back in May and was a guest driver in the RX150 class, completed the podium.

Of all the classes currently incorporated in the British Rallycross Championship the RX150 is the one I think has really underperformed this year. Unless entry numbers can be significantly increased next season (and Chrissy Palmer slows down!) I would question the merit of the category returning again.

Pat Doran Citroen C4 Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

After missing most of the 2018 season due to injury, rallycross stalwart Pat Doran was back in action at Silverstone behind the wheel of a LD Motorsport Citroen C4.

Pat hasn’t looked like a title challenger the last few years, but he is still competitive and it’s always great to see him in action. Doran had a slow start in the opening heat, but his form improved throughout the day and he was third fast in the last heat race.

Oliver Bennett Ford Fiesta Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Unfortunately Oliver Bennetts fantastic run came to end in the first Supercar semi-final. After winning two of the three qualifying heats, Oliver started the semi from the pole position spot. After tangling with another car, Bennett continued to race while an ever-increasing cloud of smoke trailed from the rear left corner of the Fiesta.

On lap five that smoke turned to flames and Oliver pulled off onto the outside of turn eight, where his crew managed to extinguish the fire before it enveloped the entire car. It was a real shame to see Bennett exit proceedings as I am certain he had the pace for a podium finish.

Dan Rooke Ford Focus Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

With Oliver out of the running the lead of the semi-final fell into the hands of Dan Rooke. Rooke was making a one off appearance in the “spare” Ford Focus Supercar of Ollie O’Donovan, which Ollie had been kind enough to offer Rooke for the final round (though a cynical man might say O’Donovan was deploying Dan in order to make life more difficult for his Championship rivals).

Still, irrespective of the reason, it was brilliant to see Rooke behind the wheel of a Supercar again. Despite a year out of regular competition, Dan managed to extend a six second lead over Pat Doran, with Mike and Liam Manning finishing the first semi-final third and fourth respectively.

Ollie O’Donovan Ford Fiesta Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

You could be mistaken for thinking the starting grid of the second Supercar semi-final was the final, as all three title contenders lined up together on the front row. Ollie O’Donovan led the field on the first lap, but an early joker coupled with several rapid laps saw Mark Higgins take first when O’Donovan opted for his joker on lap four. Julian Godfrey, who had elected to take the joker on the opening lap, managed to steal second from O’Donovan.

With Ollie finishing the second semi-final in third he had at least secured himself a place in the final, but he would be starting from the second row of the grid and the chances of him securing his second British title were beginning to slip away.

Steve Hill Mitsubishi Evo X Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Behind the three Championship contenders Steve Hill put in another solid performance. Although he hasn’t headed the field this year, the Evo X of Hill has looked a lot more reliable and fourth in the second semi-final saw Steve secure the last slot in the final.

With Dan Rooke taking the victory in the first Supercar semi-final, it was Rooke who would line up alongside semi-final two winner Mark Higgins on the front row.

Mark Higgins Peugeot 208 Albatec Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

When the lights went green for the Supercar final pole-sitter Higgins held the inside line – and his nerve – into turn one to take the lead. While Mark attempted to get away, the rest of the field devolved into a series of small, unpredictable, battles as drivers attempted to use the joker to try and gain an advantage.

Dan Rooke ended up scrapping with Steve Hill while Ollie O’Donovan found himself staring (and occasionally nudging) the back bumper of Pat Doran.

Ollie O’Donovan Ford Fiesta Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

After mixed results in the heats, the last day of the Championship really hadn’t gone the way of Ollie O’Donovan. Having arrived at Silverstone in the strongest position of the three title challengers, O’Donovan looked on the back foot in the final and it showed in his driving, which became increasingly more aggressive throughout the race.

Given that Ollie and Pat Doran have been racing together for many years I did wonder if Doran might let O’Donovan slip by in order to take the all-important third position and deny Mark Higgins the title, but Pat gave no quarter and the chances of Ollie finding a way around Doran to take the vital spot shrunk even further when the bonnet of the RX Racing Fiesta popped up in the closing stages of the race.

