Coming very close...
It’s inevitable that where there are winners or champions in any sport or discipline, there are also those who just miss out.
Racing at the penultimate round of the 2008 British RX series at Pembrey, current Mitsubishi campaigner Steve Hill lay in second position in the Superfinal, set to score top points as title rivals Lawrence Gibson and Ollie O’donovan had experienced issues in the event and race leader Kevin Procter was not registered for points. But, Hill wanted victory and made a brave move to pass Procter, which didn’t pay off, the Mitsubishi crashing out heavily.
The incident effectively ended Hill’s title chances and, at the final round at Mondello Park, O’donovan also had problems and Gibson claimed his second crown.
A year earlier, now BTCC champion Andrew Jordan entered the penultimate round of the series at Mondello tied for the championship lead on dropped scores, but didn’t qualify for the Superfinal (which, running to Irish Championship regulations, only included eight starters, when the British series usually included 10). O’donovan took the series lead at the event and claimed the title at the final round at Croft.
In 1999, Dermot Carnegie’s Ford Escort broke a driveshaft on the start line in the final round, leaving reigning title holder Helmut Holfeld only needing to finish in the top three to secure the title. Holfeld led, only to spin down to fifth and lose the title to Carnegie at the death.
Six-time champion Carnegie was also on the opposing end of some typical final-round bad luck in his career. Trevor Hopkins entered the final round in 1993 just needing to qualify for the Superfinal to be assured of the crown, but in an incident-packed Supercar final, Mark Flaherty obliterated the rear of Carnegie’s Metro 6R4, ending the Irishman’s chances of making the Superfinal, only for Hopkins to get held up behind the stricken 6R4 and also not make the Superfinal. Mike Turpin won the event and the title by a single point.
Andrew Jordan failed to qualify for the eight-car superfinal at Mondello