Sunday 28 June 2009

Wright keen to maintain championship lead on Quinton Stages

Bentham’s David Wright will be back in rally action next Saturday (4th July) when he contests round six of the BTRDA rally championship, the Quinton Stages rally.

After five successful rallies this year Wright is leading the championship by two points from Nigel Griffiths and he is keen to maintain his lead on the Llandovery-based event.

Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson will once again be using a Giles Philips Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 backed by Grove Hill Garage and Kumho Tyres.

“We’ve had a good year so far with five decent results,” said Wright.

“My aim is to keep up the successful run and get a top finish, we need to do beat our championship rivals if possible. The car has performed well so far and has been reliable so hopefully that will continue. We’re hoping to have a new engine for the last two rounds of the championship but the car will be in the same specification as the previous round for the Quinton.”

“The event uses some of the same stages as the Rally GB world championship event so it’ll be good to test ourselves on the roads used by the top crews. I’ve got a little bit of experience of the stages as I contested the event in 2002 but I’m sure the condition of the roads will have changed since then.”

The rally will be contested over 45 competitive miles on gravel tracks around the Epynt military range with the leading crews arriving back in Llandovery on Saturday afternoon.

Thursday 25 June 2009

Revised dates for Britpart BCCC

The organisers of the Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship have announced a revised calendar for the remainder of the 2009 series. Round 4 will now take place at Sweet Lamb on 12th and 13th of September, round 5 at either Penllyn or Worcester on the 10th and 11th of October and round 6 at Driffield on the weekend of 31st October/1st November.

Blomqvist leads early entries for Roger Albert Clark Rally

Stig Blomqvist, winner of the inaugural Roger Albert Clark Rally in 2004, will return to the event in November to try and win for the second time as the early entry list starts to include some of the big names of historic rallying.

Blomqvist, the 1984 World Rally Champion, and Ana Goni will compete in a Ford Escort Mk2 from David Sutton's team, contesting the rally for the third time having also finished second overall in 2005 to Mark Higgins. "This event is just like the RAC Rally was in the 1970s and 1980s," said Blomqvist.

However, the driver with the most consistent record on the event will be back to try and finally claim that all-important victory. Jeremy Easson has contested all five previous Roger Alberts and has finished in the top three on four of them, only retiring in 2008. Easson was within sight of winning in 2006 when a throttle problem on the final stage at Croft dropped him to third.

Now, Easson is busy building a fresh Escort Mk1 for the 2009 rally. "We want to be at the front end of the RAC," said Easson. "We’ve come close, but there are more and more competitive drivers coming to do it now. It’s a long event, but to be in a winning position you’ve got to have the right sort of kit nowadays. I like the idea of staying in category two with a Mk1 rather than going for a Mk2."

Also confirmed to be entering again in 2009 is David Stokes who, like Easson, has supported the rally since the very start. His best result so far was second to Malcolm Wilson in 2008. "It's the highlight of the year," said Stokes. "It's a very tough event and it's hard work. You've got to pace yourself."

Paul Griffiths, one of the pacesetters in 2008 during his first attempt at the rally in his Escort Mk2, has also lodged his entry. "It’s the best rally of the year. We had a great run last year and set some fastest stage times, so this year I'd like to have a clear run."

For more details about the Roger Albert Clark Rally, please visit

By Paul Lawrence

BHRC Report: Mid Wales Historic Stages

Gwyndaf Evans made it two wins on the trot in category three of the Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship when he won the Rally Marketing Mid Wales Stages on Sunday (21 June). Partnered by Gareth Roberts, Evans swept ahead when both Julian Reynolds/Ian Oakey and Nick Elliott/Dave Price hit trouble after they has set stunning times over the opening stages. In category two, David Stokes/Guy Weaver turned in an excellent run to claim victory while Jonathan and Graham Gale bagged category one in their Sunbeam Tiger. Once again the classic stages in Hafren and Myherin drew unanimous praise from the crews and the new organising team behind the rally delivered a first class event.

Category 1: Despite running first on the road throughout the rally, Gale was always top dog in category one having pushed the Tiger clear on the opening 10-mile stage that started in Hafren and finished in Sweet Lamb. Through the second pair of Hafren stages, Gale extended his lead, but it was never a case of just cruising to victory. The first big drama came on the descent from Pikes Peak when a huge moment caused a deal of excitement inside the car. Then, fuel vapourisation struck and they struggled into the long Myherin stage. Finally, a detached windscreen wiper and misted screen made vision very difficult in the last stage to Elvis Rock, so it was a relieved Gale who returned to Newtown with victory confirmed. "That was an enormous moment coming down from Pikes Peak," reported Jonathan.

