Thursday, 8 December 2011

Team Deli do the RAC

Day 1 of the event… I headed to Duncombe Park near Helmsley for signing on and scrutineering. Went for a walk around the stage and saw plenty of historics on the course, including Pughie, Tyke and JP. Plenty of nice cars in the service area although some seemed to be already having problems.

I met up with the other Team Deli members Barney and Carol as well as Simon Clarke who, despite getting stuck in Langdale last year, was once again using his Royal Mail Skoda Yeti.

We all headed to Dalby for the evening’s two stages. Conditions were rather different to last year, dry and no snow!

We found a decent slight right into uphill 90 right for the first spot. We were quite near the end of the stage so we could hear the cars going up and down the long Dalby straights a long time before we saw them.

Bob Bean was the first to come into view, spotlights piercing the trees. He was followed by a few Saabs and the Lancia of Steve Graham.

Then it was time for the main field, most of the leading crews taking a neat line but some getting nice and sideways including Phil Collins in the Ascona.

A few cars had already been in the wars, car 1 (Stefaan Stouf) not even reaching where we were after going off the road.

With Simon staying at the same corner for the second run Team Deli had a short drive to another corner, a long straight into a hairpin right quickly followed by a left-hander.

Marcus Dodd came round with a reshaped roof on his Mk2 and Malcolm Mawdsley’s Impreza had a little go at scaring Barney by getting out of shape exiting the left-hander.

The stage finished and it was back along the track to see Simon who had decided to go to Gale Rigg for the next day’s stages, apparently worried about getting stuck again if he went with us to Langdale.

Team Deli headed along the forest drive and into Langdale, parking near the stage ready for day two’s action. Under the clear Yorkshire night sky Ballycastle-supported Carol had a quick drink or two before nodding off.

Glorious sunshine greeted the crews on day two. Barney and Carol stayed at the hairpin near where we’d parked while I wandered up to the double junction where a crowd of spectators provided a good backdrop for my photographs. There was plenty of good action with a lot of sidewaysness going on.

A quick break for a meal (Covent Garden veg soup, very nice) and then it was time for the second run for which I walked up to a fast left hander with a bit of a rut on the inside which kicked a few wheels in the air.

After the Yorkshire stages the rally carried on with tests at Croft, Hamsterley and, the last stage of the day, Shepherdshield. With Simon deciding to retire from the event again (tired) Team Deli headed up to Shepherdshield by themselves.

This turned out to be quite fortunate as what looked like a good forest track on the OS map turned out to be a bit of an off-road course that would’ve swallowed the famous Yeti.

Barney had a sleep so Carol and myself went to watch at a quick left/right corner in the dark. Driving rain made spectating not as much fun as it had been earlier but it wasn’t too bad!

We left Shepherdshield and joined the military road towards Carlisle. The heavy rain made the road flooded in places which made for some good watersplash incidents.

By the time we got to Ae the Delica’s were cleaner than when we’d started the event. We went to park up at the same spot as last year, our journey interrupted slightly when we came across a Volvo estate stranded in the middle of the forest. Barney did his AA man duties and got it going again.

We got parked and had a natter for a while with Ballycastle-supported Carol having another drink.

Early morning in Ae and the trees were getting white – it was snowing! Barney and myself walked along the stage a bit to a series of corners.

The first car on the road was Bob Bean. He was also the first car off it as he slid wide at a corner just prior to where we were watching. A rope appeared and he was hauled back onto the road eventually.

Later on Dave Hemingway went off at the same spot after some blizzard conditions but despite 7 of us pulling the rope we couldn’t get him out of the ditch and he had to wait for the link car.

We stayed in Ae for the second run, Paul Griffiths ended his event going off the road just after where we were parked. "Media lady Carol” went to check he was ok which he was but his car was too far off to get back on. After last year’s monk incident we got out of Ae with no problems and it was straight off to Newcastleton. As we neared the stage the roads became very slippery but the forest itself wasn’t so bad. Two stages there ended our third day.

With day four being held in Kershope forest next door we didn’t have a very long drive on Sunday night. We went to park up in the quarry and found that “Davestaxi” and “Polo” were already there, along with two guys who were cooking some soup in a fire.

Ballycastle-supported Carol had a drink and Barney’s mobile disco played some Dire Straits as we gazed at the stars. There was a bit of frost on the ground but otherwise the tracks were clear.

A few hours later and it was all change! A load of snow had fallen overnight and the rally stage and the road leading to it had become treacherous. After a bit of a delay all the rally marshals and rescue crews were in position and the stage started.

Most of the rally cars tiptoed through the long course, desperate not to bin it on the final day. With the track cutting up and the public road likely to freeze again the last stage was cancelled.

And so we all headed out of Kershope, said our goodbyes and went home. As usual the RAC had been a highlight of the rallying year, once again we’d had a variety of weather conditions, great action, a good chat between stages and meetings with lots of like-minded folk.

Roll on next November when we’ll do it all again.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sykes set for forest rally return in Yorkshire

Stourbridge rally driver Richard Sykes will make his return to forest rallying next weekend when he contests the Kall Kwik rally in Yorkshire.

Sykes has had a quiet rallying year in 2011 with his events restricted to two outings in the BRC Challenge championship. He led both events and finished a very close second on the Jim Clark Challenge rally.

“Rallying has taken a back seat this year as I got married and had a six-week long honeymoon at the rugby world cup in New Zealand,” commented Sykes. “I enjoyed the two BRC Challenge events I did though and the competition was very close.”

“I’m aiming to do a full BRC Challenge season next year and I’ll be going all out to win the championship. The first two rounds are in the forests and as it’s been over a year since I competed on gravel I have decided to enter the Kall Kwik to get back into the swing of it.”

Sykes will use his usual Citro├źn C2 R2 Max with support from G I Sykes, Boroughbridge Marina, Silverstone Tyres and Bathams Brewery. Simon Taylor will be on co-driving duties.

“I’m delighted to have Bathams Brewery to add to my other sponsors, their support is vital if we’re going to push for the BRC Challenge title next year.”

“The Kall Kwik will provide us with a tough test as it uses some of the very challenging Yorkshire forest stages such as Dalby and Langdale. There’s the added ingredient of doing some of the stages in the dark too. I can’t wait to get to the start line of stage one.”

The rally will start at Duncombe Park near Helmsley on Friday night with two stages before a further six stages on Saturday.

Wright ends rally season on a high with Grizedale win

Bentham rally driver David Wright enjoyed a brilliant end to his rally season last weekend with a dominant win on the Grizedale Stages in Cumbria.

The event started on Saturday evening with a stage in the dark. Despite the very testing wet and misty conditions Wright stormed through the stage faster than any other crew in his Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, York Brewery and Grove Hill Garage-supported GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9.

“We went really well on the first stage, conditions were pretty tough but we knew that a good performance could give us a decent lead to take into the daylight stages,” said Wright. “I was very pleased to be 12 seconds faster than anyone else.”

The crews contested a further six stages on Sunday with the bulk of the action taking place in Grizedale forest. Wright continued his charge with fastest time on the first two stages of the day to extend his lead to 54 seconds.

Despite the good lead Wright pushed hard on the remaining four stages and was rewarded with second-fastest times on each of the tests, only beaten by a more powerful world rally class car. He arrived at the finish in Coniston with a lead of 1m 38 over the second-placed crew.

“Day two started with a fairly long stage and we wanted to be quick out of the blocks to drive home the advantage we had from stage one. Once we had built up a healthy lead it was tempting to back-off a bit but we decided to push as hard as we could while not taking any risks. I’m delighted with the win, we’ve had a mixed season this year so it’s brilliant to finish off with a victory.”

“Thanks to all my sponsors who made the win possible and also to GPM for the car. I can’t wait for the 2012 season to start!”

