CML are reporting on the 4th round of the BRCA 1/8th Off Road series that took place in very inclement weather at Shrewsbury over the weekend. The track was an ‘old style’ grass track with a layout new to every one on the day. There were a few jumps for the drivers to negotiate but the biggest challenge were the conditions. From the beginning of qualifying the rain set in, and it didn’t let up at all throughout qualifying. This potentially was going to make the qualifying more important because if the organisers were to call the meeting off after qualifying, the points would be awarded in that order.
Neil Cragg set out of the blocks fast and it was his Reedy powered RC8B that took TQ in the first 2 rounds of qualifying. This would give him pole position and if the meeting were to be called off, he would be declared the winner. Darren Bloomfield took 2nd on the grid and had at times looked very fast. Darren was to take the TQ in round 3 where Neil had some water ‘gremlins’ that left him with no run. Elliott Boots was to complete the top 3 in qualifying.
After qualifying the organisers made the call to go ahead with the finals but with a reduced duration to limit the exposure to bad weather. As it happened the rain stopped almost the minute qualifying was over and it would remain dry and bright for the rest of the day. The lower finals were littered with good drivers who had had problems during qualifying, and with that left themselves with lots of work to do to bump through. The ‘B’ final saw 4 of the works Associated drivers trying to make their way through and into the main ‘A’ final, these being Craig Drescher, Lee Martin, Paul Bradby and Richard Cree. Of these it was only Richard Cree who missed the cut, his fate sealed by an error in a place that took an age for a marshal to reach him. Paul Bradby survived a last lap battle with Anthony Potter to take the last position and join the grid in the ‘A’ final.
The top 3 in qualifying quickly established themselves as the lead pack in the ‘A’ final, along with Craig Drescher who made good use of his track time in the B to force his way to back of these 3 in the early stages. For the first 5 minutes Neil, Darren and Elliott all took turns at the front as they got used to conditions that were very different from what they had encountered in qualifying, as the track was now very bumpy in places. Just before the first stops Neil hit the front and a series of very quick laps straight after fuelling enabled him to open a decent gap as the other 2 were unable to respond to his pace. He then settled into a fast cruise that further consolidated his position to the flag and a comfortable victory. Darren pulled just clear of Elliott to be safe in second, but a late race charge from Craig saw him on the back of Elliott for the final lap. Craig made a mad dash to the line to try and take the position, but it was to no avail with Elliott hanging on to take 3rd with Craig 4th.