Leading the chase of the Tiger was non-BHRC crew Graham Waite/Gill Cotton, who pedalled the Volvo Amazon with typical verve to head Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911). With the Porsche still bearing the scars of the off on the Severn Valley, Nutt was happy to reach the finish without any dramas. "The car hasn’t missed a beat," reported Paul Mankin and Des Bell after another class B4 victory to put themselves back into the overall BHRC lead, while Mike Barratt/Jody Watson took B2 in their Mini Cooper despite Watson being ill for most of the rally. In B1, with the Sunbeam Imp of Geoff Taylor/Steve Greenhill out with a broken gear lever, it was down to the Saab 96s of John Parker/Caroline Lodge and Nick Pinkett/Jonathan Lodge. In a tribute to his former co-driver Bob Harrison, who died recently, Parker claimed the class on his first rally for over a year.

Category 2: The decisive moment in category two came towards the end of the second run through Hafren South when Rupert Lomax/David Alcock sportingly pulled over to let Stokes/Weaver go by. They had been only a second apart on the first stage, but a stuck throttle cost Lomax more than a minute as they drove out of the stage on the cut-off switch. They were again closely matched over the later stages, but the damage had been done and Stokes/Weaver won by a minute and a half after a faultless performance. "Once I passed Rupert I didn't take any risks," reported Stokes after a result to end a run of troubled rallies.

Tim Mason/Graham Wild ran with the Escorts over the opening stages in their Porsche 911, but went out of the rally in mysterious circumstances in Myherin. Running first on the road after a gap following Nick Elliott's accident, they arrived at a corner to find a large log in the road and the resulting suspension damage ended their rally in a most unfortunate manner. With the Porsche out, Lomax fought back to second to maintain his title bid heading for the Isle of Man.

Into C4 victory came Jeremy Easson/Alun Cook in the mighty Ford Capri, though Easson admitted that the twisty section of Sweet Lamb was definitely not Capri territory. A couple of offs and a puncture cost Peter Smith/Russ Langthorne (Porsche 911) a good result, but they set some encouraging times in the process.

As ever, the contest for C3 glory was spectacular and fiercely competitive among the Escort Mk1s. Drew Wylie and Howard Pridmore lost over half a minute on the first stage when Wylie admitted to having not woken up. Instead, Tim Jones/Don James took the lead and had to push very hard to fend off the flying Neal James/Kevin Jones, with the margin just four seconds after a fine battle. "We had a bad stage in Myherin," said Jones after a long wait at the start of the stage. Wylie/Pridmore took third from Ken Forster/John Stanger-Leathes.

Vince Bristow/John Cadwallader were well on target for C2 spoils with a great run when a melted piston ended their rally. Instead, Matt Fowle/Robert Cook took the class and tenth overall in category two despite nursing their Escort home with a failing head-gasket.

Category 3: The pace among the top three Escort Mk2s in category three was sensational as Reynolds/Oakey and Elliott/Price tied on the opening stage, 12s up on Evans/Roberts. Reynolds then went 2s faster than Elliott in Hafren North before adding nine seconds to his lead on the second run through Hafren South, aided when Elliott lost the intercom. But it was stunning stuff and the many spectators out on the stages loved the spectacle. Heading out of service towards Pikes Peak, Reynolds was 11s up on Elliott and 23s up on Evans, who felt he had lost time with a wrong tyre choice, but gave full credit to the speed of his rivals. However, Pikes Peak dealt Reynolds a crushing blow with an early puncture and they lost nearly four minutes changing the wheel. But worse was to come for Elliott on the 12-miler in Myherin. An off-camber left threw them into the ditch and the Escort went over twice. Though unharmed, Nick had breathed in some fire extinguishant and felt groggy, so the stage was halted while medical crews attended. "It was all going fairly comfortably and we'd just inherited the lead," said Elliott. All of this left Evans with a clear lead but he acknowledged the pace of his rivals. "They were both going well and I wasn't going quick enough to catch them," he said. Nevertheless, a second victory on the run went to the Viking Motorsport crew. Through to a fine second pace came Will Onions/Tim Hobbs after their best BHRC run so far. "A very good day; no problems," reported Hobbs as they ended the rally half a minute up on Paul Griffiths/Sam Collis. Out for the first time this season, Griffiths got back into the groove very well to bag third by just three seconds from Darren Moon/Chris Parsons, who spent the day working back from a steady first stage.

