Sunday, 6 December 2009

Cristofaro and Moore triumph at Teesside

Nick Cristofaro and Janice Moore took their second victory in as many weekends with a dominant performance at the Teesside Autodrome F1000 rally where they claimed fastest time on seven of the events ten stages to top the leaderboard.

After their win in the Hall Trophy Junior Rally hopes were high for another good result at the Teesside event where the Formula 1000 Junior drivers (aged 14-16) would compete on the same stages as the Senior F1000 crews.

Cristofaro and Moore got off to a fast start in their Nissan Micra, setting the quickest time on each of the first four stages of the event. Not only were they quicker than the other Junior crews, they also beat all the Seniors.

"We had a brilliant start, picking up where we left off last weekend," said Moore.

"We had no problems and Nick drove very well, pulling out a lead of 12 seconds over the second placed crew."

A couple of seconds were lost on the fifth stage as the Micra understeered into the stage merge and went off but the crew were back at the top of the leaderboard for stage six.

Two further fastest times in the last four stages saw Cristofaro and Moore take victory by 19 seconds from fellow Junior driver Ashley Slights.

"It’s a great way to end the season, we finished third in the championship but it’s a shame we had two retirements earlier in the year as Nick would’ve been in with a chance of winning it."

"Nick is hoping to do the championship again next season if he can get enough support, please contact Nick or myself via www.janicemoorerallying.co.uk if you can offer any help at all, financial or otherwise."

The event was Janice’s last of 2009. With 14 stage events completed this year, including most of the British Rally Championship, 2009 has been one of the best rallying years in Janice's co-driving career and she will be back out on the stages in 2010.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Cristofaro and Moore take victory at Blyton

Formula 1000 Junior rally driver Nick Cristofaro and co-driver Janice Moore emerged victorious from a very close battle at the Hall Trophy rally last weekend. The event, which was held at Blyton in Lincolnshire, saw Cristofaro and Moore take the win by just four seconds from Cameron Davies.

Heavy rain in the days before the rally meant that parts of the tarmac course were underwater and with the cars required to use normal road tyres the opening pair of stages proved very tricky as the crew battled to keep their Nissan Micra on the stage. After two stages they were in third place overall.

Conditions did not improve on the next two stages, a very heavy downpour making the tarmac treacherous. A few slides in the wet and problems with the wipers saw the Micra crew drop to fourth place.

"The opening stages were very slippery and it was a bit nerve-racking hitting the standing water with road tyres on the car", said Moore.

"We set some decent times though and although we had a few moments in the wet we were pleased to be fourth early on."

The sun shone for the next few stages and on a drying course Cristofaro and Moore increased their pace, setting five consecutive fastest stage times to move into the joint lead of the event after stage 9 with Ashley Slights in his Toyota Yaris.

Cristofaro and Moore moved into the outright lead in stage 10, setting a time five seconds faster than Slights. Despite a late charge from Cameron Davies they held on to take the win by four seconds after twelve stages.

"Nick did brilliantly to set five fastest times in a row, the stage wasn’t as wet as earlier but there were still some very tricky parts to negotiate."

"We retired from the lead on our first two events together so it’s especially pleasing to take the victory. Competition in the F1000 Junior class is very close and every second is vital."

"I really believe Nick could progress far in rallying if he gets the right support, he doesn't have the financial backing or any rallying in the family like most of the other juniors. If you would like to talk about helping out or sponsorship opportunities please contact Nick or myself via http://www.janicemoorerallying.co.uk or come and say hi at the next round....every little helps!"

Cristofaro currently lies 3rd in the F1000 junior championship and he and Moore will contest the final round of the F1000 Junior championship next weekend at the Teeside Autodrome near Middlesborough.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Images from the Hall Trophy Rally

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Images from the Beaver Road Rally


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Wright aiming to finish season on a high

Bentham rally driver David Wright will end his 2009 rally season next Saturday (6th December) when he contests the Grizedale Stages rally in Cumbria.

Wright has had a very successful year in which he won the national BTRDA rally championship and he hopes to finish the year with a good result in Grizedale.

“It’s been a brilliant year so far, winning the title was great – we hadn’t expected to be so competitive with it being the first year we had done the full BTRDA championship,” said Wright.

“We’ve gone well in Grizedale before so we’re hoping for another good result although we’re up against some tough competition.”

Wright will be driving his usual Mitsubishi Evo 9 which is prepared by Giles Philips Motorsport and backed by Kumho Tyres, Grove Hill Garage and Proflex. The car has had some work done on it since it’s last outing.

“We’ve fitted a new Drenth sequential gearbox and new Proflex suspension to the car which will help us try and keep up with the more powerful World Rally cars.”

"After the recent heavy rain in Cumbria the conditions will likely be very muddy and slippery, it should be a very enjoyable event."

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Smith gets late call-up for Roger Albert Clark Rally

Steven Smith, twice British Historic Rally champion, has had a late call-up to contest this weekend's Roger Albert Clark Rally in the Escort Mk1 originally entered for Peter Egerton.

The deal only came together yesterday (Tuesday) after Peter sustained a back injury while competing on the Tempest Rally on Saturday. A heavy compression in his WRC Hyundai caused a back injury and left him unable to tackle four days of rallying on the Roger Albert Clark Rally.

Instead, he generously offered his car to Smith and so car 32 will have a different driver when the rally starts in Pickering on Friday evening. "I've not been on gravel since the Trackrod in September 2008 and I've not been in an Escort since 2006, so I've got my excuses lined up," said Smith.

"I have to say a very big thank you to Peter for making this possible and I'm sorry he can’t do the Roger Albert, as it is one of his favourite events," said Smith. "Hopefully I can get my eye in on the Friday night stages and get used to the car. Class C3 will be very strong and it is people like Russell Morgan and Ken Forster who will be on the pace," said Smith.

Smith has contested the rally once before, when he drove the VK-backed Escort owned by Steve Perez in 2006. That year he slid off the road in the snow of Ae, albeit without any damage.

XS Racing will tend the Pinto-powered Escort, the team that has took Smith to his 2008 BHRC crown. Patrick Walsh will remain as co-driver, as originally planned.

For more details about the Roger Albert Clark Rally, please visit www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org

Roger's 1975 Escort to contest Roger Albert Clark Rally

The 'Cossack' liveried Ford Escort Mk2 that Roger Clark drove to second place on the 1975 RAC Rally, 'LAR 800P' will return to competition on this weekend's Roger Albert Clark Rally in the hands of Andrew Siddall.

XS Racing has restored the car for Yorkshireman Siddall, a regular contender on the event. It has been prepared to FIA specification and will compete on the Roger Albert alongside 'LAR 601P', the ex-Timo Makinen car now in the hands of Dave Watkins. In 1975, the two cars finished one-two on the RAC Rally.

The famous car finished second on its debut event, the 1975 RAC Rally. Now, 34 years later, it will return to competition on the event run in memory of Clark, with backing from Siddall and Hilton Products.

"It's the best rally of the year," said Siddall. "But I'm on a big learning curve for this event with the BDA-powered Mk2." Siddall will be partnered as usual by Captain Thompson and last year they finished eighth overall and first in class in Siddall's Pinto-powered Escort Mk1.

XS Racing will enter a four-car team on the Roger Albert Clark Rally, and joining Siddall/Thompson will be Peter Smith/Russ Langthorne (Porsche 911), Peter Egerton/Patrick Walsh (Escort Mk1) and Guy Smith/Howard Pridmore (Escort Mk1).

While Peter Smith and Peter Egerton campaign the cars they have rallied regularly this season, Guy Smith is on a massive learning curve in what will be only his third ever rally. The 2003 Le Mans winner is competing alongside his father Peter and has his sights set on finishing as he accumulates more rallying experience.

Team boss John Cropper says that the Roger Albert Clark Rally is the toughest on the calendar for both the crews and the support team. "It's the biggest event of the year for us and we'll have a team of 15 to look after the cars. There will be seven guys in the service vans and then two people in each of the four management cars," said Cropper. "It is a tough rally, but I hope that all four cars will have good runs. We've got a strong team."

For more details about the Roger Albert Clark Rally, please visit www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Best ever gravel rally result for Moore

Janice Moore had her best ever overall gravel rally result on Saturday (7th November) when she co-drove Mark Gamble to second place on the Tempest 2 rally in a Citröen C2R2 Max.

With Gamble using the car for the first time on gravel the crew made a cautious start to the Aldershot-based event, lying 11th overall after the opening two Yateley Wood and Warren Heath stages.

"The opening stages were slippery and we didn’t want to risk going off," said Moore.

"Mark had to get used to the new car on the gravel and, as our first event together didn’t last too long, he had to get used to me too!"

The Citröen crew stepped up the pace over the next three stages and, despite catching a slower car in one of the runs, they emerged from stage five in an excellent second overall behind Julian Wilkes.

