The final weekend of the SXS Season saw us arrive at the familiar Champs Park. Some bold layout changes made for some good spectating which was always the long-term aim. Most classes were going right to the wire and there would no doubt be joy and tears for some of the drivers. The stage was set, the tables were tight and by the end of the day The Kings Are Crowned. Let’s settle this!
This class was going right to the wire and the first session of the day was going to be critical to everyone involved, there was definitely some tension on the line. Chris McPhee struck the first blow of the day grabbing pole from Championship rival Scott Fisher in second spot. Keiron Weaver the other contender in this class took the third spot, setting up a great race one. Mark McPhee was next home setting his fastest time in his first timed lap. Richard Burke and Scott Caunce grabbed fifth spot not able to break into the top group but on the same second as Mark in front. Matt Hall and Paul Hopkirk placed sixth and seventh with Sam Lloyd closing off the back of the grid.
The flag raised and Chris McPhee was gone! Leading from the front the entire race Chris made his intentions clear, he was here to win and nothing else would do. Brother Mark pushed through the pack to take second spot, this was a hard blow for Kieran Weavers Championship chances with him only able to take third place. Richard Burke and Scott Caunce pushed up to fourth spot with Sam Lloyd out bagging team points crossing the line in fifth. Paul Hopkirk was the last of the finishers in what was a challenging race for many. Had the Championship already been decided or was there more drama to come.
Race two was a great example of team work in racing. Chris McPhee broke fast of the line and brother Mark slammed the door on rival Kieran Weaver. Chris was clearly in the zone and drove hard to the race win followed home by brother Mark in second place. Scott Fisher and Kieran Weaver the only drivers able to still win the class both suffered mechanical problems, an added bonus to the dominant Chris as both his rivals tumbled away in the points standings. Richard Burke and Scott Caunce took advantage of the breakdowns grabbing third ahead of Mathew Hall in fourth. Kieran Weaver limped home in fifth followed in by Sam Lloyd the last of the class finishers.
This race saw the biggest shuffle of the pack. Chris McPhee again was gone and set out to win his third race of the day in a dominant style. The Championship secured and, on this performance, well deserved. Paul Hopkirk took advantage of the pack shuffle to grab second spot as Mark McPhee and Kieran Weaver both struggled with machine issues. Richard Burke and Scott Caunce again took third, a solid day for them both. Mathew Hall crossed the line in fourth followed home by young Sam Lloyd. Keiran Weaver was the last of the finishers ending a great days racing and a fantastic year for the 1000 Rookie Class.
1st – Chris McPhee #19
2nd– Mark McPhee #67
3rd Richard Burke / Scott Caunce #46
Clerks Driver of The Day – Chris McPhee #19
Once again, this class had the potential to go right to the last lap. Richard Avis carried a small lead into the day with Tom Fletcher close behind. Mark McCann could still have a say in the title as his current form would see him challenging hard at the front, although unable to take the win he could certainly move up the table. This one was going to be good!
This session is always one of the most competitive of the day and this was set to be no different. Mark McCann warmed into the session winding up to take pole on his fifth lap, his race craft showing as he built large gaps to drive hard into. Tom Fletcher took second, missing the top spot by just over a second. Richard Avis set a lap quick enough for third on his second flying lap followed in in fourth by Lewis Fletcher making his racing return after a long injury lay off. Robert Lloyd crossed the line in fifth holding off Paul Rowlands in sixth. Bailey Edwards and Adrian Loveridge closed off the grid for race one and we were good to go.
Fortune would certainly favour the brave this time and off the start nobody was giving an inch. Mark McCann broke away at the front chased hard by the pushing Tom Fletcher. Mark was able to hang on to take the race win crossing the line less than a second in front of Tom Fletcher in second. Lewis Fletcher returned quickly to form taking third spot ahead of Robert Lloyd fourth. Paul Rowlands and Adrian and Callum Loveridge were the last of the finishers. An early puncture saw Richard Avis DNF and the Championship was blown wide open. This was going to get interesting.
Race two was more of the same for the flying McCann, early joker lanes for several of the contenders gave mark space and time to push hard at the front. Win number two for McCann on what was shaping up to be a great day for the FRO Systems machine. Tom Fletcher wasn’t long in getting back to the front after his early joker lane chased in by brother Lewis in third spot. Richard Avis was unable to break into the top three but kept the championship challenge alive taking fourth. Robert Lloyd again held off Paul Rowlands for fifth and sixth, with Adrian and Callum Loveridge closing off the back of the grid. It was going to last race!
