Sunday 25 April 2010

Images from the Somerset Stages

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Kirvan makes successful return in Somerset

Rally driver Becky Kirvan made a successful return to rallying last weekend when she took fourth place in the Rally First 1.4 class on the Somerset Stages event.

Kirvan, from Burton Pidsea, and new co-driver Sherryn Roberts were competing in a Rally4Real Nissan Micra backed by Peart Auto Services. The rally started with four stages in the forests near Minehead. After a steady start with eighth place on the opening Timberscombe stage Kirvan increased the pace to take fifth in class as the rally reached the first service halt.

"We were cautious on the first stage, it was my first time competing with Sherryn and also my first time competing in the Micra so we didn’t want to risk an early retirement," said Kirvan.

"We pushed a bit more on the other stages though as I gained confidence and I was pleased to be in fifth place at service."

The rally then moved onto tarmac for two runs of the Porlock Hill toll road from which Kirvan emerged in sixth place.

"I really wasn’t looking forward to Porlock, the road is very steep and it’s not ideal for our little Micra but we didn’t struggle as much as I thought we would. The car handled really nicely through the bends and we only dropped one place."

After another service halt the rally returned to the forests for the remainder of the competitive mileage. Kirvan had a troublefree run and, after pushing hard on the last two stages, she moved up to fourth in class at the rally finish.

"I’m delighted with the result, especially with not competing for 18 months and having to get used to a new car and co-driver. I enjoyed the stages and the Rally4Real car was as good as gold, we had no problems at all."

Kirvan will next be in action in three weeks time on the Plains rally which takes place in the forests of Wales.

Wright shines in sunny Somerset

Bentham rally driver David Wright put in a fine performance on last weekend’s Somerset Stages rally taking third place overall and first in class.

Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson contested the Minehead-based event in their GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9 with support from Proflex, Drenth, Kumho Tyres and Grove Hill Garage. The rally, round three of the BTRDA championship, started with four stages in the forests around Minehead. Sixth place on the opening Timberscombe stage was followed up with two fourths and a second which saw the Evo crew arrive at the first service halt of the event in fourth place overall.

“The first stages went ok but we chose the wrong tyres for the conditions,” said Wright.

“This meant we were missing the braking points and not being tidy in the corners so it cost us a few seconds. Fourth was a decent position though.”

In a change from the usual gravel forestry tracks the next two stages were held on tarmac, the toll road up Porlock Hill being closed for the day so that it could be used for the rally. A good run up the hill saw Wright and Wilkinson move up to third place overall and first in class.

The rally returned to gravel for the remaining five stages of the event. Wright put in a consistent performance, taking four third fastest times and one second fastest to remain in third place overall as the crews headed back to Minehead for the rally finish.

“I enjoyed the Porlock stages, it was good fun to have a blast up the hill and we got two decent times. Our times on the remaining forest stages were better too, we changed the tyres to a different cut from the morning and they made a big improvement.”

“Third is the best result we could’ve hoped for, the two cars in front of us have much more power and it’s tough to get close to them unless they have a problem.”

Wright now stands in fifth place in the BTRDA championship with the next round taking place at the Plains rally in May.

Peart claims class win on Pirelli Challenge rally

Burton Pidsea’s Chris Peart enjoyed a very successful Pirelli Challenge Rally last weekend when he took second place overall and first in class on the Carlisle-based event despite suffering severe brake problems on his car.

After undertaking a test session to tweak the suspension on his Peart Auto Services-backed Vauxhall Astra hopes were high for a good result on the event which was round two of the BRC Challenge.

Peart and co-driver Jamie Forrest got off to a good start on the opening Roughside stage, claiming third fastest time overall and first in class. Stage two, Pundershaw, was even better with second fastest time overall.

Drama was to strike on the third stage when the brakes failed midway through the course. Amazingly Peart and Forrest were quickest of everyone on the stage, moving them up to second overall.

"We had a good run on the opening two stages and were pleased to be in third place after Pundershaw," said Peart.