Stage 6 saw the leaderboard change, Gamble and Moore again catching a slower car and losing eight seconds to new rally leader Jason Pritchard, who was also out in a Citröen C2R2 Max.

The leading two crews recorded exactly the same times on stage seven and eight and with two stages to go Gamble and Moore were just five seconds behind. Unfortunately it was dark for stage nine and the crew had no time to fit spotlights before the stage. Hampered by poor visibility they lost a further six seconds to Pritchard who had fitted lights earlier in the day.

Lights were fitted for the final stage but any hopes of a victory charge were stopped when the crew backed off slightly after they saw lights appearing to head towards them. Fortunately the other car was in another part of the stage but more time was lost to the leader. With third place man Wilkes breaking a driveshaft they were able to maintain their second place on the leaderboard despite the time loss.

"It was disappointing that we weren’t able to challenge for the lead on the last two stages but overall we’re delighted with the result."

"The car performed well and we had no major problems, it was an enjoyable event and great to get a finish."

Janice will next be in action at the Hall Trophy Stage Rally at Blyton where she will partner Nick Cristofaro in a Nissan Micra as part of the Formula 1000 Junior championship.

For more information on Janice’s rallying please visit janicemoorerallying.co.uk.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Best ever entry for Roger Albert Clark Rally

The strongest entry in the event's history is how experts are billing the 2009 Roger Albert Clark Rally, which starts in Pickering (Yorkshire) on Friday 13 November.

Among the field are previous winners Stig Blomqvist (2004) and Steve Bannister (2007), former British Rally Champion Gwyndaf Evans, former British Historic Rally Champions Steve Perez and David Stokes, British rallying legends Steve Bannister, Phil Collins, Bob Bean and Jeremy Easson, pace-setting Irishmen Martin McCormack and Seamus O'Connell and top Belgian driver Stefaan Stouf.

"To be honest, I'm absolutely ecstatic about the level and quality of the entry," said rally manager Colin Heppenstall. The leading drivers echo that view, and they all consider the entry to be the best yet in the six-year history of the rally.

"It's going to be the most competitive for a few years," said Steve Perez, who will return to his 1974 Lancia Stratos after contesting Rally GB last month in his state-of-the-art Ford Focus World Rally Car.

"Without question it is the best entry we could have wished for; it is going to be magic," said David Stokes, who has supported the event from the beginning and finished second overall last year.

Making his debut on the rally and tipped by many as a strong contender for overall victory is Welsh ace Gwyndaf Evans, who will drive the Ford Escort entered by the team of former World Rally Champion co-driver Phil Mills.

"Our first priority is to enjoy the event," said Gwyndaf, who first competed on the original Lombard RAC Rally in 1987. "We're using some fantastic stages, although it's while since I was in places like Ae in Scotland. But we'll be doing our best."

In total, over 60 cars will gather at Pickering on Friday ahead of the opening special stages on Friday evening. After a full day of rallying in Yorkshire on Saturday, the action moves to South Scotland and Cumbria on Sunday before concluding in the notorious Kielder forest on Monday. The champagne spraying will be in Carlisle City Centre early on Monday afternoon. Spectators are welcome at many locations and full details are at the event website, www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org

Gravel and asphalt mini-series for 2010 BHRC

The 2010 Dunlop/wonago.com MSA British Historic Rally Championship will feature two dedicated mini-series for gravel and asphalt rallies, with five gravel rallies in the Water End Properties Gravel Cup and four asphalt events qualifying for the Water End Properties Asphalt Cup.

The best performance on each surface has been recognised for the last two years, and the 2009 winners were Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride (gravel) and Paul Mankin/Desmond Bell (asphalt).

However, in 2010 the concept will be taken further by additional awards and the inclusion of a fourth asphalt event. Although not a part of the overall BHRC for 2010, the Harry Flatters Historic Rally on Epynt will be included in the Water End Properties Asphalt Cup to give competitors four sealed-surface rallies.

"Some competitors want more gravel rallies and some competitors want more asphalt events," said championship manager Simon Marks. "Whilst the overall BHRC will continue to be decided over both types of surface, this development will particularly suit those competitors who prefer either gravel or asphalt. We already had five strong gravel rallies and have included the Harry Flatters for those who would like to focus on asphalt rallies."

The awards for each mini-series will include first, second and third overall as well as class awards. In the gravel series, competitors will score their best four results from five rallies. Meanwhile in the asphalt series, where the three 'over-the-water' events in the Isle of Man, Ulster and Flanders accrue additional points, competitors will be able to miss one of these three rallies and still challenge for awards.

"These awards recognise that certain historic cars are much more suited to one surface than the other, not to mention some of the drivers," said Steven Smith of Water End Properties. "We specifically wanted to give those crews something worthwhile to get out and compete for."

To be eligible for either series, competitors must be members of the Historic Rally Car Register.

The provisional calendars are:

Water End Properties Gravel Cup
27 March; Bulldog Rally (Wales)
24 April; Pirelli Historic Rally (Kielder)
6 June; Severn Valley Stages (Wales)
20 June; Mid Wales Stages (Wales)
25 Sept; Trackrod Historic Cup (Yorkshire)

Water End Properties Asphalt Cup
9/10 July; Isle of Man Historic Rally
1 August; Harry Flatters Historic Rally (Epynt)*
20/21 August; Ulster Historic Rally
11/12 Sept; Tour of Flanders (Belgium)

* Not a round of the 2010 BHRC

2010 BHRC unveiled

The inclusion of the Ulster Rally is the key change for the 2010 MSA British Historic Rally Championship, with the closed-road event replacing the Harry Flatters Rally on Epynt.

The MSA has recently awarded a new five-year contract to the Historic Rally Car Register to manage the championship, which comes as the HRCR completes a 10-year stint at the helm of the BHRC. The new agreement will take the championship through until at least 2014 under the same management.

Colin Hilton, MSA Chief Executive said: “The MSA has conducted a full review of the promotional contracts for all of the major rally championships. We are pleased that the HRCR is keen to continue its excellent work of recent years and this long-term contract will provide stability for all parties.”

Championship manager Simon Marks said: "We are delighted to have secured the contract from the MSA to continue taking the British Historic Rally Championship forward over the coming years. 2009 has been a particularly enjoyable season and we are looking forward to a couple of exciting developments and more competitors joining us to make 2010 our best season yet."

There will also be a new title for the BHRC, as wonago.com takes over from the Gambia as joint title sponsor with Dunlop. Wonago.com is the new holiday company of regular BHRC competitor Martin Freestone, who continues his support for the championship. The new title will be the Dunlop/wonago.com MSA British Historic Rally Championship.

Wonago.com is a travel and holiday web site, with six search engines to book holidays, cruises, flights, insurance, car hire and motor home hire, all at great discounted prices. Additionally, exclusive membership gives access to over 6,000 worldwide Premier resort villas and apartments at unbeatable prices.

Meanwhile, Dunlop will continue to provide major backing to the championship during the second year of a multi-year partnership with the BHRC. As well as being the championship's tyre supplier, Dunlop's support has allowed extensive TV coverage of the 2009 season.

The schedule for 2010 closely follows the 2009 calendar, other than the inclusion of the Ulster Rally in August. The move away from Epynt is the result of an extensive competitor survey, which clearly demonstrated demand for another high-profile closed-roads rally rather than an event on Epynt.

The Antrim-based Ulster Rally will offer a fresh new challenge and current BHRC champion Dessie Nutt says that the crews contesting the event will not be disappointed.

"It really is a superb event," said Nutt. "Everybody who goes will be very, very impressed. The stages are fantastic; some of them are old Circuit of Ireland stages. There is a very senior team that organises the event and every one of them has extensive competition experience."

The full provisional calendar is:
27 March; Bulldog Rally (gravel)
24 April; Pirelli Historic Rally (gravel)
6 June; Severn Valley Stages (gravel)
20 June; Mid Wales Stages (gravel)
9/10 July; Isle of Man Historic Rally (asphalt)
20/21 August; Ulster Historic Rally (asphalt)
11/12 Sept; Tour of Flanders (asphalt)
25 Sept; Trackrod Historic Cup (gravel)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Images from Britpart BCCC round 6


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Lofthouse sails to Driffield success

Bamber Bridge's Dan Lofthouse ended his Britpart British Cross Country Championship season in style with a dominant win at a very wet Driffield in East Yorkshire, his second victory of the year. 2009 Champion Richard Kershaw was second in a Milner with Martin Cox claiming his best result of the year in third.

A challenging six mile course was set out at the venue, which is usually used by the military to test their vehicles. With standing water covering large parts of the course most crews made a cautious start but Lofthouse and Martin Gould were quick out of the box, both drivers over a minute faster than anyone else on the first run.

Lofthouse and Gould continued to occupy the first two places until the third run when Gould rolled his Mattserati. With Gould out of contention Lofthouse gradually extended his lead and at the end of the six runs of day one he was nearly six minutes ahead of Kershaw who was using a Milner R5 instead of his usual Peugeot 206. Martin Cox ended day one in third, a minute behind Kershaw with the top five rounded off by Alan Wilkinson and Bob Seaman.

