The Arena Essex oval saw action from around 50 competitors last weekend, as young drivers in Ninja Karts arrived, including Toby Partridge from Stanton.
These machines are for six to 10-year-olds, powered by a 50cc Honda engine. They come complete with bodywork and a full roll cage for this non-contact formula which is proving very popular.
On Saturday, the qualifying heats took place, with drivers securing a position in either the A or B final the following day.
For Toby, it all went very well and while the more experienced drivers made it to the A final, he secured the front row of the grid for the B - a win here would put him on the back row of the A final.
A good start saw him holding the lead until an incident saw the race stopped. A rolling start saw the race resumed and once again he led the field. As the laps rolled off, so his advantage was held, only for another stop shortly before the intended race distance. At this point, a result was decided giving Toby victory, a large trophy and a place in the A final. A tough ask from the rear of the grid, but he completed the race with an improved position.
There is no doubt the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship is a great success, as it strings together a number of already proven events hosted by UK race circuits.
Recent years have seen an increase in their single-venue events. To an organiser, they are an easy method of providing a special stage rally. To people like myself who remember similar, but multi-venue events, they are a rather poor replacement.
Having said that, finding enough venues to run the ones I remember, would be very difficult now, as the old airfields disappear and farm tracks become more valuable.
This weekend, Chelmsford Motor Club will running their contribution to the MNC Rally Championship at Brands Hatch, with the MGJ Engineering Stages, that has attracted an oversubscribed entry, well past the 80 crews competing.
It will be round five of this national championship, plus the opening encounter of the 2016 Jelf Motorsport.com/AEMC regional version. The eight special stages contained in the Kent circuit, will provide 45 miles of competitive motoring.
Two local crews will be in action - Johnnie Ellis/Josh Clark have their Subaru Impreza at number five, with Dave Daniels/Dennis Suttenwood also enjoying their Mitsubishi Evo 6. Daniels is the current AEMC Class E Champion, while Suttenwood took third overall as a co-driver for Tony Michael in 2015.
The first car will start at 9.50am on Sunday, and the last one to complete SS8 will be at 5.30pm. Spectators will be catered for. The MNC Rally Championship covers 12 rounds, and the final event will be the Centenary Stages at Snetterton, on May 15.
Brands Hatch Place Hotel will be the venue for the Jelf Motorsport.com/AEMC Rally Championship awards (2015) on February 18.
Overall champions are Roland Brown/Terry Luckings; Class A - Anna Stephenson/Matthew Smalley; Class B Tony Michael/Paul Barrett; Class C Tim Mewett/Liz Jordan; Class D Kevin Jarvis/Lea Biagioni; Class E Dave Daniel/Mike Hughes. Lea Biagioni also took the ladies’ award.
Following this Sunday’s opening round, the championship will conclude with its 12th round at the two-day event held at Rockingham in December.
With seven rounds completed, the fight for top spot on the AMSC Challenge is even closer. After six rounds, just two points separated leader Andy Mount from Robin Howard. Now Howard has reduced that to just one point.
Dick Lines continues to lead class one, Howard holds sway in class two, but David Harvey has replaced Nigel Weeks as leader of class three.
Barry Redmayne still leads class four - in striking distance of the overall lead - third overall, eight points adrift of Mount.
Rallying. MGJ Engineering Brands Hatch Stages, Sunday. Motorsport News Circuit Championship round five. Jelf Motorsport.com/AEMC Championship round one. First car, 9.50am.
Short Circuit. Mildenhall Stadium, Sunday, 1.30pm. Ministox; Bangerstox; Bangers. Wimbledon, Sunday, 5pm. Bangers.