Technical hitch can’t halt Clitheroe rallycross ace Simon

British Rallycross Championship Round 4, Pembrey
British Rallycross Championship Round 4, Pembrey

As the British Rallycross season hits the mid-season point, Clitheroe-based racing star Simon Horton is once again putting in a very strong campaign.

Last Sunday, the Hortonracing team travelled down to Pembrey race circuit in South Wales full of optimism after a string of very strong results.

So far in 2014, Horton has visited the podium four times, picking up an event victory on his last out, propelling him to a top five ranking in the UK.

As well as Simon has been performing this year, this race day was not smooth sailing.

The team’s ultra-reliable Subaru Impreza supercar was having an off day, with an unidentified lack of power and intermittent electrical gremlins in practice.

The issue was compounded by a computer issue and not been able to communicate with the car’s electronic systems to diagnose and fix the issues, meaning Simon had to drive a faltering car all day.

Simon took to the track anyway and pushed as hard as he could with what he had at his disposal. On returning to the pits, Simon was surprised to discover that despite his own car issues, he still managed to set the fourth quickest time.

As the day progressed, Simon was consistently setting quick qualifying race times and importantly was keeping out of trouble, when many competitors were getting embroiled in skirmishes and picking up damage to their cars. As the dust settled from the qualifying races, Simon was rewarded with a sixth position start on the grid for the final. Having seen the rest of the paddock struggle all day, Simon was very relaxed but confident of securing a good result in the final.

Simon and his venerable Subaru Impreza took to the grid for the final time on the day, there was absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. As the full eight-car supercar final launched off the line, chaos descended on the race, with three lead cars retiring after collisions at the first corner. Picking his way skilfully past the accident, Horton continued to push hard and was up to fourth as the cars completed the first lap, but all that was about to change again.

The same corner that had seen the first incident was then the scene of another major crash with Simon’s closest championship competitors colliding at speed, heavily damaging both cars and forcing further retirements. With over half the grid not reduced to the side lines and scattered around the track, the race was red flagged and restarted after the stricken cars were removed.

With only a fraction of the supercars able to take the restart, a podium was inevitable.

At the restart, Simon managed to jump up to second position and hold that spot from lights to flag and successfully secure his fourth podium of the season.