British Rallycross: Derek Tohill Confirmed as 2021 Champion

Feature Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Triple Irish Rallycross Champion Derek Tohill has added another trophy to his cabinet alongside his double European Rallycross titles in the Touring Car class. After a post season investigation the points in the top class have remained the same.

Tohill took his Ford Fiesta, Molly to victory at 3 rounds through the season. He triumphed at Lydden Hill back in May before victory at Knockhill and a final victory at the final round at Lydden, though he was second on the road. Consistency across the season secured the Irish driver the victory with points given in qualifying, semi-finals and the final.

His season started terribly initially qualifying down in 8th place after a series of poor starts. He managed to get into 4th in the final thanks in part to issues to the fastest 2 men through the day. Just 2 later his fortunes turned around where he was able secure his first victory after a pass for the lead on lap 1.

At Pembrey a puncture in the final relegated him to last in the final. But it was at Knockhill where he shot forward as a championship contender. On a difficult Sunday for his opposition he won qualifying, his semi-final and the final to secure the maximum 30 points. That put him 10 points back on Ollie O’Donovan and the closest challenger for the title. At Lydden Hill last month he was able to score 59 out of a possible 60 points to take the championship lead a mere 2 points.

The season finale at Spa was cancelled before the racing had commenced though a round at Mondello was mooted. It was subsequently announced later in the week that no more rounds would be run. This did not secure the championship for Tohill at that moment.

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

During the final of round 6 on Saturday night at Lydden O’Donovan and Tohill had made contact. Exiting the joker lap O’Donovan had moved to take the racing line with Tohill fast approaching. The pair made side to side contact down through Chessons into the Devil’s Elbow. In the braking zone O’Donovan’s right rear wheel made contact with Tohill’s front bumper and ripped O’Donovan’s wheel off. With a puncture he slid wide losing position. While trying to defend from Tristan Ovenden at the North Hairpin he front left punctured. O’Donovan was then forced to limp around the track to a 7th place finish.

Tohill was able to finish 2nd that race and closed to 4 points behind his rival. The incident was investigated that night with no further action called for by the stewards. A similar incident in May where Andy Scott exited the joker lap and made contact with O’Donovan in a similar position. Scott was spun round with O’Donovan continuing on. The stewards that day decided that because the standard lap has right of way and O’Donovan was not affected no action was required. The incident in November had “inadequate evidence” for a penalty to be given.

O’Donovan requested an inquiry which was held by the Motorsport UK Courts earlier this week. In it the court found that the stewards decision on the day had not followed the usual procedures. However, they came to the same conclusion as the race stewards. That being that not enough evidence was available to determine who, if anyone had been at fault for the incident.

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

With that determined it gave Derek Tohill the 2021 British Rallycross Championship crown. It is his first British title having come within 2 points in 2019.

All other champions in the 11 support categories were confirmed when the season finale was cancelled. Jason Bleasdale won the Super National crown in his Vauxhall VX220. Max Langmaid was the Junior champion in a Suzuki Swift with Max Weatherley the Swift winner. Craig Lomax won the last Super 1600 title in his brand new Citroen C1 with Stephen Brown the BMW Mini champ in a BMW Mini Cooper R53. Martin Hawkes and Dan Welch won the inaugural BMW All4 Mini and Electro championships in a Mini Countryman and Fiat 500e respectively.

Andy Grant won the Retro 4WD in his Ford Focus, Simon Hart the Retro class in a Ford Escort while Barry Stewart secured the Super Retro and John Button Memorial Trophy in his Porsche 911. Patrick O’Donovan won the RX150 title in his first full season in the buggies.

The 2022 season will kick off with a double header at Lydden Hill on the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. It is likely to be run on Saturday 16th and Monday 18th April. The full calendar will be announced soon. The Supercar class and Super National class are expecting a number of new entrants including cars never before seen on the British Rallycross grid from new and returning racers.

Feature Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

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