Westhoughton-based racer Tony Lynch made a solid start to his Monster Energy MSA British Rallycross Championship campaign with a fourth place finish in the season opener at Lydden Hill.

The Lucas Oil Team Geriatric driver made the long trip South hopeful of a winning start to his assault on the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship, with a bumper field of identical Suzuki Swifts doing battle in the first race of the year.

With his car only completed in the week leading into the event, Tony headed into the opening race without any pre-season testing but was quickly up to speed as he took victory in his opening heat. A second victory followed in the final heat, securing pole position for the points scoring final.

A hectic start to the final saw Tony dicing for position with Tristan Ovenden, Chris Mullen and Johnny Bean. As the others took their turn on the ‘Joker Lap’ – where each driver has to take an alternative route for part of one lap during the race – Tony found himself out front, but then resumed after his Joker Lap just ahead of Mullen and Bean in second place, with Richard Norman holding the lead.

Going into Devils Elbow for the final time, Tony clipped the inside kerb and put his car onto two wheels – losing vital time as he backed off to bring the car under control.

That dropped him behind both Bean and Mullen and despite a hard-fought battle with Mullen through the final corners, Tony missed out on a podium finish by just 0.02 seconds.

“We headed down to Lydden Hill hoping to start the season with a win, so obviously it’s a bit disappointing that we came away from the weekend with fourth,” Tony said. “I’ve got to hold my hands up as I’ve taken that corner so many times and not hit the kerb like that, and it cost me. I also think I should have taken the Joker Lap a bit earlier as I think I lost time battling for position when I could have take the Joker at the start and given myself some free space on track as others did.

“However, the big positive to take away from the weekend is that I was on the pace straight away and to win two of the heats was good, even though I missed out on fastest time of the day.

“The lap times between the top drivers were really close so the rest of the season is going to be interesting. Even though we missed out this time, I think we showed that – once again – we’re going to be right in the thick of things at the front.”