With his rally season finished Wright will now concentrate on building a new car which he hopes to use on some tarmac rallies next year. He will also contest selected forest events in his usual Evo 9.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Wright ready for season-ending Grizedale test

Rally driver David Wright will end his season next weekend when he contests the Grizedale Stages event in Cumbria.

Bentham-based Wright narrowly missed out on winning his BTRDA class championship on his last event in North Wales so he is hoping for a successful run to finish off his year in his Kumho Tyres, Drenth, Proflex, Grove Hill Garage and York Brewery-supported GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9.

“It was very disappointing to lose out on the class championship when we had a problem with the car on the previous rally,” commented Wright.

“We’ll be pushing hard to get a good result in Grizedale, it’s a forest I like competing in and we’ve set some good times in there before.”

The rally starts in Coniston and features a stage on Saturday night before six more stages on Sunday which will test the crews to the maximum.

“Grizedale forest is notoriously tough to compete in and running a stage in the dark is going to present a real challenge, I’m looking forward to it.”

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Images from Wales Rally GB


Please click here to view the images.

Becky battles to world rally championship success

Rally driver Becky Kirvan ended her 2011 season in style last weekend when she successfully completed Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB. The four-day event proved to be a very tough test with several of the world championship’s leading crews failing to reach the end but Becky and co-driver Will Rogers battled through to finish in 39th place and first in class.

Day one of the rally took place in North Wales with the first two stages being a blast around the Great Orme tarmac toll road near Llandudno. Although this was a short stage it was very tricky with lots of twists and turns and unforgiving kerbs. With the brakes on her Cristal Global-backed Ford Fiesta not feeling quite right part way through the test Becky drove cautiously to make sure she got to the end of the Orme stages.

The crews then headed to Clocaenog for a long forest stage in the dark. Fog made visibility difficult but, after adjusting the brake bias, Becky had no problems and returned to Llandudno for the overnight halt in 51st place.

“I was pretty tense before the start of the Orme so it was good to finally get going after all the preparation work for the rally”, said Becky. “Other than the brake issue we had a troublefree run through the stages. The darkness and fog in Clocaenog was very challenging and I was pleased to emerge unscathed.”

Eight stages in Dyfi and Dyfnant forests greeted the crews on day two. Conditions worsened through the day with heavy rain and mist making driving hazardous and, with running near the back of the field, Becky faced the added challenge of a very cut-up road surface.

“The conditions in the later stages on day two were the worst I have ever competed in. It was impossible to see where the track went due to the thick fog and on top of that we had heavy rain and the darkness to contend with so we slowed right down as we did not want to risk crashing out. There were cars off all over the place and we did not want to join them!”

Blue sky and sunshine replaced the previous days rain and mist for day three with six stages scheduled including two runs of the spectator-packed Sweet Lamb. The first stage of the day was in Hafren forest and, at over 20 miles long, it was the longest of the event. Becky’s only problem was getting caught up by a foreign crew in a faster car. Despite indicating that she was pulling over to let them past, the driver behind drove into the rear of the Fiesta causing damage to the bumper. The rest of the day went well although a puncture in the second Sweet Lamb stage resulted in a large time loss. Despite this Becky ended the third day in 46th place.

“The third day could not have been more different in terms of the weather, visibility was good and it was a pleasure to drive the stages. In particular the stretch of stage through the wind turbines in Myherin was brilliant. I also enjoyed the first run of Sweet Lamb so I was disappointed to have to limp through on the second run of the stage due to our puncture. I could not understand why the crew drove into the back of us in Hafren, I indicated to pull over as soon as they appeared in my mirrors so I think causing damage to my car was completely unnecessary and something I have never encountered with any British drivers.”

“After service in Builth Wells at the end of the day all the cars and crews travelled to Cardiff where we drove down a crowd-lined street to the overnight halt, the atmosphere was brilliant!”

The fourth and final day took place on and around the Epynt military ranges near Llandovery. The opening two stages, Halfway and Crychan, both mixed tarmac sections with the more usual gravel forest tracks. Becky had a couple of spins on the tarmac as it had been made extremely slippery by the cars running ahead of her. One spin resulted in her needing the spectators to help extract her from a ditch, luckily there was no shortage of spectators on this rally! Other than that she had a clear run through the stages and moved up to 39th place by the end of the event which was rounded off with a ceremonial finish in the grounds of Cardiff castle.

“I am thrilled to have got a finish on a world championship event, it’s the perfect end to what has been a great rally season, I would never have thought at the start of the year that I’d be BRC Challenge Ladies Champion and a WRC class winner! It was a real challenge for me, the rally was a lot longer than any other I’ve done so I'm delighted to have made it to the finish ramp. I’d like to thank Cristal Global for their support which enabled me to do the event and all the Rally4Real team who worked very hard both before and during the rally on the car. Thanks also to Will for co-driving, he did a great job. I shall be doing all I can to try to find a budget to enable me to return to the event next year!”

After her successful season Becky is now concentrating on securing support to compete in 2012 when she hopes to contest the British Rally Championship. Please visit www.beckykirvan.co.uk or www.facebook.com/beckykirvanrallying for all the latest news and photographs.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Cristofaro gets a taste of 2012 dream with Skoda shakedown

Milford Haven rally driver Nick Cristofaro last week enjoyed his first experience of the car that he hopes to compete in next year when he tested TEG Sport’s new Skoda Fabia R2.

Cristofaro, 18, travelled to TEG Sport’s Lancashire base from his South Wales home to help finish the preparation work on the two cars that TEG have had delivered.

Once that was complete the team headed to a race track in Cumbria for the first tarmac test of the car which will be campaigned in next year’s British Rally Championship.

Cristofaro and fellow teenage driver Arron Newby took on the driving duties, successfully completing around 50 miles on the twisty circuit.

“I was extremely excited and had a few sleepless nights when I was asked to test the Skoda,” commented Cristofaro. “I could not believe how the car looked, it was like a mini-World Rally Car. Skoda Motorsport have obviously put a lot of thought into the design and build of the car.”

“We started the test by running in all the components as the car was fresh out of the box. It was an absolute pleasure to drive and no matter how hard I pushed the car would grip. The flat-shift sequential gearbox was outstanding and it added to the excitement of driving the car.”

After narrowly missing out on winning the Fiesta ST championship this year when his car suffered mechanical problems on the final round Cristofaro is hoping to use a Fabia in the British Rally Championship in 2012 but he needs to find funds to support the drive.

“The test has made me even more determined to get the funding together to compete in the Fabia next year. With this car and the TEG Sport team I think I can get some seriously good results. I hope there is someone out there who noticed my performances in an outdated car last year who will help me achieve my goals in motorsport.”

Please visit www.nickcristofaro.co.uk for more information on Cristofaro’s rallying or join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/nickcristofarorallying.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Becky ready for her toughest rally challenge ever

Rally driver Becky Kirvan will start her toughest ever rally challenge next week when she takes part in Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB.

Becky has had a very busy time since her last event in September as her Ford Fiesta ST car has had to be rebuilt following an accident when the brakes failed. After many hours hard work by the Rally4Real team the car is now ready for action again.

"The car was pretty badly damaged in the crash," said Becky. "It needed a new section of roll cage, a new roof, door, door pillar and wing and several other parts. The gearbox has also been rebuilt to ensure it was in perfect working order for the challenging event ahead."

With usual co-driver Kaz Watts ruled out of the event due to a neck injury Becky will have Will Rogers on the pacenotes. It will be the first time the pairing has competed together so the plan is to treat the first stages cautiously.

"I’ve not driven competitively since the accident and there has been no time to do any testing. With the four days of competition on Rally GB and the notorious treacherous conditions that this rally has, I do not want to risk an accident early on so I’ll take my time to get used to Will and to driving at speed again."

