Highs and lows for Ovenden
Highs and lows for Ovenden

Canterbury based Rallycross driver Tristan Ovenden and his team made their first trip North of the boarder for seven years to the iconic Scottish circuit of Knockhill.

The last time he drove a rallycross car here was in a Suzuki Swift, the same year he would win that category. Saturday saw round 4 get underway in dry and murky conditions which saw the Morris Lubricants supported driver fifth fastest in free practice which set the tone for the rest of the day.

He clinched a front row grid place for the final after finishing second in his semi final. After a fantastic start he narrowly missed out leading into the first corner slotting into third.

He managed to reclaim second place on lap two by capitalising on a mistake by the race leader. He emerged in fourth place after taking the lengthy joker lap on the penultimate lap of the race. He then moved up to third when Steve Hill spun off the track at the entry to the loose section.

He would finish the race and collect his third podium finish of the year. After over night drama where the team had to race to fix a cracked manifold which saw them chasing around the Scottish countryside, eventually finding a welder at an oval track some 25 miles away! The car was ready and on the grid for the start of round 4.

However bad luck and mechanical gremlins hampered the team first blowing a turbo in qualifying 1 and an uncharacteristic error by Ovenden in qualifying 3 which saw a small spin hit a tyre wall causing a lot of superficial damage leaving the team a massive job to do in time for the final. So, the Goody back driver started the final from the back row of the grid making it up to fifth sport after the long drag up to turn one.

He improved this to third place on lap 2 opting to take his joker and then dropping to fifth spot where he would finish the race. The championship now returns to Ovenden’s local circuit of Lydden Hill over the weekend of 6th and 7th November where Ovenden will endeavour to get his championship push back on track.

Speaking after the weekend, Ovenden said: “We had a good day in round 4 on Saturday, improving our pace throughout the day and where extremely pleased to get on the podium.

“We did have a repair to the exhaust manifold to carry out overnight and managed to get it welded at 10 pm by Lee Smart Racing at an Oval racing track 25 minutes away! That got us back out for round 5 on Sunday, but then we blew a turbo in Q1, which the team changed in time for the next heat! Superb work.

“Q3 was also looking good until we had what would have been a small spin, but it caught the tyre wall and gave the team a lot of work to do to get us out for the final. They did an amazing job and we made it out on time. We had a good start in the final, but ultimately our pace wasn’t quite there. Will did brilliantly well in the Juniors, good clean racing from him with two second places over the two rounds, great drive. Huge thanks to the red and yellow racing team. They got us both on the grid for every race, excellent.”

Images courtesy of Matt Bristow Photography

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