Monday 26 November 2012

Images from the Roger Albert Clark rally

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Wright hoping for Grizedale rally double

Bentham’s David Wright will end his 2012 rally season on Saturday when he contests the Coniston-based Grizedale Stages.

After winning the rally in 2011 he is aiming for another victory on the challenging Cumbrian event this year.

Wright has been out of action since October following a serious hand injury suffered at work which meant he was unable to drive but, although he has not fully recovered, he should be fit enough to return to competition at the weekend in his Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, York Brewery, Millers Oils, Owen Developments and Grove Hill Garage-backed GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9.

“I’ve not done a rally since the Merrick Stages so it will be good to be back out in the car again,” said Wright. “My hand is still painful but I’ve got most of the movement back into it now so I think I’ll be ok to drive competitively. I’m really looking forward to our final event of the year, Grizedale is always a cracking rally and the stages used are some of my favourites.”

“It is always a very tough event and the forest tracks are very challenging, especially after all the recent wet weather. They are sure to be extremely slippery. It would be great to win the event again but there are some very quick crews entered so it will be difficult. It could all come down to the very long 18 mile stage that ends the rally. Thank you to all my sponsors for their valued support, I hope we can get a good result to round off the year.”

The rally starts from Coniston on Saturday morning with most of the action taking place in Grizedale forest.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Bridgnorth offroad racing team triumph at British Cross Country Championship

The Bridgnorth-based Millington Phoenix offroad racing team completed their Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship season last weekend with a second place finish which meant they successfully defended the title they first won in 2011.

The series, which is Britain’s premier offroad racing championship, kicked off in April with a round in mid-Wales. The team’s season got off to a good start as they finished second, a result that was repeated at round two despite their car suffering some electrical troubles.

Problems with the oil seal on the engine meant the team failed to score at round three in Scotland and, with their closest rival winning each of the opening three rounds, it looked as though their hold on the championship was slipping.

However, victories at round four and five saw Rochelle and Hammond head to the last round in South Wales needing to finish in the top three to retain the title. Torrential rain before the event made the conditions on the 7 mile offroad course treacherous and Rochelle drove within himself to hold third place early on. He was promoted to second after a rival driver lost a lot of time when his steering failed and he held this position to the end of the event’s 13 runs to take the championship win.

“I wasn’t really racing on the edge this weekend,” said Rochelle. “A third place was sufficient and, with the very slippery course, I did not want to risk putting the car off the road by driving at my usual flat-out pace.”

“It is absolutely brilliant to win the championship again, it’s been a very tough year so to finish with the victory is fantastic. It has been a real team effort with Chris putting in a lot of work behind the scenes as well as navigating, Roy Millington producing a brilliant engine and Tim Henry doing a great job as our team mechanic, it’s an all Bridgnorth team and we’re brimming with pride."

“The championship has been a very thorough test of our car with six cracking courses through the year, we’ve had everything from extremely tough offroad sections to fast gravel tracks. To end up as championship winners is a real achievement for all the team.”

The 2013 championship will start next April although Rochelle has not yet decided if he will go for a hat trick of title wins.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Champion Sykes takes on Mull challenge

2012 BRC Challenge champion Richard Sykes will finish his rally season next weekend with the notoriously tough Mull Rally in Scotland.

Sykes completed his BRC Challenge season at the end of last month on the Trackrod Challenge rally. Despite a traumatic first stage in the dark of Dalby forest which saw him lose over 12 minutes to the leaders after first hitting a log and then getting stuck in a ditch Sykes battled back with quick times on the rest of the stages to finish second in class in his Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Boroughbridge Marina and Silverstone Tyres-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max.

“The first stage on the Trackrod was a disaster,” said Sykes. “We were first car on the road and we hit a log that was propping up a direction arrow. The log got wedged under the car and we dragged it down the stage for around four miles. It only got dislodged when we threw the car sideways on a corner.”

“Further on in the stage we went off the road and into a ditch. Fortunately a group of spectators were on hand to extract the car but we lost a lot a time and were right at the back of the leaderboard.”

“I drove as hard as I could for the rest of the event although the exhaust cat had got flattened by the log so the engine was at least 30bhp down on power. I was pleased to still finish runner-up in the class despite our problems although I would’ve liked to end our championship winning season with a another victory.”

After the forests of Yorkshire it is back to tarmac for the Mull Rally, the event being held on the closed public roads of the Isle of Mull. Sykes contested the event in 2010 and did well to finish after an opening stage off. He is hoping for a good result this year.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the 2010 event, the Mull Rally is a huge challenge as most of the competitive mileage is at night. The roads are very narrow and twisty with a lot of jumps to catch out crews. It’s a real achievement to get a finish there and hopefully we will achieve that.”

The Mull Rally starts on Friday night from Tobermory with the crew competing right through to the early hours of Sunday morning.