The D3 battle was another final stage cliff-hanger as Mark Clifford/Elgan Davies stormed through Elvis Rock to win by two seconds, having been level with Guy Woodcock/David Williams going into the last 6-miler. "That was a fantastic battle," said Clifford, before admitting to a big moment in that last stage.

In D2, Jacob Scannell/Nina Thompson got a well-deserved finish and class win in their Escort Mk2 after a series of dramas on previous events, while D4 fell to the Volvo 244 of Bill Douglas/Stephen Hancock.

The BHRC action continues with round five, the Isle of Man Historic Rally, on 10/11 July.

Saturday 20 June 2009

Rally Isle of Man entries deadline looms

With just days left till the close of entries for next month’s 46th Rally Isle of Man, over 130 crews have already confirmed their intention to tackle the islands famous closed roads stages on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th July.

The event once again features as a high profile round of both of the British Isles’ major international championships, the MSA British Rally Championship (Round 4) and the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship (Round 6).

The principle change for 2009 is that the action will this year take place over two days, rather than the usual three. In making this move the organisers have responded to the requests of competitors and officials to reduce the time required away from work and home.

However, there will be no reduction in mileage; in fact it has increased! The event, winner of the British Championship ‘Rally of the Year’ title last year, will therefore remain in every sense the unique challenge that it has always been.

Another change is to reconnaissance. Competitors will be allowed two passes of each stage, not three as previously, again reducing the time required.

Scrutineering and documentation will take place from Thursday morning, at the TT Grandstand in Douglas, which will be the Rally HQ and central service area throughout the event.

The action will then begin with the ‘shakedown’ stage, running that evening, 9th July, between 6.15 and 9.15pm.

The rally itself is set to depart Douglas at 10am on Friday at the start of a testing eleven hour day, taking in 12 special closed public roads stages across the island.

A further eight tests follow on Saturday, and the winners should be spraying the champagne at around 4pm after having battled a 360 mile route, 180 of which are on stages.

In total last year over 150 rally crews took to the world famous Isle of Man stages, with the event particularly popular with the crews of the Isle of Man Historic Rally.

This year Historic competitors will tackle 19 stages, and the event is again a qualifying round of:

- The Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship - Round 5
- The Irish Tarmac Historic Rally Championship - Round 5

Competitors in the ever more popular Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship will be competing for three sets of points.

It is also great to see that the BRC Challenge again feature, with the Isle of Man Challenge Rally featuring as a crucial double header round. Crews will tackle 16 stages.

This event also caters for clubmen who want to take on the challenge, and the Isle of Man Trophy Rally will take in all eight of Saturday’s stages.

Entries for all events close on Friday 19th June, so act now and join us in July!

Regulations and entry forms have been sent to all 2008 entrants, and are available for download from the event website at

BHRC R4: Mid-Wales Stages preview

Some of the famous stages from Wales Rally GB await crews in round four of the Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship, the Rally Marketing Mid Wales Historic Stages on Sunday 21 June.

With a strong entry of over 60 cars, there will be great competition across all three categories as crews tackle famous stages in the Hafren and Myherin complexes. From the start in Newtown, the rally heads into the surrounding forests for 50 miles of superb gravel roads.

Category 1: Favourites for category one spoils among the pre ’68 cars is the Sunbeam Tiger of Jonathan and Graham Gale, which has shown prodigious speed already this year. However, this is far from a forgone conclusion, as the Porsche 911 of Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride will be as big a rival as ever to the V8 Tiger. In the most recent round, the Severn Valley Stages, Nutt was caught out by the Tiger’s dust and slid off the road, rolling the Porsche in the process of an uncharacteristic slip.

Leading the chase of the Tiger and the 911 will be overall title contenders Paul Mankin and Desmond Bell in their Lotus Cortina. The Newcastle-upon-Tyne crew is having a great season and another strong result will keep them in contention for the BHRC title. Ranged against Mankin/Bell in class B4 will be Welsh Historic Championship contenders Graham Waite/Gill Cotton (Volvo Amazon) and Gwilym Roberts/Gwawr Hughes (Lotus Cortina).

