By Paul Evans
West Wales motorsport team Spencer Sport has finished second in the Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship at its first attempt.
Against strong opposition from several well-established and vastly experienced rallycross teams, the squad – which is based in the village of Penrhiwllan, just outside Llandysul – has vowed to return next year, with its sights firmly set on winning the title.
Its star driver, five-time champion Julian Godfrey, was one of three drivers still in contention for the title as he entered the final round of the series at Silverstone on Sunday.
Having finished a strong second in both the opening heats, contact in the third caused the Spencer Sport-prepared Mitsubishi Mirage RX Supercar’s master switch to cut the engine on the final lap. But Godfrey recovered brilliantly in the semi-final, taking his joker lap halfway through the six lap race to finish second, between fellow title rivals Mark Higgins and Ollie O’Donovan.
In an exciting final, Godfrey set a series of impressive lap times in his pursuit of leader Higgins, but was unable to catch the Powys-based Manxman. Victory was enough to give the Albatec Racing Peugeot 208 RX Supercar driver the title, with Godfrey securing second and Irishman Ollie O’Donovan, who had led the series entering the final round, dropping to third in the standings in his Ford Fiesta Supercar.
Three drivers from Carmarthen took part in the Silverstone race, with Mike Manning finishing seventh in his Ford Fiesta Mk7 Supercar, and the Subaru Impreza Supercars of Liam Manning and Nigel Burke finishing eighth and 10th respectively.
“I’m incredibly proud of the professionalism of the entire Spencer Sport team who arrived on the scene of a major championship for the very first time with a brand new car and, against top quality and established rallycross teams, we finished second at our first attempt,” said Spencer Sport Team Manager Charlie Jukes.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of a season, with race wins and podiums and of course our massive accident at Croft. The way we rebuilt the car in super-quick time and returned to the series without missing a race is testament to the skills and commitment of our team. Julian drove exceptionally well all season and his engineering skills and technical feedback have accelerated the development of the Mitsubishi Mirage RX Supercar to the point where it is now one of the best cars on the grid.
“The disappointment of just missing out on the title is far outweighed by all the great things that we have achieved together as a team. We now can’t wait until next year when we can put all our new-found British Rallycross Championship experience to very good use!”
Support for Spencer Sport’s Rallycross campaign comes from Spencer ECA, Oil 4 Wales, Speedline Corse, Hopkins Specialist Race Trailers, Julian Godfrey Engineering, Motul, Sea & Slate Holiday Cottages, Nicky Grist Motorsports, UNIC Transmissions and Rallycover Insurance.