Every year the British SXS Championship rolls into Northern Ireland and every year the bar seems to rise. Although the conditions stayed true to 2023 in that it rained and was generally miserable, the event and social atmosphere made this event one of the best ever.
The track build was a challenge as the hillside track was holding water and there were also challenges around spectator safety with the shape of the land. All this solved it was time to get racing!
This session was the first time anyone would take to the track. It would also highlight the challenges the drivers faced with steep climbs and aggressive off-cambers. That said everyone seemed to settle in well.
Tom Welbourn set the fastest lap of the session followed home by guest Miguel Prat – visiting from Spain – a great result for the Spanish driver in his first short circuit event.
Joe Robinson continued his good form after his return to racing taking third place with the other two SXSs struggling due to mechanical issues Adrian/Callum Loveridge fourth and Paul Severn Fifth.
The early laps of race one were dominated by overtakes from the XP Pros of Paul Severn and Tom Welbourn as they battled their way through to first and second. This seemed set to be the race outcome until later on in the session when Paul Severn suffered a mechanical DNF.
Tom Welbourn took to the front but then unfortunately suffered the same fate.
The race fell into the lap of Adrian/Callum Loveridge who took full advantage by taking the top spot in race one. Miguel Prat stayed consistent lap after lap to secure second marking the last of the finishers after Joe Robinson’s retirement.
Paul Severn led for most of race two but a late and well-timed Joker Lane saw Tom Welbourn take the race win followed closely home by Paul Severn in second. Adrian / Callum Loveridge hung on to take third beating Joe Robinson who took fourth place.
Miguel Prat lost time early on after getting stuck on a berm but recovered to finish the session marking the last of the finishers.
The session saw the overall points thrown right up in the air and it was all down to race three.
The flag dropped and again, the high-power pros pushed to the front and looked set to stay there until Paul Severn suffered another mechanical issue. Tom Welbourn made this count and took to the front of the grid until the end, winning the top spot.
Miguel Prat drove lap after lap consistently taking second place ahead of Adrian/Callum Loveridge in third.
Joe Robinson crossed fourth and marked the last of the finishers.
Well done everyone involved.
Open Pro Overall
1st – Adrian / Callum Loveridge #17
2nd – Miquel Prat #52
3rd – Tom Welbourn #74
Fastest Lap Bonus Point – Tom Welbourn
Clerks Driver of the day – Tom Welbourn
Andrew Postlethwaite pinned his name to the top of the timesheet but then suffered a mechanical failure; all was not lost as he still held on to the top spot. Simon Grantham was the first of the smaller cars home in second place chased in by third-place Mike Proctor. Class leader Nick Barker seemed to struggle and was only able to take fourth in this very competitive session. Pete Haran was the next of the cars home in fifth and Wayne Harris marked the last of the finishing cars in sixth spot. The grid was set.
This class has been great all year and this weekend was to be no different. Simon Grantham jumped to the front and battled through to race win, chased hard by Mike Proctor in second place. Pete Haran bumped through the pack to third followed home by Nick Payne in fourth. Wayne Harris was steady away but solid throughout, crossing the line a consistent fifth ahead of friend Nick Barker who seemed to be struggling. Andrew Postlethwaite didn’t finish the session causing an uphill battle for the remainder of his day. Race two was on.
Race two saw a switch at the front as Mike Proctor took the race win. Nick Payne pushed up the field in a strong performance to take second with the carnage of a beached car on the track taking its toll on many of the others. Andrew Postlethwaite came up from the back to grab a more acceptable third ahead of Wayne Harris in fourth. Pete Haran and Simon Grantham were two of the beached boys who dropped laps whilst stranded on track only managing fifth and sixth. Nick Barker unfortunately suffered a DNF. Race three was a go.
The lower-placed fast cars pushed deep into the first corner mixing the pack from lap one. Simon Grantham pushed hard early and popped up in P1 and that is where he stayed. It wasn’t all plain sailing as Mike Proctor pulled a dive up the inside on the last corner in a bid for the race win that cost him the race and a steering rack in the process. Wayne Harris built on a solid day crossing the line in a solid second earning him some strong points towards the overall results. Nick Harris recovered somewhat into a more familiar third beating Pete Haran in fourth. Mike Proctor limped across the line to score valuable overall points in a wise move for sure. Another great day’s racing for a new but popular class so well done the Vets.