Becky has attracted a new sponsor for the event, Cristal Global. Cristal Global, who have a plant in Stallingborough, employs nearly 4,000 people on five continents and they are the second largest titanium dioxide producer in the world, the largest producer of merchant titanium chemicals and the leading manufacturer of speciality titanium products.

"Without the support of Cristal Global it would be impossible for me to do the event so I am extremely grateful to them. It was a dream for me to compete on a World Championship event and Cristal Global have made that dream come true. It’s going to be a real challenge for me and the team as it is by far the longest and toughest event I have competed on but I cannot wait to get to the start!"

The rally starts in Llandudno on Thursday 10 November and from there the crews will head south to compete in some of the most famous forest rally stages in Wales, including Clocaenog, Dyfi and Crychan. The successful crews will finish in Cardiff on Sunday.

Please visit www.beckykirvan.co.uk or www.facebook.com/BeckyKirvanRallying to find out more about Becky’s rallying. Phone reception permitting live updates from the event will be posted on the Facebook page.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Successful first event for the Rally2Raise team


The Rally2Raise team got their fundraising activities off to a great start at the recent Mull Rally when almost £60 was raised selling cakes and cookies to crews and spectators.

The Rally2Raise project is aiming to raise funds for the Nystagmus Network, Cancer Research UK and the MS Society as well as raising awareness of post-natal depression. Team members Rachel Medich and Katherine Begg have had personal experience of all four of the causes and they will be running a series of fundraising activities in the remainder of 2011 and throughout 2012.

“I’d like to say thank you to all the people who bought cakes and cookies on Mull, we sold all the items we had made so it was an excellent start to the Rally2Raise campaign,” said Rachel. “All the causes are very important to Katherine and myself and we’ll be working as hard as we can to raise funds and awareness.”

Plans are currently being made for the next Rally2Raise event to be the Neil Howard Memorial Rally near York where it is hoped that Rachel will debut her Nissan Micra rally car. The team is also aiming to have a rally calendar on sale in November.

Please visit www.rally2raise.co.uk for more information on the project or to make a donation – in partnership with Virgin Money Giving online donations can now be accepted from which the causes will also receive gift aid. Please also visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rally2raise.

Excitement mounts as Becky prepares for WRC debut

With less than three weeks to go to the start of Wales Rally GB rally driver Becky Kirvan is flat out with preparations for her first world championship event in her Cristal Global-backed Ford Fiesta ST.

After her accident on the Trackrod Challenge rally in September her car has had to undergo major surgery with a new roof, doors, wing, door pillar and bonnet having to be sourced and the roll cage fixed.

“We were able to find a Fiesta road car shell which we’ve taken panels from for the rally car,” commented Becky. “The cage has now been fixed so that will be going in the car in the next few days and then we can put the new roof on. The gearbox is away for a rebuild so that will have to be refitted as soon as it comes back and we’ve also to get the bodywork liveried with Cristal Global graphics. With the car work and all the other organisation required it’s going to be very busy right up to the start of the event.”

As well as having to get her car fixed Becky has had to find a new co-driver as Kaz Watts has withdrawn from the event due to a neck injury.

“It’s a real shame that Kaz will not be with the team but unfortunately the neck injuries she sustained in the accident on the Trackrod rally are still causing her problems so it was too much of a risk to her health to tackle a four-day event so soon afterwards. I will have Will Rogers co-driving for me and I am confident will we quickly gel as a team. I can’t wait for the rally to start!”

The rally will start from Llandudno on 10th November with the crews facing four days of tough competition before finishing the event in Cardiff.

Please visit www.beckykirvan.co.uk or www.facebook.com/BeckyKirvanRallying for more information on Becky Kirvan’s rallying.

Monday, 10 October 2011

New charity fundraising venture aims to rally to the cause


Rally co-driver and rescue volunteer Rachel Medich has founded a new fundraising and awareness raising venture which will use car rallying to promote it’s causes. Rally2Raise will seek to raise funds and awareness for Cancer Research UK, the Nystagmus Network, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Post-Natal Depression through a series of rallying-related events which will range from selling cakes and cookies to actually competing.

Aberdeen-based Rachel and her friend Katherine Begg will be organising the events and both have very personal experience of the causes which Rally2Raise will seek to help.

“We have chosen the causes as each one has affected us a great deal,” said Rachel. “I have had a torrid time with cancer recently, both personally and with friends. My son was born earlier this year with nystagmus, a not very well known eye disease for which there have been no medical advancements for many years.”

“Following the birth I suffered with severe post-natal depression for which I am still receiving treatment. Fortunately I recognised the symptons and got help but many women feel they have to keep it quiet and try and deal with it themselves and as a result become very ill. Rally2Raise is all about raising awareness of these causes and raising funds for the relevant charities.”

Katherine commented: “When Rachel told me about the concept for Rally2Raise I asked if we could also raise awareness and funds for MS. As a young carer I saw the affect MS had on the individual and also the family. I now know my mum had primary progressive MS, seeing my mum and best friend deteriorate over the years she was alive was the hardest thing to comprehend. Yet through it all she remained strong, kept her humour and remained true to her faith. All in all an inspirational figure for me, my brother and father who cared for her tirelessly and devotedly until she passed away in 1992.”

“I have close family members who have died from cancer. Very recently a lump was found in my breast after a mammogram test and I felt the fear of awaiting to know my "fate", planning what I would do if I had to tell my daughter. I was more terrified for my daughter and how it would affect her than anything else. The cells caught were benign, it was a relief but it also made me realise what others must go through too.”

“If Rally2Raise can help raise awareness and funds for all the causes we have chosen then I feel that I, in some way, have repaid all those who have helped me over the years, especially coping with the loss of my mum.”

The first Rally2Raise event will take place at the Mull Rally where Rachel and Katherine will be selling homemade cakes and cookies during the recce week and at the event itself – look out for them on the stages! After that Rachel is hoping to make her debut as a rally driver at the Neil Howard Memorial Rally in her recently acquired ex-Becky Kirvan Nissan Micra.

For more information on Rally2Raise please visit www.rally2raise.co.uk.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Nescliff set for BCCC title showdown

The sixth and final round of the Britpart British Cross Country Championship will take place next weekend at Nesscliff in Shropshire with several crews in with a chance of taking the crown.

Ian Rochelle presently leads the championship from Bob Seaman with Gordon Monaghan in third but when dropped scores are taken into account it is Dan Lofthouse who looks to have the best chance of challenging Rochelle.

"I’m massively looking forward to the event", commented Rochelle. "I’m hoping that the battle goes right to the final run and that all the contenders have a good clear run so that it’s decided without any mechanical issues."

"This will be the second event for our new Millington engine and I can't wait to try it out as the slippery conditions at the last round meant that we struggled to get the power down."

Lofthouse said: "We need to win the event so that’s what we’re aiming to do, whatever happens it’s been a great season for me with the new car, 2011 was planned to be a development year so to be in with a shout of the title is excellent."

Milner R5 driver Bob Seaman, who is on course for his best ever BCCC finish, said: "We are unbelievably second on the score sheet at the moment and with dropped scores we are only one point behind former champion Gordon Monaghan. If Ian and Dan finish then we cannot catch them but I will be pushing hard to take third place which I will be delighted with in only my fourth year of competing."

In the Trophy class Tom Hipkiss presently leads from Greg Morris but, as with the BCCC title, it’s all to play for on the final round.

A Clubman class will run for crews who are not entered in the championships. Entries cost £250 for the full weekend or £150 for either day. Please call Championship Secretary Lilian Turley on 01594 810161 or email lilianturley@btinternet.com if you wish to enter the

The event will take place at the Nesscliff army training camp with the action starting at 10am on Saturday. Day two will start at 9am. Spectators are permitted at the venue but, at the request of the MoD, they must be in the venue before 8am as the access gate will be locked after this time and it will not be opened until the day’s action is finished.

