British Rallycross: 2022 Season Preview

Feature Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

With the 2022 season of British Rallycross just a couple days away let’s look at the series and teams. 13 Supercar drivers have entered the opening rounds and have given their thoughts before the racing kicks off.


The season will stretch across 11 rounds for the Supercar category. This comprises of 5 double headers as well as a weekend in France alongside the French Rallycross championship. It marks the first ever event in France and a return to Europe. Meanwhile, support categories will race in Belgium and the whole series making the trip to Mondello in Ireland. Meanwhile 2 double header events at both Lydden and Pembrey will bookend the season. Dreux Circuit in France has only been raced at by a handful of competitors while Mondello has been absent from the calendar since 2017. Pembrey in Wales will have a modified circuit replacing a tight and twisty handful of corners with a long sweeper that should promote overtaking.

April 16th/18th – Lydden Hill, England

May 14th/15th – Pembrey, Wales

June 4th/5th – Mondello, Ireland

August 27th/29th – Pembrey, Wales

October 15th/16th – Dreux, France (Single round)

November 5th/6th – Lydden Hill, England


The format remains much the same for 2022. The points format has seen a bit of a shake up where 8 is now the magic number. That’s how many cars will start in each final and only the top 8 in qualifying will be rewarded with championship points. The winner of qualifying gets 8 points. The final now rewards even more than in the past 2 seasons. First will receive 12 with 10 going to second, 9 to third all the way down to 4 for eighth. Dropped scores return in the mammoth 11 round championship. Drivers can only drop an event they compete at so missing a round all but destroys a shot at the championship. It does mean that 1 poor round can be overcome though. Consistency, speed and reliability will all be key this season

Position Qualifying Semi-Final Final
1 8 6 12
2 7 5 10
3 6 4 9
4 5 3 8
5 4 2 7
6 3 1 6
7 2 0 5
8 1 0 4

Drivers – Back Again

There are set to be a large number of Supercar drivers this season so let’s break it down. First up all the drivers who raced in 2021.

First up is the reigning champion, Derek Tohill. Last year Tohill clinched his first ever British Rallycross Championship title. It was the first time since Dermot Carnegie in 2004 that a driver held the Irish and British rallycross champions in the same year. It was a narrow and hard fought victory but the GB1 car will return to the series at the opening weekend. “It’s always good to be back in Lydden, especially the Easter weekend. We’re here for the majority of a week so it is difficult for the whole team. Long time to be away for everyone. First time to see [the GB1] today, it’s great. It’s beginning to sink in, we’ll get the British Championship [prize giving] this weekend.”

Beyond that it is unclear if he will race in other rounds, though he will definitely compete at the Irish double header. He has already won the opening two rounds of IRX and now is looking to compete in Europe with his Ford Fiesta Touring Car. This combined with prior agreements to race in Ireland may mean a reduced schedule of British events which would all but ruins his championship chances. Back in 2019 he didn’t commit to a full BRX campaign until early season success persuaded him to return to the paddock. It may well be the same this season. “We’re looking at the Nordic RX round at Holjes which clashes with Pembrey (round 3 & 4). If we enjoy this weekend we’ll be back [to British]. I would like to do that Nordic round in Holjes so it is unfortunate it clashes with Pembrey. It’s my least favourite track, it’s nice that France is on the calendar. I had a win there in the European championship. Mondello will be great. It’s good to come and do this event as we’re looking to do that Nitro RX event.”

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Second last year, Ollie O’Donovan returns to try and clinch a second BRX crown. To aid that he will have a brand new car, though his Ford Fiesta will still race (see more on that below). The Proton Iriz has been developed in a partnership between Tony Bardy Motorsport and Mellors Elliot Motorsport. The car was set to compete in late 2021 but project delays meant this couldn’t happen. The car has already undergone some testing including at the official test day today. O’Donovan will also race the car in the European Rallycross Championship. It will be the only brand new car on the grid so early season reliability may play a factor.

“The plan is to do a full season in 5 Nations BRX and the European. It’s a brand new car, it’s going to have teething problems. Today something weird was happening mid-corner, it was switching to push out. So Sebastian [Eriksson] just drove the car and confirmed what I was saying. So now we’re making changes to see if we can find the issue. It’s already going round there and making good lap times. It’s a brand new car, being a new car is not always good as you can’t use something that’s been done before. Everything has to be trialled. We don’t expect it to be on pace from the off. If it did it would make it sound too easy. If it works here, it’ll work anywhere.”