Image courtesy Simon Clarke

Sunday 7 October 2012

Images from the Colin McRae Forest Stages

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End of season success for Rally2Raise team

The Rally2Raise team of Aberdeen’s Rachel Medich and Morecambe’s Katherine Begg enjoyed a very successful end to their rally season when they won the fastest female crew award on the Colin McRae Forest Stages as well as finishing 43rd overall and 6th in class.

The Aberfeldy-based event started with the Craigvinean and Griffin stages and, with the exception of a near miss when half-spinning at a bridge in the opening stage, Rachel and Katherine had a clear run in their Clark Motorsport and DMACK Tyres-supported Nissan Micra 1300.

“The first two stage were pretty slippy so I concentrated on getting through unscathed,” said Rachel. “Despite this we almost hit a bridge in Craigvinean after the rear of the car slid around. Fortunately I got the car stopped just in time.”

After a service halt in Aberfeldy the crews headed to Errochty which, at over 13 miles, was the longest stage of the rally. Rachel and Katherine had another good run and moved 7 places up the leaderboard. Stages in Kindrogan and Black Craig were next and these proved to be very difficult with several crews retiring after going off the road or having mechanical problems. The Rally2Raise Micra powered through with no problems, even catching and passing a car in Black Craig.

“Errochty was my favourite stage of the event, it was great fun. Kindrogan went ok but Black Craig was extremely slippery and there were a few cars off the road so we took it fairly steady in there.”

The rally ended with a second Craigvinean stage. The Micra was very down on power and struggled to get up the hills in the stage but it got through the 11 miles of tracks and made it back to the event finish in Aberfeldy.

“The last stage was difficult for us, we do not have much power so we cannot afford to lose any. The car was spluttering and misfiring and the engine had no pull at all. I was relieved to get to the finish. We think it’s an issue with the fuel pressure so hopefully it can be sorted out. I was delighted to win the award for first female crew home, it’s a really nice way to end my first season as a driver.”

“Thanks to the organisers for the event entry and thanks also to everyone who supported the Rally2Raise charity raffle on Friday.”

Although competing is over for 2012 the Rally2Raise project continues with raffle tickets available from for the prize draw which will take place on 1st December at the SRC awards presentation night. The prize list now includes a large framed photograph signed by Sebastien Loeb, a subscription to Motorsport News, DVDs from Duke, loads of Tunnock’s products, a motorsport figurine from Out of Caricature, mugs from Motorsport Mugs and items signed by Colin McRae, Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala. All proceeds from the raffle will go to the charities that Rally2Raise is supporting. 

Please visit or for more information on the project.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Rachel ready for McRae Stages challenge

Rally2Raise team driver Rachel Medich is all set to complete her first season in the driving seat of her DMACK and Clark Motorsport-supported Nissan Micra 1300 at next weekend’s Colin McRae Forest Stages rally.

Rachel, from Aberdeen, and co-driver Katherine Begg are looking to build on their excellent finish in the Merrick Stages rally in early September with another good performance on the Aberfeldy-based event which is the final round of the Scottish Rally Championship.

To support the Rally2Raise project the event organisers, Coltness Car Club, have given the crew an entry to the rally which will help the team raise awareness of their supported charitable causes.

“It is extremely generous of the club to donate an entry to us,” said Rachel. “It’s a rally I have rescued on many times and it is amazing that I will be competing this year.”

“We’ll be aiming to get to the finish as we did on the Merrick, I’m still learning about driving and Katherine has only done one full event on the notes so we’re still beginners. It looks like the route will be very challenging so we’ll be delighted to arrive at the finish in Aberfeldy.”

The rally starts on Saturday morning with the crews facing 45 miles of competition in the forests of Perthshire.

As well as competing the team will be at rally headquarters on Friday (5th October) selling the popular “McRae: Rallying’s Most Spectacular Icon” bookazine as well as tickets to for the Rally2Raise raffle which includes items signed by WRC drivers, a subscription to Motorsport News, DVDs, mugs, a motorsport caricature figurine and framed photographs amongst its prizes.

For more information please visit or

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Win win win with Rally2Raise!

The Rally2Raise team are organising a raffle to help raise funds for the project’s supported charitable causes and tickets are now available to purchase via, priced at £5.00 a strip.

A fantastic range of prizes has been generously donated so far including a subscription to Motorsport News from Haymarket, rallying DVDs from Duke Marketing, loads of confectionary from Tunnocks, a motorsport figurine from Out of Caricature, mugs from Motorsport Mugs, a framed print of Colin McRae’s Mk 2 and various items signed by world rally stars including a cap from M-Sport.

The prizes will be on display at Colin McRae Forest Stages rally HQ on 5th October and raffle tickets can be purchased at the event. Tickets will be on sale up to the Scottish Rally Championship awards presentation evening on 1st December and the raffle draw will be made on that night.

