BXCC is back with bumper entry

The Motorsport UK British Cross Country Championship (BXCC) resumes next weekend in North Yorkshire after a two year break. A high quality entry of 33 crews will contest the BXCC and accompanying Trophy championship, with a further 8 entries received for round one from non-championship competitors.

The championship calendar has been heavily revised since it last ran in 2021 with only one venue, Walters Arena, carried over. The opening round venue near Pickering is new to the championship and this will be followed by a site not used since 2017, Ceri forest. Another new site near Llandrindod Wells will be round three before a brand new event, the Yorkshire Hill Rally, in September. The season will conclude with a double-header weekend at Walters in October.

Championship Manager Jon Aston commented: “The BXCC is well and truly back! I’m delighted with the response from competitors and it’s pleasing to see we’ve got several competitors doing the BXCC for the first time as well as many returning regulars.”

“Despite the championship not running for two years we have more entries this year than when we relaunched the BXCC in 2019. The team is looking forward to providing an excellent championship this year.”

Ex-rally crew Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy will be looking to build on the experience they’ve gained since starting comp safari racing in 2021. Faulkner, from Wigton in Cumbria, and navigator Foy, from Bingley, had success in the Peugeot Rally Challenge and Fiesta ST Trophy before competing in Mitsubishi Evos in the Scottish Rally Championship. They did two rounds of the BXC Trophy in 2021, as well as several NORC events, in a Warrior. For the 2024 BXCC they’ll be in an ex-Simmonite Fouquet which has been rebuilt by Warrior Motorsport over the winter.

Faulkner is looking forward to the challenge: “It’s great to see the BXCC back, the calendar is interesting with a mixture of testing events. The first round should be a fast course which should suit the Fouquet but we’re under no illusion it will take time to adjust, build speed and learn the capabilities of the car and where we need to take care. The competition will be tough, if we can nudge into the top ten we’ll be pleased.”

Returning to the BXCC after a successful 2023 is Andy Degiulio in his AJD Offroad Milner R5. Degiulio won the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed Offroad Arena shootout and the AWDC championship last year and he’s looking to be fighting for the BXCC crown this season.

“We had a great 2023 in the Milner,” said Degiulio. “We removed the LS7 engine and fitted a smaller and less powerful 5.5 litre version and the car proved to be much quicker over a run. I know the car is competitive, if we can keep up the reliability and perform on the day there’s no reason we can’t be competing up at the sharp end. That said, it’s a long season and a tough sport with some great competition. It certainly isn’t going to be easy, I’m looking forward to it.”

Aston Cox will once again compete in the championship along with father Martin, with Aston giving his recently acquired Rivet Nissan it’s BXCC debut and Martin using the same GSR he used in 2021. However, that may change as the year goes on.

“I will be racing the Rivet to start with but we’re having another new car built which I’ll hopefully be bringing out later in the season, Dad will swap to the Rivet then,” commented Aston. “We are both looking forward to the BXCC being back, it’s great to have the top championship in the UK returning. It looks like there will be some top competition and it will be a good battle both between Dad and I and the rest of the field, we cant’ wait!”

Whitecliff 4×4’s Dave Hooper is another driver with a new car for the BXCC, having raced a Simmbugghini in 2021.

“We’ve got a Lofthouse Fiesta now with a new LS2 V8 engine,” said Hooper. “We’ve made a lot of changes to the car and have not had much seat time but we did manage five laps at a test day at Walters. Alongside Whitecliff 4×4 we’re welcoming our new sponsors 4×4 Tyres and Ferry’s Garage this year, we’ll be pushing hard and will do our best. I’m excited but nervous!”

Phill Bayliss and Lance Murfin of Team OFG made a very last minute decision to enter the BXCC and have been extremely busy getting their car ‘Blaze’ ready.

“The preparation has been very stressful,” commented Bayliss. “We’ve done a lot of general mechanical refurbishment including a replacement second-hand engine. We did a test event last weekend and blew up the gearbox which caused some panic but we’re sorting that out now. We’re really looking forward to the championship and glad to see its return. We’ll be supported by Alive Tuning and Blackhawk 4×4 this season, as well as my own OFG Land Rover Specialists business.”

Competing in the first of his planned three BXCC events this season is Toby Jefferson in his GSR 206. His car has had a refresh after three events last year and he’ll be bringing a new navigator to Pickering.

“With help from Guy Smith, Karl Hubel, Phil Ibbotson and Dan Lofthouse the car is ready for round one,” said Jefferson. “My new navigator is Neil Hartley who has a love and passion for all things outdoors including Land Rover trials, mountain biking and clay pigeon shooting, I’m sure he’s going to fit in! I’m hoping to contest three events as a non-championship crew. Let’s hope we all have a great year, thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors for the hard work and dedication it takes to put these events on.”

The BXCC is supported by Par Homes, Voxcloud, Roodsafe, Roadflash, Gregg Motorsport, Fairview Farm Machinery, Fairview Farm Log Cabin and Holiday Accommodation, Aspire Park and Leisure Homes, Johnnie Drysdale, Whitecliff 4×4, Dynatech, NickyGrist.com, Whitchurch MOT Centre, Staffordshire Signs, PD Extinguishers and OR Tyres.

For more information on the championship please visit crosscountryuk.org.