O’Donovan at the double
There were plenty of fireworks both on and off the track at Lydden Hill over the bonfire night weekend (4-5 November) as both 2023 Motorsport UK British Rallycross 5 Nations Trophy and Motorsport UK Junior Rallycross Championship seasons went down to the wire.
The two thrilling title races featured packed entries with a number of star names joining the Supercar title contenders at the famous Kent venue for the double-header points-scoring finale.
Thanks to a consistent campaign, topped by two wins at Pembrey, it was Jack Thorne (Peugeot 208) who led the points table by eight points as the teams arrived at Lydden Hill with Tristan Ovenden (Citroen DS3), Ollie O’Donovan (Proton Iriz), Julian Godfrey (Citroen DS3) and Jake Harris (Mini RX) all locked in a battle for top three positions in the final standings.
Despite missing four rounds, reigning champion and Motorsport UK Academy member Patrick O’Donovan (Peugeot 208) also remained in title contention having won all five rounds he had contested. And, once again, O’Donovan made his presence felt winning Saturday’s dramatic night race opener from start-to-finish to claim victory ahead of Finnish ace Mikko Ikonen (Hyundai i20) and Swede Sebastian Eriksson (Ford Focus).
With Thorne retiring in the semi-final and drop scores to take into calculation, O’Donovan was now right back in the frame for back-to-back titles… and another victory on Sunday sealed the deal. Once again Ikonen finish second with another of the overseas stars, Hungarian Janko Wieszt (Renault Megane), completing the podium.
Local hero Liam Doran made first competitive outing since 2021 alongside Ikonen in a second Hyundai i20 but his dreams of a winning return were sadly dashed by gearbox issues.
The Motorsport UK Junior Championship season also concluded with another packed entry. As battle commenced, Will Ovenden led the standings in the single-make category ahead of impressive newcomer Tyler McAlpin.
On the day, though, it was McAlpin who held the advantage in the title-decider to secure pole position for the final. Ovenden tried his best to wrest the lead with an outside move that didn’t pay off, leaving McAlpin to secure his maiden title on count-back.
With the added spectacle of a dazzling firework display on Saturday evening, Lydden Hill once again served up a sparkling conclusion to what has been an action-packed 2023 season.