After a standout maiden rallycross campaign last season, George Megennis was back in action last weekend, contesting the first two rounds of the RallyX Nordic season in the SuperCar Lites category.
Following a steady day building up on Saturday, Megennis won all of his qualifying heats on Sunday, going second fastest in two of those rounds, before going on to win his semifinal. Normally that would mean a front row starting spot for the main event and a credible shot at the round win, but a cruel penalty for hitting a track marker hit him with a three second penalty, dropping him out of the transfer spots.
“It was actually quite a good weekend,” Megennis told DirtFish. “[On] Saturday I was learning the track still because this was my first ever time at Höljes. [On] Sunday I had pace to win every single session, I won every heat race, won the semifinal, but just a bollard penalty that, in the end, messed me up.
“I’m slightly biased in the issue, but it’s just quite a big penalty for basically no gain,” he continued. “It was an accident and those are the rules, so you have to follow them of course, but it just sucks that the weekend had to end that way for me.”
Nevertheless, it was a hugely positive weekend for the youngster, who immediately continued the fine form we saw in 2021 – where he won once and finished second a further four times – despite a lengthy off-season.
“I was out of the car for five months and I had one test day at Lidöping, which is a local go-karting track, and then I was just right in,” he said. “It’s always heartening to know that I’ve still got it, [I] haven’t lost anything over the winter time.”
Megennis’ outing in the Nordic season opener was intended to serve as a warm-up for a planned Nitro Rallycross campaign later this year. It provided the perfect preamble, with not only some of Europe’s top RX Lites drivers, but a handful of Nitro Rallycross participants competing against Megennis.
“Just this past weekend in the Nordic championship I raced against some of the best if not the best rallycross drivers in the lites category and the competition is so great,” Megennis said. “I’m racing against [2021 Nitro Rallycross Supercar drivers] Oliver and Kevin Eriksson, the developers of the car. I’m racing against [Martin] Enlund who is a fantastic driver, I’m racing against Casper Jansson, he’s a great driver too [and] they both did Nitro.
“There’s just so many good drivers, it’s high competition and to be up there with them really means that I’m one of the best in Lites right now. And I think my pace showed in Höljes, to be able to pick up a track that’s that difficult, that quickly and to be able to perform at that level that fast, can only mean good things for me.”
As undoubtedly one of the top drivers in rallycross’ most prominent second-tier discipline, a championship challenge has got to be in the offing for Megennis this year – an assessment that he agrees with.
“Honestly, last year and this past weekend showed that I’ve had some real improvement, I’ve learned and grown a lot as a driver, I’m more mature now and making better decisions,” he insisted. “I’ve gained a lot of control in the Lites car, I just feel a lot more comfortable, at home, [and] I feel like I can make the car do whatever I want when I want it to now, whereas a year ago I was a little bit more unsure of myself.
“So from a championship perspective, absolutely [I can win]. I’ve shown that I have the pace now.”
I think Nitro is going to do great things this yearGeorge Megennis
Not only is Megennis expecting to turn in a good performance in Nitro Rallycross this year, but he believes the fledgling series will continue to up its game too, particularly in the development classes.
“I think Nitro is going to do great things this year. It’s expanding to Europe which is fantastic, I think it’ll grow the series a lot, grow the exposure a lot, bring in a lot of new fans – I think we’ll get a lot of local fans,” he said.
“It’s only going to be better this year, they only had one year [and] that was like a trial year, basically. Now they’ve got one year under their belt, they’ve got a little bit more of a sense of what they can expect and we’ll probably have a lot more cars on the European side purely because there’s just more Lites cars in Europe than America so I think the car count will be up as well and that will only be better for the series as a whole.”
Aside from returning to rallycross, Megennis also has another motorsport discipline in his crosshairs for 2022: rallying. He recently spent time at DirtFish working alongside co-driving royalty in Alex and Rhiannon Gelsomino on their Oz Rally Pro program, and is keen to contest an actual stage rally if the right opportunity arises.
“I’m still looking around, looking to rent a Rally4 car in the US, if anyone’s got one available I’d love to rent it,” he said. “I’m just trying to look around, see what the options are right now. I’ve done my homework a little bit, I went to Olympus with Subaru as well [and] learned a lot. It was amazing to see my first rally, it only made me want to do it more.
“But I’d love to get into some stage rally, I just need the opportunity and the funding to. But I am absolutely 100% down.”