Rennison 7-up for Group B first

by Tim Whittington |

The British Rallycross Championship heads for home this weekend with its traditional Bank Holiday Monday event at Lydden. This year the title race is wide open, but 30-years ago it was all done and dusted before the August race which then formed the final round. Mark Rennison had put his name to the title in round six. But, as that was his sixth win of the year, Rennison did not go to Lydden to cruise around and collect the trophy – he was on a mission to win again and complete an unbeaten run through the series.
The seven-event season begun at Brands Hatch where, with exception of a graceful new rear aero setup, Rennison’s DSRM Ford RS200 was not much changed from 1986 during which the pairing had become increasingly competitive. Third in the A final and the Superfinal winner, Rennison left Kent on a high and returned to the county a few weeks later with a more potent car. Equipped with a BDT’E’ engine for the first time at Lydden’s Easter event, Rennison blitzed round two, FTD and wins in both the A final and Superfinal pushed him into the series lead, where he remained all year.
Croft, home turf, was up next but Will Gollop managed to spoil Rennison’s part a little by taking both FTD and the A final win. In the Superfinal, however, Rennison won again – as he would at Cadwell Park in June where he again took a maximum points haul. Round five was back at Croft, once more Gollop’s MG Metro 6R4 denied Rennison a maximum score, but in the Superfinal it was the Ford driver who again won.
Swindon was the stage for round six, and on the twisty farmyard circuit Rennison took both A final and Superfinal to put his name to the title. At that time he was the youngest ever Champion (at 23-years-old) and the first driver to win in a Group B car.
Rennison’s remarkable run of victories might make it look as though he had little competition, but that’s not how it was. Gollop was a constant threat, as was 1986 champion John Welch. At Lydden in August Welch, and multiple champion Trevor Hopkins, both got the drop on Rennison in the Superfinal, before the champion-elect fought back to pass both and take his seventh win from seven events.
Setting aside Gollop’s successes in the two-event 1996 Championship (which, coincidentally, broke the run of titles won by Group B cars that was begun in 1987), Rennison’s dominant run remains unequalled three-decades later.
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