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Engine builder and tuner, Julian Godfrey returns once again. The 6 time champ will look to have much better reliability than the past 2 seasons that prevented any serious championship challenge, outside a sole win at Pembrey. He will race his trusty Ford Fiesta and hopes to use his experience to outclass the field.

“Mondello we’ve done quite well at. More and more youngsters coming into it now so it’s made it a bit more difficult. It’s good to have more cars, then if you win it you feel good. Just see where it goes, it’ll be nice to get the GB1 back again. Car was unkind to me last year, normally been very good. Lots of silly ones, broke the teeth off the gears, dropped a valve in practice. Knockhill was a disaster. Fuel pump packed up. Hopefully we got rid of all the silly things last year.”

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Tristan Ovenden will have his third season in the top class. The past 2 seasons has seen him get to grips with the car. He was able to achieve 2 podium finishes and hopes to build from that this year. The Citroen DS3 remains his car of choice. “We’ve continued to familiarise ourselves with how the DS3 works. Even though this will be our third season with it car, in reality they’ve not been normal seasons for the last two years, so we’ve had no time between events to do anything other than turn it around. The level in Supercar has stepped up, but our hopes are to make podiums this year. From a championship point of view that’s all we’ve ever done, if you can get yourself on the podium regularly then the rest of the championship hopefully comes to you. Bit disappointed with 5th as we were 3rd overnight and lost out by 4 points in the end. We don’t want to do any worse.”

He remains optimist for the season despite it being 11 rounds. “It is going to be pretty difficult. 11 rounds is a lot! The running cost and fatigue on the cars may well be a factor for some competitors. We are planning to do the whole season and I’m probably looking forward to the French round the most. Always nice to go somewhere new.”

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Mitsubishi Evo X driver, Steve Hill will contest yet another full season. Having shown strong pace in 2021 as well as improving weaknesses in the car he hopes to challenge for podiums more often. The 72-year old came close to winning at Knockhill last season before a driveshaft failure saw him spin off.

“Looking forward to France and Ireland. I’m better against the others when we go to different tracks, when they’ve all got to learn the track, same as I have. When you’re used to driving blind on a rally you pick it up a lot quicker. We’ve done a lot of work on the suspension to try and rotate better. It’s certainly been rotating better, it’s just if I’ve got enough grip to get it out of the corner. There’s always a compromise. Reliability is going to be everything this year. The last 4 or 5 years we’ve had a good run for reliability other than accidents. It could be hard getting into a final. I don’t really know what the pace is going to be like.”

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Mike Sellar is one more driver looking to race at every round. The former Super Modified race winner stepped up to the Supercar class in 2020. There initially had been limited success which included missing a round after breaking a turbo at a test event. However, thanks to a change of clutch, he was able to be competitive at the final round of 2021. He will compete in his Citroen DS3.

“Full season is the plan. Dreux in France sounds like it’s good fun and a good track. We had some issues with the clutch on the car when we bought it. We didn’t understand how it was working. It was slipping all the time, so off the line the car just didn’t go anywhere. I thought it was me. We were adjusting boost. It was quite demoralising. I gave the car to Gerald from Steve Hill’s team. He said we need to do this, we need to do that. Completely different car at Lydden [in November]. I was always good at starting in rallycross, I have a lot more faith in the car. I’m hoping that over this weekend I’ll be in among the front boys.”

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Welshman Roger Thomas returns in his ex-GRC Ford Fiesta. Work commitments have seen him only compete at 3 rounds in the past 2 seasons. That will likely continue into 2022 and he will contest a partial campaign. He is looking to race abroad at Mondello and Dreux and wants to sample the new track layout in his native Wales at Pembrey. He has already scored podium finishes in the car and a pole. However, he has not recorded a top 3 finish in the past 2 seasons, something he wants to set right.

“I’m definitely going to Lydden, very keen to race at Mondello Park and in France as I’ve never been to those tracks. I’ve seen the work going into the new changes at Pembrey. I’m going to do as many rounds as I can. The car is pretty much as it was, we have some work to do with the launch procedure. We’ve had a few podiums before so if things go well I’m hoping to get a few more podiums and improve on our third places with maybe some seconds or a win.”

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Adding diversity to the field is Dom Flitney. Last year the farmer raced in the Retro 4WD and Electro classes but it was his return to the Supercar class that sparked the most attention. Out was his Subaru Impreza (though that remains with him) and instead came in a Volvo C30. The ex-Frode Holte machine has a winning record in Euro RX and still remains eligible for the series. He raced the car at the season finale having spent the autumn getting the car prepared. Despite not qualifying for either final he remains confident as he instead wanted to keep the car running.

