Wednesday 15 July 2009

The diary of a rally rescue girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2009 Trackrod Rally Yorkshire is unveiled

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Mixed Manx fortunes for Moore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 13 July 2009

Images from Rally Isle of Man


BHRC Round 5 Report: Isle of Man Historic Rally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Paul Lawrence
Image by Songasport

Sunday 5 July 2009

Images from Quinton Stages rally


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

Wright keeps up title challenge on Quinton Stages rally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BHRC Preview: Isle of Man Historic Rally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Paul Lawrence
Image by Songasport

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Shelley hopes for better luck on Quinton Stages

Lancaster based rally co-driver Shelley Rogerson is hoping for a change of luck on Saturday (4th July) when she contests the Quinton Stages rally with Andrew Burton in his Peugeot Cosworth.

Shelley has had her fair share of bad results in 2009 with three retirements in five events but with the car fixed again hopes are high for a good finish on the Quinton, the sixth round of the BTRDA championship.

“It was very disappointing to retire again on the recent Dukeries rally, we were heading for a good result which would’ve kept us in the championship battle,” said Shelley.

“It's going to be difficult to challenge for the title now but it would be great to have a trouble free run and to get a finish.”

“The car has been repaired after the problems on the last event so hopefully it will be reliable and we’ll be competitive. A repeat of the win we got in 2007 would be ideal. I’d like to thank Co-ordSport, Nicky Grist, Songasport and Gilletts Spar for their support.”

The rally is based in Llandovery and it consists of eight competitive stages totalling 45 miles on gravel tracks in and around the Epynt military ranges. The action kicks off around 10am with the leading crews returning to Llandovery at 4.30pm.

For more information on Shelley’s rallying please visit

Higgins targets more Rally Isle of Man history

Three time British Rally champion Mark Higgins will bid to make yet more history on next weeks 46th Rally Isle of Man.

Having last year taken a first ever win on the event for a ‘showroom’ group N car, and after in 2005 becoming the first driver to win every stage of any British Championship round, the mid-Wales based Manxman will return to home soil aiming to become the first ever five-time winner of one of the British Isles most prestigious rallies.

If he is to achieve the feat, he would move ahead of the illustrious company of Russell Brookes and Tony Pond who currently also appear on the roll of honour four times.

Bryan Thomas, who co-drove Mark to victory on two of those four victories (2000 and 2005), will also be bidding to join Derek Ringer as the only co-driver to score four wins.

The Pirelli TEG Sport Subaru team are unlikely to have it all their own way however when they roll off the start ramp next Friday morning for two action-packed days.

The event features as the fourth round of the MSA British Rally Championship, and 22 year-old series leader Keith Cronin will follow Higgins away from the TT Grandstand with Greg Shinnors alongside in a Mitsubishi Evo 9 that has already scooped victories on the North Wales and Pirelli international events.

While Higgins warms up for the event by tackling a week-long charity bike ride the length of Wales, Cronin just last weekend scored a crushing victory on the Ravens Rock Rally, beating most of Ireland’s leading national WRC drivers in his group N car.
It has all the ingredients for a great battle, though in truth there are several other ‘young guns’ who could well be in the fray. Northern Ireland’s Alistair Fisher and Jonathan Greer (both in Evo 9’s), Bristol’s Adam Gould (Pirelli TEG Sport Subaru), Dumfries’ David Bogie (JRM-Lico Evo X) and fellow Scot’s Euan Thorburn (Revolution Wheels Subaru) and Dave Weston Jnr (Subaru) will all be hopeful of improving their title challenge.

The event is also a round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, and five of the top seven group N drivers will be in action, headed by Ballymena’s Alan Carmichael (Evo 9), the series leader.

Throw in the usual strong local challenge, headed by the Mitsubishi’s of Steven Quine (Douglas) and Nigel Cannell (Santon), and the close competition of the Citroen C2R2 Cup, Suzuki Swift Sport Cup and Fiesta Sporting Trophy crews, and the action should be fast and furious.

In total 135 rally crews are set to tackle the islands famous closed roads stages on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th July, spread across the International, Historic, Challenge and Trophy events, offering something for everyone.