Monday, 30 May 2011
The rally, a round of the BRC Challenge, kicked off with three stages on Friday evening and despite it being the first event on tarmac that Stourbridge’s Sykes had contested since last October’s Mull Rally he was on the pace immediately, setting third fastest time through the spectator-packed stage through the streets of Duns.
A brilliant fastest time on the second stage at Bothwell saw Sykes and co-driver Moore storm into the lead which they consolidated on the third test, the daunting Abbey St Bathans stage, to take a lead of 4 seconds into the second day.
Day two opened with stages at Polwarth, Edrom and Ayton. Although the lead was lost briefly after Edrom Sykes and Moore were back on top as the crews headed to Kelso for a service halt.
A heavy downpour shortly before the penultimate Eccles stage made the road conditions treacherous but Sykes powered through the test in his G I Sykes and Boroughbridge Marina back Citroën C2 R2 Max to take a lead of 15 seconds into the last stage.
With his good lead Sykes decided to back off slightly in the final Swinton stage but a misheard pacenote saw the C2 go through a hedge at around 90mph and into a field. Fortunately the crew got the car back onto the road and to the finish but the time loss was sufficient to drop them to second place.
"I had a decent lead with one stage to go so I decided not to do anything silly," commented Sykes. "We were going at 97.5% rather than flat out but we were still doing 90mph when I thought Janice called a fast corner when she had actually called a slower one."
"We were going far too fast to take the bend so we went right through the hedge at the side of the road and into a field. The crops in the field were as high as the bonnet but we kept going and aimed for the hole we had just made in the hedge."
"By the time we had extracted ourselves one of our main rivals Dick Archer was right behind us and we both flew through the rest of the stage, Dick just edging ahead on a long straight with his more powerful car."
"Sadly we lost out on the win by just six seconds to Dick but it was a brilliant battle and I really enjoyed the event. The car performed faultlessly and although this event was meant to be a one off I am thinking of doing the next championship round in Ulster."
Please visit www.gisykes.co.uk for more information on the G I Sykes rally team.
With his rallying budget severely depleted following costly repairs to his car earlier in the year Cristofaro had a tough build-up to the event trying to secure additional support to help him make the start of the Kelso-based rally.
Fortunately he was able to obtain the funds and he lined for the first of six stages on Friday evening, a spectator-packed blast around the streets of Duns. The opening tests saw no car problems for Cristofaro and co-driver Rob Fagg and they finished the night in 21st position.
"I was fortunate to be able to obtain support from Wiseman Dairies and additional support from Pirelli to help me do the event and I’m very grateful to them as well as TEG Sport, Genpower UK, Autoglym, Millers Oils, Nicky Grist, Cut In Edge and Elite Remapping," commented Cristofaro. "I struggled to find any rhythm on the early Friday night stages, it was the first time I have used the car competitively on tarmac and I had to learn how it would handle. By the end of the evening I had built my confidence up though and I was ready to push hard on day two."
Changeable weather conditions caught Cristofaro out on the opening stages on Saturday. The car was fitted with wet weather tyres as it was raining heavily as the cars left for the first stage at Polwarth but when the crews arrived at the stage start the road was bone dry. Cristofaro had two slick tyres as spares which he fitted on the front but the wet weather tyres on the rear were overheating in the dry conditions.
"The weather was very changeable, in the space of a few miles we went from heavy rain to blue skies and sunshine. The overheating rear tyres made the car very twitchy and as a result I had a big spin on the second stage on Saturday which saw us land in a hedge."
"We had a big moment on stage three too when the rear tyres locked under braking and we went straight on into a garden instead of round the corner."
The crews headed back to Kelso for a service halt with Cristofaro still in 21st position. Replacement brake disks were fitted but on the following two stages it was found they were warped which caused problems when braking from the high speeds reached on the rally.
The disks were replaced again for the final batch of stages but Cristofaro’s earlier tyre choice problems returned on first of those stages. This time he was on slicks and a sudden downpour of rain meant that slicks were not the tyre to be on. Fortunately the remaining stages were dry and he put in some good times, moving up to 16th overall at the rally finish.