Crews having problems on day one included Ryan Cooke, contesting his first BCCC event since last year's Driffield round, who sadly retired on the first run, Bumpy Mike Moran who had throttle troubles and Colin Gould who had broken rear suspension on his Bowler Wildcat.

Day two brought torrential rain and howling wind, creating very testing conditions for the crews. Lofthouse maintained a good lead over Kershaw but it was not all plain sailing, the wipers on his Proto LD4 breaking forcing a DIY mechanism to be hastily constructed which enabled navigator Jonny Koonja to operate the wipers manually. Although some time was lost Lofthouse still ended the event with a lead of over four minutes from Kershaw.

"It’s been a tough weekend but I’ve enjoyed it and I'm delighted to take my second win of the year," said Lofthouse. "We had some good times on the first day and pulled out a decent lead over Richard. Fortunately the wiper problem near the end didn’t cost us victory. I’ve really enjoyed the championship and I hope to be back next year with a new car."

Martin Cox continued his consistent pace on day two to take a well-deserved third while Alan Wilkinson had a good run to fourth. Bob Seaman once again took the Trophy class and also finished fifth overall.

"I'm delighted just to finish, the course was complex and very challenging, the standing water made it difficult to judge the terrain," said Seaman. "I had a few troubles with my glasses steaming up but fortunately my navigator kept me going in the right direction! The championship has been excellent, I've thoroughly enjoyed all the events. There has been a good variety of courses this year and the organisation and timekeeping has been excellent - I'm aiming to be back next year for another go."

The Clubman class was won by Martin Conboy with Ollie Lloyd taking second place in a Tomcat on his debut event.

Results:

1. Dan Lofthouse Lofthouse Proto LD4 1:54:24
2. Richard Kershaw Milner R5 1:58:49
3. Martin Cox Tornado Evo 1 2:03:23
4. Alan Wilkinson Milner R5 2:05:50
5. Bob Seaman Milner R4 2:08:44
6. Tony Coid Tomcat 100 2:10:33
7. Steven Smith JRG Indy 2 2:10:56
8. Martin Conboy Tornado 2:13:51
9. Ian Bartlett Bartletts 3M206 2:15:21
10. Carl Duffield Peugeot 206 Special 2:19:46

Trophy Winner: Bob Seaman Milner R4

Clubman Winner: Martin Conboy Tornado

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Roger Albert Clark Rally and Boucles de Spa link up

Two of the most popular and demanding historic rallies in Europe have formed a unique partnership, which will result in the winner of the Roger Albert Clark Rally having the chance to compete in the Boucles de Spa 0n 20 February 2010. In a reciprocal arrangement, the winner of the Boucles de Spa will be able to contest the 2010 Roger Albert Clark Rally.

The organisers of the two events, both rightly recognised as their country's top historic event, have formed an alliance to cross-promote their events to competitors across Europe.

The winner of next month's Roger Albert Clark Rally will earn a free entry into the famous Belgian event. In return, the Boucles de Spa winner will get a free entry into next year's Roger Albert Clark.

"We're delighted to form this partnership with one of the most successful historic rallies in Europe," said Colin Heppenstall, rally manager of the Roger Albert Clark. "I visited Spa last February and was hugely impressed with the quality and quantity of entry. We've been working for some time to increase the foreign entry in the Roger Albert Clark and this partnership will be a major boost for those plans."

Now firmly established as a must-do event on the British rallying calendar, the Roger Albert Clark Rally re-creates the classic RAC Rallies of the 1960s and 1970s, covering four days in November and taking in classic gravel stages in Yorkshire, Kielder, Scotland and Cumbria.

Meanwhile, the Boucles de Spa is the biggest historic event on the Belgian calendar and attracts a superb field of over 200 cars, including many famous names from rallying's recent history. In 2009, it ran in very snowy conditions as it took in challenging sections around the town of Spa-Francorchamps.

For more details about the Roger Albert Clark Rally, please visit www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Rodgers takes third on Rally4Real Micra debut

Hull’s Tim Rodgers enjoyed a very successful Cambrian rally when he took third in the Rally First class on the debut event for his Rally4Real built Nissan Micra.

The opening pair of stages in Clocaenog forest saw Rodgers struggle a little as a slight leak saw oil dripping onto the clutch which caused it to slip. The time lost meant that he arrived at the first main service halt of the event in 10th place.

“It was disappointing to have the problem in the first couple of stages,” said Rodgers. “We started off well on the first stage but part way through the clutch started slipping which lost us some time. It’s been over a year since I last competed so it took a few miles to get back into the swing of it, especially in a brand new car.”

The service crew were able to fix the problem and with a fully fit car Rodgers was able to increase his pace in the next two tests in Penmachno forest.

The Peart Auto Services and thetortoiseshop.com backed Micra powered through the 15 miles of Penmachno defeating all the class rivals with the exception of Rally4Real team-mate Dave Bennett and Rodgers headed for the second main service halt of the day in third place.

The rally only had one stage to go but, at over 16 miles in length, it was a very tough end to the event. However, Rodgers kept up his Penmachno pace and once again achieved second fastest time in the class, maintaining his third place position overall.

“I’m delighted with the result, I think we showed the pace of the car, especially on the last three stages. I’m confident that we could’ve got second in class without the clutch problem. There are a few areas where the car can be improved and Rally4Real are going to do some more work to address these but for a debut event I think the car performed brilliantly.”

In a good event for the Rally4Real supported team Rally First champion Dave Bennett scored another dominant class victory in his Vauxhall Corsa while Tony Simpson won the 1.4L class in a Volkswagon Polo.

Wright crowned champion on Cambrian rally

Against the odds Bentham rally driver David Wright took the BTRDA Gold Star rally championship title last weekend on the Cambrian rally, despite suffering his first retirement of the year when a slight off damaged the oil cooler.

With title rival Will Nicholls only needing to finish 7th to take the title Wright was resigned to losing out on the crown before the event. However, all that was to change on the opening competitive stage of the event in Clocaenog forest.

Towards the end of the stage Nicholls was caught out on one of the corners and rolled his Subaru Impreza down a bank. The car was recovered by a group of spectators but Nicholls lost a lot of time. A further off in the second stage before finally retiring in stage three meant that the title was Wrights.

“We were running three cars behind Will and it was a shock to see him off the road,” said Wright. “We knew there was a chance that the title could now be ours but we had to keep our mind on the job and continue to push hard.”

The opening stage did not run smoothly for Wright either, a spin costing valuable time and meaning that he was down in 13th position. A good run on stage two saw him set fifth fastest time and move up to tenth overall at the first service halt.

The first of two stages in Penmachno forest saw Wright move up to sixth place, ahead of some of the crews from the World Rally championship who were also contesting the event. This was despite a problem with the exhaust.

Disaster struck on the second Penmachno stage though when Wright had a slight off-road excursion. While the off itself wasn’t serious the engine oil cooler was damaged by a tree stump and all the engine oil was lost, forcing Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson out of the event.

“It was a sad way to end the event, especially as we had a perfect finishing record up till then. We can console ourselves with the championship though - we knew the title was ours once we heard that Will had retired on the third stage.”

“It’s fantastic to win the title at our first attempt. It’s been a steep learning curve, developing the car through the year and experiencing events that I’ve never competed on before.”

“I’d like to thank Giles Philips at GPM for preparing a car which has allowed me to win the title despite being up against several World Rally cars and thanks to Phil Marks for his work on the engine. I’d also like to thank Grove Hill Garage, Kumho Tyres and Proflex for their support.”

Wright is planning to end the season by contesting the Grizedale Stages rally in Cumbria in December and he is hoping to return to defend his BTRDA title in 2010.

Images from the Cambrian rally


Wright takes the title, Nicholls crashes out, Hirvonen wows the crowds...

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Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Rachel rallies to island success

Intensive preparation paid off last weekend for Penrith rally co-driver Rachel Medich when she successfully completed the notoriously difficult Tour of Mull car rally. Rachel and driver Dave Edwards took their Vauxhall Astra to 47th place from a start number of 145.

The rally took place on the Isle of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland, and it used closed public roads for the 144 competitive miles of the event.

Preparations for the rally started over two weeks before the start with Edwards and his service crew checking everything over on the rally car to make sure it was up to the job of surviving the tough conditions that Mull would present. Having contested the rally last year Rachel already had pacenotes for most of the course but these needed rehashed into the correct order for the 2009 event. The crew travelled to the island on the Monday before the rally and had a busy few days of making pacenotes for the new sections of the course and then driving each stage several times both in the daylight and at night where necessary to check the notes and try and remember as much of the stages as they could.

Friday evening arrived, the rally was due to start, and a usually calm Rachel was feeling nervous.

