Round four of the Championship saw SXS travel across the water for the first event to be held in Northern Ireland. This now completes the four nations and makes the Championship truly British. A late venue switch made the build up week a challenge but the determination of the team and our hosts, the Buller family, meant it was always going to be the best event it could ever be. The prep was done, all the big names were travelling so it was race time!
This session seemed to go exactly to plan for Championship leader Mark McCann. A strong lap late in the session saw him take pole and put him on the front of the grid for race one. Rookie Martin Hales took advantage of some bad luck for other experts to take second spot followed by Adrian and Callum Loveridge. A tasty front row for sure. Wayne Harris returned from injury and appeared to be getting the hang of his RS1 taking fourth spot setting a time on par with expert Loveridge. Louis McGuffog was next home, setting the bar for the two seat thousands with a nice gap to championship rival Nick Barker back in seventh. Paul Severn was unlucky with a mechanical issue that saw his best time only able to secure sixth, trapped in a sandwich of competitive thousands. Lee Cowan finally had some luck, putting him eighth on the grid ahead of Joe Robinson and Lewis Scotney closing off the back of the pack. Race one was on!
Mark McCann was off! He broke clean from pole position and never looked back. Martin Hales in second spot pushed hard in the early laps but just couldn’t hold pacing with the flying McCann. Paul Severn pushed through the pack to a much improved third spot, setting the fastest lap of the session in the process. Louis McGuffog won the battle of the thousands taking a solid fourth with a lap time on par with the big guns, great to see, so well-done Louis! Nick Barker got the better of friend Wayne Harris, to take fifth spot in a great race keeping things tight at the top of the table. Joe Robinson was seventh home, with Adrian and Callum Loveridge the last of the finishers.
Race two saw a massive shuffle of the pack, except for front runner Mark McCann. A great display to lead every lap saw him secure race two of the day. Paul Severn, in second, was back where he belonged, fighting at the front of the grid. Unable to catch the race leader, second was his. Nick Barker, in third, flipped the thousand field on its head, as rival Louis McGuffog tumbled down the field. Wayne Harris, in fourth, held off the higher horsepower machine of Lee Cowan, who was in fifth spot, making every place count, as the point table changed every lap. Ever consistent Joe Robinson held sixth spot, followed in by the last of the finishers Louis McGuffog and Adrian Loveridge.
This race was the very reason we love racing. Mark McCann continued to dominate, making it three of three race wins, setting the fastest lap of the session in the process. A great day for the Polaris man. Paul Severn again took second spot, just unable to catch the flying McCann. Joe Robinson ploughed through the field to take third place and the first rookie home, jumping up the points table to take the rookie class win. Lee Cowan made the most of his opportunities to finish fourth with Louis McGuffog and Adrian Loveridge as the last of the finishers. Bad luck for Nick Barker, Wayne Harris and Martin Hales who saw the Championship blown wide open for the next round, all three tied at the top. It will be interesting for sure!
A great day’s racing for everyone in the open class dominated by Mark McCann. Well Done everyone.
1st – Mark McCann (Polaris Pro XP)
2nd – Paul Severn (Polaris Pro XP)
3rd – Joe Robinson (Polaris RZR Turbo)
Fastest Lap Bonus Point – Mark McCann
Clerks Driver of The Day – Mark McCann
1st – Joe Robinson (Polaris RZR Turbo)
2nd – Louis McGuffog (Polaris RZR 1000)
3rd – Nick Barker (Polaris RZR 1000)
Fastest Lap Bonus Point – Louis McGuffog
Clerks Driver of The Day – Joe Robinson
The young guns from the youth class moved up, taking the front grid spots almost instantly. Mack Priestwood came out with all guns blazing, putting his RS1 firmly on the top spot, with one of the fastest laps of the day. Main rival, Lewis Scotney, saw himself back in third spot, behind the hire machine of World Endurance Racing Star, Andrew Watson. Dad, Mark Scotney, placed a strong fourth, setting up a great battle off the line between father and son. Carl Day was next home in fifth place, followed closely by the hire machine of Gavin. The midfield was led by Mathew Gilcrest, followed home by Anthony Green. Ninth, tenth and eleventh were all in the same second – the margins are tiny in this class, it makes for great racing! James Maxwell crossed next, holding off Darren Longdon with the hire vehicle of Nicki Gibson. Richard Scott and Mark Massey closed off the grid, setting up a great grid for race one.
Mack Priestwood was off and race one was his. Lewis Scotney and Mark Scotney pushed on and made a great race of it, taking second and third spot. The third of the youngsters, Rio Longdon, pushed up to fourth place. Gavin in the hire machine was the first of the hires home, holding off Carl Day in sixth place. Anthony Green got the better of the Irish pair, James Turkington and Mark Massey, to take seventh spot. Richard Scott was next home followed in by the Medleycott brothers led by Simon. Darren Longdon marked the last of the Race 1 finishers in what was the most competitive race of the day so far.