"It was a shame to have the spin and overshoot early on, they cost us a fair bit of time but I was pleased with my performance on the later stages and we’ve got a good haul of points for both the BRC F2 and Fiesta SportTrophy championships."
"I’m particularly pleased to be leading the Fiesta championship as I am beating the new Fiesta R2 cars which are more competitive than my older model. Hopefully we can get some funding together to help us continue the title charge."
The next BRC round takes place in Ulster in August. Please visit www.nickcristofaro.co.uk if you would like to get involved in supporting the team.
Sunday, 29 May 2011
The event, round three of the BRC Challenge championship, started on Friday evening with a short stage through the spectator-lined streets of Duns which Becky and co-driver Kaz Watts enjoyed. A much longer test in Bothwell followed which allowed Becky to get into a good rhythm with the car as she built up her experience of its capabilities on tar.
The final stage of Friday was at Abbey St Bathans and it nearly spelled the end of Becky’s event. Part way through the course the KC, Bardahl Oils, Princes Quay Shopping Centre, Peart Auto Services, Rally4Real and Songasport-backed Ford Fiesta ST suffered a puncture and with six miles still to go the crew made the decision to stop and change the wheel. Unfortunately a problem with the jack meant that it was impossible to lift the car so the wheel could not be changed. The rest of the stage had to be completed very slowly to avoid damaging the car’s suspension and bodywork.
"The stage at Duns was great, it was brilliant to see so many spectators there cheering us on, there was a great atmosphere," said Becky. "Stage two went well also although we lost some time when we caught a car."
"The Abbey stage was going fine till we got the puncture. We lost time getting the jack out to try and fix it and then more time was lost having to hobble through the stage."
"We were lucky that a fellow competitor lent us a jack at the end of the stage so we could put a new wheel on. Although we were very close to being over our time limit we managed to get back to the overnight halt."
Day two saw a further five stages in the lanes around Duns. With the puncture on Friday Becky knew it was going to impossible to claw back enough time to get a better class position so she concentrated on getting to grips with the tarmac and pushed on with the intention of setting some good stage times. This resulted in her catching slower cars on most of the days stages, but other than that she had a troublefree day and fetched the KC Rally Team car home fifth in class.
"I enjoyed the stages on the second day which had some really fast sections and big jumps. We seemed to get lucky with the weather, some crews were caught out by sudden heavy rain showers but we had relatively dry stages."
"I’m pleased with my performance, there were definitely places where I could have gone quicker and probably braked later but for my first big tarmac event I think it went well. It was certainly very valuable experience for me as the next two championship rounds are also on tarmac."
The BRC Challenge will resume in August with the Ulster Challenge Rally. For further information in the KC Rally Team please visit www.beckykirvan.co.uk.
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Stourbridge’s Richard Sykes will return to rallying next weekend when he takes part in the Jim Clark Challenge Rally with co-driver Janice Moore.
It will be Sykes first event of the year and his first on tarmac since he successfully completed the Mull Rally last October in his G I Sykes and Boroughbridge Marina-backed Citroën C2 R2 Max.
"We had a very difficult time contesting the British Rally Championship last year with all kinds of problems with the car," commented Sykes. "It was pretty ironic that we then managed to finish the Mull Rally which is one of the toughest events in the UK rally calendar."
"The car performed really well on Mull and some of the stages on the Jim Clark are of a similar nature with lots of fast, narrow and bumpy tarmac, I’m hopeful we will be able to get a good result and I'll be aiming for a podium spot. The car is now fully sorted and it has been meticulously maintained in preparation for what will be a very competitive BRC Challenge event."
"Although I haven’t been competing so far this year I’ll be pushing hard right from the start, I competed on the event last year in the Citroën and flat out is the only way to go if you want a good result as the Challenge is so competitive.”