“I don't really get nervous before events any more but this one is a whole different ball game,” she said. “We weren't as nervous as last year that’s for sure but we were definitely biting our nails before the start.”

Their rally kicked off at 10.16pm on Friday night with two short stages in Tobermory. They were pleased to be only nine seconds down on rally leader Dougi Hall. Several crews crashed out of the event during the opening night with many more suffering mechanical problems. Edwards and Medich battled through the treacherous conditions to end the night in 80th place.

“The stages were very very slippy with the rain and there were cars off all over the place. It was a relief to get through the night. Some of the stages were cancelled and there were a few hold ups – we didn’t get back to our accommodation till 5.30am!”

“We had our first major moment of the event on the Loch Tuath stage, we took a jump a bit too quickly and when we landed all the lights went out! In the ensuing confusion I turned two pages in the notes but luckily we only had one corner and a long straight to go before service where our excellent crew fixed us up again.”

The rally restarted on Saturday afternoon with five stages in the daylight. The rain that blighted the opening night of the rally had gone and Edwards and Medich put cut slick tyres on the Astra. A good run through the stages saw them move up to 55th place at the end of the second leg of the event although the afternoon was not without incident.

“We had a big moment on the Hill Road stage where the road disappears hard right over a crest and then tightens. Added to this there is an off-camber to it and a 100 foot drop on the outside. We locked up under braking coming into it, that was a moment to have you tightening your belts believe me!”

The crew had a few hours to rest before the start of leg three which would see further stages through Saturday night into Sunday morning. Most of the stages were dry but torrential rain on the final stage nearly caught the Astra crew out.

“The whole of the final stage was one big moment, we set off into it and it was dry, yet 100 metres in the heavens opened and we had to back right off as we were on slick tyres. We kept expecting to be caught as we thought we were going so slow but as we headed up Glen Bellart we caught the car in front and chased him to the finish. We were very lucky not to put the car off the road in those conditions.”

Despite the long hours the rally attracted vast numbers of enthusiasts who braved the variable weather conditions to support the event and create a unique atmosphere.

“The atmosphere is like nothing I've ever experienced before on an event. Everyone you meet is really friendly, even the poor marshals stood outside in the driving rain and freezing wind in the middle of the night still manage to retain their sense of humour!”

“When there is a hold up, even though it's pitch black and you can't see faces, every competitor is out of the car and chatting, it's like a mutual respect for everyone that has the guts to compete on such a difficult event.

“There are some remote sections of the rally where you feel very alone, all you see whilst going through the stage is the occasional light from a radio car or a marshal's fluorescent jacket. Then you come to a spectator area or popular stage and there are thousands of people cheering you on, some with camp fires (don't blame them in that cold) all enjoying the rally and staying to watch the final competitors through.”

A tired but elated crew arrived at the rally finish at 3.06am having survived the event to finish 47th overall.

“We are absolutely thrilled to bits with the result. We went to the island with the intention of improving on our cautious result last year when we finished 65th and we really did that! 47th overall from a starting position of 145 is a massive improvement on seeding and it's an achievement we are very proud of.”

“We really need to say a huge thanks to Chris Thomas, Mal Atkinson, Colin Longton, Christian Parker and Adam and Graham Foxcroft - without them we couldn't have got the result. Also thanks to Dave's family, Sandra, Peter and Ailsa Edwards for looking after us so well.”

After their fine performance Rachel hopes to return to the island in 2010 for a hat-trick of finishes.

“We’re planning to be back next year and hope to improve further. I have already been given the task of providing a talk to the kids at Tobermory High School on rally safety next year so I hope we will get an entry to the event… hint hint!”

Thanks to Rob Lees for the photo

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Superb stages for the Roger Albert Clark Rally

The best condition ever for the special stages is how Colin Heppenstall, rally manager for the Roger Albert Clark Rally, has described the stages for the 2009 event following a major route survey at the end of September.

Heppenstall drove the entire stage route and believes that competitors are in for a real treat as the gravel stages will be in prime condition for the 13-16 November event.

"The stages in Kielder and Scotland have all been re-graded since the last rally," said Heppenstall. "It is the best I've ever seen these stages and the Scottish stages have had four months to settle since they were re-graded."

Heppenstall was also able to report superb conditions in Greystoke Forest, which is used twice on the afternoon of the second day. Heppenstall confirmed that the stage has just been completely re-graded to a very high standard, ahead of the 13-16 November event.

Meanwhile, with exactly a month to go before the rally starts in Pickering, entries for the main event and the five support rallies continue to build. With a surge of entries expected in the final countdown towards the rally, the main event already has a 45-car field with at least another 10 entries expected. Entries are also coming in for the support events:

The Kall Kwik Rally, which runs in Yorkshire on Saturday;
The De Lacy Night Rally, which runs in Kielder on Saturday night;
The Clubman's Rally, which runs on Sunday in the Ae complex;
The Greystoke Challenge on Sunday afternoon;
The Kielder Challenge on Monday.

For more details about the Roger Albert Clark Rally, and the five support rallies, please visit www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org

Monday, 12 October 2009

Images from Britpart BCCC round 5

CLICK TO SEE THE EVENT GALLERY

Kershaw triumphs as Dilworth crashes out at Crickhowell

Huddersfield’s Richard Kershaw took his second Britpart B.C.C.C. victory of the season as the championship returned to the Glanusk estate near Crickhowell. Dan Lofthouse took second place and Steven Smith claimed third.

Rain in the lead up to the event meant that the course was extremely slippery and the crews treated the opening runs with caution. Tim Dilworth set the early pace, building up a lead of 47 seconds over Kershaw in the first four runs.

The challenging route was causing some casualties amongst the crews, Brian Farmer rolling his Peugeot following a bad landing after a jump, Martin Gould suffering two stage maximums as his Mattserati picked up two punctures and then broke a propshaft, and Alan Wilkinson putting his Milner off the road at a hairpin.

The remaining three runs of day one saw Kershaw fight back against Dilworth on a drying track, pushing hard in his GSR 206 Evo 9 to end the day with a lead of eight seconds. Lofthouse was a further four minutes back in third. Ian Rochelle joined the casualty list with a broken suspension arm on his Millingon Mattserati while Paul Myers suffered power steering failure in the Britpart 100.

Dilworth was immediately on the pace for the opening runs of day two, putting himself back into the lead but then disaster struck, the steering on his Peugeot 206 STi breaking at 70mph causing the car to crash. The resulting stage maximums pushed Dilworth down the leaderboard leaving Kershaw to claim victory by over nine minutes from Lofthouse.

After a tough event Kershaw was pleased with the victory. “It’s been a good event and we’ve come out with the victory we wanted. We’ve had some fantastic racing on a challenging course.”

Lofthouse was happy to follow up his victory in the previous round with second at Glanusk. “We had a reliable weekend, the event has been quite difficult with a tough course. We didn’t have the speed of Richard or Tim so it’s good to take second.”

Steven Smith showed consistent pace all weekend and, apart from a slight incident with a tree, stayed relatively trouble-free to take third place in his JRG Indy 2 while the Bowler Wildcat of Colin Gould took fourth.

Bob Seaman was fifth overall and also won the Trophy category. The Bartletts returned to the championship with Gary taking sixth and Ian eighth. They were split by Phil Ibbotson who survived some gearbox problems in his Metro 6R4 Evo on day two to finish seventh. Rounding off the top ten were Tony Coid in his battle-scarred Tomcat and Tim Dilworth.

The championship ends with round 6 at Driffield in three weeks.

Results

1. Richard Kershaw GSR 206 Evo 9 2:10:51
2. Dan Lofthouse Lofthouse Proto LD4 2:20:00
3. Steven Smith JRG Indy 2 2:31:52
4. Colin Gould Bowler Wildcat 2:33:32
5. Bob Seaman Milner R4 2:35:26
6. Ian Bartlett Bartletts 3M206 2:35:48
7. Phil Ibbotson Metro 6R4 Evo 2:36:46
8. Gary Bartlett Milner R4 2:39:04
9. Tony Coid Tomcat 100 2:39:58
10. Tim Dilworth Peugeot 206 STi 2:44:25

Trophy Winner: Bob Seaman Milner R4

Friday, 9 October 2009

Rodgers to debut Rally4Real.com Micra on Cambrian Rally

Hull’s Tim Rodgers will make his return to rally competition next Saturday (17th October) when he contests the Cambrian rally in a Nissan Micra.

The car has recently been built by Rally4Real.com for their hire fleet and it will run in the popular low-budget Rally First class of the BTRDA championship.

Rodgers has not competed on a stage event since last years Plains rally and he is keen to return to the forests.

"It’ll be great to be out competing again. We’re doing the event to test the new car so we’re not expecting too much," said Rodgers.

"The aim is to get to the finish. The competition in Rally First is very close so to get a good result would be a bonus."