Heading class B2 will be the Mini Cooper S of Mike Barratt/Jody Watson, while class B1 has the Sunbeam Imp of Geoff Taylor/Steve Greenhill up against the two-stroke Saabs of John Parker/Caroline Lodge and Nick Pinkett/Jonathan Lodge. The fact that the co-driving Lodges are husband and wife should add to the battle of the Saabs.

Category 2: It is proving to be a great season for Rupert Lomax/David Alcock, who head to the Mid Wales as overall leaders in the BHRC after three very good results in their Escort Mk1. They will be determined to maintain that momentum, but two more Escort Mk1s in particular will offer very strong opposition. David Stokes/Guy Weaver have yet to have a proper clean run this season and will be eager to put that right in Wales, while Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard are also very quick in their similar car.

The battle for class C4 will be rejoined with the Porsche 911 of Tim Mason/Graham Wild taking on the Ford Capri RS3100 of Jeremy Easson/Alan Cook. Also getting into the frame in C4 as he gets used to his Porsche 911 is Peter Smith, partnered as usual by Russ Langthorne. This trio of C4 cars also has the potential to give strong chase to the BDA-powered Escorts in the category two field.

Class C3, for the Pinto-powered Escorts, is hugely competitive, with at least four potential winners. Tim Jones/Don James will be seeking to press home the local advantage, but Drew Wylie/Howard Pridmore are having a fantastic season and will make a real fight of it. Add in Andrew Siddall/Captain Thompson, Ken Forster/John Stanger-Leathes and the rising star of C3, James Slaughter with Greg McCormack alongside, and it’s going to be some battle. Further spice is added to the mix by the rallying debut of former Le Mans winner Guy Smith, co-driven by Graham Henshaw in the Escort Mk1 driven by Guy’s father Peter last year.

In class C2, Matt Fowle/Robert Cook could set the pace, but a late entry from Vince Bristow/tba will ensure a fierce contest, with Richard Williams/Richard Ekin also looking to get into the contest.

Category 3: Another superb entry for category three packs no less than 14 Escort Mk2s into the top 20 seeds, with Severn Valley winners Gwyndaf Evans/Gareth Roberts leading the way in the car from Phil Mills’ stable. But with Nick Elliott/Dave Price, Julian Reynolds/Ian Oakey and Darren Moon/Chris Parsons running as the next three cars on the road, the pace is going to be sensational. Elliott won the season-opening Bulldog Rally, while Moon won in Kielder, so Reynolds will be very keen to make it four winners from four events. But that’s certainly not the end of the strong Mk2s, as packing out the top 10 are Paul Griffiths/Sam Collis, Terry Brown/Den Golding, Will Onions/Tim Hobbs and Simon Tysoe/Cliff Simmons. It is a stunning line-up, and the quality continues well beyond the top 10 with crews like Dick Slaughter/Geoff Dearing and Gareth Lloyd/Ryland James.

In D3, the pace of Irish Escort Mk2 crew Ryan Barrett and Barry Ferris will be mighty and they will be very tough to beat if they have a clear run. Guy Woodcock/Iwan Jones and Richard Lane/Frank Richer head the opposition, while the Escort Mk2 of Jacob Scannell/Nina Thompson leads D2.

The Rally Marketing Mid Wales Historic Stages is organised by Newtown and District Automobile Club Ltd. For more details about the event, please visit the website at:

By Paul Lawrence

Sunday 14 June 2009

Dukeries disappointment for Shelley

Lancaster’s Shelley Rogerson suffered another disappointing rally last weekend (13th June) when differential failure resulted in retirement from the Dukeries rally.

Shelley was co-driving for Andrew Burton in his Peugeot Cosworth and after retirement on the Plains rally and more car problems meaning that they failed to start the Severn Valley Stages hopes were high for a reliable run on the Southwell based event.

Their rally got off to a good start with second fastest time on the opening Thieves Wood test and third fastest on the Portland stage. Stage three was in Sherwood forest and the Peugeot stormed through the stage to take fastest time.

However, disaster struck on the fourth stage when the front differential seized on the car meaning that the crew could go no further.

“We were on the pace on the opening tests and the car was going well,” said Shelley.

“Getting fastest time on stage three was excellent and we were hoping that the reliability problems we’ve had were behind us.”

“It all went wrong in the Clipstone South stage though, the diff started making noises part way through the stage and then after a couple of miles it seized. There was no way we could fix it in stage so our rally was over.”

