Wigan racer Tony Lynch was left to wonder what might have been after bringing the curtain down on his Retro Rallycross Championship campaign at Lydden Hill.
Tony and his Landsail Team Geriatric outfit headed for the ‘Home of Rallycross’ looking to try and overturn an eleven point deficit to the rival Simon Hart in the standings, with Tony’s title challenge having taken a hit after a fire in the previous event at Knockhill.
With Tony having also rolled the car during the Scottish meeting, the team was forced to work hard to ensure that he was able to compete in the season finale, with the Toyota MR2 looking almost good as new by the time it was loaded onto the trailer for the long trip to Kent.
Any concerns there may have been about the car were put to one side after the opening heat as Tony secured second spot, and he then went one better in heat two as he beat the rapid Mini of Terry Moore and the Citroen AX of Steve Cozens to victory.
A third place finish behind the pair in heat three meant Tony would qualify in second place for the finale, with title rival Hart starting from fourth at the wheel of his Escort.
Having taken points out of Hart through the heats, Tony headed into the final race knowing the title was on the line but would lose out to Moore and Cozens on the run down to turn one.
From that point on, he had to settle into third spot and despite ending the year with another podium finish, fifth for Hart meant he edged Tony for top spot in the standings.
“We knew that we had a chance of the title but the loss of two cars from the entry before the weekend made things more difficult when it came to taking points off Simon,” he said.
“We just focused on the job at hand and the car went well in the heats to qualify second, which is probably more than I was expecting against Terry and Steve as their cars are better suited to Lydden Hill than the Toyota.
“The start was key in the final and I really needed to try and get ahead so I could then work to keep them behind, but they got the jump at turn one and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get back ahead. I had to settle for third, and unfortunately that wasn’t quite enough to overhaul Simon and take the title.
“It all comes down to what happened at Knockhill and the fire there ultimately proved to be decisive as the points we lost in qualifying were the difference between us winning the title and finishing in second.
“It’s frustrating that a mechanical issue that was outside our control has cost us the championship, but at the same time, I’m hugely proud of the team for their efforts as they have turned out a fantastic car for every round and – Knockhill aside – we’ve been right up there at the front all year.
“I have to say a huge thank you to the sponsors who have backed us this year, and all of those who have given shown their support along the way. It’s a shame that we couldn’t deliver the title, but we gave it our all.”