In addition to the raffle the Rally2Raise team will also be selling copies of the recently published Colin McRae bookazine at the rally. The publishers of the bookazine, Haymarket, have kindly offered to donate £1.00 for each copy sold to the Rally2Raise charities.

A list of some of the raffle prizes promised so far is as follows:

1. Subscription to Motorsport News donated by Haymarket
2. Rallying DVDs donated by Duke Marketing
3. Packs of Tunnocks products donated by Tunnocks
4. Motorsport figurine donated by Out of Caricature
5. Mugs donated by Motorsport Mugs
6. Ford World Rally Team cap signed by Mikko Hirvonen donated by M-Sport
7. Colin McRae Sport baseball cap signed by Stig Blomqvist, Sebastien Loeb and David Bogie donated by San Juan Motorsport
8. Framed Colin McRae Mk2 print donated by Songasport
9. Framed and signed Jari-Matti Latvala print donated by Songasport
10. Rally2Raise cards signed by Sebastien Loeb, Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti-Latvala
11. Ford World Rally Team t-shirt donated by Rally2Raise

Please visit for more information on the Rally2Raise project.

BRC Challenge Champion Sykes aims to end season on a high

Stourbridge’s Richard Sykes is aiming to finish his championship-winning BRC Challenge season on a high next weekend when he contests the Trackrod Challenge rally in Yorkshire.

After a double-success on the last round in Ulster Sykes took an insurmountable lead in the BRC Challenge title race to take the championship crown and he is looking for another win in the final round to round off a fantastic year in his Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Boroughbridge Marina and Silverstone Tyres-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max.

“I can’t wait for the Trackrod,” said Sykes. “I can go flat out from the start without having to worry about the championship. We are happy and confident in the car and after watching Rally GB last week I can’t wait to get back in the forest. We will be testing before the event to shake both us and the car down.”

“We’ve really enjoyed the BRC Challenge this year and would recommend the championship to anyone as it’s a great competition with great events and great coverage. We hope to look at the main BRC again next year with our prize entries. Massive thanks to all my sponsors and the team members who have put in such a fantastic effort.”

 The rally starts on Friday evening with a challenging 15 mile stage in the pitch dark of Dalby with the Challenge crews facing a total of 45 miles of competitive stages in the forests of North Yorkshire.

Television coverage of the BRC Challenge is on British Rally Zone this weekend on Sky Sports.

Image courtesy Jakob Ebrey

Sunday 2 September 2012

Magnificent Merrick for Rally2Raise team

Rally2Raise crew Rachel Medich and Katherine Begg joined the likes of Colin McRae on the list of winners of the ‘man of the rally’ award on last weekend’s Ian Broll Merrick Stages. The girls finished second in class on the rally on what was only their second competitive event together and only Katherine’s second event ever.

With no means of towing the car Rachel was forced to drive her Clark Motorsport and DMACK Tyres-supported Nissan Micra 250 miles from her home in Aberdeen to the event base in Wigtown. After a successful test on Friday they started the opening stage of the event with the objective of completing the rally with the car in once piece.

Despite very wet conditions stage one went well and the girls headed to the 19 mile second stage in Glen Trool in a confident mood. Rachel was enjoying the fast and flowing stage but unfortunately another crew had an accident near the stage finish so they were forced to stop just before the end.

“I was feeling nervous before the first stage,” said Rachel. “I think having to drive the car home after the event added pressure on us to get to the finish but once we were in the stage things went well.”

“Glen Trool was fantastic, I really enjoyed it. It’s a shame we didn’t get to do the full 19 miles but we completed around 18.”

Another two stages completed the rally and Rachel and Katherine had a good run through them both to finish the event second in class. As well as successfully completing the rally the girls also raised around £350 for the charities that Rally2Raise is supporting this year.

“I’m absolutely delighted to have finished the event,” said Medich. “We may not have been the quickest but our plan for the rally was to get to the end, especially as I’d to drive the car home afterwards!.”

“Thank you very much to everyone who supported the Rally2Raise charities and also to the organisers for inviting us to compete. Thanks also to David Wright’s team for checking the car over in service – as well as no trailer we also didn’t have a service crew or any parts!”

“Winning the ‘man of the rally’ award was completely unexpected and we’re honoured to join some of the most well-known names in Scottish rallying on the trophy.”

The Rally2Raise team’s next event will be the Knockhill Speedfair next weekend. Please visit or for more information.

Puncture damage robs Wright of good Merrick result

Bentham’s David Wright had a disappointing Merrick Stages rally last weekend when damage caused by a puncture caused him to retire from the event.

Wright made a good start in his Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, York Brewery, Millers Oils and Grove Hill Garage-backed GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9, setting fourth fastest time despite having to get used to a slightly different pacenote system to that used on the events he normally contests.

Stage 2 was a 19 miles-long test in Glen Trool and Wright was hoping to progress up the leaderboard. The stage was going well but sadly a puncture five miles into the stage meant he had to stop and change the wheel, dropping him three minutes and losing him any chance of a top result.