Further information on the championship is available on www.marches4x4.com.

Rally retirement robs Wright of championship win

Bentham’s David Wright had a disappointing end to his BTRDA rally championship last weekend when driveshaft failure forced him into retirement on the Cambrian rally.

Going into the Llandudno-based event Wright was leading his class championship and he had high hopes of taking the title but a good finish was required for him to achieve his goal. Sadly his victory chances were wrecked just three miles into the opening stage when the driveshaft broke on his Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, Grove Hill Garage and York Brewery-backed Mitsubishi Evo 9.

“It’s a sad way to end the BTRDA season, I was confident that we could win the class and take the championship but it was not to be”, commented Wright. “I’m pleased that we took four class wins in the season, that shows that we had the pace to beat all the other crews in the class but the retirements we have suffered have cost us dearly.”

Wright is planning to end his 2011 rally season with an outing on the Grizedale Stages in November before commencing work on a new car which he is hoping to use in 2012.

“I love the stages in Grizedale forest and it’s my local event so it’s a nice way to end the year. We’ve gone well there before so hopefully we will have a good event. We’re going to build another Evo 9 in tarmac specification and we’re planning to do a few tarmac rallies next year in addition to the forest ones.”

Clutch failure ends Harry's rally season on Cambrian rally

Bangor on Dee rally driver Harry Morgan had a disappointing end to his 2011 season when for the second event running he retired due to clutch failure.

Morgan was contesting the Llandudno-based event for the second time and he had been aiming to finish his season in style after retiring on the previous BTRDA championship round in September.

The rally started with two stages in Penmachno forest and on the first one Morgan was third in class despite being held up by a slower car. The chances of a good result ended though after his Nissan Micra landed in a ditch on the second stage with the clutch being severely damaged when trying to get the car back on the road.

“The first stage was very rough,” said Morgan, “I was pleased to be third in class after being slowed by another car.”

“Stage two was going well, we were setting a good place but then we came across a stranded car again which held us up. Unfortunately we got lost in the pacenotes, I was going too quickly for a tight hairpin and we went straight on into a ditch. Thanks to some friendly marshals and spectators we were able to get the car out but the clutch was wrecked. We managed to get a little further on in the stage but then it failed completely.”

With his season finished Morgan now plans to upgrade his car for 2012 with a better clutch and possibly a 1300cc engine to replace the current 1000cc unit.

“I do not have the budget to do a full championship season next year so my plan is to do a few selected events throughout 2012. I want to put something back into the sport also by marshalling on some events and getting involved with rally organisation.”

Please visit www.harryrally.co.uk for more information on Harry Morgan’s rallying.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Harry targets end of season success

Bangor on Dee rally driver Harry Morgan will complete his first full season of rallying next weekend when he takes part in the final round of the BTRDA championship, the Cambrian rally.

After a disappointing retirement on the previous round in September Morgan is hoping for a good run on the Cambrian to end his season in style and he’ll be putting the experience gained from competing on the event last year to good use.

“I enjoyed the rally last year, the stages in North Wales were great and I think having previous knowledge will be an advantage for me”, commented Morgan.

“The event this year will have two stages around the Great Orme tarmac road which was not run last year so that will be a new and interesting experience. My only other competition experience on tarmac was the Porlock stage on this year’s Somerset Stages.”

“I’ve been very busy working on the car since the last round, the broken clutch has been replaced and there have been various other maintenance jobs to do but we’re all ready to go and I’ll be aiming for a strong finish in my class.”

Morgan will once again be partnered by co-driver James Ford for the event. Ford faces a busy week as he will head straight from the Cambrian to the Isle of Mull where he will swap seats to drive on the Mull Rally.

The Cambrian rally starts from Llandudno with most of the competitive action taking part in the forests of Penmachno, Clocaenog and Alwen before the crews head back to Llandudno for the final stages around the Great Orme.

Please visit www.harryrally.co.uk for all the latest news and photographs.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Wright aiming to end rally season on a high

Rally driver David Wright, from Bentham, is aiming to end his BTRDA season on a high by taking the class B13 championship on next weekend’s Cambrian rally in North Wales.

Wright presently leads the championship by five points and he needs a good result on the Llandudno-based event to ensure he wins the title in his Kumho Tyres, Drenth, Proflex and Grove Hill Garage-supported GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9.

“We’ve had four class wins in the championship so far which has put us into a good position going into the final round”, commented Wright. “However, with 20 points for the win we still need to perform well on the Cambrian to win the championship.”

“The car will be in a very similar specification to the previous round, we’ve done some work to improve the cooling after the overheating issues we had last time out. I’m hoping that we will be on the pace of the World Rally cars and I’m aiming to get a podium finish as well as taking another class win.”

The rally will start in Llandudno before heading to the forests of Penmachno, Clocaenog and Alwen for the bulk of the competitive mileage. The crews will then return to Llandudno for two runs around the Great Orme.

“I’m really looking forward to the rally, the stages are some of my favourites and I am confident we will have a good event.”

Monday, 26 September 2011

Broken driveshaft denies Fiesta victory for Cristofaro

Milford Haven rally drive Nick Cristofaro had a disappointing end to his British Rally Championship season when a broken driveshaft led to his retirement from the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire while leading the Fiesta SportTrophy class.

Having successfully tested his Genpower UK, Ginsters, Cristotec, Autoglym, Millers Oils, Nicky Grist and Elite Remapping-supported Ford Fiesta ST in Hamsterley before the event Cristofaro had high hopes of ending his season in style with a Fiesta win on the Scarborough-based event.

The rally kicked off with a 14 mile stage in Dalby forest, a forest where there are several long straights which suit the more powerful Fiesta R2 cars rather than Cristofaro’s older ST model. Despite this he managed to finish the stage in third place in the Fiesta class.

“We had a good test session and the pre-rally recce went well, it gave me the opportunity to get used to having Janice Moore as my co-driver again,” said Cristofaro. “I knew I’d have to push really hard in Dalby to try and keep up with the newer Fiestas and I was pleased not to drop much time to them.”

The next four stages, two runs of Gale Rigg and one of Cropton and Staindale were shorter and more technical. Cristofaro overcame his relative lack of power to storm to three fastest Fiesta times and one second fastest, a performance which saw him head the Fiesta SportTrophy leaderboard.

Sadly the chance of a Fiesta win for Cristofaro vanished when a loud bang at the start of the next Langdale stage signalled a broken driveshaft which forced him out of the event.

“Gale Rigg, Cropton and Staindale went really well, I was delighted with three fastest time although it could’ve been four but for a slight collision with a bank. Langdale was another long stage and I was confident that we could pull a good lead out over the other Fiesta crews but the snapped shaft put paid to that. It was really gutting as I think we were on for the win and that could’ve meant a possible nomination for the Pirelli Star Driver prize as well as taking the Fiesta championship but it was not to be.”

“I just hope that potential sponsors will see that I have the pace and commitment to compete at the top level of British rallying so that I am able to drive a TEG Sport Skoda Fabia in 2012. The Fiesta is now for sale and I’ll be working as hard as I can to get the funds together so I can continue in the British Rally Championship next year. Thank you to all the people who have supported me in 2011.”

Please visit www.nickcristofaro.co.uk or join the Facebook group www.facebook.com/NickCristofaroRallying for all the latest news and photos.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Brake failure results in dramatic end to Trackrod rally for Becky

East Yorkshire rally driver Becky Kirvan had a dramatic end to the Trackrod Challenge rally last weekend when brake failure resulted in her car flying off the road into a tree, putting her out of the event.

With the organisers of the Rally Isle of Man announcing that their event had been cancelled the Trackrod became the last round of Becky's BRC Challenge season so she was especially keen to get a good result on her home event.