Mark Higgins Peugeot 208 Albatec Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

While the rest of the field fought for positions Higgins was free to put in a series of blistering laps and, despite the best efforts of Julian Godfrey, Mark manage to stretch out a six second lead before taking the chequered flag. Godfrey finished second and Pat Doran, who resisted repeated assaults from O’Donovan (even after his bonnet popped up!), took the third step of the podium.

When the dust had settled and the points were tallied it was revealed that Higgins had won the title by just two points. I typically tend to support the established drivers rather than the newcomers, but Mark is a huge talent and I think he is a deserving Champion. Second for Godfrey resulted in him equalling the Championship point tally of Ollie O’Donovan, but the vice-Champion title was awarded to O’Donovan on countback.

Mark Higgins Peugeot 208 Albatec Silverstone BRX British Rallycross Championship 2018 Steve White Fueltopia

Although I am still not overly enamoured with Silverstone, the circuit wasn’t detrimental to the Championship fight which was every bit as close as I had hoped. A top three separated by just two points at seasons end: how many other Championships can claim that narrow a finish this year?

The biggest shame of the day – and something that Jimmy has already touched on in his blog – is that so few people were around to see the racing and, with Motorsport.tv no longer broadcasting, I suspect the TV program is unlikely to reach a very wide audience either. Although it has it’s minor flaws, I think the British Championship is a solid one: but more people need to know that!

 

Words and pictures: Steve White

Want to see more of the British Rallycross Championship at Silverstone? Click here for a full image gallery.

EventPeople

Bike engined Rallycross thrash with Gymkhana Ace

7th November 2018 — by Jimmy Drama

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Sundays are for lazy lie-in’s and Saturday night come-downs. Generally not moving further than 15ft from your sofa, consuming all the tea from china and speed dialling your local Domino’s pizza joint or unless you have a ridiculous passion for cars and quite often it means waking up earlier than I need to for a job and trekking to some god-forsaken part of the World…

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This was me last Sunday. Bastard alarm clock pierced through my slumbering Sunday morning at 0630 – however, my car-like, crack addiction kicks into gear and I bounce out of bed, eager and keen to inhale exhaust fumes, take in the cheeky whiff of race fuel and overload my senses on thrash-metal racing that only Rallycross can provide at Silverstone Raceway, UK.

Family team of Woodham & Son – a bit of a faster Steptoe & Son

Gymkhana Ace, or correctly four-time Gymkhana Champion, friend and irritant to me, Luke Woodham was invited to race in the British RX round in the insanely fast RX150 class by Steve Harris Racing. If you’re not Au Fait with Rallycross and the term RX150, imagine a space frame single seater, suspension that can absorb 40ft jumps and a screaming 1000cc bike engine that winds up faster than 50 Cent trolling Ja-Rule. It sets lap times only one second slower than the full-fat Rallycross Supercars that costs more than a semi-detached in Chigwell.

100cc bike engined hoon-machine

Rallycross has vastly become more popular and is 100% back on path to becoming what it was in it’s glory era – names of the past still ring true in the paddock and the legends of Grandstand are still to be seen larger than life in the paddock – all be it with a bit more grey hair. Modern machines share paddock space with classic race cars like Metro 6R4’s and RS200’s. It’s got everything any car loving affectionardo wouldn’t have trouble getting a petrol inducing chubby over. If my last paragraphs of ramblings have made you keen to learn more, then I’d suggest getting over to Fueltopia’s own resident RX knowledge-box, Steve White’s accounts 

Blue Steel always breaks through helmet face

Woodham is annoying. He is one of those people that can be good at any driving discipline, lets not inflate his ego, he isn’t the best, but he also wasn’t the last.   He’s a first timer and he takes a 3rd in qualifying (races have three qualification races) and finishes 5th in the finals on the tail of the seasons pack (he also spun the RX150, just to add a bit more pressure to his outing)

Steve Harris, aka The Boss and owner of the RX150 and RS200 that decimates all, unimpressed with our Sunday banter

It rained on Sunday. You can imagine my delight as the November weather greeted us with dull grey skies and the decided to dump on as for the majority of the morning – just as everyone else on my social-media timeline were uploading pictures from Las Vegas and the Sema Show

Despite the weather, despite the racing and Woodham not winning (just need to clarify this), despite the expensive burger, British Rallycross was good.