"We lost the brakes half way through the third stage and it felt as though we were coasting, it was a big surprise when we found out we were fastest overall!".

A pair of mole grips were used to ensure that the Astra pairing at least had brakes on the front for the remaining two stages. The Forks stage saw Peart and Forrest catch another car and the dust in the stages meant that they lost time, completing the test in seventh place and dropping to third place.

A big push on the final Bewshaugh stage saw them take another fastest stage time which moved them back up to second place overall and first in their class.

"It’s a brilliant result for us, I’m really pleased to take the class win and second overall, it puts us in a good position in the BRC Challenge championship."

The championship moves onto tarmac for the next round, the Jim Clark Challenge Rally in May. Peart is likely to contest the event in his other rally car, a Vauxhall Corsa S1600.

For further information please visit

Image courtesy Jakob Ebrey Photography

Broken driveshaft means disappointment for Moore

East Boldon rally driver Simon Moore suffered a very disappointing Pirelli Challenge Rally last weekend when a driveshaft broke at the start of the opening stage forcing his Renault Clio out of the event.

After a good result on the opening round of the BRC Challenge, fifth place on the Bulldog Challenge Rally and first in the Clio Challenge, Moore and co-driver Emma Morrison had been hoping to score a good haul of points on the second round to put them in a good position in the championship but their hopes were dashed within a few seconds of the rally start.

"The driveshaft broke as soon as I accelerated off the start line of the opening Roughside stage, I couldn't believe it," said Moore.

"We struggled on for over a mile before the diff finally gave up and we lost all drive, the car stopped and that was our rally over. We were aiming to improve on our Bulldog result, we had addressed the issues we had with the brakes on that event by changing the brake fluid and we were confident of getting a top three result."

"This rally just wasn't meant to be for us. It was topped off when a loose stone from Keith Cronin's Subaru smashed the side window while we were parked on the side of the stage so that was great, I just needed my Hamlet cigar!"

"We’ve just got to put the disappointment behind us now and get on with preparing for the next BRC Challenge round. We are hoping that an overdue suspension revamp will arrive to replace the current basic setup in time for that event which should give a big improvement to the handling of the car."

After two events on gravel the BRC Challenge switches to tarmac for the next round with the Jim Clark Challenge Rally taking place on closed public roads around Duns in Scotland.

Sunday 18 April 2010

Dilworth triumphs in BCCC season opener

Holywell’s Tim Dilworth kicked off his Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship campaign with a win on the opening round which was held in Rough Park near Ashby de la Zouch. Reigning champion Richard Kershaw was second with Stephen Hiatt third in his Warrior Indy.

Dilworth got off to a flying start in his Subaru-engined Peugeot 206, stopping the clocks 20 seconds ahead of Kershaw and Hiatt on the opening run.

Run one saw several crews have incidents, Alan Wilkinson rearranging the front of his Milner in some trees, Ivan Dudley lucky to emerge unscathed from a ditch and three crews off in another ditch.

Dilworth continued his good times for the rest of day one, pulling out a lead of 45 seconds over Huddersfield’s Kershaw with Stephen Hiatt a further 25 seconds back in third ahead of Gordon Monaghan in fourth and Martin Gould, who suffered a puncture on the final run of the day, in fifth.

Day two saw the leading pair continue to set the pace, with the exception of one run their times were within two seconds of each other. At the end of the 11 runs Dilworth held a lead of 31 seconds over the GSR 206 Evo 9 of Kershaw.

“It’s been a perfect event, the car was a dream,” said Dilworth.

“We’ve got an improved gearbox this year and we did a lot of work on the car over the winter to try and gain a bit of speed and improve reliability, it’s all come together today.”

“We got a big lead after the first two runs and from there we tried to maintain the gap to Richard”

“The course was really good, some very quick parts and a few tighter bits in the trees. I was pleased with the track conditions, the course didn’t deteriorate much over the two days. The sunny weather was great too!”

Stephen Hiatt remained in third position in his Warrior Indy and Martin Gould took fourth after trackrod end problems robbed Gordon Monaghan of a good result in his RS200 replica. Ian Rochelle rounded off the top five in his Millington Mattserati.

