ALRC Interclub Comp Challenge
A new Interclub Comp Challenge has been announced for ALRC vehicles. Full details of the challenge can be found by clicking on the following link. www.compsafari.com/compchallenge/
BCCC Championship Report
After finishing all 6 rounds of the 2008 BCCC competition with three top 10 finishes and 3 disappointing rounds, Ken and Jonathan were placed 12th overall in the final standings in their first season in their Mattserati. It had been a steep learning curve for the team and many lessons had been learnt along the way.
Ken and Jonathan would like to thank Mudhut Off-Road, TruFlame Welding Equipment, Pattonair Ltd, Banners Nottingham and Total Off-Road for their support during the year. Without this, competing in the British Cross Country Championship would still be a distant dream.
BCCC Round 6 Report
The final round of the 2008 British Cross Country Championship was held at a wet and windy Walters Arena, South Wales. This event took place Friday 7th and Saturday 8th November to give plenty of time for an end of season celebrations on Saturday evening and Sunday morning!
Due to work commitments the team arrived at the South Wales course very late on Thursday night and had little time before the event start to prepare and yet again missed out on the all important walking of the course, when will they learn!
After the all clear at scrutineering and signing on, the duo set off first the first run of the wet and rocky course. A puncture early on slowed the Mattserati and the pair stopped the clock at 15 minutes 17 seconds. After a quick wheel change they were soon lined up for run 2. This run was hampered by another puncture but due to a course blockage the team were prevented from finishing the lap and an average time was given.
Wondering if they had been cursed with punctures, the team then watch 6 consecutive competitors all cross the finishing line with either 1 or 2 punctures!
The team then remained issue free until Run 5, the final run of day one, when the Mattserati became stranded when a steering joint failed. A tow back to the pits was required and the Solway Recovery team duly obliged!
Storms overnight left the course very slippy for Saturday but the team were determined to try and salvage a reasonable result from the final round. Yet again Ken's driving and feel for the Mattserati improved on the second days racing and although in worse conditions, managed to improve on his lap times set the previous day.
However run 7 saw another disappointment for the team when the throttle became stuck open causing some very hairy corners, whilst trying to drive and identify the cause of the problem. For the sake of the screaming engine the team decided to pull off the course and not risk further damage. Although the problem, a sticking throttle cable, was identified and a temporary handheld throttle was created they had lost too much time and a maximum time was given. Back at the pits area a replacement throttle cable was fitted and the team, although disappointed, carried on with the remaining 4 laps.
The team finished the day without any further issues and posted some very competitive times. Walters Arena had lived up to its reputation as being a 'Car Breaker' and due to this, and the teams persistence, they finished the event in 20th place overall.
BCCC Round 5 Report
After a wet season of events, it took a trip to Wales for Round 5 of the BCCC to see some sunshine. Radnor Forest was the venue for the penultimate round and would prove to be as challenging as ever.
The weekend started well with Ken and Jonathan progressing well in only their 2nd time driving on Rally tracks.
On run 2 the pair were heading down a rutted forest track into a left hand bend when the car jumped out of the ruts and into a rather large tree stopping them dead. The result was a damaged Panhard rod which completely ripped off when the car set off again. Undeterred and unaware of the actual problem, Ken continued to the finish with the car steering itself in the ruts. Unbelievably, the time was only a few seconds off the previous run and kept the team lingering just outside the top 10. With a new Panhard rod installed the team push on and posted top 10 ten times for the rest of the day leaving them in 10th position overnight.
Sunday started well with Ken posting the 7th quickest lap on the first run and the following lap was also going well until at the halfway point a Tomcat had ground to a halt with no drive from the gearbox, blocking the track. After a push from several drivers and navigators, who were all now stuck behind it, the stricken vehicle rolled down the hill and into an area of safety. Ken made his way back to the finish knowing that the good run was wasted but an average time would be given.
