Wigan racer Tony Lynch endured a trying start to the defence of his Supernational Class title after the new Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship season burst into life at Croft.
Westhoughton-based Tony made the trip to North Yorkshire looking to impress at the wheel of his Lucas Oil Team Geriatric-run Ford KA, but was instead left to wonder what might have been after unexpected mechanical gremlins prevented him from challenging for victory in the season opener.
Tony’s preparations for the weekend were thrown in the air when a clutch issue was discovered on the car prior to leaving for the circuit, with the team working to try and resolve the problem in order to allow him to compete in North Yorkshire.
On taking to the track for the opening heat, it became apparent that the problem was still in place and left Tony unable to make use of his launch control system – handing an advantage straight away to his rivals on track.
Despite that, Tony qualified second for his semi-final but any chance of making the final disappeared in dramatic fashion when a sudden loss of oil pressure resulted in terminal engine failure – putting the KA out of action on the spot.
It means plenty of work now lies ahead before the second round of the year at Lydden Hill, where Tony will hope to see his season get underway in earnest.
“There’s no doubt it was a tough weekend at Croft,” he said, “and it’s the kind of weekend we haven’t had for a long time. The boys worked really hard to try and sort the clutch issue we discovered before leaving home but sadly we couldn’t get it fixed perfectly which meant that we weren’t able to use launch control at all during the heats.
“Against the rear-wheel drive cars, it put us at a real disadvantage off the line but we were able to keep pace during the actual races and it looked like we could still take away some decent points from the weekend.
“Unfortunately, in the semi-final, we suddenly lost oil pressure with no warning at all and it meant that we blew the engine, which obviously ended the day on the spot. It’s a bitter pill to swallow after a lot of work went into the engine over the winter but it’s one of those things that can happen in motorsport. We’re lucky to have one of the best in the business in Julian Godfrey Motorsport looking into the cause of the problem, and we’ll be working hard with them in the next few weeks to make sure there is no repeat at Lydden Hill.
“We’re on the back foot in terms of the points after Croft, but we’ll come out fighting next time and that is where our season will really get underway.”