Rodgers and co-driver Paul Woodford will form part of a three car Rally4Real.com supported team – they will be accompanied by Rally First champion Dave Bennett in his Vauxhall Corsa and Tony Simpson who will be out in a Volkswagon Polo 1400.

The Cambrian rally is based in Llandudno and features 45 miles of competitive action in the forests of Clocaenog and Penmachno. The event is the final round of the BTRDA championship and it has attracted a high quality entry, including several crews from the World Rally championship.

Title battle down to the wire for Wright

Bentham rally driver David Wright will go into the final round of the 2009 BTRDA rally championship next Saturday (17th October) with a chance of claiming the overall title.

Wright presently leads the championship in his GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9 but once dropped scores have been taken into account, as per the series regulations, it is rival driver Will Nicholls who possibly has the best chance of the title having already had two retirements this year while Wright has successfully completed all the events.

After a tough season which has seen the crews compete all over England and Wales the championship ends with the Cambrian rally which is based in Llandudno. Wright contested the event last year so he has some experience of the stages.

“It’s great that we’re in with a chance of the title but realistically Will would have to retire for us to win. We’ve also got to keep an eye on Nigel Griffiths who is quite close behind us in the standings,” said Wright.

“We’ve done a little work on the car since the last round and hopefully we’ve cured the misfire problem we had. I’ll be pushing hard to get as good a result as possible to end the championship on a high, my experience from last year should be an advantage. I’d like to thank Giles Philips Motorsport, Kumho Tyres, Proflex and Grove Hill Garage for their support.”

The rally kicks off on Saturday morning from Llandudno and it will be contested over 45 miles of gravel tracks in Clocaenog and Penmachno forests.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Crickhowell set for BCCC return

The Glanusk Estate near Crickhowell will once again echo to the sound of engines next weekend when the Britpart British Cross Country Championship returns to the venue for round 5 of the series having previously being used in April for the opening event.

Reigning champion Richard Kershaw leads the title race going into round 5 after scoring a second place in the previous round at Sweet Lamb while nearest rival Tim Dilworth had a disappointing result after his car suffered propshaft failure on one of the runs. Dan Lofthouse will be looking for another good result to follow his round 4 victory.

A course of around 6 miles has been planned for Crickhowell, most of it being reversed from the previous event to give some variety.

For more information please visit marches4x4.com

Mud Magnet Mull Updates

Carlisle's Rachel Medich has ventured north to the beautiful Isle of Mull to contest the Tour of Mull rally.

She's navigating for Dave Edwards in his Vauxhall Astra and it'll be her second time competing on the island after successfully completing the event last year, also with Edwards.

We will be updating her website throughout the week (subject to phone signals!) so to keep in touch with what's going on please visit mudmagnetrallying.co.uk

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Mason and Wild set for Roger Albert Clark Rally

Tim Mason and Graham Wild are gearing up for another challenge on the Roger Albert Clark Rally this November and are aiming at a top six finish in their Porsche 911.

Leeds-based Mason and Wild, who now lives on the Isle of Man, have shown excellent pace on the last three Roger Albert Clark Rallies, but have yet to secure the result that their speed deserves.

However, they now hope that their bad luck is behind them after a very early departure from the Trackrod Historic Cup on Saturday, 26 September. A broken driveshaft put them out within seconds of the start of the opening special stage in Dalby forest.

Wild calculated that their rally lasted just 130 yards. It was the first time they had run an in-car camera for the TV coverage of the British Historic Rally Championship, and it seems that the curse of the camera struck early.

However, Wild says that there is a positive side of the early retirement on the Trackrod. "We've got eight new tyres and a tank of fuel ready for the Roger Albert Clark Rally, so we'll get it right for that," he said.

For more details about the Roger Albert Clark Rally, please visit www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Easson and Stokes plot Roger Albert Clark Rally challenges

Two of the most successful competitors in the five-year history of the Roger Albert Clark Rally are gearing up to challenge for overall glory on the 2009 event. David Stokes (Dursley) and Jeremy Easson (Oakham) will both compete in Mk1 Ford Escorts and each driver has an overall podium finish as their target.

These two drivers have an impressive record on the event and have provided the highest-placed Mk1 Escort on four of the five previous Roger Albert Clark Rallies. Easson has been an overall podium finisher four times in five years and cruelly lost overall victory on the final stage of the 2006 event.

Stokes, meanwhile, finished second in 2008 to Malcolm Wilson to record his best result to date. Both drivers have supported the event since the beginning and will be at the head of the action when the 2009 rally starts from Pickering (North Yorkshire) on Friday 13 November.

While Easson is well advanced with the preparation of a fresh car for the event, Stokes will campaign the familiar Mk1 that has taken him to the category two title in this year's Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship. A month before the Roger Albert, Stokes and his regular co-driver Guy Weaver will bid to add the Welsh Historic title to their tally for the season.

Easson plans to run a shakedown rally in his new car ahead of the four-day event. "We want to be at the front end of the RAC," he said. "We’ve come close, but there are more and more competitive drivers coming to do it now. It’s a long event, but to be in a winning position you’ve got to have the right sort of kit nowadays. I like the idea of staying in category two with a Mk1 rather than going for a Mk2," he added.

With entries for the main event already at 40 cars, Stokes and Easson are two of the significant entries yet to be lodged for the rally.

For more details about the Roger Albert Clark Rally, please visit www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Lofthouse wins Sweet Lamb thriller

After almost 100 miles of competition at the Sweet Lamb rally complex Dan Lofthouse took victory in round 4 of the Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship by just 12 seconds from Richard Kershaw with Martin Gould taking a fine third place.

Winner of the previous two rounds Tim Dilworth led after the opening run but his hopes of taking a third win were wrecked when his Peugeot 206 suffered a propshaft failure near the start of the fifth run. The resulting stage maximum dropped Dilworth down the leaderboard.

With Dilworth out of contention a three-way battle for the lead ensued between Lofthouse in his Lofthouse Proto LD4, Kershaw’s GSR 206 Evo 9 and the Monaghan R5 of Gordon Monaghan. Monaghan had previously contested the championship in 2007 and he was immediately on the pace of the leading crews, although as he had only entered to contest day one he was not in contention for overall victory.

At the end of the ten runs of day one Huddersfield’s Kershaw led the event by 25 seconds from Lofthouse with Monaghan in third.

Day two started with patchy mist on the course although this did not prevent the leaders from setting a scorching pace, Kershaw and Lofthouse separated by just two seconds over the six mile stage.

The second run of the day saw Kershaw’s car suffer a misfire due to a faulty coil pack. The problem was to continue up until the last run when a replacement part was sourced from another competitor but by this time Lofthouse had a lead of 18 seconds which was too much for Kershaw to make up.

Despite his misfortune Kershaw was pleased with his result. “It’s been a fantastic weekend, I’m happy with second place, we were lucky to finish with the problem we had,” he said. “The course was brilliant, really enjoyable and quick.”

Winner Lofthouse was delighted with the victory. “I’m over the moon, we’ve had a good weekend with no major problems. It was an awesome course in awesome weather.”

Bob Seaman took victory in Trophy class in his Milner R4 with Neil Davey winning the Clubman event in his GSR 206 Evo 9.

Results

1. Dan Lofthouse Lofthouse Proto LD4 1:52:36
2. Richard Kershaw GSR 206 Evo 9 1:52:48
3. Martin Gould Mattserati 1:54:30
4. Justin Birchall Peugeot M206 1:56:42
5. Chris Hammond Milner R5 1:56:47
6. Colin Gould Bowler Wildcat 1:58:12
7. Steve Lloyd Milner R5 2:00:31
8. Tim Dilworth Peugeot 206 GTi 2:01:23
9. Greg Macleod Tomcat 100 2:06:05
10. Steven Smith JRG Indy 2 2:07:30

Trophy Winner: Bob Seaman Milner R4
Clubman Winner: Neil Davey GSR 206 Evo 9

Friday, 11 September 2009

Shaw ready for Roger Albert Clark Rally return

Martin Shaw and Ian Prout will contest the 2009 Roger Albert Clark Rally in Shaw's well-known Ford Escort Mk2, and Shaw says that the event is the closest rally to the original Lombard RAC Rally he tackled three times in the 1990s.

"The entry is in and the team is keen to do it again," said the Huddersfield-based driver, who tackled the Roger Albert Clark for the first time in 2008 in his 1400cc Escort Mk2. Partnered by Dave Evans, he finished fifth overall in the Open category and won his class by a substantial margin.

Now, Shaw and regular co-driver Prout are gearing up for the 2009 rally. "We committed to this year's event right at the start," said Shaw, who competed on the Lombard RAC Rally in 1994, 1995 and 1996 in a Lada. "The Roger Albert is the nearest you can get to that event. We marshalled on the earlier Roger Alberts and my service crew was really keen to do the event. Last year we got round with barely putting a spanner on the car."

For Prout, it will be a switch from reading route notes to working from maps. "He's got to learn how to do maps again," said Shaw.