For run 9 Alan Wilson joined Ken in the Navigators seat. The Mattserati was performing well until a petrol leak caused the car to catch fire and remind everyone how dangerous motorsport can be. The fire had unfortunately burnt the engine's wiring loom and the Mattserati was unable to continue. With 2 further runs remaining, the team could do no more than take maximum times resulting in 26th place overall.
A disappointing end to a good weekends racing.
The final round at Seven Sisters in November will see the pair complete their first season in the BCCC. The team know that at a course renowned as a 'Car Breaker' a finish is imperative in their hunt for a Top 10 Championship finish.
BCCC Round 4 Report
Yet another wet weekend for the British Cross Country Championship, this time at the new venue of Tiverton in Devon for Round 4. Ken and Jonathan were looking for a good result to get them back into the top 10 championship placings after round 3 in Lockerbie.
Arriving earlier than previous rounds, the pair had chance to familiarise themselves with the 4 mile course over farmland on Friday. This proved to be worthless as by Saturday the fields had turned into something resembling the Battle of the Somme. Lining up for the first time on the start crews were entertained and supported by a group of cheerleaders - complete with pompoms and ballet shoes!
A rear puncture early on run 5 didn't slow the pair until several corners from the finish, where after a quick shunt to negotiate a tight hairpin, the engine died and wouldn't restart. The tow truck, affectionately known by the team as Plugger, helped out to bump start the stricken Mattserati and a maximum time was posted. This all but ended any hopes of a top finish dropping Ken to 19 place.
Overnight rain lead to the track filling up with water for the Sunday runs, which tested the teams new washer/wiper systems to their limits. At times there was as much water in the inside of the vehicle as outside adding an internal wiper to the teams winter to-do list! New team recruit Alan Wilson was given the chance to navigate for 2 runs as reward for his efforts over the weekend as part of the pit crew.
As Ken got to 'grips' with the conditions and learnt how to get the best out of the vehicle, lap times start to improve. The improvements continued throughout the Sunday runs and concluded with the 5th fastest run time on his last run. This left the team satisfied with 9th place overall after the earlier disappointments and puts them back into the top 10 of the championship standings.
BCCC Round 3 Report
With the long drive to Scotland and the long, fast stages of Castle O'er, preparation would be key. This was just what was lacking for the team having spent most of the last 3 weeks in the workshop replacing the clutch again, the windscreen, refurbishing the dampers and welding the various cracks in the frame that had appeared after the unforgiving terrain of Driffield.
With limited access to the service area at Lockerbie it was up to Ken and Jonathan to be both crew and service team. Arriving later than planned (again) on the Friday night, the pair were still fitting components to the car after midnight. This left only a few hours on Saturday morning to cycle the near 10 mile course to note any major hazards - and there were plenty!
Sitting on the start line, the pair braced themselves for the high speed ride through the forest, aiming to "keep it on the track". They did just that and returned with a time of just over 16 minutes putting them in a respectable 15th place first time out.
This type of high speed event was a completely new experience for the team with top gear straights and fast flowing corners.
The cautious first run, a hold up on the second and relatively steady third run of the day left Ken wondering where he could get some speed for the final attempt of the day. Pushing hard on the fast gravel tracks, the steering became increasingly vague resulting in the car veering off into a ditch high in the Scottish hills and the team collecting a maximum stage time.
Not disheartened by the sudden drop down the leaderboard, Ken came out fighting on the Sunday resulting in 3 runs under 15 minutes. The final run of the day of 14 minutes and 14 seconds helped Ken grab 20th place overall for round 3 and 12th in the championship.
BCCC Round 2 Report
Having achieved a top ten finish at the first round of the BCCC at Baden Hall, Ken Powell and Jonathan Stevenson were in good spirits on the way to Driffield for the second round. The waterlogged course proved troublesome for the pair early on as they struggled to clear the windscreen. Several methods of attempting to wash the windscreen ended up with Ken pouring water from a drinks bottle!