The whole day seemed to have become very strategic and this race was no different. Everyone understood all of the possible scenarios and we had already seen in previous races people looking out for each other. The pace definitely changed with the lap times dropping off to a steady pace. Mark McCann was able to take the win escorted the whole race by second place Tom Fletcher both machines crossing the line in less than half a second apart. Richard Avis took third spot which saw him tumble from first to third in the Championship a hard day for Richard but a strong season non the less. Lewis Fletcher continued his strong day in fourth and grabbed the final podium place in the overall. Robert Lloyd took fifth spot followed in by the final finisher Adrian and Callum Loveridge.
What a year for the 1000 experts again every race fiercely competitive and some of the best drivers around in off road racing. Can’t wait to see them return to battle.
1st – Mark McCann #64
2nd Tom Fletcher #59
3rd Lewis Fletcher #159
Clerks Driver of The Day – Lewis Fletcher #159
There were lots of individual battles to settle in this class and the absence of some of the big hitters blew it wide open. A strong turn out made for some interesting racing and some newcomers making their debut setting up for 2019 meant there was plenty going on. How would the table look at the end of this session, it was anyone’s guess?
The big names in the Open Class pushed quickly to front and within three laps mark McCann had sat himself on top of the standings. Paul Rowlands pushed hard but couldn’t grab top spot so settled for second setting up a power house front row for race one. Dave Riley again continued his good year putting himself in third place followed in by Miles Radburn in fourth. Andrew Postlethwaite in fifth spot marked the end of the 2:05s with three machines crossing the line on the same second. Jason Bird and Paul Blackford pipped Jason Rowlands to sixth spot with Mick Edwards crossing the line in eighth. Nathan Bath tussled for position with newcomer Mark Scotney with Nathan taking the spoils and ninth place for race one. Joe Robinson looked to be off his normal pace in eleventh with James Bushell and Mick Gribben closing of the grid.
Race one seemed on par to be neutral at the front, however on track it was closer than it seemed. Mark McCann broke clean and was chased down early on by the second place Rowlands. Dave Riley maintained third spot and with Miles Radburn fourth, race one was a carbon copy of Qualifying for the top four. Behind the group things were far more interesting, Mick Edwards pushed through to fifth followed in by Jason Rowlands. Nathan Bath jumped up from ninth on the grid to a seventh-place finish with Joe Robinson also making good progress up to eighth. Andrew Postlethwaite dropped to ninth after a challenging session followed in by James Bushell in tenth. Mick Gribben had a solid first race beating home the more experienced Jason Bird to close of the grid.
Race two saw some excellent drives and Mark McCann’s win from the front was certainly one of those. Andrew Postlethwaite timed his joker lane to perfection which saw him move from ninth right through the pack to second place, a tremendous drive by Andrew. Paul Rowlands too the final of the top spots in third place followed in by Miles Radburn in fourth. Jason Bird and Paul Blackford were second home for the rookies taking fifth spot in front of Jason Rowlands sixth. Nathan Bath beat James Bushell to seventh spot with Joe Robinson ninth. After a machine failure earlier in the day Bailey Edwards took the track in Dad Mick’s car, taking tenth spot ahead of the last of the finishers Mick Gribben.
The final race for the class saw more of the same from Mark McCann, strong start and never looking back seen him take all three wins in the class. A strong day for Mark and the FRO Systems machine. Paul Rowlands put right some wrongs, moving back into second spot with Miles Radburn taking the fourth. Jason Rowlands improved to fifth on a day where he struggled to find any solid form. Dave Riley moved back through the field after a bad race two to secure fifth, followed in by James Bushell sixth. Mick Gribben improved as the day progressed and had his best result in his final race, a seventh spot in what was a great first weekend. Joe Robinson took eighth with Andrew Postlethwaite the last of the finishers a very different result from his previous race. Things could have been different had two buggies not took a trip upside down on the final lap but the birdman loves some air and Bailey borrowing dads’ machine could have gone either way. A good days racing for the Open class so well done to everyone.
Open Experts Overall
1st – Mark McCann #64
2nd – Paul Rowlands ~60
3rd – Miles Radburn #9
Clerks Driver of The Day – Mark McCann #64
Open Rookies Overall
1st – Andrew Postlethwaite #1
2nd – James Bushell #158
3rd – Nathan Bath #28
Clerks Driver of The Day – Andrew Postlethwaite #1
For full standings for all classes, see our results page HERE.
The weather was once again having its say which meant we were not able to run the second day, a bitter pill to swallow but after the luck we have had this year it was hardly surprising. Thank you everyone who tried to get the second day to happen and the drivers for their patience.
Massive thank you to everyone who made the event possible, Jamie Courtney, Kev Doolan and everyone behind the scenes at SXS Racing. Special thank you to Craig Robinson from C G Robinson for helping us out with machinery for the track build.
We will be doing an end of season review in the coming weeks where we will congratulate and crown our Champions.