Race two saw a change at the front. Mack Priestwood led in the early stages only to be overtaken by the pushing Lewis Scotney mid race. A great race from both the youngsters was made better by the third, youth class graduate, Rio Longdon joining them at the front. Truly inspiring to see the youngsters dominating in an adult class. Carl Day was fourth in, followed by friend and rival Mark Scotney for fifth place. Another strong session for the hire buggies. Gavin was sixth, Andrew Watson seventh, followed closely by Anthony Green. Mark Massey and Richard Scott crossed the line in ninth and tenth as the Yamahas battled it out right to the finishing line. Simon Medleycott led home the final finishers, followed home by Mathew Gilcrest and Darren Longdon. Another great race for everyone with the switch at the front setting up for a race three shootout.
This one was a cracker! Lewis Scotney led from the front and looked able to hold off the pushing Priestwood. However, a perfectly timed Joker lap by Mack saw the top spot to be his. There was a battle all the way to the finish line but Mack Priestwood took the chequered flag giving him the race and class win. It was great to see the other competitors getting out of the way of the dualling front two. The racing was fierce all day. Well done to the other drivers involved. Andrew Watson pipped Carl Day to third spot, followed home by the other two very competitive hires of Nicky Gibson and Gavin. Mathew Gilchrest finished a strong day’s racing with a seventh spot, beating Simon Medleycott and Richard Scott. The Grid for race three was closed off by the final finishers Jason Medleycott, Darren Longdon and the unlucky Mark Scotney.
That marked the end of an amazing day’s racing for the Rookie Class well done to everyone involved.
It is also worth noting that we were just a few laps away from seeing all three youth graduates on the podium this weekend, which is great to see. This proves to all that the Youth Class really is a breeding place for future Champions.
1st – Mac Priestwood (Polaris RS1)
2nd – Lewis Scotney (Polaris RS1)
3rd – Carl Day (Polaris RS1)
Fastest lap Bonus Point – Mac Priestwood
Clerks Driver of The Day – Mac Priestwood
This race was always going to be fierce and that it was. Mark McCann nicked pole from William Buller in second spot, split by only two tenths of a second. Tom Fletcher seemed a little off the pace, crossing the line to take third spot in a machine that just didn’t seem right. Sean Haran continued his consistent performances, beating brother Kevin in for fourth place. Chris McPhee, like Fletcher, seemed a little off his best.He was only able to score sixth place ahead of the Youngster Cameron MacDonald closing off the grid. Another great session from the Expert Class with lots more to come from many of them.
Race one was a cracker with lots of passes on track and a big flip in grid positions. Apart from Mark McCann who led every lap of the race and took the race one win. William Buller held second spot throughout, but was unable to bridge the gap to first place. After a machine change, Chris McPhee jumped up the field to third, proving again that he is able to mix at the very front of the premier class. Tom Fletcher crossed the line in an uncharacteristic fourth, still unable to nail down his machine issues. Sean Haran took fifth spot, with Cameron MacDonald marking the last of the finishers. Another great race that set up a strong race two between the best in the game.
This race again saw machine changes and adjustments, as the whole pack looked for more pace. Once again, Mark McCann was consistent taking the race win agai; his main Championship rival joined him at the front of the pack. However, after a puncture, William Buller tumbled down the field. Second place for Tom Fletcher kept the points gap under control. Sean Haran jumped up to take third spot, again proving his pedigree to mix at the top. Chris McPhee crossed the line in fourth spot, another solid drive from the Scotsman. Kevin Haran recovered, after his poor race one luck, to take fifth place with Cameron MacDonald closing off the back of the pack.
The clean sweep was on! Mark McCann needed just one more race win to seal the perfect day and that is exactly what he got. Tom Fletcher pushed hard to keep him on his game, but was unable to stop Mark getting six out of six race wins. Well done to Mark, this is a great achievement in such a competitive class. William Buller recovered from an unlucky race two, climbing back up to third place using the joker lane to perfection, creating some clean air to push hard into. Chris McPhee again came a solid fourth, but everyone is well aware there is more in the tank from Chris as a driver. Sean Haran slipped to fifth as Cameron MacDonald held off Kevin Haran who closed off the grid.
1st – Mark McCann (Polaris RS1)
2nd – Tom Fletcher (Polaris RS1)
3rd – Chris McPhee (Polaris RZR 1000)
Another great day’s racing from the expert class which was a pleasure to watch. Well Done everyone.
As always, we would like to thank everyone who made the event possible; Our Title Sponsors, Polaris UK; all our class sponsors; our event hosts, the Buller family; all the track and support staff and most importantly all the competitors that the made the racing a truly great day.
This weekend everyone said goodbye to Aaron Stammers, one of the mechanics on the SXS Team. The Memorial Lap, featuring all cars on Sunday morning, was a truly inspiring tribute to one of life’s “Good Guys”. Aaron will be sorely missed by all the team and competitors in the Championship. Thank you all for taking part and for your generosity in the collection for Aaron’s family.
Fly High AZ my friend