Wright was third quickest on stage three but damage on the car caused by the puncture was exasperated by some rough regraded sections on the track so it was decided to retire rather than risk doing more serious damage.

“I was pleased with our stage one performance,” said Wright. “It took a while to get used to the different notes and I found it difficult to commit on the fast parts of the stage so fourth fastest was a good time.”

“Glen Trool was our chance to push really hard and gain some time on the leaders and we were on target to do that but the puncture ended our hopes. We planned to do the last two stages as a test but it wasn’t worth chancing further damage to the car after completing the third stage.”

Wright’s next event will either be the Cambrian rally or the Grizedale Stages.

Monday 27 August 2012

Wright ready to take on Scottish Rally Championship crews

Bentham’s David Wright returns to rally action next weekend when he contents the Merrick Stages in South West Scotland.

The event is a round of the Scottish Rally Championship and it will be the first time Wright has competed in Scotland since he did the Merrick in 2010.

He will drive his usual Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, York Brewery, Millers Oils and Grove Hill Garage-backed GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9 on the event with co-driver Michael Wilkinson calling the notes.

“I’m looking forward to the event,” said Wright. “It will be interesting to see how we go against the Scottish Championship crews, hopefully we will have a good close battle with them.”

“The rally route looks pretty challenging, there is one stage that’s around 19 miles long which is sure to test the cars and crews to the maximum. We’ve not done a rally since July so I can’t wait to get back in the driving seat.”

The rally is based in Wigtown with the competitive action taking place in the Galloway forests around Newton Stewart.

Saturday 25 August 2012

Rally2Raise team ready for Merrick rally challenge

The Rally2Raise charity project team will travel to Wigtown next weekend to take part in round 7 of the Scottish Rally Championship, the Jim Broll Merrick Stages.

Driver Rachel Medich, from Aberdeen, and co-driver Katherine Begg, from Morecambe will contest the event in their Clark Motorsport and DMack Tyres-supported Nissan Micra after the rally organising team of Machars Car Club and the Scottish Sporting Car Club generously gave them a free entry.

The Rally2Raise project is raising funds and awareness for the Nystagmus Network, the Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation for post-natal depression, the MS Society and Cancer Research UK and so far this year almost £2,000 has been raised thanks to generous donations from the rallying community.

“The project has gone really well,” said Rachel. “We’ve had tremendous support at the events we’ve attended and I’m sure that will continue next weekend. The organisers of the Merrick have been very generous in helping Rally2Raise and I really cannot wait to take part in the rally.”

“It looks like it will be a tough event, there is an 18 mile long stage in Glen Trool forest which will be a huge test as it’s a lot longer than anything I have driven competitively before but I am up for the challenge!”

Rally Manager Allan Marshall said: "We are delighted to have Rally2Raise as our nominated charity for this year's Merrick. The team are raising funds for such very good causes. Hopefully our efforts will help them in reaching their target".

The rally starts from Wigtown on Saturday morning with the crews facing four tough stages in the Galloway forests.

Please visit or for more information on the Rally2Raise project.

Thursday 23 August 2012

Sykes storms to championship win after double Ulster success

Stourbridge’s Richard Sykes is celebrating after victory in both BRC Challenge Championship rounds last weekend in Ulster gave him an unassailable lead in the championship standings with one round to go.

The first event of the weekend got off to a very close start, Sykes faster than championship rival Simon Moore by just 0.2 seconds after the bumpy and tight rollercoaster roads of the Torr Head stage. Moore edged ahead after stage two but a good tyre choice on the third stage saw Sykes regain the lead in his Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Boroughbridge Marina and Silverstone Tyres-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max.

Stage four was a repeat of the Torr Head stage but heavy rain and darkness meant that conditions would be very difficult for the crews. Moore rolled his Clio out of the event part way through the stage while Sykes had a clear run through both Torr Head and the final Glen Dun stage to win the event by 30 seconds.

“We had a great battle with Simon on the first three stages and we were pushing very hard,” said Sykes. “The rain became very heavy prior to stage four so I changed the tyres from cut slicks to intermediates, conditions were far too treacherous for slicks.”

“I was going absolutely flat out in the dark but then we saw Simon’s car upside down. We saw the crew were ok but backed off a little for safety and managed to get through the really technical stages safely in the terrible weather to give us the win.”

With Moore’s car too badly damaged to take part in the second Challenge event Sykes only needed to finish third to take the BRC Challenge title but he decided to aim for another win.

After two stages he had built up a massive 29 second lead but despite that he continued to charge through the stages, setting fastest time on every one to win by 54 seconds.