They are hoping to contest the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire in late September as a final shakedown ahead of the November event.

For more details about the Roger Albert Clark Rally, please visit www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Shelley happy with Woodpecker podium finish

Lancaster rally co-driver Shelley Rogerson enjoyed a good finish on last Saturday’s Woodpecker Stages rally when she took third place overall with Andrew Burton in his Peugeot Cosworth.

The Ludlow-based event kicked off with two forest stages to the east of the town. Burton and Rogerson stormed through the opening test setting quickest time but oil pressure problems in the second stage saw the car engine cut out losing the crew time and dropping them down the order to 12th.

The problem occurred again in the third stage with more time lost trying to restart the car. However, they were still quick enough to move up to ninth on the overall leaderboard.

A troublefree run on the fourth stage saw Burton and Rogerson set quickest time, moving them up to fourth.

“The problems in the second and third stages were very frustrating, the engine cut out and it was difficult to get it restarted with it being hot,” said Shelley.

The remaining three stages of the event took place near Ludlow and a charging Burton took two more fastest times to end up third overall at the rally finish.

“The last three stages were brilliant, really quick. We’re pleased to have got to the finish after our recent run of bad luck although it’s a bit disappointing that we couldn’t challenge for the win after our early problems. I’d like to thank Co-ordSport, Nicky Grist and Songasport for their support.”

After their successful Woodpecker outing Burton and Rogerson are planning to contest the Cambrian rally in North Wales in October. For more information on Shelley’s rallying please visit www.shelleyrally.com.

Wright stays in championship hunt on Woodpecker Stages rally

Bentham’s David Wright continued his successful 2009 rally season last Saturday (5th September) when he took fourth place on the Woodpecker Stages rally in his Giles Philips Motorsport Mitsubishi Evo 9, keeping up his hopes of taking the BTRDA rally championship title.

Grove Hill Garage and Kumho Tyres-backed Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson made a good start on the opening two tests of the rally near Ludlow, taking fourth place overall. The event then moved to Radnor forest and Wright emerged from the 18 miles of gravel tracks in third place.

“I was happy to be in third after Radnor. We had some problems with the flatshift gearbox in the opening stages which lost us some time and then a few more seconds were lost when we had a slight excursion off the road in stage two” said Wright.

The rally returned to near Ludlow for the remaining three stages. Wright maintained his third position until the final stage when a charging Andrew Burton pipped him for the position.

“I enjoyed the last three stages, we pushed as hard as we could but we couldn’t keep Burton behind us. I am pleased with the result and it’s down to the last round for the title although we’re now suffering with the dropped scores system. We’ll be making some more improvements to the car in time for the next event and we’ll be trying hard to get the win.”

The final round of the BTRDA championship takes place in October with the Cambrian rally in North Wales.

Images from the Woodpecker Stages

CLICK TO SEE THE EVENT GALLERY

Monday, 31 August 2009

Sweet Lamb set for Britpart B.C.C.C.

After a summer break the Britpart British Cross Country Championship gets back underway on the weekend of 12/13 September with round four being held at the Sweet Lamb rally complex near Llangurig in Wales.

Regulations for the event can be downloaded from www.marches4x4.com.

Wright targets maximum points on Woodpecker Stages rally

Bentham rally driver David Wright will continue his BTRDA rally championship quest next Saturday (5th September) when he contests the Woodpecker Stages event in his Giles Philips Motorsport Mitsubishi Evo 9.

Wright, who is backed by Grove Hill Garage and Kumho Tyres, presently leads the championship but with the title being decided on the best six scores from eight he needs to ideally get maximum points on the Ludlow-based event.

“We’re in a decent position in the championship at the moment but we’re going to have to beat Will Nicholls on the last two rounds to have a chance of the title as he’s already had two retirements this year so he won’t be dropping any more points, ” said Wright.

“It’s going to be very tough with Will being in a World Rally Car but we’ll give it our best. Our car has had a new engine fitted since the last round and it has given us some extra torque so hopefully we’ll have a bit more pace.”

“I’ve not done the Woodpecker before so the stages will be new to me. There won’t be any time to get used to them though, it’s going to have to be flat out from the start!”

The rally is round 7 of the 2009 BTRDA championship and it will be contested over 45 miles of gravel tracks in forests to the west of Ludlow.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The diary of a rally rescue girl

Rachel Medich, from Carlisle, is a volunteer for the EMMU (Emergency Mobile Medical Unit) rescue team who attend many sporting events throughout the year, including several car rallies.

They have recently returned from providing vital rescue cover for the Rally Isle of Man, a round of the British Rally Championship. Rachel kept a diary during the event to give an insight into rallying from a rescue crews point of view,

Thursday 9th July: The start of the trip! It was with excitement at going away that I left an unusually sunny Carlisle to head to Morecambe to meet with the rescue unit. I’ve been a member for four years and I thoroughly enjoy it. I was quite shocked to discover that people don’t realise the crew of a rescue unit are volunteers. The unit receives an attendance fee but the crew do not receive anything and it often costs us to attend events! As I also compete as a co-driver being able to give something back to the sport I love is enough of a reward for me though.

The volunteers come from all kinds of background, I work in operating theatre anaesthetics but there are also nurses, firemen, joiners and engineers on the units. We all must attend regular training and hold at the very least a basic life support qualification along with being able to use and manage the hydraulic tools used in vehicle extrication.

There are three levels of rescue unit personnel, trainee, fully licensed and crew chief. To become a fully licensed member of the team a trainee must attend a set number of training weekends and then pass a very thorough assessment which ensures they are capable of using the hydraulic tools and looking after the medical needs of a patient under the supervision of a doctor or paramedic. I passed my assessment on the Rally Isle of Man in 2008 and was a very happy lady! The 2009 event was to be the first anniversary of me qualifying.

We were sailing from Heysham to Douglas and boarded the boat after collecting the ambulance from its Morecambe home. Once aboard the journey passed fairly quickly as all the rescue unit crew on the boat congregated on the top deck for a chat. On arrival on the island it was straight to the TT Grandstand for us to get radios fitted and then on to the medical briefing where we discover which stages we will cover and other safety information.

As our allocated stage on Friday was to begin at midday we retired to the Queens pub on the promenade to meet up with other medical personnel, catch up on all the gossip and talk about the event - we all decided that we preferred the three-day format with some evening stages on Thursday night so please can we have that again next year!


Friday 10th July: Friday morning dawned and after a hearty breakfast both crews of the EMMU team headed into Douglas for a quick look around and to spend some money. After that myself and the other two members of EMMU 2 made our way over to the start of the Newtown stage to cover the first eight or so miles.

As the stage was the longest of the event at 21 miles it required three units spaced at regular intervals. The longest stage one unit can cover is nine miles, any longer and you need a midpoint, or in this case two midpoints!

When we arrived at the start we had a look at the safety plan and identified any short cuts to further parts of the stage plus any potentially tricky areas. We then had a quick look at the tools and ensured they were working and showed our trainee for the weekend, Nigel, what we would require should the worst happen. We than had a quick meeting about who would perform what role in the event of an incident and had a quick procedural run down. Our rationale being that if we do that, we won’t need it!

The cars arrived bang on time and came into the control. Our crew chief then decided it was time to unleash the team mascot, Emu! Emu was happily providing start line entertainment, with the likes of Mark Higgins trying to grab him and take him through the stage. Then came a call to stop the stage and we went immediately went into standby mode but it was quickly declared that the crew were out and ok although the car was blocking the road. As more and more International crews arrived it was decided to send them through non-competitively and re-route them to the next stage. The Challenge and Historic rally competitors all got a run through and luckily had no problems.

We were then sent in behind the course car to sweep the stage and ensure there were no recoveries that required medical cover. Once we knew no medical assistance was required we completed the stage with Emu flying alongside the ambulance enjoying the ride, much to the enjoyment of the spectators!

From there we headed to Castletown for the start of our next stage, via the fish and chip shop of course. Castletown saw a few incidents, including a house being struck by a Citröen C2 and a head on crash into a wall which saw us having to accompany the co-driver to a local hospital. Fortunately he was later discharged. After a very long day we headed back to the hotel at 1am and straight to bed.

Saturday 11th July: Another hearty breakfast kicked off Saturday before we headed back to the Newtown stage. This time we were covering the last few miles of the stage so we were able to see the cars competitively for the first time in the event. The day started dry and mild but as soon as the International competitors started to come past our point the heavens opened and the road was immediately drenched. It was fantastic to see the crews trying hard, even though they were possibly on the wrong tyres for the conditions, they were a joy to watch. The heat from earlier in the day made the roads steam and with the mist that was forming it made visibility difficult. Luckily no one hit the tightened corner where we were stationed.

