Retro Rallycross brings pedigree to British Rallycross Grand Prix

by Hal Ridge |

This Sunday, Croft Circuit in Yorkshire hosts the MSA British Rallycross Grand Prix, the day following the final round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship.

Running as support category to the Grand Prix, the Retro Rallycross Challenge makes its final 2015 appearance on the UK’s rallycross circuits. Fittingly, the event runs on the same day that BBC F1 air the feature filmed with Jenson Button and David Coulthard at Lydden Hill earlier this year, where Button drove James Harrold’s Retro Volkswagen Beetle and both stars drove current World RX Supercars.

Button experienced how rallycross had been for his late father, John. ©

On track at Croft, it’s also fitting that many of the cars racing in the Retro category have Grand Prix pedigree. Harrold’s Beetle was formally raced by his late uncle Peter, who ran the rear-wheel drive car in both two and four-wheel drive form at different stages. Lance Fosters’ Green and White Mini Spares Mini was previously campaigned by it’s owner Ian Sandwith, while the similar car now raced by Stuart Bowes was originally built by Ian Pritchard and also made Grand Prix appearances. Ian Biagi’s Mini has rich history too, having been campaigned by Roy Clark, father to more recent rallycross driver, Adam.

Stewart Bowes races Ian Pritchard Mini. © Ridge

Irishman David Aiken brings his Vauxhall Astra ‘home’ to Yorkshire this weekend. Originally starting life as Peter Rucroft’s 1600cc 8v machine, Scotch Corner based Tony Bardy drove it for DSRM and made two-litre when DSRM later imploded. But, of all the cars with Grand Prix heritage at Croft, Barry Stewart’s Porsche 911 can claim most bragging rights, having won the first ever British Rallycross Grand Prix in 1982, in the hands of Rolf Nilsson.

Stewart's Porsche won first Grand Prix at Brand Hatch in 1982. © Ridge

Also competing in Retro Rallycross’ best line-up of the season this weekend is former Stock Hatch racer Ian Shelley, who has prosthetic knees and feet and races a Mini. He returned to the driving seat this year, not long after having new prosthetic metal feet fitted at the Royal South Hants Hospital in Southampton as part of a long battle against arthritis and has raced at Pembrey and Lydden so far this year.

Ian Shelley competes in Retro Rallycross with his Mini. © Coulson

Of those competing in the main Grand Prix on Sunday, only two drivers have won the event previously. Pat Doran in 2004 and Julian Godfrey in 2013 and 2014.




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