“I’m absolutely over the moon to have won the championship, it was my target for 2012 and to have achieved it with one round still to go is fantastic. The win is all down to my two Simons – Simon Taylor, a fabulous co-driver of the highest quality and Simon Hawthorne who has made the car reliable and given us a brilliant set up. With Martin Billings on-event support it’s been a real team effort and the championship makes all the work we’ve put in worthwhile. Thanks also to all my sponsors for their invaluable support.”

Sykes will contest the final BRC Challenge round in Yorkshire next month and will be aiming to make it four wins in the season. His year will then be rounded off by taking part in the Mull Rally in October.

Image courtesy Jakob Ebrey

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Early entries confirm international appeal of Rally Isle of Man

With just three weeks to go before entries close for this year’s Rally Isle of Man, powered by Microgaming, and the Duke Stages, organisers are delighted with the initial uptake.

Following the event’s absence from the rallying calendar last year, partly through a lack of entries, over 30 crews have already submitted their paperwork this time around, ensuring that the event will run.

Particularly pleasing is that the early entries have confirmed the International appeal of one of the most respected events in British Isles motorsport.

Driver’s Shinobu Kitani and Yoshinao Tscuchiya are set to travel from Japan as a two-car Mini Cooper S challenge for the Historic Rallee Classicagh. Shinobu has competed in the event previously, but it’ll be a debut for Yoshinao. Another regular visitor is Renaud Bronkart from Belgium and he’s on the list for the Duke Stages section of the event.

Non-UK and Irish license holders are able to enter due to the events registration as a ‘National Event with Authorised Foreign Participation (NEAFP)’.

Also already entered is a three-time former winner of the Historic Rally, David Stokes in a Ford Escort and four-time former category victor Adrian Kermode (Porsche 911), and just received is the entry of 2010 Isle of Man Historic Rally victors Ryan Barrett and Paul McCann (Escort MkII). They’ll be joined by leading UK historic drivers Guy Woodcock and Adrian Seabridge (Escort). Rallee Classicagh is the final round of the HRCR Asphalt Cup.

Amongst those joining Renaud on the Duke Stages list are visitors Kevin Jeffray (Subaru), John Richardson (Ford Escort), Ric Wood (Evo IV), Kevin Charles (Ford Fiesta) and leading UK production category driver Tristan Pye. The event is a round of the Eurocars Motorsport Manx Rally Championship and leading lights Andrew Leece (Evo VI) and Sean Kelly (Evo VII) will be challenged by past champions Pat Bettridge (Subaru) and David Craine (Escort Cosworth).

Whilst those events will cover all three days of stages, there is also a one-day Isle of Man Trophy Rally for crews looking for the opportunity to take on the famous Manx lanes on Saturday 22nd September and it already has two entries, one from Pat’s son Matthew (VW Golf).

The full event will open on the evening of Thursday 20th with an all-new thrilling spectator-orientated stage along Douglas Promenade, in which the cars and crews will be pitched in a head-to-head race along the seafront. Friday’s action will culminate with four exciting night stages centred round Castletown, the Island’s ancient capital. Saturday is no straightforward run to the champagne either, almost 90 stage miles to be tackled before the final run down the TT course to finish at the famous Grandstand.

Entries remain open until 31st August (reduced rate until 24th August), with crews urged to avoid the expected final week rush.

Regulations are available for all events on the rally’s website

Sykes to continue BRC Challenge championship push in Ulster

Stourbridge’s Richard Sykes is looking to build on his current second place in the BRC Challenge championship next weekend when he contests the Ulster Challenge rally in his Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Boroughbridge Marina and Silverstone Tyres-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max.

The event will consist of two separate Challenge rounds, the first starting on Friday afternoon and running into the night and the second lasting all day on Saturday.

“It has been ten weeks since the last round and I have enjoyed the break but it’s now time to head to Ulster for the season’s only double-header event,” said Sykes. “The closed public roads around Antrim are some of the most technical, tight and twisty and amazingly fast roads in the UK. They demand respect and bravery and carrying speed is the key to setting good times.”

“Ulster is definitely my favourite tarmac event in the championship and the infamous Tors Head is the rollercoaster stage of British rallying.”

“I am in a very healthy second place in the championship and it’s a great position from wish to push for the win. It is absolutely imperative to score on both the Ulster events though. We will still be flat out on Friday but we need to be as mechanically sympathetic as possible to keep the car in a good condition for Saturday.”

“It is crunch time in the season, we need to beat Simon Moore in the Clio who beat us on the last round. The weather could play a big part in the rally so we’re putting a great deal of thought into the tyre strategy for the event. The car has been meticulously prepared by Simon Hawthorne and we are ready for the battle. Bring it on!”

The first Challenge event will run over 43 stage miles with the second being fought over 37 miles.

Image courtesy Colin Smith

Monaghan races to class podium on Tyneside Stages rally

Kev Monaghan claimed another good result in this Pirtek and Stauff-supported Vauxhall Corsa last weekend when he finished third in class and 15th overall on the Tyneside Stages rally, round six of the MSA Asphalt Championship.