"It’s great to be doing an event with Richard again," said co-driver Moore. "We did the rally together in a Suzuki in 2009, that was very enjoyable and we managed a podium finish. I’m looking forward to competing on the lanes and I'm confident we can get a good result."
The event starts on Friday evening with three stages, including the very difficult Abbey St Bathans test, before a further five stages on Saturday which finish with the high-speed jumps of the Swinton stage.
Please visit www.gisykes.co.uk for all the latest news and pictures.
Sunday, 22 May 2011
After two rounds on gravel forest tracks round three of the championship will take place on closed public roads around the town of Duns in Berwickshire. The fast and bumpy lanes will present a new challenge to Becky who has very limited experience of competing on tarmac.
She will once again use her KC, Bardahl Oils, Princes Quay Shopping Centre, Peart Auto Services, Rally4Real and Songasport-backed Ford Fiesta ST with Kaz Watts on co-driving duties.
“Most of my competition experience has been on forest rallies so I will have to learn how the car handles on tarmac,” said Becky.
“The stages look quite daunting, very fast in places with a lot of bumps and jumps to catch you out. My plan will be to get through the Friday night stages unscathed and then try to push on in the Saturday stages.”
Becky will face three stages on Friday evening starting with the extremely popular spectator stage through the streets of Duns before heading to the Bothwell and Abbey stages, the Abbey stage in particular being notoriously tough. Another five stages will be tackled on Saturday including the Swinton stage with its huge jumps.
“I’m looking forward to the rally, it’s going to be a real challenge but I’m up for it and ready for the start. Hopefully we can pick up a good haul of championship points.”
Please visit www.beckykirvan.co.uk for all the latest KC Rally Team news.
Cristofaro, from Milford Haven, was a multi-time karting champion when he was younger and also did several tarmac rallies when competing in the Junior F1000 championship in his old Nissan Micra.
“The Jim Clark stages are going to be bumpier and narrower than anything I’ve competed on before but I think my experience will prove to be useful,” said Cristofaro. “I’ll be aiming for another good finish to help my BRC Formula 2 and Fiesta Sporting Trophy championship aspirations.”
Cristofaro will use his usual TEG Sport, Pirelli, Genpower UK, Autoglym, Millers Oils, Nicky Grist, Cut In Edge and Elite Remapping-backed Ford Fiesta ST and Manxman Rob Fagg will be co-driving.
“Rob has a lot of experience of competing on tarmac rallies, he’s competed on the Jim Clark before as well as Mull and the Isle of Man so I should be in good hands.”
The event will kick off with six stages on Friday evening including two runs of the popular spectator stage which runs through the streets of Duns. A full day’s competition takes place on Saturday with ten tough stages which are sure to test the crews to the limit.
Please visit www.nickcristofaro.co.uk to keep up to date with all the latest Nick Cristofaro Rallying news.
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Please click here to download the regs and click here to download the entry form.
Sunday, 15 May 2011
The Welshpool-based event started with stages in Cwmcelli and Gartheiniog forests and Wright made a good start in his Proflex, Kumho Tyres, Drenth and Grove Hill Garage-supported Mitsubishi Evo 9, lying in fifth overall after a troublefree run. Two stages in Dyfi forest followed and Wright moved up to joint fourth place.
“We had a decent start and I was pleased with the times, we were going well against the World Rally cars,” commented Wright. “After our problems on the opening stage of the previous weekend’s Tour of Hamsterley when a burst oil pipe forcing us into retirement I was happy to get through the opening stages unscathed.”
Further forest stages in Hafren and Gartheiniog were next on the agenda before a run through the Woodyard spectator stage near Welshpool. Keen to improve his position Wright pushed hard in his GPM-prepared car but it nearly ended in disaster when he had a big spin which resulted in the car going over a bank. Fortunately Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson were able to get the car back onto the road but 30 seconds had been lost.
Despite the spin Wright continued to press on in the final stage and he was rewarded with fourth place overall and victory in his class.
“We were very lucky to get back on the road after the spin, our rally could’ve ended there. I’m happy with the result, it’s pleasing to win the class again.”