We were waiting for the Trophy rally to come through when we realised there wasn’t enough road-closed time left. A radio message came across that they had been re-routed due to the volume of cars off in the stage prior to our location. We waited for the roads-open car to pass us and slotted in behind them to make a quick sweep of the stage. We then made our way back to Douglas to return the radio and other equipment and found out that Mark Higgins had won which was good news - it must have been Emu’s touch that did it as Mark won the Jim Clark rally as well which was Emu’s first proper outing and he attacked many competitors there, including Mark - there could be something in that!

With a ferry to catch there was no time to hang around unfortunately so we made our way to the port, via an Italian. We slept most of the way home before eventually docking at midnight. The success of a rally for us is judged on how many emergencies we have to attend so, with no emergencies in the two days, it was a pretty successful event!

Sunday 12th July: No rest for the wicked! Despite the late return from the Isle of Man there was no rest for EMMU on Sunday as the unit was covering the Greystoke Stages rally in Cumbria.

As I was competing on the event myself I had a break from rescuing. The event was another good one from a rescue point of view with no major incidents, although a broken gearbox meant that the event was not so good from my own point of view!

So, after a very busy but very rewarding four days I returned to Carlisle.

For anyone interested in joining a rescue unit there is a training weekend in January at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary in Lancaster, most British rescue units are in attendance and you can identify units close to you. There is a theory day with speakers from the motorsport industry along with medical workstations in the afternoon to teach basic medical skills. The second day of the weekend involves practical demonstrations with participants given the opportunity to handle the hydraulic tools and take part in learning scenarios. For more information on the training weekend or the EMMU unit please contact stuart@emmu.co.uk or visit the unit’s website www.emmu.co.uk.

2009 Trackrod Rally Yorkshire is unveiled

"Something for everyone" is the strap-line for the 2009 Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, which will be a round of no less than 15 championships when it runs in the Yorkshire forests on Saturday 26 September.

In taking the wraps off Trackrod Motor Club's 2009 event, clerk of the course Rod Parkin revealed a range of events within the overall rally to cater for all needs and tastes, ranging from the crews contesting the final round of the MSA British Rally Championship to clubman competitors in rounds of four regional stage rally championships.

"We are delighted to have such a great line-up of championships coming to Yorkshire," said Parkin, who has been chairman of the organising committee since the first running of the event, which was known as the Crest Stages when it was first run in 1977.

As well as the final round of the BRC, the rally will also form the final round of the Pirelli MSA Gravel Championship and the final round of the Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship. The range of individual events will range from 45-stage mile rallies for the historic and clubmans contenders, to over 90 miles of action for the BRC competitors.

All of the competitive action will be on Saturday, after scrutineering and documentation on Friday 25 September. As before, the event will be based at the Pickering Showground, which will also be the venue for a spectator stage and central servicing during the rally.

Regulations for the event will be available in early August. For more details of the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire '09, please visit www.rallyyorkshire.co.uk

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Mixed Manx fortunes for Moore

East Boldon rally co-driver Janice Moore had mixed fortunes on the double-header Isle of Man Challenge rally last weekend when she retired from the first event and completed the second in seventh place.

Janice was partnering James Watts in his VW Polo, the pairing having previously competed on the Pirelli rally in April.

The first event kicked off with a tough loop of three stages, Staarvey with its notorious jumps, the tight and twisty lanes of Kella, and Ravensdale with its famous hairpin. Watts and Moore got off to a steady start with two seventh places before pushing more on stage three for fifth, giving them fifth place overall at the first service halt of the event.

“We were cautious on the opening two stages, both had very twisty narrow sections where one mistake could see the end of your rally,” said Janice.

“Stage three was quicker for us although we had a couple of moments including almost rolling on the Druidale section and then taking the hairpin at Sartfield a little too quickly resulting in the rear wheel being well off the ground.”

Following service the rally moved south for the Newtown and Cringle stages which totalled 35 miles between them. A collision with a kerb exiting a corner in Newtown saw the suspension and steering get damaged which slowed the Polo on both that and the following stage.

Repairs were made at service and Watts and Moore headed for stage six, Glen Roy. Unfortunately a driveshaft broke in the stage and, although they made it to the stage finish, they were forced to retire.

“We were disappointed to retire although the time we lost following the kerb incident meant that we had no chance of a good result. Fortunately we were able to fix the car and have it ready for the second event.”

Rally 2 was scheduled to take place over eight stages although the first one was cancelled following accidents in the preceding International event.

Watts and Moore had a troublefree run up until the last stage of the event, although conditions in some stages were treacherous with a heavy downpour of rain making the previously grippy tarmac feel like ice, mist on the higher stages adding to the bad conditions.

The last stage saw the cars run from the roads in the mountains down into Douglas and Watts and Moore were fortunate to complete the stage, another driveshaft failure almost ending their event.

“The second event was better for us, the conditions were very testing and we were happy to get through unscathed. It’s a shame the driveshaft broke again on the last stage, we’d been going well and were enjoying it, at least we got to the finish though.”

Janice is currently planning her events for the rest of the year, with an outing on the Woodpecker rally hopefully taking place in September. For more information please visit http://www.janicemoorerallying.com.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Images from Rally Isle of Man

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BHRC Round 5 Report: Isle of Man Historic Rally

Gwyndaf Evans completed a hat-trick of win in category three of the Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship when he dominated the Isle of Man Historic Rally (10/11 July). Partnered by Huw Lewis, Evans won every one of the 18 stages in a mighty performance in the Ford Escort Mk2 of Viking Motorsport as the island roads again delivered a fabulous challenge to the BHRC crews.

In category two, Steven Smith and John Nichols had to push hard in their Porsche 911 to battle ahead of the Escort Mk1 of David Stokes/Guy Weaver, while a measured performance from Rupert Lomax/David Alcock took them to the top of the championship table. In category one, Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride made it four Isle of Man wins in a row with their Porsche 911.

Category 1: The stage was set for a fine battle for category one between Nutt/McBride and the Sunbeam Tiger of Jonathan and Graham Gale after they shared fastest time over the opening two stages. Unfortunately, stage three was as far as the Tiger went when it slid off the road in Little London and was too badly damaged to continue. It was on a section of road that pre-event instructions said not to recce, and the Gales paid a price for following those instructions. With the same stage claiming the Porsche 911 of Rikki Proffitt/Phill Harrison with a broken gearbox, Nutt/McBride were left with a clear run. However, it was not all plain sailing as a rattle from the gearbox during Friday heralded a problem with first gear and the Tuthill team had to take the box apart on Friday night and fit a new first gear. "Richard and the guys did a great job," said Nutt after spraying the champagne on Saturday afternoon. "The car ran perfectly today."

The honour of second place in category one and B1 victory came after a mighty performance from Gary and Jane Edgington in their Singer Chamois. The highlight of their rally was matching the Porsche on the very foggy Cringle stage on Saturday, despite a time-consuming overshoot. "Gary loves the fog," said Jane of one of the drives of the rally, with the car running with commendable reliability. Things were far from good for Paul Mankin and Desmond Bell, however. Their Lotus Cortina broke a halfshaft on the start line of the first stage and then another as they tried to contest Saturday's stages. B4 victory therefore went to the Volvo Amazon of Manx veterans John and Stephen Moxon. Third and fourth places in category one went to the non-BHRC registered Minis of Stephen Higgins/David Corlett and Shinobu Kitani/Makoto Mizoi. Maximum B2 points should have gone to Mike Barratt/Jody Watson, but they clobbered a wall on the final stage and were denied a finish.

Category 2: Stokes/Weaver set the category two pace throughout Friday, despite a couple of problems. A wrong tyre call on the 21-mile Newtown stage cost them time, as did an unscheduled trip up a bridleway in Glen Roy, but they ended the day with a 25s lead over Smith/Nichols. For the Porsche crew, the opening day was troubled with brake dramas and they nearly went out right at the start with an off on the first stage. Saturday was better for Smith, however, and when it rained for the long Newtown stage he was able to really attack Stokes to move ahead. "We had a big moment in Newtown and backed off," reported Stokes, who ended the rally 70s down on the Porsche to win class C5. Third in category two was the subject of a fine battle as Ernie Graham/Ashley Trimble fought to keep their Escort Mk1 ahead of the Porsche of Derek and Roisin Boyd and the Escort of Rupert Lomax/David Alcock. That was how they finished after all three crews turned in excellent performances. "We had a really good rally," said Graham. "But it is very hard to beat Steven Smith and David Stokes."

Another excellent run from Drew Wylie and Howard Pridmore was rewarded with C3 victory in their Escort Mk1, going clear of Ken Forster/John Stanger-Leathes. "Thanks go to XS Racing for keeping the car in one piece," said Wylie, while Forster found his Escort much improved after a change of springs on Friday night. Despite a visit to a ditch, Peter Smith and Graham Wild took second in C5 in their Porsche 911, finishing clear of the similar car of Peter Lythell/Gill Cotton. Meanwhile, Neil Rudd and Brian Hodgson bagged class C2 after a sterling performance in their 1600cc Escort Mk1.