1st – Simon Grantham #101
2nd – Mike Proctor #13
3rd – Wayne Harris #44
Fastest Lap Bonus Point – Simon Grantham
Clerks Driver of the day – Mike Proctor
1000 Rookie Class
Richy Scott pinned his name to the top of the timesheets late in the session. Harley McGuffog found some strong form putting himself on the front row for race one beating off visitor and newcomer Barry Donaghy. Rianna Harris had a great session beating some of the class’s top guns to fourth place with Tom Butterfield chasing her home in fifth. Next up was Joe Chilvers in sixth holding off Jack Barker in seventh. Newcomer Eli Lister crossed the line eighth with Brad Price and Jess Barker closing off the grid.
Race one confirmed what qualifying had already told us. Richy Scott bolted at the front and never looked back taking the race win in style. Harley McGuffog lost places early, but a genius joker lane saw him take second place ahead of Barry Donaghy in third. Tom Butterfield jumped to fourth as Jess Barker charged up the field to fifth (from near last) in a great drive. Joe Chilvers chipped away but couldn’t improve on sixth place. Rianna Harris consolidated seventh place ahead of Eli Lidster in eighth as Brad Price and Jack Barker closed off the grid.
This race saw the cards shuffle again but not for the race leader. Richy Scott continued to dominate the class with another solid win strengthening his grasp on the overall for the weekend. Barry Donaghy bagged another solid second as Jess Barker jumped up to third after starting race one dead last. Harley McGuffog remained consistent in fourth, holding off the normal frontrunner Tom Butterfield in fifth. Rianna Harris again scrapped away taking sixth chased home again by Eli Lidster in seventh with Joe Chilvers and Brad Price the last of the cars on the lead lap. Race three was set up nicely.
Just when everyone thought they could call this class, race three happened. Richy Scott bolted again, and the race win was his. Harley McGuffog nailed the Joker Lane to take second place building on a great day of driving. Eli Lidster saw the river part for him as cars dropped like flies and he took his opportunity to grab third place ahead of Jack Barker in fourth. Tom Butterfield seemed to struggle in the conditions all day and race three was more of the same. Fifth place for Tom. Rianna Harris was the last of the cars over the line in sixth topping off a great day of racing in the rookie class. Well done everyone.
1st – Richy Scott #112
2nd – Harley McGuffog #22
3rd – Barry Donaghy #10
Fastest Lap Bonus Point – Harley McGuffog
Clerks Driver of the day – Richy Scott
Jesters Hat – Harley McGuffog
1000 Pro Class
Henry Proctor battled on lap after lap and late in the session nabbed himself the pole spot. This would have been Henry’s first top spot in the class, setting up a day that some almost couldn’t believe. Second place went to William Buller and Kevin Haran took third, holding off Tom Fletcher in fourth by less than a second! Louis McGuffog was next in fifth and the first of three cars all on the same second – Chris Place took sixth and George Hales took seventh. The grid was set for race one and this one had everyone’s attention.
Henry Proctor’s #222 car bolted from the start and never looked back leading every lap of the race. Kevin Haran took second place almost attached to Tom Fletcher after the number 59 car dived down the inside late in the race. Some paint was definitely swapped but a great piece of racing to watch. George Hales moved up to fourth in a solid drive beating William Buller in fifth as Louis McGuffog closed off the grid as the last of the finishers. What a race.
Henry Proctor seemed unstoppable in race two. Another dominant win leading every lap once again as the competition looked on. Tom Fletcher moved up a spot to second in a less dramatic fashion this time with William Buller pushing up to third. George Hales in fourth place remained solid and marked the last of the finishers in this battle. Race three was set up.
Three races and three wins for Henry after holding the lead of every lap of the day – what an achievement! Tom Fletcher consolidated in second adding valuable points to his championship lead. William Buller again took third unable to break into the top three whilst holding off George Hales in fourth. Chris Place marked the last of the finishers marking the end of a great day’s racing in a super competitive class. What a day.
1st – Henry Proctor #222
2nd – Tom Fletcher #59
3rd – William Buller #32
Fastest Lap Bonus Point – Kevin Haran #53
Clerks Driver of the day – Henry Proctor #222
The SXS Team would like to thank everyone who made this weekend amazing, especially our host William Buller. There are so many people who played a part in making this weekend special and they know who they are. Thank you, you really are a huge part of what makes this series special to so many people. ~ Team SXS