The grey sky’s give such a nice glow, said no one ever

I feel that you might think good is an under sell, it is. I classed it as good, because it could be so much better. The cars, the teams, the access, the racing is amazing. We should all be going and watching this event, but we aren’t. The public walk through wasn’t massive – but to be fair the weather didn’t help, but it blows my mind that in the UK we don’t have covered grandstands – you’d have thought it wouldn’t have taken too many GSCE’s to figure we have a lot of rain.

The racing is hard to follow if you can’t make it. In an era where the action should be going at you from every digital platform, TV, space, Twitch, You Tube, Tinder and Grinder I found it hard to get a spin on where to get my fix.

When you realise you sat on the jack handle by mistake

While this all sounds negative it isn’t. It’s just me pointing out some obvious things that could be changed to make this a brilliant piece of Cool Britannia (is this still a thing?) It’s got all the ingredients to make the best damn pie I’d ever eat – but it just needs some marketing and PR flavours to bring out the best

I’d say go watch the next race, I’d honestly say you’re going to love it – if you don’t please don’t message me to tell me… But it is brilliant. It just needs the people to get behind it, “come on mate, you can make it” I’d say as BRX hobbles from a limp to a running stride – let’s coach this motorsport back to health

If you want to follow my daily BS then follow me at @JimmyDrama1 if not then I’ll just carry on posting and I won’t know you’ve even read this…

 

 

Podcast

TUNNEL RUN FUN – Fueltopia Podcast Ep15

26th October 2018 — by Dan Fegent

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Dan, Dave, Andi & Paps catch up in this weeks episode of the Podcast. Back at it again after a couple of weeks rest they discuss the end of their work seasons, why its important to shoot outside of your specialist field & top it all off they answer a bundle of questions from you guys.

Check out this episode to hear their thoughts on it all.

Instagram: @fueltopia
Facebook: Fueltopia

Dan @danfegent
Dave @shootingdave
Andi @andi_ffp
Paps @londonpaps

Event

Attack the Rock : The Final Showdown

24th October 2018 — by Craig Toull

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Back in 2005 the UK Time Attack championship began and its first ever event occurred at Rockingham Motor Speedway, throw back a week and the 2018 Time Attack championship came to a close. This would again be at Rockingham but unfortunately for the very last time due to the circuit closing at the end of this year, leaving Time Attack to be one of the last ever competitive events at the circuit.

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Unfortunately with downpours all day the weather was far from ideal for setting new class lap records but it did create spectacular spray from the aero on the cars as can be seen here on Simon Norris’ Mitsubishi Evo IX.

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Despite the bad weather it still saw a record grid with 70 teams in attendance competing within the 9 different classes. With all 9 classes having to complete four 15 minute sessions: warmup, practice, qualifying and final there would be a lot of action on the track.

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Parc ferme showing the wide variety of cars racing from fairly stock road going Renault clios to 1000+ hp flame spitting monster Evos.

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The relaxed regulations regarding modifications within the championship makes Time Attack very unique and allows teams to push for the fastest lap times through use of extreme aero, massive brakes and crazy engine builds.

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Gari Cottrill was to attend in what I can only describe as the most insane car of the championship, a Ford KA with full Mitsubishi Evo running gear and crazy aero mods, pushing hard all day and finishing in 2nd place in club 4wd class.

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Antonio Giovinnazo’s Alfa 155 crossing the finish line and putting himself on podium for Classic and Retro single round entry.

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Alex Bones was back out in another Radical after having to retire his Evo for the final round and put himself in 2nd place on the Pro Extreme podium.

Podiums

Single round entries

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Classic and Retro

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Clubman

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Clubman +

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Pocket Rocket

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Club 2WD

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Club 4WD

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Club Pro 2WD

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Pro Extreme

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Best Presented Team

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The Drivers

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Bonus Images

Words and Photos: Craig Toull