Category 3: Evans/Lewis stamped their authority on the event from the opening stage when they took an immediate lead. They pushed hard all day Friday to build a cushion ready for the rain that was forecast for Saturday and ended day one with a lead of over three minutes. The Escort Mk2 continued it's steamroller pace through Saturday when the rain largely stayed away and the winning margin was a whopping five minutes at the finish. "That's probably one of the most enjoyable rallies I've ever done," said Gwyndaf after a faultless drive.

Second and third in the category fell to the non-BHRC registered crews of Phil Collins/Diarmuid Falvey (Opel Ascona) and Mark Solloway/Den Golding (Ford Escort Mk2), and into fourth came Darren Moon/Chris Parsons after a hard-charging run in their Escort Mk2. "I'm pleased to get to the finish for the first time here," said Moon. Will Onions/Tim Hobbs netted third BHRC crew in D5 after climbing a big learning curve on only Will's second visit to the island. In the dry of Friday their pace improved all the time, despite rearranging some street furniture in the Castletown stage and running without a starter motor. Next up after a strong run was the Vauxhall Chevette of Roger Kilty/Lynette Banks. D3 victory on the rally fell to the non-scoring Escort Mk2 of Guy Woodcock/Iwan Jones, with Woodcock using his Manx experience to good effect. The runner-up slot went to Chris Shooter/Bev LeGood after Mark Clifford/Elgan Davies retired with a broken cam follower on their Escort Mk2.

The BHRC action continues with round six, the Harry Flatters Historic Rally, on 1/2 August.

By Paul Lawrence
Image by Songasport

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Images from Quinton Stages rally

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Will Nicholls won the Llandovery based Quinton Stages rally from Hugh Hunter. Dave Wright took third place to maintain his BTRDA championship lead. Martyn Lewis won the 1400 category and Terry Brown won the Historics.

Wright keeps up title challenge on Quinton Stages rally

Bentham rally driver David Wright kept up his BTRDA championship hopes on last Saturday’s Quinton Stages event when he finished third overall and first in class in his Giles Philips Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. The Llandovery based rally was the sixth in the championship and it took place on the gravel tracks around the Epynt military ranges.

Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson got their event off to a good start with fourth fastest time on the opening Halfway stage. This was followed up with two second fastest times on the Route 60 and Crychan stages which saw Wright move into second place behind the Subaru Impreza WRC of Will Nicholls at the first service halt of the rally.

“I was pleased with the start we made, I had only competed on this event once before in 2002 so I didn’t really have much knowledge of the stages,” said Wright.

“We didn’t have any problems at all, I was trying to drive neatly to avoid getting on the loose gravel at the side of the tracks and it seemed to pay off.”

After service the crews headed for the Monument stage at the northern end of Epynt. Wright kept up his pace with fourth fastest time on both this and the fifth stage although the Ford Focus WRC of Hugh Hunter passed him on the overall leaderboard, Wright dropping to third.

Wright pushed hard on the next two stages, second runs through Route 60 and Crychan, taking fastest and third fastest times but going into the last stage of the event he was still ten seconds behind Hunter and twelve ahead of fourth place man Damien Cole so he decided to back off slightly to ensure a finish.

“Our car doesn’t have the pace to keep up with the top World Rally cars on the twisty uphill sections of the stages so it’s good to finish third. I enjoyed the event, especially the Crychan and Route 60 stages.”

“I decided to drive for a finish on the last stage as we were too far behind Hugh Hunter to pass him for second place and I didn’t want to risk throwing away a good result.”

“We’ve got a bit of a gap to the next championship round now so we’re going to do a fair bit of work on the car to try and get nearer to Nicholls and Hunter. The championship allows crews to drop two scores so we need to try and go for overall wins if we’re going to take the title. Hopefully we’ll have a new engine, gearbox and a few other bits fitted in time for the next round. I’d like to thank Grove Hill Garage and Kumho Tyres for their support and GPM for once again preparing a reliable and quick car.”

The next championship round takes place in September with the Ludlow based Woodpecker Stages rally.

BHRC Preview: Isle of Man Historic Rally

The unique challenge of the Isle of Man marks round five of the Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship, the Isle of Man Historic Rally on 9/10 July. The annual trip across the water to the Isle of Man is always one of the highlights of the BHRC schedule.

Two full days of intense competition on the island roads makes the Isle of Man Historic Rally a fitting event for this prestigious championship and the 2009 edition should be a cracker.

Category 1: Heading the category one entry is the Sunbeam Tiger of son and father crew Jonathan and Graham Gale. This is the car used so effectively by Patrick Watts over the last two seasons and Gale is now driving it with panache. This is the car that is likely to set the pace out of the blocks, but the Isle of Man represents perhaps the best opportunity for Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride to really take the fight to Gale. They know the island incredibly well and their Porsche 911 is always strong there, so they will be chasing hard to add another Manx victory to their tally. Adding further strength to the class B5 field is former Escort crew Rikki Proffitt and Phill Harrison in the ex-Steven Smith Porsche 911. This is a new venture for Proffitt, and his pace will be the major talking point in category one. In the other classes in category one, BHRC title contenders Paul Mankin/Desmond Bell will be leading B4 runners in their Lotus Cortina, while the Isle of Man debut for Alan Honess/Tim Sayer in their class B3 Ford Cortina GT will be interesting to watch. Isle of Man veterans John and Stephen Moxon are back with their Volvo Amazon 122S to contest their 36th rally on the island.

This event always brings out a contingent of very quick Mini Coopers from the island and Ireland, including the car of Stephen Higgins/David Corlett, while a welcome return is made by son and father crew, Matt and Dood Pearce in their Cooper S. Then, all the way from Japan come Shinobu Kitani and Makoto Mizoi to compete in their Mini Cooper S. In class B1, Gary and Jane Edgington will again deliver a heroic performance in their Singer Chamois.

Category 2: Category two is for the cars from 1968 to 1974, so this is all about Ford Escorts and Porsche 911s. Heading the field will be BHRC title contenders Rupert Lomax and David Alcock in their Escort Mk1. Rupert will be one of the most spectacular drivers on the island and if it all holds together, he will be very tough to beat. Out to stop the North Wales driver will be David Stokes/Guy Weaver and Ernie Graham/Ashley Trimble in two more very quick Mk1 Escorts, while Bob Bean and Malcolm Smithson are out again in their Mk1. However, the island has always been good to the Porsches in category two and at least four of them could feature strongly. Most notable is the car of reigning BHRC champions Steven Smith and John Nichols, out for the first time this season to contest their favourite event. They are a bit out of practice, but will surely feature as the event progresses. Irish veteran Derek Boyd and his daughter Roisin will be very strong, as will Peter Smith/Graham Wild and Peter Lythell/Gill Cotton.

Class C3, for the Pinto-engined Escort Mk1s is one of the most competitive of the BHRC and another mighty contest is in prospect. The key players are XS Racing stable mates Drew Wylie/Howard Pridmore and Andrew Siddall/Captain Thompson along with Ken Forster/John Stanger-Leathes and James Slaughter/Phil Peak. With category pacesetter Tim Jones electing to miss this event, his rivals will take the chance to narrow the points' gap.

Category 3: Category three is for the most recent cars up to 1981. This is all about Escort Mk2s and the top D5 cars will surely set the overall pace. Star entry is the Escort of Gwyndaf Evans/Huw Lewis, the car built by World Champion co-driver Phil Mills. Their rivals include Darren Moon/Chris Parsons and Will Onions/Tim Hobbs, but the arrival of Mark Solloway and Den Golding in the entry list could really spice up the action. Solloway has limited experience of the island, but will surely be very quick indeed. However, there is massive strength in the D5 field, including and local crews Conor Corkill/Howard Allison and Ian Corkill/Rivka Corkill. The Corkill dynasty is steeped in Manx rallying history and young Conor is showing tremendous pace as he competes against his father Ian.

But category three is not just about Escort Mk2s. Roger Kilty and Lynette Banks are getting quicker and quicker in their Vauxhall Chevette HSR, while the Lotus Sunbeams of Adrian and Daniel Seabridge and John Kirkpatrick/Martyn Quine are capable of mixing it with the Escorts. Then, there is the glorious Opel Ascona 400 of Phil Collins/Derek Brannigan, as the Welsh ace makes a welcome return to the island. Adding to the category three mix is the Porsche 911 of Mike Anderson/Mark Perryman, which could be a real darkhorse for a top result. Finally, a great contest is in prospect among the Pinto-powered class D3 Escorts of Mark and Brett Clifford, Guy Woodcock/Iwan Jones and Chris Shooter/Bev LeGood.

The Isle of Man Historic Rally is organised by Manx International Rally Ltd. For more details about the event, please visit the website at: www.mir.co.im. The historic rally starts from Douglas on Friday morning (9 July) and finishes on Saturday afternoon.

By Paul Lawrence
Image by Songasport