With new Dunlop tyres on the car for the first time Monaghan built his confidence in the early stages, getting used to the extra grip over the part-worn tyres he has used previously. After four stages he was lying just outside the top twenty overall and fourth in class.

As the rally progressed Monaghan increased his pace and by the end of the event he had moved up to 15th overall as well as taking third in class for a good haul of championship points.

“I didn’t drive at 100% in the early stages, the new tyres offered so much more grip and it took a few miles to determine how hard I could push them,” said Monaghan.

“The later stages went well and I was happy to get a podium finish in the class which helps our standing in the championship. The competition was very tough on the event and really we need more top end speed on the long straights to be fully competitive.”

“Steve Dargen did a great job in the co-driving hotseat and Chris Purvis was a source of food all day as part-time rally manager. Thanks to Neil Thompson and Graham Murray for servicing and thanks for Pirtek Tyne & Wear, Pirtek Aberdeen, Stauff and GB Lubricants for their support.”

The result puts Monaghan in second place in the championship for his class.

Photo courtesy Martin Taylor

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Monaghan to push for class win on Tyneside Stages

Kev Monaghan is hoping that brand new Dunlop tyres supplied by new sponsor Stauff will help him challenge for a class win on next weekend’s Tyneside Stages rally on Otterburn army ranges.

The event is round six of the MSA Asphalt Championship and despite not entering the last two rounds Monaghan presently lies third in his class championship, his points tally boosted by a class win on the last rally he contested.

Chris Purvis is still not 100% fit so Steve Dargan will take his place in the co-driver’s seat in the Pirtek and Stauff-backed Vauxhall Corsa Kit Car

“It has been a few weeks since we competed so I’m raring to go,” said Monaghan. “I can’t wait to get the car on Otterburn on the new tyres. It will be the first time I have ever used brand new rubber, I usually use part-worn or 10 year old S1600 tyres.”

“We will be pushing hard for a class win to try and move ourselves up the championship standings but there is some top class competition so it will be very tough.”

“Thanks to Pirtek, Stauff, GB Lubricants and F&R Belbin for their continued support and also to Chris for working with Steve preparing the pacenotes.”

The rally starts on Sunday morning (11th August) and the crews will face around 90 miles of stages on the notoriously difficult ranges.

Monday 6 August 2012

Successful Speyside Stages for Rally2Raise team.

The Rally2Raise team of Rachel Medich and Katherine Begg enjoyed a very successful Speyside Stages rally last weekend when they had a troublefree run through the three stages they had been allocated to complete as well as raising over £340 for the four charities that the Rally2Raise project is supporting.

The Elgin-based event was round six of the Scottish Rally Championship and the organisers, 63 Car Club, had invited Rachel and Katherine to drive some of the stages ahead of the competitors as “000” car.

The day started with stages one and two which were held in Cooper Park in Elgin in front of a large number of spectators.  The Rally2Raise team had a clear run through the stages in their Clark Motorsport and DMack supported-Nissan Micra, entertaining the crowd with a dramatic lock-up of the tyres as they approached a tight hairpin bend on the course.

The team then headed for the Rosarie stage which was a forest test near the town of Keith. Despite having to use a map rather than pacenotes the girls negotiated the very slippery stage well and made it to the finish without a mark on the car.

“I was pleased to get through the stages unscathed,” said Rachel. “It was first time Katherine and myself had driven on an event since our accident on the Granite City rally so we were both quite nervous before the start. It went really well though and we both had a very enjoyable time.”

“We were absolutely delighted to find that we had received over £340 in donations from the spectators and officials of the rally, a huge thank you to everyone who supported us and our four causes and thanks also to the 63 Car Club for letting us run on the event.”

The Rally2Raise car’s next scheduled appearance is at the Merrick Stages in South West Scotland which takes place on 1st September.

Please visit or for more information on the project or to make a donation to the charities the project is supporting.

Monday 30 July 2012

Images from BCCC Radnor

Please click here to see the images.

Rally2Raise team set for Speyside Stages

Rally2Raise crew Rachel Medich, from Aberdeen, and Katherine Begg, from Morecambe, will continue their charity funds and awareness raising venture next weekend when they attend the Speyside Stages rally in their Clark Motorsport and DMack tyres-supported Nissan Micra.

The girls will use the Micra on the very popular Cooper Park spectator stage in Elgin as well as selected gravel stages.

The Rally2Raise project has so far raised over £1,500 for the four charitable causes it is supporting: the Nystagmus Network, the Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation, the MS Society and Cancer Research UK. A bucket collection will take place in Cooper Park to try and boost the total further.

“I am really looking forward to the Speyside,” said Rachel. “The Cooper Park stage is always packed with spectators so it is a great opportunity to raise awareness of Rally2Raise and our four causes. It is really good of the organisers to let us run on the event.”