“It’s very disappointing to retire again. We’re not giving up though, hopefully the car will be fixed ready for the Quinton Stages rally in July. I’d like to thank Co-ordSport, Nicky Grist, Songasport and Gilletts Spar for their support.”

For more information on Shelley’s rallying please visit

Wright takes championship lead after successful Dukeries

Rally driver David Wright enjoyed a successful Dukeries rally last weekend (13th June) when he took fourth place overall and a class win to move into the lead of the BTRDA rally championship.

Wright, from Bentham, was partnered by Michael Wilkinson in a GPM Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 and their event got off to a good start with sixth fastest time on the short Thieves Wood stage near Mansfield.

Three more stages took place before the main service halt of the rally, including two in Sherwood Forest. Wright was consistently on the pace and after a couple of the leading crews retired from the event he was up to second at service.

“The early stages went well, we had no problems,” said Wright. “The long straights didn’t really suit the car as it’s not as powerful as the World Rally cars of our rivals but I was pleased to find that, despite this, I was in second place.”

Wright maintained his position with a fastest time on the stage following service but dropped to third after the Blidworth stage as the Focus WRC of eventual event winner Steve Perez passed him.

Two more stages in Sherwood forest followed and Wright lost a few seconds with a couple of overshoots as he pushed the car to the limit to try and maintain his position. A final stage charge saw him make up some time but it was not enough to return to third place.

“We were on the edge and sometimes over it in the last few stages, I was trying hard to finish as high as possible.“

“We couldn’t quite make it to third place but I’m happy with fourth, I’ve achieved my aim of taking the championship lead. Hopefully we can keep on the pace for the remaining rounds. I’d like to thank Grove Hill Garage and Kumho Tyres for their support and Giles Philips at GPM for preparing the car which ran faultlessly once again.”

The result means that Wright takes the lead of the BTRDA rally championship by a slender margin of two points from Nigel Griffiths with the next championship round, the Quinton Stages, taking place in early July.

Images from the Dukeries rally


Steve Perez in his Ford Focus WRC was victorious in the Dukeries rally, finishing 21 seconds ahead of Damian Cole with Charlie Payne in third. David Wright kept up his title hopes with 4th place and a win in the B13 class.

Justin Lawson won the 1400s and Jason Lepley won the historic event.

Monday 8 June 2009

Dilworth triumphs in Scotland


After 80 miles of tough competition Tim Dilworth and navigator Anthony Brinkman took victory in round three of the Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship. Richard Kershaw took second place, 35 seconds behind, with Ian Rochelle in his Millington Mattserati taking third.

Kershaw took the lead on the opening run of the event with Dan Lofthouse in second and Martin Gould in third as Dilworth struggled with a puncture. By run four Dilworth had got back to third place and he was soon up to second after a dramatic fifth run where Lofthouse retired after breaking his gearbox while towing Gould’s Mattserati which had stopped, blocking the stage, with mechanical problems.

Dilworth narrowly avoid a stage maximum on run seven when a wheel broke shortly after crossing the finish line. His good fortune continued on the last run of Saturday when Kershaw lost nearly two minutes giving Dilworth the lead.

Day two opened with Dilworth extending his lead on the first two runs before a puncture saw Kershaw claw back 15 seconds. Kershaw raced through the final run to make up a further 20 seconds but it was not enough to take victory.

"I’m ecstatic with the win and happy to get to the finish," said Dilworth. "The course was very testing and tough on the car but the service crew kept us going."

Bridgenorth’s Rochelle was delighted with his third place. "The course was fantastic, we came out of each run smiling and we thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. The weather was great too! I’m pleased to be getting on the pace and there’s more to come from both me and the car, hopefully we can catch up with those Peugeots."

Further down the leaderboard Chris Hammond suffered broken suspension on day one but found some spare parts to allow him to continue and recover to sixth overall while Greg Macleod was fortunate to escape from a high speed off on one of the long straights during run 7 on Saturday. The combined efforts of the Difflock and Solway recovery units saw the car retrieved from the trees and Greg was back out again on Sunday, taking 12th place.

The Trophy rally was won by Bob Seaman after an eventful two days. "The steering wheel came off on one run and the brakes failed on another so I’m very happy to have got to the end and taken the Trophy win. The course was fabulous, some rough parts and technical stuff together with some smooth and very fast sections."


