West Country Challenge
Grimley, 18th March 2012

Daz Rycroft tops the points chart after the first meeting of the season at Grimley. Daz won the first heat, his first victory in the car he completed and debuted late last year. In heat two Tony Smith took the win in his classic Dastle/Fireball whilst newcomer Darren Clarke (83, third from top, left)took a win in his debut meeting in heat three - the field being split into 2/3rds heats for the first time in many years. The final saw a fourth different winner as the formula's longest serviing driver Gordon Pooley took the win from the reigning champion Jonathan Pooley with Rycroft third ahead of Marc de Land and Neil Clarke who had started his new car at the back of the grid.


First meeting of the season saw a good turn out of drivers, the was three heats with each driver racing in two and the final. Dave Barrys car did not make it to the track due to a misfire, Not a happy man, another driver who was having trouble was Tom Keep, the new man in charge of the cheetah Peugeot. After a couple of warm up laps he to had a misfire and retired to the infield.

Race one saw Tony Smith take up the lead but it was not long before Daz Rycroft was on his tail and by lap 4 he was out in front and stayed there till the finish taking his first win in his self built car. Other battles saw Andrew Bilby move up through the field from the blue grade to pass Pete Dorrell who started to have signs of clutch trouble but managed to finish a good third ahead of Jonathan Pooley, Steve young new driver Dave Dollin starting from the rear of the field past a few drivers to finish in the points well done to him.

1/D.Rycroft 2/A.Bilby 3/P.Dorrell 4/J.Pooley 5/T.Smith 6/S.Young 7.D.Dollin 8/M.de Land

Heat two Tony Smith took up the lead and was going well, all the action was behind him with Cliff Bunn and Chris Neal from the red grade only separated by inches from the green flag to the finish, but both moving up through the field, Steve young managed to pass Neil Clarke on the home straight, Marc de Land retired to the infield with damaged suspension after a slight coming together with Neil Clarke who had braking troubles, Gordon Pooley managed to catch Tony in the closing stages but could not find away pass.

1/T.Smith 2/G.Pooley 3/C.Bunn 4/C.Neal 5/S.Young 6/N.Clarke 7/D.Clarke 8/D.Dollin

Heat three Mr Rycroft was the early leader but he was soon joined by new driver to GP Midgets Darren Clarke these two battled it out for several laps but eventually Darren Clarke found away pass, now Daz has Andrew Bilby for company and Andrew had his mirrors full of Jonathan Pooley this group were a length of a straight clear of Pete Dorrell, Chris Neal and Cliff Bunn, Pete later retired after clutch trouble. Andrew and Jonathan both passed Daz when he slipped wide on the pit turn but there was no catching Darren Clarke who took his first win in the new formula.

1/ D.Clarke 2/ A.Bilby 3/J.Pooley 4/D.Rycroft 5/C. Neal 6/C.Bunn N.O.F

Final. With a rain shower just before the cars were due to go out there was a rush for some drivers decided to change ton wet tyres. As the cars sat on the grid for what seemed to be an age the sun came out which was not good for some drivers. Tony Smith was early leader with Das Rycroft not far behind in second, Jonathan Pooley was soon pass all the red grade cars and set about catching Andrew Bilby who was in third spot, Cliff Bunn spun on lap three and was nearly collected by Marc de Land and then on the next lap Steve Young spun but Chris Neal had nowhere to go and ploughed into the side of Steve damaging Chris`s steering, By lap 7 Gordon and Jonathan Pooley were one two then came Daz Rycroft, Tony Smith went wide and allowed Darren Clarke and Marc de Land pass with Neil Clarke just behind. With two laps to go Gordon was keeping Jonathan at bay though Daz did not have it so easy as Marc and Neil were all over him but could not find a way pass.

1/ G.Pooley 2/J.Pooley 3/D.Rycroft 4/M.de Land 5/N.Clarke 6/S.Young 7/T.Smith 8/ A.Bilby