“We tested the car recently on a forest track and that went really well so hopefully we can have a good run next weekend in the little Micra and also help our charities.”

As well as the Speyside the Rally2Raise team have confirmed attendance at the Merrick Stages and Saltire Rally Club Knockhill Speedfair in September.

For more information on Rally2Raise please visit

Sunday 15 July 2012

Alternator woes end Wright’s Nicky Grist Stages rally hopes

Bentham’s David Wright suffered a disappointing early retirement on last Saturday’s Nicky Grist Stages rally when an alternator problem caused him to stop after the first stage.

Wright was hopeful of a good result on the Builth Wells-based event after recent successes and he lined up at the start line of the opening Monument stage in his Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, York Brewery, Millers Oils and Grove Hill Garage-backed GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9 aiming for a top three position. His hopes were dashed when five seconds before he was due to start the stage the engine revs surged and then the engine cut out. After 30 seconds the car was restarted but the stage was run with the engine in road mode rather than competition mode resulting in a large time loss.

With no chance to repair the problem and a risk of damage to the engine if he continued Wright retired once he had completed the stage.

“It is very disappointing to retire from the event, especially as the stages used are some of my favourite in the UK but there was nothing we could do unfortunately,” said Wright. “The problem occurred as we were being counted down to start the stage. We think it was caused by the alternator surging in power but we’ll check it all out in the next few days.”

“We’ve had a really good run of success recently and it’s unfortunate that we could not continue the run on Saturday. Thank you to all the sponsors for their support.”

Wright’s next event is likely to be the Merrick Stages in South West Scotland which takes place in early September.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Rally Isle of Man organisers extend Historic appeal

Rally Isle of Man’s organisers have announced two new elements to enhance opportunities for competitors to tackle this September’s event.

The rally, a round of the Water End Properties Historic Asphalt Cup and the Eurocars Motorsport Manx Rally Championship, has received dispensation from the sports governing body, the MSA, to allow FIA Appendix K-eligible historic vehicles to tackle what is renowned as one of the biggest challenges in the sport.

The move widens opportunities for crews to enter vehicles beyond those made eligible by the UK’s regulations and dovetails with the events registration as a ‘National Event with Authorised Foreign Participation (NEAFP)’, allowing Rally Isle of Man to accept entries from non-UK and Irish license holders.

In addition, within the Duke Stages Rally element of the event, it is planned to introduce two new ‘period classes’. With the official Historic Rally regulations limited to cars up to 1981 the rally will run exploratory classes for cars from the 1980’s.

The first will be for vehicle types that ran under homologation between 1st January 1982 and 31st December 1986, and the second will extend that to the period 1st January 1987 and 31st December 1991.

For the first time this provides competition classes specifically for this period, introducing cars such as the Vauxhall Nova and Astra’s, Peugeot 205, Ford Sierra, Toyota Celica, Mitsubishi Galant and Lancia Delta Intergrale, as well as many of the famed Group B machines that are able to meet today’s regulations.

“The organisers have said right from the outset that they intend to open up our classic event to as many competitors and competition cars as possible, and these announcements are part of that,” says Historic Rally Clerk of the Course Alan Teare.

“We have undertaken consultation, and competitors have very much driven this direction. It is a toe in the water with the 1980’s period classes, and it’s exciting to be at the forefront of the next natural progression. For many people, that was the golden era of rallying, and to have the sights and sounds back on the Manx stages is a wonderful opportunity.”

Regulations and entries are now available from the events website,, and potential entrants under either of these clauses should contact the Rally Office in the first instance.

Monday 9 July 2012

Entries open for Rally Isle of Man

The rally organisers have today published the regulations for the three events that make up this year’s Rally Isle of Man.

Available for all competitors on the rally’s website the regulations cover the three-day historic Isle of Man Rallee Classicagh, the Dukes Stages Rally, and the one day Isle of Man Trophy Rally.

The rally, a round of the Water End Properties Historic Asphalt Cup and the Eurocars Motorsport Manx Rally Championship, will take place over the traditional and classic stages made famous by this rally over the last 49 years. There is also the exciting addition of new stages and ‘concepts’ being introduced to spice up the event for regulars and newcomers alike.

The event is also open to competitors from Europe and Ireland as it is registered as a ‘National Event with Authorised Foreign Participation (NEAFP)’, allowing Rally Isle of Man to accept entries from non-UK and Irish license holders.

In addition, within the Duke Stages Rally element of the event, it is planned to introduce two new ‘period classes’. As Clerk of the Course Alan Teare put it, “there will be no classes for Historic cars in the Duke Stages, as these are catered for in the Rallee Classicagh, so we are taking the opportunity to run special classes for rally cars from the 1980’s.”

“It’s a period that has so far been neglected by the rally fraternity but contains such classic rally cars as the Opel Manta and Sierra Cosworth and even includes some of the awesome Group B cars which are still eligible for competition like the Metro 6R4, Renault Turbo, Lancia Integrale. If we can attract these cars out of their garages it would be a fantastic spectacle!”