1. Tim Dilworth Peugeot 206 GTi 1:54:04
2. Richard Kershaw Peugeot 206 Evo 9 1:54:39
3. Ian Rochelle Millington Mattserati 1:57:04
4. James Webb Milner R4 2:04:41
5. Colin Gould Bowler Wildcat 2:07:16
6. Chris Hammond Milner R5 2:10:53
7. Alan Wilkinson Milner R5 2:11:37
8. Martin Cox Tornado Evo 2 2:14:29
9. Steven Smith JRG Indy 2 2:17:13
10. Phil Ibbotson Metro 6R4 Evo 2:17:36

Trophy Winner: Bob Seaman Milner R4

Shelley aiming for good result on Dukeries rally

Lancaster's Shelley Rogerson is hoping to put the problems suffered on the recent Plains rally behind her next weekend (13th June) when she contests the Dukeries rally with Andrew Burton in his Peugeot Cosworth.

Their last event ended in disappointment when the gearbox broke towards the end of the rally, losing them a potential victory. They had planned to contest the Severn Valley rally at the end of May but further car problems meant that the entry had to be withdrawn.

The Dukeries rally is round 5 of the BTRDA rally championship and so far Shelley has had a mixed year with two good results and two retirements, resulting in a current position of 12th in the championship standings. Burton has won the event on three previous occasions and hopes are high for another good result at the weekend.

"We're hoping to have troublefree run this time," said Shelley. “The problems with the car have been very frustrating and we really need a good result this time to keep in touch with the championship leaders.”

"Andrew has won the event three times in three different types of car and it would be great to add a fourth victory to that list. As long as the car is reliable we should hopefully be challenging for a win. I'd like to thank Co-ordSport, Nicky Grist, Gilletts Spar and Songasport for their support."

The rally takes place mainly in the Sherwood forest area of Nottinghamshire and it will be contested over 44 miles of gravel tracks.

To keep up to date with Shelley’s rallying please visit

Wright targets championship lead in Nottinghamshire

Rally driver David Wright, from Bentham, is aiming to continue his good run of results next weekend (13th June) when he contests the Dukeries rally in his GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9.

Wright, who is backed by Grove Hill Garage and Kumho Tyres, will once again be partnered by Michael Wilkinson for the event.

The event is round 5 of the BTRDA rally championship and on the previous rounds Wright has finished in the top ten on every occasion. He presently lies in second place in the title race only one point behind the leader and the main aim for the weekend is to take the championship lead.

“I’m pleased with the results so far this season and it’s great to be so close to the top of the championship standings,” said Wright.

“I’m hoping to get another good haul of points and finish higher than my championship rivals. There’s only one point in it at the moment so every point is vital.”

“Since the last round we’ve done some more work on the engine and we’ve found a bit more power. There are a lot of straights in the stages used by the Dukeries rally though so I’m not sure we’ll be able to keep up with the World Rally Cars but we’ll give it a good go.”

The rally has 44 competitive miles and it takes place in the Sherwood forest area of Nottinghamshire. For more information please visit

Wednesday 3 June 2009

2009 Roger Albert Clark Rally unveiled

A significantly revised route, new stages and a reduced entry fee are the main points from the unveiling of the 2009 Roger Albert Clark Rally.

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

The sixth running of the event will maintain the event's reputation as a real test of man and machine, with a forest stage on Friday evening (13 November), a daunting 13-stage leg on Saturday, stages in the Scottish borders on Sunday and the now-traditional Kielder sting-in-tail on Monday morning (16 November).

"Building upon the success of previous years, we have taken the opportunity to condense the route to reduce competitors costs while still offering great value," said rally manager Colin Heppenstall from De Lacy Motor Club. 'Two new venues have been included into this years route which has allowed us to change the format of some of the stages to offer greater variation."

The four-day adventure will start at Pickering Showground in Yorkshire for documentation and scrutineering on Friday. The competition then begins with a long stage in Langdale forest in the dark of Friday evening. On Saturday evening crews will have their first taste of Kielder, with new to the event stages in Shepherdshield and Chirdonhead.

The total road route has been trimmed by 130 miles, while stage mileage is trimmed by just 20 miles. The entry fee has been reduced by £230 to £1650 for entries received by 30 June.

Five individual support events will run alongside the main rally, including the Kall Kwik Rally on Saturday, the De Lacy Night Rally on Saturday night, the Clubman's Rally on Sunday (Ae complex), the Greystoke Challenge on Sunday afternoon and the Kielder Challenge on Monday.