The event started with stages in Gale Rigg and Cropton forests north of Pickering. Becky and co-driver Kaz Watts made a good start in their KC, Bardahl Top Oils, Princes Quay Shopping Centre, Peart Auto Services, Rally4Real and Songasport-supported Ford Fiesta ST to lie in 11th overall and 2nd in class. However, the opening two stages were not without problems with the car's brake bias needing altering after the first stage and then the brakes overheating when braking at the end of the many long straights in the second stage.

"The car was getting out of shape a lot under braking in the first stage so I adjusted the brake bias ready for stage two," commented Becky. "This seemed to help the handling in the second stage but then we had the overheating issue which caused some anxious moments when slowing from the high speeds we were doing on the straights."

Stage three took place in Staindale forest and Becky had another good run to maintain her 11th overall and 2nd in class. With the long Langdale stage next Becky was keen to push on and aim for the top ten but it all went wrong a couple of miles from the end of the stage. The stage was another with lots of long straights and Becky again had to battle overheating brakes but coming up to a right-hand bend the brakes totally failed. Although she attempted to turn the car on the handbrake it was going too quickly and flew off the road. The roof of the car hit a tree and it then landed upside-down with the crew initially trapped inside. Fortunately they were able to extract themselves and they were not badly hurt although as a precaution Kaz was taken to hospital to be checked over.

"It was a pretty high-speed accident and the roof took a lot of the impact on Kaz's side of the car though we were well protected by the roll cage. It was a little scary being trapped upside down but we got out eventually. It was a very disappointing way to end our BRC Challenge season but at least neither of us were seriously injured. I'd like to sincerely thank EMMU rescue for attending to Kaz and myself and also Lakes 3 and Difflock 8 recovery crews for extracting the car, it was a very professional job by them all. The car needs a new roof and door pillar and a few other parts but it will soon be back to full health."

Despite the retirement on the final round Becky ends the season in second place in the RC5 class championship and she is also the BRC Challenge Ladies Champion.

“I’ve really enjoyed my BRC Challenge season, it has been great doing events that are new to me. I am pleased with my performance and hopefully I can build on this year’s experience in 2012. Thank you to KC and all my other supporters for their invaluable help in 2011.”

Becky's next planned event is the Wales Rally GB world championship round but she is hoping to contest another event before this once the car is fixed.

Please visit www.beckykirvan.co.uk or join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/BeckyKirvanRallying for all the latest news and pictures.

Images from the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire


To see the images please click here.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Becky to end season with World Rally Championship outing

Rally driver Becky Kirvan will end her 2011 season by competing at the very top of the rallying ladder when she contests Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB.

East Yorkshire-based Becky has enjoyed a successful year competing in the BRC Challenge in her Ford Fiesta ST car with co-driver Kaz Watts and she has secured a deal with world-leading chemical company Cristal Global which will enable her to contest the world championship event once her BRC Challenge campaign is complete. Cristal Global, who have a plant in Stallingborough, employs nearly 4,000 people on five continents and they are the second largest titanium dioxide producer in the world, the largest producer of merchant titanium chemicals and the leading manufacturer of specialty titanium products.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be entering Wales Rally GB, it is an amazing opportunity for me. Competing at this level would have been completely out of reach if it wasn’t for Cristal Global’s sponsorship so I’m extremely grateful to them for their support,” said Becky. “I once interviewed world championship driver Mikko Hirvonen for a television programme, little did I know that I’d be competing on the same event as him one day!”

Fahad Nackshabandi, General Manager of Cristal Global Corporate Communications commented: "We are pleased to support Becky on this event, she has done very well in rallying and we are proud to help her compete at the highest level possible."

Rally GB will consist of four days of competition all over Wales starting on the North coast near Llandudno and finishing in Cardiff. The total competitive mileage is 220 which is over three times longer than any other rally Becky has contested up to now.

“It will be the longest stage rally I’ve ever competed in and it’s sure to be very challenging. There is an immense amount of work to get both myself and the car ready for the event, though I believe the experience I’ve built up in the last two years will help me a great deal. I’ll be aiming to do the very best that I can.”

Becky presently lies in 7th place in the BRC Challenge as well as second in her class championship and she still has three rounds to complete before her Rally GB outing with events in Yorkshire followed by a double-header on the Isle of Man.

“The season has gone really well so far and I’m very pleased to have successfully completed all the events. The car has been great throughout the season, my only issues being a couple of punctures for which I can hardly blame the car! I’ll be pushing hard on the last three rounds to gain as good a championship position as I can. I would like to express my sincere thanks to my sponsors: communications company KC, Bardahl Top Oils, Princes Quay Shopping Centre, Peart Auto Services, Rally4Real and Songasport for supporting my BRC Challenge campaign this year.”

Please visit www.beckykirvan.co.uk or www.facebook.com/BeckyKirvanRallying to find out more about Becky’s rallying.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Cristofaro and Moore to reunite in Yorkshire

Milford Haven’s Nick Cristofaro will return to the British Rally Championship next weekend when he contests the International Rally Yorkshire.

Cristofaro was forced to miss the last round in Ulster due to budget constraints but he has managed to secure sufficient support to take part in the Scarborough-based event in his TEG Sport Ford Fiesta ST.

He will be reunited with co-driver Janice Moore for the rally, the pairing having previously competed together when Cristofaro contested the Junior 1000 championship in 2009.

“I’m very happy to be competing again, it was very frustrating not being in Ulster for the last round,” said Cristofaro.

“I’ve been lucky to get some extra support from Genpower UK and I’ve also been working flat out with my Cristotec remapping business and at Carew karting to try and get the funds together to do the event. “

Joining Genpower UK and Cristofaro’s other supporters Cristotec, Autoglym, Millers Oils, Nicky Grist and Elite Remapping for the event will be Ginsters, the Cornwall-based manufacturer of pasties, sandwiches and pies.

“I’m very grateful to Ginsters for their support and also to Janice for securing the deal. We’re on a very tight budget so all the support we get is vital.”

Cristofaro is hoping for a good result to boost his hopes of attracting sponsorship for 2012 as he has the chance of competing in the British Rally Championship as part of the TEG Sport Skoda Fabia team.

“TEG Sport have given me the fantastic opportunity to compete in the Skoda next year but to take advantage of the offer I will have to get the funding together to help support the drive. With the championship moving to two-wheel drive cars only in 2012 and TEG Sport being one of the leading teams the Skoda drive would be ideal for me and I’ll be working as hard as I can to get the deal.”

Please visit www.nickcristofaro.co.uk for more information on Nick Cristofaro.

Becky back to the woods for next rally challenge

Burton Pidsea-based rally driver Becky Kirvan will return to the forests for her next KC Rally Team event when she contests the Trackrod Challenge event.

The last two BRC Challenge championship rounds have been held on the tarmac roads of the Scottish Borders and Ulster respectively but the Trackrod will use gravel tracks in the forests of Yorkshire.

"I’ve not competed in the forest since the Pirelli rally in April but I’m confident that I will quickly get back into driving on gravel," said Becky.

"I enjoyed the tarmac events and I was very pleased with the results we got but I prefer the rallying in the forest so I’m really looking forward to the Trackrod Challenge rally."

Becky will compete in her usual KC, Bardahl Oils, Princes Quay Shopping Centre, Rally4Real, Peart Auto Services and Songasport-backed Ford Fiesta ST. Although she has not competed since Ulster it has been a busy time for Becky and the KC Rally Team.

"We’ve been doing a lot of promotional work with the car including appearing at the KC Rally Day at Sweet Lamb in Wales as well as filming a feature for the BBC. It’s all been great fun and it’s really added to my rally season."

"The Trackrod is my local event so I am especially keen to get a good result although it will be the first time I have competed in the Yorkshire forests. We’re presently in second place in the RC5 class championship so I am hoping to maintain that position."