Further down the leaderboard Bob Seaman took 12th place overall and first in class on the debut of his Milner R5. During the course of the event Bob developed a new “Scandinavian wobble” technique for getting the car round the corners which proved to be effective. The new car was described as “like a rocketship”.

Bumpy Mike Moran completed his first event in his new AT4x4 Indy Challenger and he was heading for a top 15 result until a maximum on run 8 when the car went off the road.

Steve Smith debuted his BMW M3-powered JRG Indy III and he took the Focus-shelled car to 20th place.

In the Trophy class Adam Evans took victory in his Milner R4 while Lee Clinton claimed the Clubman class win.

The event also saw Chris Ratter out in a Freelander, the car being tested prior to the start of the Freelander Challenge on round 2 of the BCCC.

“We’ve had a great time and good fun. The course was excellent and we had no problems getting around it in our car which is pretty much standard,” said Ratter.

“I was pleased to set some times which were quicker than a lot of the purpose-built cars.”

After a successful round one the championship moves to Wales for round two which will take place near Aberystwyth on May 15/16.


1. Tim Dilworth Peugeot 206 STi 54:00
2. Richard Kershaw GSR 206 Evo 9 54:31
3. Stephen Hiatt Warrior Indy 55:22
4. Martin Gould Mattserati 57:04
5. Ian Rochelle Millington Mattserati 58:10
6. Justin Birchall Peugeot M206 Evo 58:21
7. Dan Lofthouse Lofthouse Proto LD4 58:28
8. Karl Gudgeon GSR Evo X 59:06
9. Ryan Cooke Land Rover Special 1:00:20
10. Ian Roberts Rakeway Ridgeback 1:00:34

Trophy Winner: Adam Evans Milner R4

Clubman Winner: Lee Clinton Bowler Wildcat

Kirvan to make rally comeback in Somerset

Burton Pidsea rally driver Becky Kirvan will make her comeback to rallying next weekend when she contests the Somerset Stages rally.

Former Ladyquest rally winner Kirvan, who has not competed since November 2008, will be using a Rally4Real Nissan Micra backed by Peart Auto Services on the event. Her own car, a VW Polo, has been hired out to Tony Simpson who is also contesting the rally.

“I can’t wait to get back on the stages, it has been too long since I last competed,” said Kirvan.

“I had a good test session with the Micra last week so I managed to get used to the car and see how it handles on the gravel tracks. Hopefully that will mean I can be more competitive when the rally starts.”

“I will have a new co-driver for the event, Port Talbot’s Sherryn Roberts. We met for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I’m confident that we will quickly gel as a team.”

“My aim for the event is to get to the finish in as good a position as I can manage, I’m hoping we will do ok against our class rivals.”

The rally is a round of the BTRDA championship and will consist of around 40 competitive miles of action on the gravel of the Exmoor forests and the tarmac of the Porlock Hill toll road.

Please visit to keep up to date with Becky’s rallying.

Peart set for Pirelli rally challenge

Burton Pidsea’s Chris Peart will continue his 2010 BRC Challenge rally championship campaign next weekend when he contests the Pirelli Challenge rally.

Peart and co-driver Jamie Forrest will be using their Peart Auto Services backed Vauxhall Astra on the event. They took the same car to fourth place overall on the recent Bulldog Challenge rally which was the opening round of the championship.

“We’ve done a fair bit of work on the car since the Bulldog,” said Peart. “We found a problem on the throttle bodies so a few parts have been replaced and a new sensor fitted.”

“The car seems a lot more responsive now, I’m much happier with the performance.”

“We had a test at Tong to set up the rear suspension so the car handles better now too, hopefully we’ll be on the pace on the Pirelli and be able to secure a good haul of championship points.”

The rally is based in Carlisle and features six competitive stages totalling 49 miles on the testing gravel forest tracks of Kielder forest.