“I absolutely love Lydden but I’m quite looking forward to racing somewhere else other than Lydden. Because of COVID I haven’t been able to race anywhere else. I got the car 2 or 3 weeks before Lydden [in November]. I did exactly what I wanted to do, just stayed out of everybody’s way. I’ve got a lot to learn with the car. The car’s still eligible for European Rallycross. We’ll see where we go with it. Over time you build up spares and packages. Once we’ve done that and we can adapt stuff quickly. I can’t change something that quick at the moment because I haven’t got the experience of the car. Much easier to progress slowly. I’m not aiming on giving up many places this time, looking to race now. Really cool to have the Volvo back. It’s nice to have something different on the grid. It’s a lot easier to drive than my Subaru. I’ve never felt so comfortably and laid back cruising round in a car.”

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Jack Thorne has made a last minute deal to return to the championship. After initially looking to take a year out to focus on work he inked a deal with series organiser Pat Doran to use his Citroen C4 at the opening weekend. He was able to test the car but limited his running so he could focus on the race weekend itself.

“I had a conversation with Pat and the car was available. I’ll just concentrate on this weekend, see what we can do here. The car has proved over the years what it can do. My aim is to learn it the in-line system. Very different to the Peugeot. Just try and bring it home. I want to get my money’s worth, I definitely want to be in the final but it’s a long way to get there. It’s good to be back in the paddock. At the beginning of this year I didn’t think I was going to be in a race paddock, but never say never. Better than being at home.”

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Drivers – Returning

With the majority out of the way we can turn to those who had skipped a year (or more) but are now back.

A likely favourite for victory will come from Oliver Bennett. The Extreme E, Nitro RX and World RX team owner and racer made a last minute decision to enter round 1 as a non-scoring guest. Talking during a Q&A on his Instagram page on 4th April he expressed potential at racing at Lydden. Within 24 hours he was asking fans if he should race and once his post hit 2000 likes he submitted an entry. He will only race at round 1 with prior commitments needing him to fly off on Saturday night. The car will not race at round 2 on Monday.

“It’s good to be back. I’m sure we’ll come back to some British events. We have no future plans with the Mini, give it a good send off. I enjoy the track, we’re just gonna go have some fun. I hadn’t made a decision, it was all up to the fans. I’m away testing with Nitro this week so can only make the Saturday. The car hasn’t had a rebuild after being in America for Nitro RX last year, so we’ll get one more event out of it now before it’s rebuilt. After this event my focus is on Nitro RX and electric rallycross. We’ll be looking to go for the win, there’s obviously some good drivers so it won’t be easy, but that will be the plan, and to just enjoy it too.”

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Andy Grant is another driver making a comeback to the Supercar class. Having sat out 2020 he competed in the Retro 4WD category last season. After comfortably winning the series and setting comparable lap times to Supercars he decided to move back to the top class.

“Rallycross is like a drug. Even though I’m not getting any younger, there’s nothing like driving a Supercar. I really enjoyed racing in Retro 4WD last season, and our lap times compared to the Supercars were very interesting. I made some changes to the setup of the car in the suspension and the differentials, and it made a big difference. So we’ll see how we get on a Lydden and go from there. This could be the last season for me in the Focus. It is still a brilliant car, but it was built 20 years ago. It is quite different now to the cars at the front of the championship.”

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Drivers – New

It’s not just returning drivers that fill the grid. There will be 2 rookies this season, both competing at every event.

The Motorsport UK Young Driver of The Year and current RX150 champion, Patrick O’Donovan will graduate to the Supercar class. He will drive the Fiesta previously raced by his father Ollie. Success in the RX2e and RX150 series’ helped him find additional backing and the 18 year old will race a full campaign in the British Rallycross Championship.

“It’s pretty surreal, that’s the only word I can use to describe it. I had a deal with Dad. The only way he’d ever let me into a Supercar was if I won the buggy [RX150] championship first. That’s a nice stepping stone path. We have some very good sponsors involved this year but this programme simply wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of my Dad. ”

He first test came in the team’s Ford Focus. “It was at Teeside. It was absolutely pouring rain. I could not see 10 metres in front of me for half the day then it cleared up. First time out with ALS it was pouring rain so it was a good way to learn. Got me on the pace quite quickly. Plan, like any other competitor is to win. I like to succeed and I’ll keep trying until I do. The aim is first to get a heat win and then move on to round wins. Just try and be consistently there. I want to follow in my father’s footsteps and win the British Championship.”