The Mattserati buggy held up well on the punishing course until the end of Saturday when the clutch failed. The evening was spent removing the gearbox and making a trip to nearby York Land Rover Spares to collect a replacement clutch. An early start on Sunday morning to put the gearbox back in, saw the pair ready for the first run just after breakfast. Some fast times were posted with no problems up until the early close of the event after a hot incident with a Milner protruck and several fire extinguishers.
The premature end to the event caused a delay to the results and the drive home was spent thinking about preparation for the next round just 3 weeks away.
The Photo and Video pages have now been updated, so please take a look. Thanks to compsafari.co.uk for providing these.
BCCC Round 1 Video
We've just received a short video for us to use on this site from Ray at Windust Operations. This is now available to view on our Video's page.
BCCC Round 1 Report
It was 9pm on Friday 11th April when Ken Powell and Jonathan Stevenson arrived at, a wet and soggy Baden Hall, for the first round of the British Cross Country Championship (BCCC). However, the lack of light was an advantage as they could not see just how muddy the ground was until Saturday morning arrived.
Saturday began with a quick walk of the 4 mile course, as Ken was familiar with the site, having raced there previously on several occasions. Marches 4 x 4 had set out a course which encompassed various surfaces including grass, concrete and gravel - all of which were very wet!
After donning the waterproofs and attending drivers briefing with the other 64 competitors, it was time to line up in numerical order and wait for the first 32 drivers to complete their first run. Whilst queuing, the engine started to splutter which added to the tension in the cock pit and having reached the start line, the course was closed. A twenty minute delay was the result of number of competitors getting stuck due to the ever increasing slippery conditions.
The run started with a spin in the woods and didn't get much better. By the end of the lap, the team were relieved to have made it around in one piece. It was a steep learning curve for Ken driving on the championship controlled all terrain tyres for the first time. Ken had opted for the General Grabber AT2 tyres which had been very gratefully supplied by the team tyre sponsor Mudhut Off-Road.
For the second run, part of the course had been abandoned leaving laps of just 1.5 miles each for competitor to drive for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, run 2 saw the vehicle sustain damage. After hitting a tree, part of the bodywork was torn off and Jonathan was sent back on foot to collect it later.
The next 2 runs were uneventful and at the end of Saturday, Ken lay in 18th position, 1 second behind fellow Midlander, Alan Kirkland.
Sunday saw conditions improve significantly with sunshine and clear skies. With the course reopened to its full length, Ken posted top 10 times on all Sunday runs. This pushed him up the leaderboard, finishing in a very respectable 9th overall. Ken was delighted with the result saying "It's amazing to get a top 10 finish in our first race in the British Championship, especially in a new motor with the control tyres".
The good result has helped the team gain an additional sponsor - Truflame Welding Equipment, for the next round at Driffield on 7th and 8th June.
BCCC Running Number Announced
Ken has been allocated running number 33 for the BCCC in 2008.
Today saw Ken race for the first time in the Mattserati. He decided to enter the Peak & Dukeries Comp Safari at Eckington as a shakedown event ahead of the BCCC season to see how the Mattserati would perform in tight and twisty conditions. As the course was very wet it would also test Ken's ability to cope with a windscreen and the washers and wipers ability to keep the screen clear. Despite the course layout not being suited to the Mattserati, Ken put in a very competitive time on his first lap. The second lap would see Ken post the quickest time of any competitor so far. Over the next 6 laps Ken continued to improve his times and eventually took 1st place by 41 seconds. Eckington proved to be a successful outing in both terms of the result and the driving experience gained. A short video can be seen on the Vehicle page.
2008 will see Ken drive a new motor. After much thought, Ken has decided to compete in the BCCC in a Mattserati rather than the Land Rover Special 88" he has been driving for the past few years. The Mattserati is more suited to the BCCC due to a longer wheelbase and greater suspension travel. More details to follow shortly......
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