BFGoodrich Ultra4 King of Britain 2021
After many hours of hard work int the background with the local Neath authorities, the Ultra4 drivers descended on Walters Arena close to Glynneath in Wales for the 2021 BFGoodrich King of Britain. The weather forecast had been forecasting the normal rain for the area over the weekend but other than a quick shower on Saturday morning the event was blessed with sunshine throughout.
The event is staged over three days with the full circuit of 18km open to the competitors to check out at no more than 25mph on the Friday morning and early afternoon ahead of getting ready for the shortened 1km prologue qualifying. The 51 cars lined up in the arena floor for their one flying lap. Split in to 6 classes it was the Safari class that was first out with Aaron Burch and Hermione Guy setting the first time of 1:33.33, setting the target, it wasn’t long before Dai Paul Hanson and Kieran Jones beat that and took the class with a 1:20 .275. Next up was the largest class of Winch Rally Raid cars with Alex & Jess Dannells setting the early pace with a 1:38, a time that didn’t stand for long with eventual pacesetters Sam Webster ad Henry Spinks-Essam posting an incredible 1:17 to take the class by over 2 seconds.
Following the WRR cars were the nimble 4900 UTV class and these are suited to the short prologue circuit which was soon bourn out by Joe Preston and Dan Richards posting the fastest time of the whole session so far with a 1:12.8 lap, just 0.2 seconds ahead of Philon Parpottas and Warren Wolfenden. Next it was the turn of the 4600 Stock vehicles, these bear the most resemblance to a road going 4×4 and Chris Arnott and Andy Brooks set a very respectable 1:34 early on. Ryan Beresford spoilt his lap with a trip into the trees and it was Ryan and Corrilie Dunn that came out top in the little Suzuki with a 1:23.4 time.
Alex and Harvey Gallamore were the first of the big 4800 legend cars out on to the track and they managed to set a time of 1:24.7 which would see them in to third in class behind Mike Robertson / Zac Dambrauskus and Michael White / Nick Pace with the fastest time being 1:16.8. Mikey Riley with Reece Stafford sat beside him were the first of the 4400 Unlimited class cars on to the track and set a blistering pace around the 1km circuit setting a time of 1:11.936, a time that proved fast enough to give him pole position for the first race session on Saturday. Local driver Paul Rowlands with Neil Lloyd were happy with second just over half a second adrift with the two Dan’s, Roderick and Thomas taking third.
Saturday saw the 4800 and 4400 cars line up for their first 5 hour session on track with a start time of 8am. Saturdays format was for the 4400 cars to attempt to complete 8 laps in the 5 hours with the 4800 class cars target being 7 laps. Riley set off at the head of the pack but reports soon came in of a queue forming on the JLR Rock section of the lap and it was Jim Marsden and Henry Papworth that completed the first lap in the lead with a total time of 31 minutes 11.168 seconds having cleared the rocks ahead of the pack. Riley was still in second with Dylan Coltman and Reece Fulrong in third. It was all change by lap three with Marsden and Riley dropping down the leader board and Coltman taking over top spot ahead of Legend class leader Adam Adamczyk and Kuba Majewski and Duncan Smith / Dominic O Regan in third. Mel Pocock and Jack Titterall were lying second in Legends and eighth overall. As is the way with Ultra4 events it was all change again just a lap later with Marsden once again out front with Adamczyk holding his own in the Legend class car. With 3 ½ hours gone Marsden still held the lead by 18 minutes ahead of Smith and with Sam Ahmed and Key Dunlop up to third. Y the time the 5 hours was up it was only Marsden and Smith that had completed the full quota of 8 laps with Ahmed a lap behind on 7. Adamczyk managed a total of 6 laps on the Legend class with Pocock and Craig King / Paddy Burman a lap back on 5.
Saturday afternoon saw the remaining four classes line up for their first session of five hours with each class targeted with 7 laps in total. There were some rock bypasses for the Safari, 4900 and 4600 cars with the WRR cars having the chance to gain back time awards by taking on the punch card challenges. First out of the traps was Preston with the remaining cars starting at 30 second intervals. On completion of the first lap it was Parpottas that was setting the pace completing the lap in 21 minutes 17 seconds, a time that wasn’t going to be beaten through the race. Hanson followed Parpottas across the line leading the safari class with Beresford heading the 4600 Stock cars. Hanson caught and passed Parpottas on lap 2 which saw Simon Ward and Austin James cross the line at the head of the WRR class. Parpottas was setting an amazing pace and by half distance had already completed 6 of his laps. Hanson was hanging in their and was now 12 minutes adrift but comfortably leading the Safari class. David Taylor and Christopher Morgan had taken over the 4600 lead and completed 4 laps with Webster ahead in the WRR cars on 3 laps. Parpottas was first to finish, completing his allotted laps in under three hours. 8 of the cars completed their 7 laps in time with Hanson taking the Safari win ahead of Burch and Taylor beating Dunn in the stock class by just over two minutes. Allen Sharp and Alex Wilson crossed the line first in the WRR class ahead of Ward but the result would depend on the adjusted time once the punches were counted.
