Monday 25 May 2009

Rollercoaster ride on the Jim Clark rally for Moore

East Boldon based rally co-driver Janice Moore made her second British Rally Championship appearance of the year last weekend when she contested the Jim Clark International rally with Richard Sykes in his Suzuki Swift Sport Cup car.

Although both Sykes and Moore had competed on the Jim Clark rally previously they had never contested an event together before and their rally got off to a testing start when it became apparent after a few seconds into the opening Bothwell stage that calling the pacenotes was going to be difficult due to problems with the helmet intercom system and Moore struggling to see out of the car with the seat being set for Sykes’s usual co-driver.

The pairing battled on to the service halt where, after trying to find another helmet or intercom link for Moore, the crew swapped helmets which meant that Sykes could now hear Moore but not the other way round. The service crew also raised the seat so that Moore could see over the dashboard. Despite their problems Sykes and Moore ended the first day of the event second in class.

The next day kicked off with the Edrom stage and Sykes and Moore were quick out of the blocks, setting fastest time of the Rally 1 class crews. A collision with a bird on the next stage saw them lose a few seconds while sliding wide on a hairpin in the Eccles stage, almost hitting a photographer, cost more time, dropping them to third place in the class.

They were soon back up to second though, with fastest time in the second run of the Edrom stage, a position they consolidated with second fastest time in the following Blackadder stage. Disaster was to strike in the next stage though when the car rolled on a corner.

"It was a fast right hand corner in the Fogo stage that tightened part way round. The car went off the road and rolled," said Janice.

"Fortunately, with the help of the spectators and marshals, we got going again but the brakes had stopped working so we had to limp to the end of the stage. We lost over three minutes to our class rivals."

A huge effort by everyone in service, including members of rival teams, saw the car repaired in time to contest the final loop of stages and Sykes and Moore had a successful end to the event, setting fastest times on the last two stages to come home third in class.

The result moves Sykes up to fourth in the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup championship and fifth in the Rally 1 championship.

Please visit to keep up to date with Janice's rallying.

BHRC Preview: Severn Valley Historic Challenge

Round three of the Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship brings the BHRC crews back to Wales for the second of three gravel events in the principality and the classic stages used on the Severn Valley Historic Challenge are widely regarded as some of the best of the season. The BHRC is riding a wave of popularity with competitors and spectators and another excellent field will gather in Builth Wells on Saturday 30 May for championship round three of eight.

Category 1: Category one is for the oldest cars, from the pre '68 era, and they run first on the road with a short gap before the rest of the historic field. In category one, it was the Sunbeam Tiger of Jonathan and Graham Gale that set a cracking pace on the Bulldog Rally to take first blood with the car used so successfully in 2007 and 2008 by Patrick Watts. But in Kielder, Gale hit trouble and slid off the road early in the rally leaving the way open for Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride to win the category in their Porsche 911.

But the current top scorer in the championship comes from class B4 in the form of the Lotus Cortina of Paul Mankin and Desmond Bell. They’ve had two great runs already this season and now come back to Wales aiming for another strong result to stay at the head of the overall title race.

Class B2 is home to the Minis, including the Cooper S of Mike Barratt/Jody Watson and, out for the first time this season, the similar car of Terry Cree and Richard Shores. In class B1, another round of the Imp battle is likely as Gary and Jane Edgington pit their Singer Chamois against the Hillman Imp Sport of Geoff Taylor and Steve Greenhill. The Edgington husband and wife crew took a famous last stage win on the Bulldog, but retired with engine dramas in Kielder.

Category 2: In category two, for the post-historic cars, Rupert Lomax and David Alcock is the crew to beat after two strong runs, although rotor arm problems in Kielder cost their Escort Mk1 another category victory. Instead, it was the Porsche 911 of Tim Mason and Graham Wild that won on the Pirelli Historic Rally after an excellent run and they have the pace to win again this weekend. Back in category two for the Severn Valley will be David Stokes and Guy Weaver in their Escort Mk1, after the car was badly damaged on the Bulldog. They borrowed a Mk2 Escort for the Pirelli, but now return to familiar surroundings after a major rebuild on the Mk1. Stokes will go head to head with Lomax at the front of the category, while the return of Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard adds another very quick Mk1 to the contest.

Class C3, for the Pinto-engined Escorts, is one of the toughest in the championship with a whole crop of potential winners. Tim Jones and Don James scored an emphatic victory on home ground for the Bulldog, but in Kielder it was Drew Wylie and Howard Pridmore who took a great victory. Jones has vowed to win again back in Wales, but Wylie is showing great pace this season. Other leading Escort Mk1s in C3 include those of Andrew Siddall/Captain Thompson and Neal James/Kevin Jones. In class C2, for the 1600cc cars, Vince Bristow and Dean Mitchell are likely to set the pace, but have opposition from Matt Fowle/tba, Richard Williams/Richard Ekin, Tony Ginns/Mark Ellis and David Kirby/Sean Kennedy in a battle of the Mk1 Escorts.