For more information on Chris Peart’s rallying please visit

Wright to resume rally championship campaign in Somerset

Bentham rally driver David Wright will continue his BTRDA rally championship campaign next weekend when he contests round three of the series, the Somerset Stages rally.

Defending champion Wright presently lies in 10th place in the championship standings, a retirement on the opening round mitigated by a class win and fifth overall on round two. Having taken fourth place on last year’s Somerset Stages Wright is hoping for another good result this year.

“Last year was my first time contesting the rally and we managed to get a decent result,” said Wright.

“Hopefully the experience gained in 2009 will help us have a good run, we’ll be aiming to be in the upper half of the top ten.”

Wright will use his usual Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth and Grove Hill Garage supported Mitsubishi Evo 9 on the event and it is likely to be in the same specification as the previous round in Cumbria.

“The car went to Giles Philips Motorsport for re-prep work and we’ve got a few planned improvements but I think we will be waiting until after Somerset to try them at a test session.”

The rally is based in Minehead and features around 40 miles of competitive action on both forest gravel tracks and tarmac roads.

Tuesday 13 April 2010

2010 Britpart MSA BCCC ready for the off

The 2010 Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship (BCCC) kicks off next weekend with round one taking place near Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire.

A high quality entry has been obtained with several crews in with a shout of taking victory.

Defending champion Richard Kershaw is seeded at car 1 and he will again be using his successful GSR 206 Evo 9. With his new Freelander not yet ready Preston's Dan Lofthouse will use his Lofthouse Proto LD4 for round one and he and navigator Jonny Koonja are at car 2. Tim Dilworth, who took two victories in the 2009 championship, is at car 3 in his Subaru-engined Peugeot 206.

Martin Cox returns to the championship after a successful 2009 and he will start at car 4 in his Tornado Evo 1. Steve Smith rounds off the top 5 in his new JRG Indy 3, a Ford Focus-based machine powered by a BMW M3 engine.

At car 6 is Warrington's Tony Coid in his Tomcat 100 while at 7 Greg Macleod will debut his Maxtraction Milner R5, Greg combining the BCCC this year with some events abroad in his Bowler Nemesis. Ian Bartlett starts at number 8 in the Bartletts 3M206 with the Bowler Tomcat of Richard Green at 9. Hyde's Martin Gould, who had mixed fortunes in 2009's championship, is at number 10 in his Mattserati.

Outside of the top ten there are several crews making a return to the championship after a break. Gordon Monaghan is at car 20 in his self-built Monaghan RS Ford RS200 replica with Ryan Cooke starting one car behind him. Andrew Wilson also returns to the championship in his Range Rover.

In the Trophy category the field will be led away by championship sponsor Paul Myers in the Britpart 100 car.

A total of 43 entries have been received for round 1, a significant increase over 2009. For more information on the championship please visit

Rally Isle of Man entries open

Entries have now opened for the 47th Rally Isle of Man, which takes place from Thursday 8th to Saturday 10th July 2010.

Formerly the Manx International Rally, it once again features as a high profile round of the UK’s principal rally championships.

The Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship – Round 4

Reigning British champion Keith Cronin was narrowly denied victory on the Isle of Man International Rally last year after a stunning two-day battle with local hero Mark Higgins.

The Cork driver has already set down a marker in defence of his crown, but the islands roads will provide one of the toughest challenges of the year for all the competitors, across all the events.

In the International Rally that will include crews from the Citroën Racing Trophy, the Ford Fiesta SportTrophy, the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge and the Swift Sport Cup.

The Dunlop/Wanago MSA British Historic Rally Championship - Round 5

Gwyndaf Evans electrified the island in 2009 at the wheel of a MkII Ford Escort and the 25th year of the Isle of Man Historic Rally is once again set to be a highlight of the championship. In addition the event will welcome crews tackling the HRCR Cup and the Water End Asphalt Cup

The BRC Challenge - Rounds 4 & 5

Some of the closest competition in British rallying, incorporating the Fiesta SportChallenge and the Citroën C2R2 Challenge Cup, is set to become even tougher as local crews join the fray in numbers for the first time over the double-header Isle of Man Challenge Rally.