The result moves Wright up to eighth in the BTRDA driver’s championship. His next championship event will be the Dukeries rally in June.
Image courtesy Simon Clarke
The Welshpool-based event was round 4 of the BTRDA RF 1.0 championship and going in to the rally Harry was lying in third place on the leaderboard.
The rally kicked off with four stages in Dyfi and Gartheiniog forests and Harry made a flying start, setting fastest time on all the tests to take a lead of 35 seconds.
“I was delighted with my start to the event,” said Harry, “I wanted to try and improve on my previous best position of second in class so I pushed hard right from the beginning of stage one.”
“The stages were very testing with some huge drops on the edges of the forest tracks but I kept my foot down and pulled out a decent lead.”
Harry’s lead was cut to 20 seconds in the stage five, Hafren and then in stage six, which was a repeat of an earlier stage, he dropped to second place despite setting a time 11 seconds faster than his first run.
With just the popular Woodyard spectator stage remaining Harry was two seconds behind the leader and despite going as fast as he could he was unable to overhaul the leader.
“I gave it my all and couldn’t push any more. The guy who won is a very experienced rally driver and I think my lack of experience cost me. I am very pleased to be challenging for class wins though and hopefully we will get to the top of the leaderboard before the season is finished.”
“The stages were fantastic, there were lots of downhill sections which are good for our little 1.0 litre cars and there were some very slippy places were I could slide the car through the corners. Thanks for the organisers and marshals for a top event and special thanks to Sasha Heriot for co-driving, she did a brilliant job.”
The result moves Harry up to second in the RF 1.0 championship and his next event will be the Quinton Stages in July. Please visit www.harryrally.co.uk for all the latest news and pictures.
Image courtesy Simon Clarke
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
As well as hosting a spectator-friendly 2.5-mile stage to be run twice on Friday evening and twice on Saturday, Duncombe Park near Hemlsley will also act as the new headquarters for the rally, with scrutineering and documentation during Friday 2 December.
Rally manager Colin Heppenstall says that he wants to finish the 2011 event with a big bang and is planning two runs through a marathon 20-miler in Kershope on the final morning of the rally, Monday 5 December.
“I wanted a real challenge at the end of the rally,” said Heppenstall, who has planned a service halt at Carlisle in between the two long stages in Kershope forest. “The return to Croft is another excellent development and we expect the first cars to arrive there at around 3pm on Sunday.” As well as a pair of stages, Croft will host a major service halt in a family-friendly environment and rejoins the route in favour of Oliver’s Mount.
The rally will include two runs at a nine-mile stage in Dalby forest in the dark of Friday evening (2 December), as well as two stages through Duncombe Park.
Total stage mileage is currently around 170, but Heppenstall has plans to add further stages if negotiations with a key title sponsor prove fruitful. Interest from overseas crews is already running ahead of the 2010 event and Heppenstall is targeting a record-breaking 100-car field.
Friday December 2
SS1 Duncombe Park 1
SS2 Dalby 1
SS3 Duncombe Park 2
SS4 Dalby 2
Saturday December 3
SS5 Langdale 1
SS6 Gale Rigg 1
SS7 Duncombe Park 3
SS8 Duncombe Park 4
SS9 Langdale 2
SS10 Gale Rigg 2
SS11 Croft 1
SS12 Croft 2
Sunday December 4
SS15 Ae 1
SS16 Twiglees 1
SS17 Heathhall 1
SS18 Ae 2
SS19 Heathhall 2
SS20 Twiglees 2
SS21 Newcastleton 1
SS22 Newcastleton 2
Monday December 5
SS23 Kershope 1
SS24 Kershope 2
For more details about the Roger Albert Clark Rally, and its support rallies, please visit www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org
Sunday, 8 May 2011
Wright has had a mixed BTRDA season so far in his Proflex, Drenth, Kumho Tyres and Grove Hill Garage-backed GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9 with two excellent class victories and one retirement leaving him in ninth place on the championship leaderboard.