Category 3: Four Escort Mk2 crews stand out at the head of category three, for the cars produced from 1975 to 1981, where the pace this season has been spectacular. Nick Elliott and Dave Price stormed to victory on the Bulldog, but slid off the road on the Pirelli. Instead, it was Darren Moon and Chris Parsons who took a great victory in Kielder to back up a solid start on the Bulldog.

However, both crews know that they cannot afford to overlook Julian Reynolds and Ian Oakey, who could set the absolute pace on the Severn Valley. Reynolds chased Elliott home on the Bulldog, but retired from the Pirelli after gearbox and then overheating dramas. If he gets a clear run on stages he knows well, Reynolds could well make it three winners in three rallies.

But the same can be said of Gwyndaf Evans and Clive Jenkins, who make a welcome return in the car of Phil Mills' Viking Motorsport. They showed good pace on the Bulldog and will now build on that in their second BHRC outing. Others Escort Mk2s to watch in category three include those of Seamus O'Connell/Paul Wakely, Dick Slaughter/Preston Ayres, Gareth Lloyd/Ryland James, Will Onions/Tim Hobbs, James Potter/Arwel Jenkins and Simon Tysoe/Cliff Simmons. Ranged against the Escorts at the head of the category are the Vauxhall Chevettes of Rob Smith/Shaun O'Gorman and Roger Kilty/Lynette Banks, and Smith is overdue a clear run to show just what he can do against the Escort hordes.

More Escorts pack out class D3, for the Pinto-powered cars, and it is the car of Ryan Barrett and Barry Ferris that should set the absolute pace after a stunning BHRC debut victory on the Pirelli. Rivals to the flying Irish crew include David Lloyd-Roberts/Dei Jones, Richard Lane/Frank Richer and Adrian Young/Keith Fellowes.

The Severn Valley Historic Rally is organised by Midland Manor Motor Club Ltd. For more details about the event, please visit the website at:

By Paul Lawrence
Image by Songasport

Sunday 17 May 2009

Images from the Plains rally


Round 4 of the BTRDA championship, the Plains rally, was won by Hugh Hunter in his Ford Focus WRC. Hunter was only six seconds ahead of Will Nicholls after 45 stage miles. Bentham's David Wright took third place. Graham Middleton won the 1400s category.

Gearbox gremlins end Plains victory hopes for Shelley

Rally co-driver Shelley Rogerson, from Lancaster, suffered a disappointing Plains rally last Saturday (16th May) when problems with the gearbox of the Peugeot Cosworth she shared with Andrew Burton denied the chance of victory.

The rally, the fourth round of the BTRDA rally championship, started with a short stage around a woodyard near Welshpool. Burton and Rogerson were quickly on the pace, setting third fastest time behind the Subaru of Will Nicholls and the Ford Focus of Hugh Hunter.

The crews then headed for the forests around Corris in Mid-Wales to compete on some of the classic Welsh rally stages. Third fastest on stage two followed by quickest times on stages three and four saw the Peugeot crew arrive at service in the lead of the rally by 12 seconds from Nicholls and Hunter.

“We were pleased to be leading at service, it was very close at the top of the leaderboard and Will and Hugh were pushing hard, “ said Shelley.

“The weather conditions were very changeable which made the stages extremely slippery in parts. We had no problems though and Andy drove well to move into the lead.”

Burton and Rogerson extended their lead by a further two seconds on the fifth stage, Pantperthog, but on stage six a problem with the gearbox meant that they could only set sixth fastest time, dropping to third overall. The problem worsened in stage seven before the crew called it a day in stage eight.

“Part way through stage six we lost second gear and with the gearbox being sequential it meant we were losing time when coming out of the tight corners. Stages seven and eight had a lot of hairpins and uphill corners and we had more problems finding a gear and lost a lot of time. Although the car was still driveable we were no longer competitive so we decided not to risk any more damage and retired in stage eight.“

“It was great that we had the pace to be ahead of the World Rally cars of Nicholls and Hunter but we’re very disappointed not to have made it to the finish. Hopefully the car can be fixed quickly and we can be back out again soon. I’d like to thank Co-ordSport, Nicky Grist, Gilletts Spar and Songasport for their support.”

For more information on Shelley’s rallying please visit

Wright has successful run to Plains podium

Bentham’s David Wright had a successful Plains rally last Saturday (16th May) when he took third place overall and moved into second place in the BTRDA rally championship.

Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson contested the rally in a GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9 backed by Grove Hill Garage and Kumho Tyres and they got their event off to a quick start with fourth place on the opening stage, a short blast around a woodyard near Welshpool.

The rally then moved to the gravel roads in the forests of Dyfi and Gartheiniog for three stages prior to a service halt. Wright took a third fastest time and two fourths to hold fourth place overall at service behind the Peugeot Cosworth of Andrew Burton and the World Rally cars of Will Nicholls and Hugh Hunter.

“We only got the engine fitted back in the car on the Thursday before the rally so we didn’t push too hard early on and we were surprised to see that we were up with the leading crews,” said Wright.

“The stages were very slippery but we had a good set up and no problems with the car.”

Wright maintained his pace on the following four forest stages and with Burton retiring on stage eight he moved up to third overall. Another run of the woodyard stage ended the rally and Wright successful completed the stage to arrive at the finish in Welshpool in third.

“We had a big moment at the finish of the seventh stage when we slid into a bank but fortunately it was as we crossed the line so it didn’t affect our time.”

“Other than that we had a problem free run and we enjoyed the slightly dryer conditions in the afternoon stages. I'm delighted with the result.”

“I’d like to thank Giles at GPM for preparing the car and getting the engine fitted in time and also Kumho Tyres and Grove Hill Garage for their support.”

The result moves Wright up to second place in the BTRDA championship standings with the next round to be held in June at the Dukeries rally in Nottinghamshire.

Tuesday 12 May 2009

Dilworth races to Radnor success


Two days of tough competition saw Tim Dilworth take victory in round two of the Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship which was held on farmland and forest tracks at Radnor. Round one winner Richard Kershaw took second place, 37 seconds behind, with Dan Lofthouse in third.

Holywell’s Dilworth and navigator Anthony Brinkman got their event of to a fast start, covering the six mile course 9 seconds ahead of Kershaw in their Peugeot 206. Dilworth kept up his pace throughout day one in changeable weather conditions, ending up 16 seconds ahead of Kershaw after the seven runs.

"Day one went very well, we had a few problems with the exhaust but otherwise it was troublefree,” said Dilworth. “The track was absolutely brilliant with some very fast parts and some technical bits as well.”

Day two dawned bright and sunny and Dilworth and Kershaw traded fastest times on the drying track but despite a late charge Kershaw could not challenge for victory.

“We had a difficult weekend with some problems on the car,” Kershaw said. “It’s been a good weekend’s racing though, a fantastic event on a good course.”

Dilworth was delighted with his victory after having problems with his car on several previous events. “It’s been a long time coming, it was nice to give Richard a run for his money,” he said. “I was at the Higgins Rally School last weekend and the tuition seems to have paid off!”

Lofthouse took a solid third place in his Lofthouse Proto LD4. “I’m pretty happy with the result, the guys in front were setting blistering times. We couldn’t catch them so decided to play safe.”

Chris Hammond was fourth in his Milner R5 after an event-long battle with Martin Gould. “It’s more points in the bag for the championship, we had a good event and the track had a mix of everything which was excellent, a credit to the organisers.”

Bob Seaman took victory in Trophy class in his Milner R4 from Paul Myers in the Britpart 100. Dave Marsh won the Clubman event in a QT Wildcat.


1. Tim Dilworth Peugeot 206 1:43:25
2. Richard Kershaw Peugeot 206 Evo 9 1:44:02
3. Dan Lofthouse Lofthouse Proto LD4 1:45:12
4. Chris Hammond Milner R5 1:46:31
5. Martin Gould Mattserati 1:46:41
6. James Webb Milner R4 1:49:16
7. Ian Rochelle Millington Mattserati 1:50:53
8. Ben Gott TMC DB M2 1:58:02
9. Steven Smith JRG Indy 2 2:01:19
10. Ian Bartlett Bartletts 3M206 2:04:11

Monday 11 May 2009

Shelley targets top spot on Plains rally

Lancaster’s Shelley Rogerson resumes her BTRDA rally championship challenge next Saturday (16th May) when she will contest the Plains rally with Andrew Burton in his Peugeot Cosworth.

Shelley, 23, has a good record on the Welshpool-based event having finished second in 2007 with Burton and taking victory in 2005 with Geoff Jones in a Subaru Impreza. Hopes are high for another good result.

“We got a good points score on the last championship round in Somerset so we’re aiming for another decent score on the Plains,” said Shelley.

“It would be great to repeat my 2005 win but we’ve got some tough competition. I’ll be happy if I can improve on the fifth place I’ve currently got on the championship.”

