There were a number of Cumbrians in action last weekend.

Carlisle’s Alex MacDowall was competing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya alongside Cockermouth’s Bentley Team M-Sport and Penrith’s Frank Bird; while closer to home, Josh Skelton was contesting the penultimate round of the British F4 Championship at Silverstone and Barry Lindsay was in action at the Trackrod Rally in Yorkshire.

Ending a character-building first season in the Blancpain Endurance Cup, MacDowall had high hopes of a positive result.

Qualifying had, however, been less competitive than expected and the Carlisle lad started the first stint of the three-hour race from 12th place in the Silver Class and 29th overall.

He gained ground on the opening lap, before a safety car was deployed and he spent the next 50 minutes in procession. When the action resumed, MacDowall was in 11th place in the Silver Cup and quickly climbed into the top-10.

Remaining on track as the initial pit stops started, the Cumbrian moved up to seventh before handing the No. 17 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo to new team-mate Sean Walkinshaw.

Despite being pushed back to 12th in class, Walkinshaw remained in touch with the top 10 when Shae Davies took to the wheel for the final 55 minutes. Davies then climbed to ninth in class. Contact from a rival just before the end triggered what appeared to be a non-finish, but the Audi was classified in ninth place in the final results.

“Qualifying was disappointing,” admitted 28-year-old MacDowall post-race.

“We didn’t do the two paid test sessions before the weekend, so we were on the back foot to start with. Then, we had a power steering problem in the free practice, so didn’t get a lot of driving time there. And, with Sean being new to the team, there was a lot for us to work on.

“For my stint in the race, I only got about 15 minutes driving because of the safety car so there wasn’t a huge amount of racing – but I was quite happy with my pace.”

MacDowall now heads into the off-season weighing-up his options for the 2020 season where he is looking at a number of endurance championships such as Blancpain, a return to the European Le Mans Series and also British GT.

“It’s been a tough season,” he added. “But I’ve still learnt a lot. We’ll see what’s next for 2020 and will definitely be looking at all of our options.”

Also in Barcelona last weekend was Bentley Team M-Sport who ended their season on a high with third place overall.

The team’s Bentley Continental GT3s qualified in 12th and 15th places, meaning that there was a lot of work to do during the race.

But a strong team strategy - combined with fast and reliable driving from Jordan Pepper, Steven Kane and Jules Gounon - meant that the No.107 Bentley delivered the results.

On the penultimate lap, Gounon was in a battle for fourth place, but a podium looked unlikely. Then, during a dramatic final lap, the second and third place cars made contact, and Gounon crossed the line in third.

“The lads delivered a fantastic race to make their way into the podium fight, and this result was really well deserved,” said M-Sport’s race team manager Matthew Wilson.

But there was less good fortune for Penrith lad Bird who, after two points-scoring races in the Formula Renault Eurocup Championship, came away empty handed.

After another promising performance in the collective tests, the 20-year-old was seventh fastest and confident of a strong result.

Slipping back to 13th in qualifying, his hopes of a good result were then scuppered with a technical issue on the line - resulting in him being last off the grid and having to play some serious catch up.

To his credit, Bird battled back and managed to get in amongst the midfield, but he couldn’t make any further progress and finished in 15th place – just a few seconds shy of another points score.

It was a similar story in the second race of the weekend, where he was left down the order and eventually crossed the line in 16th.

“Going into the weekend, I thought we would have good pace,” admitted the youngster.

“We did on Friday in the collective tests, but when we got to the races on Saturday and Sunday, something changed and we were nowhere.

“I’m really disappointed and we need to find out the reasons, but I remain focussed on [the next race in] Hockenheim this coming weekend.”

Closer to home at Silverstone, Skelton was in action at the penultimate round of the British F4 Championship and set a new record of nine podiums in row - as well as giving himself a mathematical chance of clinching the title.

A strong qualifying followed by a podium in the first of the weekend’s three races proved a satisfying one for the Dearham lad.

“We got off the line well and held P2 going into the second corner. I was side by side with P3 and we pushed each other to the limits on the braking, but I held my position," Skelton said.

“With around five minutes to go it felt like the car went off and the tyres got too hot, so we dropped off the leaders a little bit.

“But to end the race in P3 and carry on my podium streak to nine in a row was very satisfying.”

Then, as the heavens opened for the final two races, Skelton could only manage a ninth and fourth place finish.

“As a team we need to sit down and work out where we are going wrong and focus on where we can improve the car in those conditions,” admitted the youngster.

“Overall, it was a weekend of highs and lows but you always have to focus on the positives and on improving the negatives.

“We set a new record of nine podiums in a row in the British F4 Championship which is a huge achievement moving forwards.

“I’ve dropped to fourth in the championship, but I still go into the last round with a mathematical chance of winning it. And although this will be very hard to do, I’ll be giving it my all for the best result possible.”

Barry Lindsay and Caroline Lodge were also in action for the second weekend in a row, tackling the gravel stages of the Trackrod Rally in Yorkshire.

Coming straight off the back of a Tarmac event at the Cheviot Stages, Lindsay admitted that, “the change took a bit of getting used to on the first stage as I had to adapt my driving style and braking distances on the muddy tracks.”

They brought their Peugeot home second in class and 36th overall – a result that keeps them in contention for retaining their ANECCC title with two rounds left to contest.

Also in action at the Trackrod was Mark Fisher who navigated Rob Wright to 17th overall and 2nd in class behind the wheel of their Mk II Escort.

Jonny Sproat and Brad Sowerby finished 48th overall and 2nd in class, James Wood navigated Dale Glover to a class win and 50th overall, and Brian Hodgson navigated Dave Watkins to third in class and 25th overall in the Historics.