Ollie added, “He’s a naturally quick driver. So he’s going to be good and best of luck to him. If he wants to get a position, if he earns it he can have it.”

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Bradley Westgarth progresses up to the Supercar class as the second youngest driver at 20. Having only started racing 6 years ago he quickly progressed into rallycross. His Mitsubishi Evo was imported from Japan in 2020 where he won a BTRDA title with it. Last season he competed part time in the BTRDA and in the Retro 4WD. Now, after a recent increase in backing he was able to upgrade the car to compete in the Supercar class.

“Looking forward to Lydden the most as it’s home territory. I will be doing all events under normal circumstances. Definitely feel up to the challenge and will always give it my all. Who knows what can happen when you actually get out there. I have to thank my grandfather who’s done a huge amount in supporting me. We are doing it on a budget probably 10 or 20 times smaller than most the other drivers. The Evo is perfect and has been proven in the highest levels in WRC. The aims for the car are definitely to keep improving it. We’re basically as stock as you can get to compete in Supercars but a possible sequential gearbox during the year along with the bigger turbo next year are a possibility. I’m feeling optimistic as I know I could do well and have the belief in myself to try and push the big guys. I’m pretty sure the Evo might be the oldest car on the grid as well. The round in France will be fun with the massive supercar grid, I just hope I come out of it with the bodywork on the car.”

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Drivers – Future

And there is more to look forward to.

Michael Boak won’t be racing at round 1 but he is planning future entries this season. Over the winter he purchased a Skoda Fabia with the long term aim of winning the British Rallycross Championship. For this season he is just focusing on developing the car and will instead race in the BTRDA with select British events. At BRX races his time is limited as he currently runs 4 other cars for various drivers.

“It’s a dream come true for me to step up into Supercar. It’s a natural progression. After always driving self-built cars we wanted a car that was already developed, but still wanted something a little different. When the Fabia came up for sale it ticked all the boxes. This is the start of a long-term project, with the ultimate goal of being British Rallycross Champion. This is a learning season – we will compete in selected rounds, then in 2023 we hope to move further up the grid.”

Steve Harris is another who will have to wait some more time before bringing out his newly developed car. Over the past few months his Mini Countryman has been upgraded with the STARD electric powertrain. Once completed and returned he will enter events with son, Jake likely to get a chance behind the wheel as well. For now he will enter Lydden Hill in his Ford RS200 while Jake gets to race the car on Monday.

“I bought the Minis over 3 years ago. The cost of an up to date engine and gearbox is not much different to going electric. Even though I’m a petrol head, after driving the STARD car at Lydden [in 2021], I was hooked. I’m still not sure exactly when I will have the electric mini ready to race. I’m not doing too many events in the RS200 this year as it’s too expensive to run. I will do the Saturday and Jake will drive on Monday at the Lydden Easter weekend. If anything comes up in Europe I will try to attend and also the Lydden weekend later in the year.”

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

A surprise announcement over the winter came from Colin Anson. The former Supercar racer had sold his Ford KA for the 2006 championship winning Opel Astra. Anson’s rallycross career stretches over 30 years including 6 of those with his self prepared KA. Now he’s back for a full campaign, reliability permitting. However, a broken starter motor has meant Anson has already left the circuit and won’t race this weekend. He hopes to be back for the next round at Pembrey.

“I sold the KA a few years ago. I’ve been looking at this [Astra] online and I said I’ll buy that. I had to wait until it was the right time. It needs a lot of work on it, even now. That one blast up the hill was quite nice. Just a shame that I didn’t get a new starter motor. I’ve always done stuff myself but today is a reminder to get other people to help me out. That’s spoilt a weekend by not spending a few hundred quid. Now I’m not doing this, I’m aiming for Pembrey. I’m not going to compete against Ollie [O’Donovan] with their new cars. The double headers I’m not sure about, the cars have a certain amount of longevity before they need a large amount of maintenance.”

Andrew Jordan may well return in the future as well. Originally he was going to race in 2021 but he has been delayed preparing his Fiesta. It is unlikely he will race this season, instead focusing on historic racing restoration. However, if he does come back, the 2007 Supercar champion will be a force to be reckoned with.

All in all that makes 10 drivers signed up for a full campaign with a further 5 looking to complete partial campaigns throughout the season. 7 different brands and 10 different models of car will compete at round 1 with further diversity including electric power set to compete. The title fight is wide open and it would be hard to pick out a favourite until after this weekend. The action kicks off on Saturday morning.

Feature Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

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