The event kicks off with a stage around the Mick Jones timber yard near Welshpool before heading into the forests for the bulk of the 45 competitive miles with the crews returning to the timber yard for the final stage before the finish.

“The rally uses some of the classic Welsh forestry stages such as Dyfi and Gartheiniog and they’re some of my favourites. Hopefully we will have a trouble free run. I’d like to thank Co-ordSport, Nicky Grist, Gilletts Spar and Songasport for their support.”

For more information on Shelley’s rallying please visit

Wright aiming for a successful Plains debut

Bentham-based David Wright will be back in rally action next weekend (May 16th) when he competes in the fourth round of the BTRDA rally championship, the Plains rally. Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson will be driving a GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9 backed by Grove Hill Garage and Kumho Tyres.

It will be Wright’s first attempt at the event but after an excellent start to 2009 which sees him lie third in the championship he is optimistic that a good result can be achieved.

“The car performed really well on the last championship round in Somerset so although I’ve not contested the event before I’m hopeful of getting a good result and keeping up my championship challenge,” said Wright.

“We had some issues with the engine last week when testing but it should all be back together ready for the weekend.”

“There’s going to be some tough competition on Saturday, I’ll be happy to do well against my championship rivals and finish somewhere near the top of the leaderboard.”

The rally is based in Welshpool with the majority of the 45 competitive miles taking place in the Welsh forests. More information can be found at

Monday 4 May 2009

Rachel gets to the finish at sunny Three Sisters

Carlisle rally co-driver Rachel Medich was in action again at the weekend when she contested the Procare Stages at the Three Sisters race circuit near Wigan. Rachel was competing in a Talbot Sunbeam with Martin Lynch and they finished 25th overall after 12 stages at a very sunny venue. Rachel tells us about her event in this exclusive interview.

Was this your first time competing at Three Sisters? What did you think of the venue?

It was actually my second time there in the MGL Transport LTD backed Talbot Sunbeam, we did the event last year, it was one of our few finishes in 2008. I think it's a fantastic venue with a very reasonable entry fee, it's the type of place you go to for a tarmac test or even just to get a finish, it's good fun, you can entertain the crowd for sure.

Martin has been competing more in the forests lately, how did he do on the tarmac?

He thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the "drifting" corner. It was run in both directions but he seemed to go quicker when we were using the circuit right handed. He's finished every time he's been there so far and he says he's definitely a tarmac man but, although he may not admit it, I think he has a big soft spot for the forests and he's entertaining in there!

You crossed the finish line totally sideways at one point, what was going on there?

We did it a few times, we came out of a hairpin right and as Martin put the power down the back end tried to overtake the front resulting in a full-on broadside over the finish and a cheer from the stop line. That's what makes rear wheel drive extra special, not only is it good fun in the car, the spectators love it and Martin is only too happy to indulge everyone.

Any other incidents during the day?

Yes, aside from the many, many sideways incidents we managed to clip a kerb and almost roll. I wouldn't mind but I was concentrating so hard I didn't notice until we thumped back down onto the track. Of course it was me up in the air which makes it even stranger that I didn't notice. I did however see the looks on the marshals' faces, poised for action springs to mind. I'm still waiting on a photograph of it but it would appear that no one caught it on camera.

It must be pleasing to complete an event in the Sunbeam after you've had a few retirements in it?

Yes it is, I was very happy for Martin, he has the worst luck of anyone I've known in rallying. It's not just the Sunbeam we've had retirements in, we didn't fair much better in "The Beast" which is an Ascona-engined Peugeot 306 painted in battle ship grey matt paint. That thing is VERY sideways. We had a joke going into one of the final stages that we were so tired because we never usually got that far and our bodies had already switched off. Martin has won the Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club's "piston broke" trophy for two years in a row, it's awarded to the person with the most retirements, we don't want him winning it again.

Did you have a Three Sisters breakfast?

I had a bacon roll. Everyone has their little pre-rally traditions and mine is to have a bacon roll. The only time I haven't managed was on Mull and that was a combination of extreme nerves and the fact that our start time was 21.10 and we'd not long since had supper. Martin and Ian, our service chap, indulged in a full works breakfast though.

When are you planning to be out next?

My next event will be on the 7th June at Weeton where I will be part of a 50th birthday present for one of my drivers Dad's, he'll be presented with everything from the car and racesuit to codriver (me). We have a feeling he's going to love it!

Sunday 3 May 2009

Images from the Procare Stages


An unusually sunny Three Sisters race circuit was the venue for the Wigan MC-organised Procare Stage. After 12 stages the Lotus Europa of Stuart Deeley claimed victory from Mark Roberts in his Escort and Dave Burns in the BAT Motorsport Corsa.