Day two saw a reversal of the groups with the 4900, 4600, Safari and WRR cars going out in the first 3 hour session of the day, with a 5 lap target to chase down. The start order was determined by Saturday’s result and Parpottas was away at 8 am looking to repeat his performance of the day before. One lap down and Parpottas was leading the top Safari car of Hanson by 1 ½ minutes with Rick Agutter and Anthony Guerreiro second in 4900 and Taylor and Dunn heading up the Stock class. By Lap two Parpottas had gone missing suffering form bearing wear in hie uprated hubs and the Stock cars of Dunn and Taylor had taken over at the front of the pack. Burch was now leading the Safari class ahead of the second Beresford, Scott, partnered by Roy Jones. Ward was running at the front of the WRR class. Half distance saw Burch hit the front from Agutter with the Stcok car of Kim Sammons and Kelvin Gilman now leading class and third on the track. Ward was still out in front of the WRR class ahead of Tom Sharp / Tom Jolliffe and Mike Kerr / Neil Allwright. Burch went on to complete his 5 laps in just over two hours ahead of the three Stock cars of Taylor, Arnott and Dunn, all within a minute and half of each other. Agutter took the class win in the 4900’s whilst Ward and Kerr were ahead in the WRR with the punches still to be counted.
The 4400 class had been tasked with a 6 lap target with the Legend’s looking at 5. Marsden and Smith were the only two cars in the 4400 class on full laps from day one and the chase was on for Smith to close down the 15 minute deficit. Both cars completed their first lap in under 30 minutes with Smith hanging in there and only loosing another 4 minutes to the charging Marsden. Lap two saw mixed fortunes as first Marsden hit issues and Smith took the lead only to have the gearbox overheat and out the car in to limp mode. Ahmed was once again running third on the road with Adamczyk and Pocock heading the Legend cars, still on the lead lap. Coming up to half distance and Marsden continued to extend his lead over Smith who was managing to keep him in his sights. By the time the 3 hours was p Mardsen had finished his six laps with 8 minutes to spare whilst a fuel stop cost Smith who missed out on completing the last lap by a margin of 14 seconds. Ahmed and Coltman also managed to fit in 5 laps in the 4400 class. Pocock also missed out on scoring his last lap, crossing the line after time demoting him to third in Legends behind Adamczyk and Roberts.
4400 Unlimited Class
King – 69 Jim Marsden / Henry Papworth – Gigglepin Racing – 14 Laps, 07:24:01.613
2nd – 045 Duncan Smith / Dominic O’Regan – Team Hybrid – 13 Laps, 07:17:18.419
3rd – 662 Sam Ahmed / Key Dunlop –A662 Racing – 12 Laps, 07:15:05.071
4800 Legend Class
King – 7 Alex Adamczyk / Kuba Majewski –AK Racing – 10 Laps, 07:20:08.975
2nd – 119 Mel Pocock / Jack Titterall – Off Road Armoury – 8 Laps, 06:07:12.338
3rd – 62 Craig King / Paddy Burman – Element Offroad – 8 Laps, 07:09:56.993
4600 Stock Class
King – 7224 David Taylor / Christopher Morgan – Team Hobbit – 12 Laps, 05:37:59.875
2nd – 57 Ryan Dunn / Corrilie Dunn – Short Circuit Racing – 12 Laps, 05:43:00.474
3rd – 2017 Chris Arnott / Andy Brookes – MacAttack – 11 Laps, 06:47:00.424
4900 UTV Class
King – 007 Rick Agutter / Anthony Aguerreiro – R.A.C. Parts Racing – 12 Laps, 07:08:29.110
2nd – 9 Philon Parpottas / Warren Wolfenden – Buzz Racing – 10 Laps, 05:09:46.432
3rd – 936 Carwyn Henry / Holly Evans – Go Go Gadget – 4 Laps, 01:55:08.834
U4 Safari Class
King – 465 Aaron Burch / Hermione Smith Formex Fibreglass Off Road – 12 Laps, 05:42:38.540
2nd – 8 Dai Paul Hanson / Kieran Jones – Dirty Derv Racing – 12 Laps, 05:55:34.930
3rd – 6666 Scott Beresford / Roy Jones – Beresford Brothers – 8 Laps, 05:24:45.038
U4 WRR Class
King – 986 Mike Kerr / Neil Allwright – Team 986 – 10 Laps, 07:28:02.796, 12 Punches
2nd – 64 Simon Ward / Leigh Jeffries – Team Alphafab – 10 Laps, 06:43:47.245, 0 Punches
3rd – 960 Allen Sharp / Alex Wilson – Team Sharp – 10 Laps, 07:37:48.707, 13 Punches
4400 – 69 – Jim Marsden
4800 – 7 – Alex Adamczyk
4600 – 2017 – Chris Arnott
4900 – 007 – Rick Agutter
U4 WRR – 960 – Allen Sharp
U4 Safari – 465 – Guy Smith / Aaron Burch
Images Courtesy Tomasz Jareki
Words: NORA Motorsport