The Trackrod Challenge rally will start in Scarborough on 24 September with the crews battling over 50 miles of stages in the forests around Pickering.

Please visit www.beckykirvan.co.uk or join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/BeckyKirvanRallying.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Championship battle resumes for BCCC crews

The battle for the Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship will continue next weekend as the crews return to the Brynfynnon venue near Porth in South Wales for round 5.

The current championship leader Ian Rochelle took his first ever BCCC win when the series visited the same venue for round 2. Since then Rochelle finished third at round 3 before taking another win at round 4 in Radnor to head the leaderboard on 309 points. He also won the Ray Kempster Memorial Hill Rally in August.

Bob Seaman lies in second place going into round 5 on 268 points after three top-ten finishes in his Milner R5 with Gordon Monaghan just four points behind in third.

Bamber Bridge’s Dan Lofthouse is presently in sixth place but with the championship allowing one score to be dropped he is in a good position to challenge for the title with a win and two second place finishes in the last three events. Lofthouse recently contested the Rallye des Cimes in the south of France where he won his class in his Freelander.

The action will kick of at 10.00am on Saturday 17 September with Sunday’s competition starting at 9.00am. Spectators are welcome at the venue, it is expected that the landowner will make a charge for car parking of £5. Please follow the arrows from Llanwonno to get to the site.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Sponsorship boost for Becky as Top Oils Bardahl extend deal

BRC Challenge championship driver Becky Kirvan has received some good news ahead of her next rally outing later this month with the announcement that Top Oils Bardahl have extended their sponsorship deal for a further three years.

The leading supplier of high quality oil for both road and competition use initially supported Becky for 2011 but they have now extended that deal to cover all events Becky competes in until the end of 2014.

Peter Trott of Top Oils Bardahl commented: "I am particularly pleased to extend our sponsorship of Becky because she brings the right mix of fun and determination to motorsport. Becky is a shining example to potential rally drivers and racers and a sponsor’s dream. I look forward to seeing Becky make further progress in her rallying career."

Becky is presently concentrating on her BRC Challenge campaign but plans for 2012 will commence shortly with a season doing the British Rally Championship being the aim if sufficient suppoort can be obtained.

“I’m thillled that Top Oils Bardahl will continue their support beyond this year,” said Becky. “If it wasn’t for my sponsors I would not be able to compete at such a high level of rallying so I am extremely grateful for all the help I receive.”

“My ambition next year is to compete in the British Rally Championship as I feel that is the natural step up from the BRC Challenge but it will all depend if we can get the budget together and my plans to achieve that will start shortly. I shall definitely be out on the stages in some form!".

Becky will next be action at the Trackrod Challenge rally in Yorkshire at the end of September. Please visit www.beckykirvan.co.uk or join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/BeckyKirvanRallying.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Disappointment for Morgan on Woodpecker Stages rally

Bangor on Dee’s Harry Morgan had a disappointing Woodpecker Stages rally when a broken clutch forced him out of the event on the third stage. The event was round 7 of the BTRDA Rally First championship and Morgan had been hoping to build on the third place he held on the RF1.0 leaderboard.

Morgan and co-driver James Ford already faced problems before the rally started when the fuel pipe burst on the night before the event. Fortunately a replacement was sourced and the pairing were able to make the start.

The Micra crew made a rapid start to the Ludlow-based event, setting second fastest time in the class on the opening High Vinnalls. Stage two, Hazel Coppice, did not go so well with a big spin and several near overshoots as Morgan battled to stay near the top of the leaderboard.

Morgan’s hopes of a good result ended in the Cwm y Gerwyn stage which was held in Radnor forest. Part way through the stage on a fast downhill section the car slid into a ditch. Although he was able to get the car out eventually the clutch had been put under too much strain and it failed on the next corner, putting Morgan out of the event.

“It was very disappointing to retire from the event”, said Morgan. “The first stage had gone really well and we were in a good position to challenge for a class win. I think I tried a bit too hard in stage two and the spin lost us some time before the clutch failure in stage three.”

“I’ll strip the car down over the next few days and repair all the internal damage. Hopefully I’ll be able to put an entry in for the Cambrian which is the final round of the championship. We’ll be pushing hard if we make it to the Cambrian, I want to try and get back into the RF1.0 top three if I can, I think that would be a great achievement for my first full season in rallying.”

The retirement means that Morgan drops to fourth place in the RF1.0 championship although he still lies in second place in the Junior drivers’ championship. Please visit www.harryrally.co.uk for more information on Harry Morgan’s rallying.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Wright moves into championship lead despite Woodpecker woes

Bethham-based rally driver David Wright had mixed fortunes on last weekend’s Woodpecker Stages rally when a series of problems meant he only finished fifth in class but the result was good enough for him to move into the lead of the class championship.

The Ludlow-based event kicked off with the High Vinnalls stages. Wright was going well in his Kumho Tyres, Drenth, Proflex and Grove Hill Garage-supported GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9 but three miles from the end of the stage the engine started overheating forcing him to reduce his pace. Despite this he was still third fastest in the BTRDA B13 class.

In the second stage, Hazel Coppice, Wright thought the engine was seizing and so stopped for 90 seconds. With the engine cooled sufficiently he got to the end of the stage and back to the service halt where a quick oil change was performed but the delay had dropped him to 69th place overall and 14th in class.

“It was a disappointing start to the event, we had been flying in the High Vinnalls stage but the time loss at the end of that stage and in Hazel Coppice meant our hopes of going for a class win were over,” commented Wright. “The guys in service changed the engine oil to try and cure the overheating as there were no other apparent problems.”

The crews headed to Radnor for the Cwm y Gerwyn stage and Wright’s engine overheating troubles were over as he set the fastest time in his class. A different kind of problem was experienced in stage 4, Stanlow Tump, when Wright caught the competitor in front and was unable to get past because of dust which severely hampered visibility. With a clear run on the following Wigmore stage Wright was again fastest in his class, a feat he repeated on stage 6 to move up to seventh in class. A charge through the final Haye Park stage enabled Wright to move up to 14th overall and fifth in class by the rally finish.

“I was pleased that the oil change cured the overheating problem and we had a good run on the rest of the stages apart from losing around 50 seconds being held up in the fourth stage. Fifth in class is a good result considering where we were after stage two and the points we got have put us in a strong position in the championship. It was a very tough rally and it was great to be on the pace of the World Rally class cars.”

Wright now leads the B13 class championship with one round to go, the Cambrian rally in early October.

Images from the Woodpecker Stages rally


Please click here to see the images.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Morgan aims for top of the class on Woodpecker

Bangor on Dee’s Harry Morgan will return to rally action next weekend when he contests the Ludlow-based Woodpecker Stages, round 7 of the BTRDA Rally First championship which he is contesting this year.

Morgan made his rallying debut on last year’s Woodpecker and he is confident that his experience of the stages will give him a good advantage on this years event.

“I’m really looking forward to the event, I’ve learned so much since last year and I feel that I will be much quicker this time out. It will be interesting to compare my times where the stages are the same.”

“The car is all together, looking great and ready to go. The rally has attracted a good entry in the Rally First 1.0 class so there should be some really close competition. Hopefully the recent rain will mean that dust is not a problem.”

Morgan presently lies in third place in the Rally First 1.0 championship but he is only two points behind the second-placed driver.

“I’ve finished second in class on the last two events and I’m hopeful of a similar good result on the Woodpecker, ideally I’d like to go one better and get the class win. There are just two events to go and I’m aiming to get into second in the championship by the season end.”

The rally starts from Ludlow racecourse on Saturday morning (3rd September) with the crews facing a challenging route including the notoriously tricky Radnor forest.

Please visit www.harryrally.co.uk for more information on Harry Morgan’s rallying.

Wright hoping to continue class championship push on Woodpecker Stages

Bentham rally driver David Wright will contest round 7 of the BTRDA rally championship, the Woodpecker Stages, next Saturday (3rd September) as he continues his quest for the B13 class championship.