Fans of the rally are now being urged to support the event by joining a new motor club that is being set up to promote the event. With the blessing of Roger Clark's family, the Roger Albert Clark Rally Motor Club Ltd will give competitors, marshals and spectators a unique opportunity to support the event, which draws thousands of fans into the British forests each November.

"The intention is for the club to be internet-based, with an annual meeting once a year, and three or four meeting during the year at various locations," said rally manager Colin Heppenstall.

Club membership will be just £10 and all fees will go into the promotion of the rally. The application for the club to be affiliated to the MSA will be made by the end of June.

For more details about the Roger Albert Clark Rally, and application forms for the Roger Albert Clark Rally Motor Club please visit

By Paul Lawrence
Image by Songasport

BHRC R3 Report: Severn Valley Historic Rally

The battle for the top prize on round three of the Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship, the Severn Valley Historic Rally (Saturday 30 May) came down to a straight fight between Welshmen Gwyndaf Evans and Julian Reynolds.
Evans claimed back the lead he had lost earlier in the day with a faultless charge through the final stage in Radnor, claiming category three victory for his Viking Motorsport Escort MK2 by just 3.5s. Other category wins went to Graham Waite/Gill Cotton (Volvo Amazon) and Rupert Lomax/David Alcock (Ford Escort MK1), a result that puts Lomax to the top of the championship table.

Category 1: Despite spinning on the first stage in Cefn and twice in Crychan, Jonathan and Graham Gale (Sunbeam Tiger) pulled out a three-second lead over Waite/Cotton, but the roles were reversed through Halfway. “I nursed my tyres through the stage, and just gave it what I could,” said Gale. The result was Waite emerging with a lead of just a fifth of a second, but after Gale fitted new rear tyres it went back in his favour as they headed for service. “It was too dry for us really and too much uphill where the Tiger’s power told,” Waite replied.
Although Gale started the last stage through Radnor with three seconds in hand, it was Waite who grabbed the victory. “We went off after going flat out over a crest into a hairpin,” Gale explained. He restarted in front of Waite but moved aside rather than delay his rival.

One notable absentee was the Porsche 911 of Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride. “We caught Gale’s dust and I misjudged where the next bend was, then went off backwards into a ditch,” said Nutt. So third overall in the category was the Hillman Imp of Geoff Taylor/Steve Greenhill. "We had no clutch in Gwibedog but it had been great until then. The rear suspension legs cracked too in Halfway, so we will have to look after it,” said Taylor.

Paul Mankin/Desmond Bell (Lotus Cortina) held third on the opening stage, but after picking up a misfire in Crychan, they punctured later in the same stage. “We tried to carry on and then lost the tyre and had to stop. We had a spare rear but the puncture was a front, so it made the next two stages very interesting,” said Mankin.
As well as Nutt, stage two had also claimed the Minis of Terry Cree/Richard Shores and Peter Williams, with head-gasket and clutch problems respectively. Meanwhile, Mike Barratt/Jody Watson (Mini Cooper) got ahead of Philip and Barbara Smith (Porsche 911) on stage four. “It was so dry that the dust got in Barbara’s throat and she couldn’t read the notes,” said Philip. Nick Pinkett and Jonathan Lodge were also in the wars after rolling their two-stroke Saab 96 in Gwibedog. “It had been perfect until then. It’s my first time in this car for two years and I rolled it,” said Pinkett.

Taylor caught Barratt in Radnor, but retained a safe third. “With the clutch gone and the dust we're not going for heroics,” said the class B1 victors. Although Barratt retained class B2 victory, he lost fourth to the Smiths. “We were losing the exhaust a bit but really pleased with how things went,” said Barratt as Mankin and Pinkett completed the finishers.

Category 2: Having come so close to victory on the previous round, Lomax and Alcock proved unbeatable in Wales in their Escort Mk1. They held the category lead from start to finish, while winners last time out, Tim Mason and Graham Wild, had to be content with a day-long second in their Porsche 911.
“We had a couple of overshoots on the second and third stages, but I had reasonable grip,” said Lomax as he arrived in service with a 25.7s lead over Mason. “We punctured three miles from the end of stage four; I was trying so hard on my return to the Welsh forests,” Mason replied.

