Westhoughton-based racer Tony Lynch has moved back into second place in the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship standings following the penultimate round of the Quaife MSA British Rallycross Championship season at Knockhill.
The Scottish event (17/18 September) was initially scheduled to be the sixth of eight rounds this season, but the decision to cancel round seven at Mallory Park meant a strong result at the picturesque circuit overlooking the Firth of Forth was vital if Tony and his team – Lucas Oils Team Geriatric – were to reclaim second in the points standings.
Three action packed heats – where he finished second, fourth and third in tricky conditions – meant Tony started the final from fifth on the grid, but a fine start saw him blast through to second place on the run to turn one.
While Adam Clark, the man Tony is fighting for second in the standings, dropped to the rear of the field after an incident through the opening corner, Tony set about chasing points leader Dave Bellerby for victory but was also forced to defend from Chris Mullen behind.
A slight error from Tony, when he ran wide after hitting a pothole, gave Mullen the chance to come through and take second but a place on the bottom step of the podium was good enough to move Tony back into second place in the championship.
“The heats were difficult because of the conditions on track after a number of rain showers and I’d hoped to be higher than fifth on the grid for the final,” he said. “However, I got a fantastic start to climb into second and even though Chris got ahead of me before the finish, he did it with a move that I’d have been proud of if I’d done it myself. Third was still a good result as it means I’m back into second in the championship.”
Over the course of the weekend, Tony discovered that Richard Norman had been excluded from the result of the previous round at Lydden Hill as a result of the incident between the pair on the opening lap of the final – which ultimately led to Tony’s title challenge taking a severe hit when he was then unable to take the restart after the race was red-flagged.
With an appeal ongoing into the fact he was prevented from restarting the final, which in turn means the Lydden Hill result remains provisional, Tony retains a slender chance of overhauling Bellerby in the title race but will go into the season finale focused on maintaining his own championship position.
“Although I didn’t manage to get the victory at Knockill, it was a case of mission accomplished because we’ve move back into second place in the championship,” he said. “Now I just need to go to Croft and push hard for victory because if can end the season with a win, then I’ll be secure in second place in the championship and beyond that, who knows.
“Even though I still have a chance of winning the title depending on the final ruling on Lydden Hill, it’s going to need Dave to have a terrible weekend for me to stand a chance of overhauling him and that isn’t how I’d want to win the title. However, with the bad luck we’ve endured this season, if we can go to the final round and take second place for the second successive season, we’ll be able to hold our heads up high.”