After being forced to miss the last round when the car developed engine problems on the eve of the event Wright has dropped to second in the championship but good performances on the final two rounds could mean that he takes the title in his Proflex, Kumho Tyres, Drenth and Grove Hill Garage-supported GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9.

“The engine has had a brand new block after the problems we had before the last round so hopefully we will have a trouble-free run,” commented Wright. “I’m really looking forward to the Woodpecker, it’s one of the best entries of the year and I can’t wait to get out on the fast stages.”

“We have been working closely with Proflex with some new valve adjusters which has allowed us to use softer springs, this has vastly improved the traction. We’ve also remapped the engine to improve low-down torque so we should be able to be on the pace.”

“We need a strong result on the Woodpecker after the bad luck we had on the previous round, we’re targeting the B13 championship and we’ve had four maximum scores so far, we could do with another.”

The rally starts from Ludlow racecourse on Saturday morning with the crews facing a full day of competition in stages such as Haye Park and Radnor.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

2011 Roger Albert Clark Rally support events unveiled

Four individual rallies will support the 2011 Roger Albert Clark Rally, (2-5 December and will offer some of the most cost effective forest rallying in Britain this season. With most forest events now costing around £10 per mile, the four RAC support events will all be under that mark and three of them are priced at under £9 per mile. If three crews from the same club get together, the entry fee on three of the rallies will be less than £8 per mile.

The support rallies all offer competitors a chance to be part of what many people call the best rally of the season, but without the time and financial commitment of contesting the overall rally. The support events also offer a local rally for competitors based in Yorkshire, South-West Scotland and the Scottish borders/Cumbria.

“I have tried to make the support events as user friendly as I can with as compact a route as possible at a very affordable cost,” said Rally Manager Colin Heppenstall. “To make it even more attractive, I am offering a special team rate on three of the rallies for those who can put together a three-car team.”

The four support events for the 2011 Roger Albert Clark Rally are:

The Kall Kwik Bradford Rally
42 stage miles; entry free £400 (cost per mile £9.60)
Based at the Duncombe Park headquarters, the Kall Kwik Bradford Rally will take in classic Yorkshire forest tests as well as the spectator stage at Duncombe Park. The first car will start at 10pm Friday for a night stage in Dalby, re-start at 10am Saturday and finish at 4.30pm on Saturday.

The De Lacy Night Rally
22 stage miles; entry fee £200 (Cost per mile £8.99)
For a club team of three cars the total entry fee is £500 (£7.49 per mile)
The De Lacy Night Rally runs completely in the dark of Friday evening, starting at 7pm and finishing at 11pm after 22 stage miles in Dalby and Duncombe Park. Two runs through a nine-mile stage in Dalby are at the core of this rally.

The Clubman’s Rally
47 stage miles; entry fee £400 (cost per mile £8.51)
For a club team of three cars the total entry fee is £1,100 (£7.80 per mile)
Based at Dumfries, the Clubman’s Rally runs through Sunday over stages in Ae, Twiglees and Heath Hall with centralised servicing. The rally starts at 11am on Sunday and finishes at 7pm.

The Kershope Challenge
35 stage miles; entry fee £300 (Cost per mile £8.56)
For a club team of three cars the total entry fee is £800 (£7.61 per mile)
The Kershope Challenge runs on Monday morning and has 35 stage miles and just three road miles from its base at the Ash Park service area. The rally covers two runs of the fabulous 17.5-mile Kershope stage, which is in excellent condition. The rally starts at 9am and finishes at 12 noon.

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

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Becky battles to double success on Ulster Challenge rally

East Yorkshire rally driver Becky Kirvan had reason to celebrate last weekend when she battled through some very tough stages to finish both Ulster Challenge rounds of the BRC Challenge championship, maintaining the KC Rally Team’s 100% finishing record in 2011.

Round four of the championship took place over the course of day one of the event with the Challenge crews tackling the Glendun and Torr Head stages first. Wind and heavy rain made the conditions difficult and, after much deliberation, it was only at the very last minute that a decision was made about which tyres to use. Becky and co-driver Kaz Watts overcame the conditions to arrive back in service in 11th place despite a couple of incidents.

"The opening two stages were very challenging," said Becky. "It was hard getting into a rhythm as there was not a lot of grip in some places. We had a big moment on the opening stage when we landed badly after a jump and the car slewed sideways, fortunately we stayed on the road and managed to take the square right corner that followed it!"

"We were lucky in stage two also when we only just managed to slow the car for a hairpin bend. I was pleased to get back to service unscathed, there were damaged cars throughout the stages."

The remaining three stages of round four took place in the dark. Despite her lack of experience of competing at night Becky successfully piloted her KC, Bardahl Oils, Princes Quay Shopping Centre, Rally4Real, Peart Auto Services and Songasport-backed Ford Fiesta ST to the finish in 9th place.

"I actually enjoyed the night stages, it is a real challenge to compete at night, it’s totally different to the day time stages as the landscape seems to change. It was great to get to the finish and score some championship points."

Round 5 consisted of four stages on day two of the event. Although conditions were much better than the previous day the stages still proved to be very testing. After three stages Becky was again lying in 9th place but she was only two seconds behind the car in front. Unfortunately the final stage was cancelled due to another competitor having an accident so she did not get the opportunity to push for 8th. Her result was still good enough to take the class award.

"The three stages we did went well, the only drama was an old man wandering across the stage in front of us, though fortunately we managed to miss him. The steering had a bit of play in it after two stages so the service crew did an extremely speedy steering arm change in service - big thanks to them for that."

"It was disappointing not to be able to push for 8th place on the last stage but the important thing is that the crew in the accident were ok. All in all I was delighted to get another good finish for the KC team."

The results means that Becky is now up to 7th in the BRC Challenge championship as well as lying second in her class championship. The next event for the KC Rally Team will be the Trackrod Challenge rally in September.

Please visit www.beckykirvan.co.uk for all the latest KC Rally Team news and pictures or join the team Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BeckyKirvanRallying.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Becky all set for Ulster rally challenge

East Yorkshire rally driver Becky Kirvan will resume her rally season with the KC Rally Team next weekend when she contests rounds four and five of the BRC Challenge championship in Northern Ireland. The Ulster Challenge rally will see two days of competition with each day counting as a separate round.

Becky presently lies in second place in her class championship as well as tenth in the overall championship and she is keen to carry on her good season in the lanes of Ulster.

"We’ve had a really great season so far with good finishes on all three championship events," said Becky. "We will be competing on tarmac again on the Ulster Challenge and with the experience I built up on the last round, which was also on tarmac, I am confident we can go well."

With the last round being held back in May Becky has had a break from competing although she has not had much time to rest as she has been appearing at numerous local events to promote both rallying and her sponsors with her KC, Bardahl Oils, Princes Quay Shopping Centre, Rally4Real, Peart Auto Services and Songasport-backed Ford Fiesta ST rally car. She has also had an opportunity to test the car on tarmac to get back into the swing of driving at competition pace.

"Attending the events was a great experience, it was nice to meet lots of new people and there was loads of interest in the car and rallying. I also took the car to a track day at Cadwell Park recently for a test session and while it wasn’t really representative of the surface I’ll drive on in Ulster it was good for me to get used to driving the Fiesta again. This will be my first trip to Ireland so I can’t wait to get over the water and get to the rally start!"

The Ulster Challenge rally will start on Friday 19th August with the crews facing 90 miles of competition over the two days.

Please visit www.beckykirvan.co.uk for all the latest KC Rally Team news and pictures or join the team Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BeckyKirvanRallying.

Monday, 8 August 2011

EMMU rescue celebrates 30th anniversary

The Morecambe-based Emergency Mobile Medical Unit (EMMU) celebrate their thirtieth anniversary this year.

