"Awesome": The Forces Challenge Going From Strength To Strength

One of the strongest Armed Forces Race Challenges in years has come to an end after a fourth round race at Rockingham Motor Speedway...

One of the strongest Armed Forces Race Challenges in years has come to an end after a fourth round race at Rockingham Motor Speedway.

The series began in April at Donington Park in Leicestershire and has seen more than 30 military cars take to famous circuits like Silverstone and Cadwell Park.

With full grids and a great balance between the Royal Navy, the Army and the RAF, it's arguably the strongest Armed Forces Race Challenge since the RAF set up its own event back in the 2006-7 season.

The latest race took place at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire, which as the closest thing Britain has to a NASCAR-style oval track, could not be a bigger contrast to the other circuits the forces teams have raced on this year.

Armed Forces Race Challenge 2017

Throughout the season the emphasis has been on race safety and consistency rather than outright pace.

That's meant a whole variety of cars with different engines and set-ups have been able to compete against each other.

Sadly the winner of the first three races, the RAF's Darren Berris, was unable to compete at Rockingham but Paul Waterhouse, the most consistent competitor across the season, went on to win the championship.

Armed Forces Race Challenge 2017

Since 2014, it's been organised alongside the 750 Motor Club, one of the Britain's longest-established motorsport bodies. 

Its competitions manager, Giles Groombridge, has no doubts that this has been its best season:

"This year's been a fantastic success. We've been consistently putting out grids [with] over 30 cars, with competitors from all three branches of the services. It's been a real privilege to run."

"The driving standards have been excellent. The fact you've got a very broad mix of cars makes it quite interesting. 

"Also having the added inter-team rivalry between the services gives it another factor. We've been really delighted with it", he added.

Two Army drivers stayed on, meanwhile, to compete in the Royal Purple Hot Hatch Championship.

Sergeant Will Ashmore won the 13 minutes and one lap race last year in his Honda Civic, and he followed that up with a fourth-placed finish this year. Speaking about the Armed Forces Race Challenge, he said:

"The series is awesome, it's just growing and growing."

He added: "[I'm] really looking forward to next year [as well], where we're changing the set-up to two races on a Saturday instead of one 40-minute session... [which will put] a little less strain on the cars."

The last part of the season will be at the end of October, when up to 18 drivers could be selected for the 2017 Birkett Six Hour Relay Race at Silverstone.

Competition, meanwhile, is sure to be tighter than ever for team selection.

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