“We’ll be looking to improve our championship position on the Plains,” said Wright. “We’re in a new car this year and we’ve had a couple of problems including a suspension part breaking at over 100mph on the last championship round.”
“We did the Tour of Hamsterley event last weekend as a test but unfortunately we retired early on when an oil cooler pipe burst spraying the oil out. We were lucky that there was no damage to the engine. Hopefully we’ll have a clear run on the Plains and get a similar result to last year when we were third overall.”
The Welshpool-based event starts on Saturday morning with the competitive action taking place in the forests of Dyfi, Gartheiniog and Hafren as well as the popular Woodyard spectator-stage.
After two podium finishes in his three events so far this year Morgan lies in third place on the championship leaderboard and his target for the Welshpool-based event is to build on his good start to the year and pick up another haul of championship points.
“I’m pleased with my season so far and it’s been great to get two excellent results in my first full season of competing”, said Morgan. “The car had no problems on the last event in Somerset so we’ve had no major work to do on it, we’ve just checked everything over and we’re ready to go!”
Morgan will have a new co-driver for the event, BRC Challenge co-driver Sasha Heriot will be on the pacenotes.
“My usual co-driver is not available for the event so I’m grateful to Sasha for agreeing to sit in with me. She is competing in the BRC Challenge this year and has already done an event that used a similar route to the Plains rally so hopefully this will be a big help to me.”
The rally starts from Welshpool on Saturday morning and the crews face a tough days competition in Dyfi, Gartheiniog and Hafren forests as well as a run around the popular Woodyard stage.
Please visit www.harryrally.co.uk for all the latest news and pictures.
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
The venue has never been used for motorsport before and the landowner and championship organisers have arranged a course made up of farm tracks, moorland roads, pasture land and off-road sections which will test the drivers and their machines to the limit.
An exciting round 1 at Myherin forest near Aberystwyth saw 2010 champion Tim Dilworth kick off his title defence in style as he and navigator Anthony Brinkman took victory in their Peugeot 206 STi. Richard Kershaw returned to the championship to take second place in his GSR 206 Evo 9 with Justin and Louise Birchall rounding off the top three after two days of competition.
The Brynffynon action will start at 10.00am on Saturday and again at 09.00am on Sunday. As usual the event will be filmed for broadcast on Motors TV and there will be hot food and drinks available on site. Spectators are requested to approach the venue via 170:031944.
Entries are available for the BCCC and BCCC Trophy championships, entries are also welcome from anyone who wants to enter the Clubman event which costs £250 for the full weekend or £150 for one day. Please call Championship Secretary Lilian Turley on 01594 810161 or email email@example.com if you wish to enter the event.
Tuesday, 3 May 2011
It will be Wright’s first time competing in the forest which used to be used in world championship events. He will do the rally in his Proflex, Drenth, Kumho Tyres and Grove Hill Garage-backed GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9 which has been fully repaired after it suffered broken suspension on the last event in Somerset.
“The event is local to my co-driver Michael Wilkinson and he was keen to support it by putting an entry in,” commented Wright.
“It’s good for us as it’s a week before our next BTRDA outing so we will get the chance to get back up to speed with the car and check that everything is working as it should.”
“We’re up against some quick drivers in our class so it looks like it could be a good battle. I have never competed in Hamsterley before but Michael should know where he’s going and will be pushing me on.”
The rally is based in Shildon and all the competitive mileage will take place on forest tracks in Hamsterley.
Sunday, 1 May 2011
The rally started in dry and sunny conditions with the Falstone stage to the north of Kielder Water and Becky, together with co-driver Kaz Watts, made a solid start, getting used to the surface of the notoriously tricky Kielder forest roads. The longest stage of the event, Bower, was next and Becky’s only problem was getting held up by another car which had lost a wheel and was travelling slowly along the course.
One stage remained before the crews headed for a service halt and Becky successfully negotiated it despite a couple of high-speed slides.