EMMU was formed by Stuart Westbrook who persuaded colleagues from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary to give up some of their spare time to make sport safer by attending events such as car rallies and power boat meetings.

When the unit started medical cover at these potentially dangerous events was generally limited to basic first aid and it took some convincing to persuade event organisers to let them attend. However, EMMU quickly gained a reputation for providing a vital highly professional skilled service and within a year of being formed it had 40 members and was providing emergency medical cover at events all over the country.

"When I first started the unit I had no idea that it would grow so quickly but thanks to the volunteers we soon became known for enhancing the safety at dangerous sporting events and that reputation has continued to grow." said Westbrook.

One of the current EMMU team is Rachel Medich who has been part of the unit for six years. Even though she has recently moved to Aberdeen she still attends events with the team.

"I competed on events for several years and had not really thought about the medical cover on events. I then got a job at the Infirmary and chanced upon a poster advertising EMMU and a training weekend they were holding."

"The training was brilliant and I joined the unit as a trainee. For three years I attended events in a trainee capacity and learned about everything required to safely extract a casualty from a vehicle and immobilise them to prevent further injury. I then passed an assessment which meant I could be a fully licensed Motor Sport Association rescuer."

"I did not realise how much thought and preparation goes into every rescue. Each one is different and the circumstances of the rescue can be very difficult, for example a rally car crashed upside down in a remote forest."

"I absolutely love attending the events and being part of what is a very professional and well respected team, they’re like a big family to me."

Thirty years after its inception Westbrook still leads the EMMU team, although he has now retired from working at the Infirmary.

"The EMMU work is completely different from the job I did at the hospital. The events are often located in very remote locations so we have to be prepared to deal with all kinds of incidents on the spot."

"I feel very privileged to have had support from various local business over the years, including our present supporters Angus Fire, Macadam Garages, TEG Sport, Blaklader, Holmatro and North West Tyres. Without their assistance and that of the volunteers who give up their free time to attend events and training there would be no rescue unit so I am very grateful for the support we receive. Hopefully the unit will continue for many years to come."

Please visit www.emmu.co.uk for further information on EMMU or contact Stuart Westbrook on 01524 422896 or 07831 395221.

Morgan sparks interest in 2012 rally season

Formula 1000 rally competitor Harry Morgan enjoyed a successful test of the latest Chevrolet Spark competition car last week as he starts to make plans for his 2012 rally campaign.

Morgan, who currently competes in a Nissan Micra, is considering upgrading to the Chevrolet for 2012 and he was invited to the test at Blyton Park where the XS Racing team were undertaking development work. Before his driving stint Morgan was able to examine the newly developed Chevrolet.

“I had a good look at the car, the set-up and the development work, the build quality was excellent and the preparation completed by XS Racing was first class,” commented Morgan.

After Chevrolet driver Cameron Davies had completed his own test Morgan was able to get behind the wheel himself.

"I was very impressed by the performance of the Spark, I felt the brakes were powerful, the steering had a lot of good feedback making the car very precise and the suspension set-up was well balanced providing excellent feel whilst in the car.”

“The engine had excellent torque and power, providing exceptional acceleration and the gearbox had a nice gear ratio, making the most of the 1000cc engine’s power."

"My ambition for 2012 is to compete again in the Formula 1000 Forest Championship and hopefully if I can obtain sufficient backing and sponsorship I may be able to compete in the new Chevrolet Spark, with the aim of being the 2012 champion."

"I would like to thank Alistair Sutherland and the XS Racing team for inviting me to the test day, plus Cameron and Geraint Davies for making it such an enjoyable day."

If you would like to know more about Harry and his rallying career visit www.harryrally.co.uk.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

BCCC crews set to continue battle at Bleddfa

Crews from the Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship will head to Bleddfa at the end of the month to contest round 4 of the six-round series.

The three events so far have seen three different crews at the top of the leaderboard and with two of the events being held at new venues it has been an exciting first half of the year.

The opening round at a sunny Pikes Peak in Wales saw 2010 champion Tim Dilworth take victory in what so far has been his only BCCC outing of the year. Richard Kershaw had a good return to the championship to finish second with Justin Birchall continuing the form he showed at the end of 2010 to take third.

Round two was held at Brynffynon and it was the scene of a close battle between Kershaw and Ian Rochelle in his Millington. Rochelle built up a lead of 20 seconds after day one but Kershaw fought back to lead by three seconds after the penultimate run. The scene was set for a dramatic last run and Rochelle went all out for the win, dispensing with his navigator to save some weight. Unfortunately a gearbox problem for Kershaw part way round the course denied a grandstand finish with Rochelle having a clear run to his first BCCC win. With Kershaw dropping to fifth Dan Lofthouse was promoted to second place in his new Freelander and Martin Gould took third in his Mattserati.

The crews headed to Scotland for round three at the now familiar venue of Forrest Lodge near Dalry. On a course which suited the more powerful cars Kershaw initially took the lead in his GSR 206 but by the fourth run Lofthouse had moved to the front, a position he maintained for the rest of the event to take a fine win. Rochelle had another good event to round off the top three.

Kershaw heads the championship positions going into the fourth round on 231 points, narrowly ahead of Rochelle on 223. In third place is Bob Seaman who has 198 points in his Milner R5. Seaman’s best result this year has been fourth at Forrest Lodge although he was heading for third place at the first round until a final run collision with a tree. Ian Bartlett lies in fourth after finishing in the top ten on all three rounds, a feat also achieved by Karl Gudgeon who has piloted his GSR Evo X to fifth.

In the Trophy championship Tom Hipkiss currently leads the championship from Greg Morris and Paul Myers.

Round 4 will be based at Bleddfa with the crews tackling a course using gravel tracks and off-road sections in Radnor forest. The event will start at 10am on Saturday 30th July with day two starting at 9am. For further information please visit www.marches4x4.com.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Harry stars on Quinton Stages rally

Rally driver Harry Morgan, from Bangor on Dee, enjoyed a very successful Quinton Stages event last weekend when he took second in class as well as winning the 'Star of the day' prize and the Power Stage Challenge.

Harry and co-driver James Ford made a good start to the event on the opening two stages, Monument and Route 60, setting two decent times in his Nissan Micra to lie second in the RF1.0 class.

Stage three was in Halfway forest and Harry was going well again but after arriving on the scene of an accident involving another competitor he stopped to check that the crew did not require medical assistance.

“The Monument and Route 60 stages went well and I was happy with my pace,” said Harry. “There were some very slippery parts of the course but we had no problems at all.”

“Unfortunately in stage three a car that started in front of us crashed and the car was upside-down when we approached so I stopped. I was relieved to find both crew members were ok as it looked like a nasty accident.”

Intercom problems made the remainder of stage three very tricky as Harry could not hear the instructions from his co-driver but the Micra crew made it to the end in once piece.

Harry pushed harder in the afternoon stages, setting particularly good times in Route 60 and Crychan before having a steady run over the final stage to ensure he made the finish in second place. The two runs of Route 60 formed the Power Stage Challenge, a new innovation that the event organisers introduced this year which awarded prizes to the fastest crews in each class, Harry winning an entry to next year’s event as a result of being the fastest RF1.0 crew.

“It was an amazing day, I am very happy to get second in class and also to have won the Power Stage Challenge. I was overwhelmed that we won the ‘Stars of the Day’ award, that was totally unexpected. I spoke to event sponsor Nicky Grist at the finish and the award was for stopping for the crew in stage three.”

“I would like to thank everyone involved for making it such an enjoyable weekend. I am currently looking for potential sponsors to get involved with the team for the remainder of this year and beyond, please contact me via www.harryrally.co.uk for further information.”

Harry will next be in action on the Woodpecker Stages rally at the beginning of September.

Image courtesy Simon Clarke