By Paul Evans
In his first race for 12 months, Roger Thomas blew the cobwebs off his Ford Fiesta RX Supercar and got his coronavirus-delayed British Rallycross Championship campaign off to a flying start at Lydden Hill – although it was clutch failure in the final that was to ultimately deny him the top result he undoubtedly deserved.
Despite the long lay-off, the Penrhiwllan-based driver was fast straight out of the box on the Bank Holiday event – setting impressive lap times in the opening free practice sessions in his four-wheel drive HT Installations-backed machine.
Thomas continued to make good progress through the qualifying heats, before power-sliding his ex-Global Rallycross series car to second place in the semi-final.
That gave him a great front row starting grid position for the final, where he lined up against the likes of multiple rallycross champions Julian Godfrey and Ollie O’Donovan, as well as gold medal winning Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy.
Having become hooked on rallycross last year, Sir Chris Hoy will be competing at Lydden Hill later this month in British Rallycrosshttps://t.co/pOcesmgamR
— Motor Sport magazine (@Motor_Sport) August 13, 2020
And that’s where his successful high-speed race meeting unfortunately came to a slightly premature end.
“It was a good race weekend – having been out of the car for 12 months, things were getting better and better with every heat we did,” said Thomas.
Weekend highlights to follow – but here’s 30 seconds of the finale to keep you going. pic.twitter.com/ra4In0fYx5
— 5 Nations British Rallycross Championship (@5NationsBRX) August 31, 2020
“The car is a lot more predicable to drive and a lot more consistent over the course of a race now, following the remapping of the engine management system by Mountune.
“Unfortunately, on the second lap of the final the clutch went and that was it.”
Thomas’s 17-year old son Archie also enjoyed a fine race weekend.
Having gained experience in the junior rallycross series driving a 1300cc Suzuki Swift, the talented teenager has moved up to a 1600cc supercharged car and now races in the highly competitive BMW Mini series.
After a great performance in the heats and the semi-final, he finished fifth in the final.
Father and son now plan to contest the next round of the British Rallycross Championship at Knockhill in Scotland later this month.
They will also contest their home round at Pembrey in October, if Welsh government guidelines allow the event to take place.
Likewise, the final round of the series at Mondello Park in Ireland is subject to the currently Covid-19 travel restrictions being eased.
“We plan to contest any round of the championship that actually takes place. If it’s on, we’ll be there,” added Thomas.