"The morning stages went quite well," said Becky. "I was cautious in Falstone as the surface was particularly loose which made the car slide around a lot, I did not want to risk a first stage accident."
"I pushed harder in the long stage two but getting stuck behind a car cost us a fair bit of time, the dusty conditions meant that he couldn’t see us so didn’t pull over immediately."
"I continued to press on in the third stage and perhaps pushed a little too hard as there were several places where the Fiesta got out of shape but fortunately I controlled the slides!"
Following the service halt the crews faced another three tough stages in Kielder forest, Shepherdshield, Pundershaw and Chirdonhead. Becky kept her pace up in the first two stages before backing off slightly to ensure she made it to the finish on the final one after seeing several of her fellow competitors off the road. Her tactics paid off as she arrived at the finish at Carlisle racecourse in 16th overall and second in class.
"The stages had several broken cars in them and with one of the crews going off just in front of us on the final stage, I made the decision to reduce my pace and make sure we made it to the finish, although if I'd have known at the time we were only three seconds behind 15th place I think I'd not have backed off quite so much, but that's one of the risks you take I guess! "
"I’m really happy with the result, the test session we did before the Pirelli helped me a lot and I feel I am getting a lot more used to the pace and handling of the Fiesta. There’s still more to come from both the car and myself and I can’t wait for the next championship round."
Becky’s next event will be the Jim Clark Challenge rally at the end of May. Please visit
www.beckykirvan.co.uk or www.facebook.com/beckykirvanrallying to keep up to date with all the latest news and photos from the KC Rally Team.
The rally started on Friday evening with two stages in Newcastleton forest and Cristofaro was aiming to immediately push hard but a very tricky road surface saw him have a few hair-raising moments in his TEG Sport, Pirelli, Genpower UK, Autoglym, Millers Oils, Nicky Grist, Cut In Edge and Elite Remapping-backed Fiesta ST.
“I’d planned to push as hard as I could on the opening two stages but the surface of the forest track was like nothing I had experienced before,” said Cristofaro. “It was so loose and very difficult to get grip, it was a real shock to the system. With huge ditches on either side of the road waiting to punish any mistake I decided to back off a bit to make sure we made it to the Saturday stages.”
A tough full day of competition took place on Saturday with ten stages in the famous Kielder forest complex. Cristofaro and co-driver Rob Fagg were lying in 23rd overall and 11th in class as they went into the opening Falstone stage and their aim was to try and progess up the leaderboard as the day went on to try and secure valuable points in both the BRC Formula 2 and Fiesta Sporting Trophy championships.
Cristofaro had a good run through the double loop of the Falstone and Bower stages and he had already moved up to 18th overall and 8th in class.
“I started to gain confidence in using the car on the marbled surface as we got further into the rally and I put some good times in the bag which got me up the leaderboard from our overnight position. It was difficult to compete against the newer Fiestas though as they are a lot faster on the straights and this event had the longest straights I have ever seen.”
The rally finished with a double loop of three stages south of Kielder Water, Shepherdshield, Pundershaw and Chirdonhead. Cristofaro’s only problem was a small off on the first Chirdonhead stage when he came over a crest too quickly and went into a ditch. The car bounced out onto the road but was facing the wrong way and in reversing to turn round the gearbox was damaged which put extra pressure on Cristofaro not to spin again.
The remaining stages were successfully completed and Cristofaro arrived at the finish at Carlisle racecourse in 14th position overall, fifth in class and third in the Fiesta ST championship.
“I learnt a lot from the event, it was definitely the toughest I’ve ever done and it’s pleasing to have got a good result at the end of it. Thanks to all my sponsors and TEG Sport for a fantastic car set up. Thanks also to Rallyschool for the loan of a recce car – I would not have been able to get a good result without it.”
The result moves Cristofaro into joint fourth in the BRC Formula 2 championship and he remains second in the Fiesta Sporting Trophy. His championship campaigns will resume in May with the Jim Clark International rally. Please visit www.nickcristofaro.co.uk for all the latest news.