As in 2009 the action will this year take place over two days. 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, as the old saying goes, ‘it’s an event that’s never easily won!’

The International Rally covers 153 stage miles over 21 of the islands famed closed-roads tests. The Historic Rally faces 20 of those covering 142 miles, while 17 stages covering 134 miles await the Challenge Rally crews.

Among the changes for 2010 is an extension to the reconnaissance period as a direct result of competitor feedback, with Wednesday 7th July included from the afternoon. Competitors will be allowed two passes of each stage, with four days available to choose from. Also new is a ceremonial start on Thursday evening, 8th July.

The day will begin with scrutineering and documentation 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 tea-time (5.15 – 7.30pm). It will be followed with the high-profile start in the centre of Douglas from 8pm.

The rally itself is set to depart Douglas at 10.30am on Friday at the start of a testing eleven hour day, taking in no fewer than 13 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, having battled a 340 mile route.

Entries for all events close on Friday 18th June, so act now and join us in July - last year over 130 rally crews took up the unique challenge of Rally Isle of Man, come and be part of the buzz created by some of the fastest asphalt rallying in the world!

Regulations and entry forms are available now for download from the event website at, or by contacting the rally office on 44 (0)1624 852 440.

In addition to the regulations, the event has also recently published the Rally Guide, which contains further information to help anyone planning to visit, and the Sponsorship Brochure with details of commercial partnering opportunities. Both are available via the website.

Monday 12 April 2010

Cristofaro and Morrison take Spring Rally Stages podium

Junior 1000 rally driver Nick Cristofaro from Milford Haven took third place on last weekend’s Spring Rally Stages event despite a persistent problem which meant his Nissan Micra’s top speed was severely restricted.

The two-day event was held at Sculthorpe airfield in Norfolk and it was round two of the Junior 1000 championship, a series of events for drivers aged 14-17.

Cristofaro and co-driver Emma Morrison’s event got off to a troubled start, the car would not go over 60mph in the high speed parts of the course where rival crews were hitting over 80.

“It was a frustrating start, we tried changing various parts such as the distributor and throttle bodies each time we came into service but it had no effect,” said Cristofaro.

“We pushed as hard as we could in the twisty parts of the stage but we lost a lot of time on the straights.”

Despite the problem Cristofaro and Morrison held third place after four stages at the end of the opening day.

The car troubles continued into day two and the lack of top speed saw the Micra crew drop to fourth after the sixth stage. Continued efforts were made in service to identify the problem and just before the final stage a fault in the electrical system was found and fixed.

Cristofaro and Moore started the last stage of the rally 12 seconds behind the third placed crew but with the car now in good health the stops were pulled out and the crew clawed back the deficit and made it to the podium.

“Although third is a decent result it is disappointing that we had the car troubles. Our time on the last stage was over 40 seconds faster than we’d been with the problem so I think we could’ve been challenging for victory had we had a clear run.”

“Hopefully now that the car is running well we will be able to fight for the win at the next event. Thanks to all those who helped us in service trying to sort out the problem.”

The next round of the Junior 1000 championship takes place at the end of April with Anglesey race circuit the venue for the Lee Holland Memorial Rally.

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Sutcliffe returns with improved Bowler for BCCC

Norfolk driver Dean Sutcliffe will once again contest the Britpart BCCC MSA British Cross Country Championship in 2010.

The AMEC project manager will be using his familiar Bowler Vengimaroda but after a number of changes to the car he is hoping to be on the pace of the higher powered Bowlers of his competitors.

“The ever committed service crew have spent most weekends working on the car, travelling from Lancashire and Yorkshire to help me out,” said Sutcliffe.

“We’ve done a lot of work on the drivetrain shafts and diffs and we’ve also reworked the suspension. We have been working with Milner Off Road on the shock settings and spring rates to improve the handling of the car”.

“We’re hoping to have a new Rover 4.6 litre engine in the car in time for round two which will give us some more power. We’ve built the engine ourselves using tuning parts from RPI Engineering of Norwich”.