It was a much tighter affair behind the lead pair, with Drew Wylie/Howard Pridmore (Escort Mk1) in third after Cefn, before slipping behind the similar car of Tim Jones/Don James in the battle for C3 spoils. However, the class contest changed dramatically when Wylie's car got became beached on a rock on stage four. “We were stuck for four minutes and had no spectators to help,” said Wylie. Jones also spun and stalled at a hairpin, but still arrived at service in third place ahead of the C5 Escort Mk1 of Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard. However, Graham had David Stokes/Guy Weaver closing in, after they had lost time in Cefn when Darren Moon’s rolled car restarted just in front of them. “We had got a steering problem too," reported Stokes. "When you turn it, it won’t pull back without a lot of effort,” he said.
Though still ahead, Lomax expected to lose time on the final 16-mile stage in Radnor. “I had three-quarter throttle stuck wide open, but we gained more time instead of losing it,” he said. The final winning margin over Mason was 41.4s, “I did spin and stall again though,” said the Porsche driver. The victory not only gives Lomax the lead in category two, but also the overall lead in the championship.

Stokes had a final flourish through Radnor, which took him from fifth to third. “The steering was just as bad, but it was a character building day,” he said. Graham held onto fourth; “not quite quick enough,” he concluded. But for C3 winner Jones, only dropping from third to fifth was a relief. “It was a huge moment, I lost it at a hairpin and was left hanging over fresh air,” he explained. Jones still held on to the class C3 victory over the Escort Mk1 of James Slaughter/Phil Peak. “We had two good stages, ran out of tyres, slid off on stage four, so had new tyres for Radnor. It’s my best result ever, even though we had gear selection problems at the end,” said Slaughter. Philip Wylie/James Whitaker claimed third in class over Neal James/Kevin Jones on the final stage. “We really went for it and it almost worked,” said James. “Brilliant, even though I started the last stage in reverse,” Wylie added.

Mason topped C4 from fellow Porsche crew Peter Smith/Russ Langthorne. In class C2 the Escort Mk1s of Vince Bristow/Dean Mitchell and John Worthing/John Cadwallader duelled for supremacy. Bristow lost out on stage two having led on the opener, despite having no brakes. “I had to remember to pump them until we could fix it in service,” he said. From stage four he was in charge, with Worthing still holding on to second despite a roll in Radnor when he clipped the bank at a tight hairpin.

Category 3: Evans/Phil Pugh started the day with a 1.8sec lead from Cefn in their Escort Mk2 over Reynolds/Ian Oakey, while Darren Moon/Chris Parsons were out of contention after only 300 yards. “I took my eye off the ball where the dust was hanging and we ended up our roof,” said Moon.

Ryan Barratt/Barry Ferris (Escort Mk2) held third initially from fellow Irishmen Seamus O’Connell and Paul Wakely, but O’Connell was struggling for grip and fell back in Crychan. Despite a spin in Cefn, which was matched before going off backwards in Crychan, Nick Elliott/Dave Price (Escort Mk2) moved up to third, but by service after four stages, Barratt had regained his lost place. “We just couldn’t get into a rhythm,” said Elliott. “We struggled for grip too and had a 360 on stage two before stalling under braking on stage four,” Barratt added.
But once again Radnor proved to be the decider, with Reynolds starting the stage with just 2.7s in hand over Evans. “I had an idea Gwyndaf would get me,” Reynolds admitted. “I was probably trying too hard and overshot a bit,” he added. But Evans was a popular victor and was quick to sing the praise of his car. “It so much better than on the Bulldog, the engine changes have made it more comfortable to drive,” he said.

Elliott maintained his spinning record but managed to claim third. “We stalled too, but just couldn’t turn it around today after the early problems,” he admitted. Barratt reached the finish in fourth and topped D3, after losing his Escort’s alternator and water pump belts with a nose-dive at a yump. But he was later excluded over engine irregularities, promoting O’Connell to fourth. “I finally woke up on that last stage,” said O’Connell.

Will Onions/Tim Hobbs were set for fifth after changing their Mk2’s ignition pack in service to cure a misfire. But they ended up on three cylinders and lost out to Simon Tysoe/Cliff Simmons at the end. Following Barratt’s exclusion, Richard Lane/Frank Richer took class D3 from Mark Clifford/Elgan Davies, after Guy Woodcock/Iwan Jones spun and took 45s to restart as they held on to third.

The BHRC action continues with round four, the Mid Wales Historic Stages, on 21 June.

By Paul Lawrence