Due to work commitments Sutcliffe was only able to compete on three rounds last year but he is hopeful of a full season this year.

“We’re intending to contest all the rounds and the aim is to score plenty of points and enjoy every mile that we do.”

“For me the BCCC provides the whole package for a brilliant weekend. You get two days racing, excellent organisation, timing, catering and medical staff. You even get flapjack from Debbie Difflock when you break down in the course!”

“It’s more or less like having an extended family that you don’t see for ages and then you all get together at the events. There is some real driving talent in the championship and characters who will remain nameless or should that be shameless!”.

“The events have good mileage and the courses have something for everyone. We use AT control tyres so we’re doing our bit to minimise the environmental impact of our sport as well.”

Sutlcliffe’s BCCC campaign will kick off at round one on the weekend of 17/18th April.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

6R4 duo set for Cross Country challenge

Rally fans are in for a treat this year as two MG Metro 6R4 replicas are set to contest the Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship.

Resplendent in the old works Computervision colour scheme the car of Whitworth’s Phil Ibbotson has contested the championship for the last three years and has always been popular with spectators.

"We get plenty of people asking questions about the car, I think the colours give people a sense of nostalgia for the Group B days", said Ibbotson.

"The 6R4 was my favourite car from that era of rallying so when I decided to build my own off-roader I chose to make it look like the works Metros."

"Although it looks like a 6R4 from the outside underneath the body panels it’s completely different. The car is based around a Gordon Monaghan built space frame and we’ve got a 3.0 litre BMW M3 engine and six-speed sequential gearbox running through a transfer box, with BMW 7-series diffs completing the transmission.”

“Myself and navigator Will Jefferson thoroughly enjoyed last year’s championship and we’re looking forward to competing again.”

Joining Phil this year will be Ivan Dudley and David Rendle in their 6R4 which has recently been completed. Their car also has a BMW engine but it is the 3.2 litre version of the M3 power unit.

“Ivan has always built his cars and has competed in safaris, hill rallys and, most recently, in the French Tout Terrain championship”, said Rendle.

“The car has a full space frame and power goes through a Quaife 5 speed box and self-made transfer box. We’ve got inboard Hi-Spec brakes and Fox shocks for the suspension.”

“2010 will be an installation season for us, we’ve been away from racing for a while due to the car being built and we need to get into the groove again and allow time for the car to settle down and to iron out any problems.”

“Our aim is to try and finish all the events and get in the top ten. Having watched a few events last year we know we are sure to enjoy the racing this year.”

Both cars will compete on all six rounds of the BCCC kicking off with round one near Ashby de la Zouch on the weekend of 17/18th April.

Macleod ready for BCCC return

Great Dunmow driver Greg Macleod will return to the Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship this season to try and improve on his excellent eighth place overall in the 2009 series.

After using a Maxtraction Tomcat 100 and his own Bowler Nemesis last year Greg is hoping to have a new car ready for round 1 of the BCCC.

“We have a new M3-powered Milner supported by John Cockburn which will hopefully be ready for round one. If not then we’ll be in one of our RallyRaid cars,” said Macleod.

“I’ve avoided spending the off season tinkering with the car as I have been busy trying to get fit – I am running the London marathon the week after round one! The marathon is in aid of Macmillan cancer relief, any donations would be gratefully received at

“Ollie Ford will once again be the calming influence in the passenger seat and as well as the BCCC I’m aiming to do some Bajas and the Shamrock Rally in Morocco in my Bowler.”

Round one of the BCCC takes place near Ashby de la Zouch on 17/18th April.

Monday 5 April 2010

Team Morrison launch new website

BRC Challenge rally crew Team Morrison have launched a new website to document their 2010 rally season.

The team consists of driver George Morrison and co-driver David Jones, who are contesting the BRC Challenge in their Peugeot 205, together with team manager Emma Morrison who is also competing in the Challenge with Renault Clio driver Simon Moore.

The new website can be seen at and it features news, profiles and photographs. It will be updated after each BRC Challenge round.