Rally Isle of Man takes place on 20-22 September 2012.

Sunday 8 July 2012

Wright ready to continue rally success on Nicky Grist Stages

Rally driver David Wright is aiming to continue his recent run of success next weekend when he contests the Nicky Grist Stages rally in Wales.

Wright, from Bentham, will use his Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, York Brewery, Millers Oils and Grove Hill Garage-backed GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9 on the event and after taking the fastest time on the rally stage of the Goodwood Festival of Speed at the end of June his hopes are high for another good performance.

“We had a bit of damage to repair on the car following Goodwood but that has all been sorted and we’re all ready for the Nicky Grist Stages,” said Wright.

“I’m full of confidence from both beating all the famous drivers at the festival and from our excellent results on recent rallies and I hope we can continue our form next weekend. I enjoy the stages that the event uses, they are some of the best in the UK – very fast and flowing with high levels of grip from the service.”

“There will be very tough competition with the world rally class cars as well as some really quick local crews so we will have to attack right from the start but I think we will be on the pace.”

The rally is a round of the BTRDA rally championship and it is based in Builth Wells with the stages taking place on gravel tracks around the Epynt military ranges.

Monday 2 July 2012

Wright heads the pack at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Bentham’s David Wright enjoyed amazing success at last weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed when he beat numerous world championship drivers and cars to set the fastest time on each of the festival’s three days.

The event did not start well for Wright as he hit a bank in his Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, York Brewery, Millers Oils and Grove Hill Garage-backed GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9 when doing a run the day before the festival opened. The car suffered suspension damage which took most of Thursday to repair but the car was all ready to go on Friday.

Despite facing tough competition from the likes of the works Skoda team and the Citroën DS3 WRC of world rally driver Thierry Neuville Wright was quickest on the very slippery rally stage, pipping Intercontinental Rally Championship champion Andreas Mikkelsen by 0.4 seconds. He repeated the performance on Saturday before rounding off his event by taking another quickest time on Sunday, this time beating Neuville into second place.

“It was an unbelievable event, “ said Wright. “To beat some of the stars of world championship level rallying was fantastic. The stage was unlike anything I’ve driven on before, the chalky surface was almost like driving on ice.”

“Thanks to the team for getting Thurday’s damage repaired, they did a great job and without them I would not have been able to run the car in the event. Thanks also to the International Rally Drivers Club for inviting me to drive, I’m very proud to have been the quickest driver and hopefully I can return next year.”

Wright will return to action later this month on the Nicky Grist Stages in Wales.

Friday 29 June 2012

Stauff UK to support Monaghan’s tarmac championship campaign

Kev Monaghan has received a boost to his 2012 rally season with the news that Stauff UK will be supporting his Pirtek Vauxhall Corsa in the REIS MSA Tarmac Championship.

The Sheffield-based company has serviced the UK hydraulic industry for 35 years offering hydraulic pipework, components and accessories. In addition to a state-of-the-art distribution and manufacturing facility in Sheffield Stauff have regional branches in Aberdeen, Southampton and County Antrim.

John Morris MD of Stauff UK said: “ Supporting Kevin in the rally car helps to strengthen our working relationship and gives Stauff an opportunity to build its brand, we wish him every success.”

Monaghan added: “It is fantastic to have a sponsor who recognises what our rally car can achieve for them with the television coverage of the REIS championship and the PR support we have. We will be investing in new Dunlop tyres which should see our times improve and give us that competitive edge.”

Monaghan’s Corsa is presently at Playskool Motorsport having some work done on the paddle shift to improve the gear change times. The next event for the team will be the Tyneside Stages at the Otterburn military ranges on 12th August.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Wright teams up with Millers Oils ahead of Goodwood weekend

Bentham-based rally driver David Wright has secured a new sponsor for his 2012 rally season ahead of driving his Mitsubishi Evo 9 at the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed next weekend.

Millers Oils, one of the leading independent blenders of oil and fuel additives, are joining Wright’s existing supporters Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, York Brewery, GPM and Grove Hill Garage as he aims to build on his recent excellent results which have included a win on the Tour of Hamsterley and second place on the Plains rally.

The first event for the new partnership will see Wright in action on the rally stage of the festival, which takes place at Goodwood House in Sussex. Joining Wright on the rally stage will be several rallying legends such as Hannu Mikkola, Russell Brookes and Jimmy McRae. Also attending the event will be Formula One stars such as Lewis Hamilton and world champion Sebastian Vettel.

“I am delighted that Millers Oils will be supporting us”, said Wright. “I am sure it will be a great partnership and it is fantastic that our first event will be something with the profile that the Festival of Speed has.”

“It is an honour to be invited to drive at the festival, especially alongside some of the most well known names in motorsport. I shall be doing my very best to put on a good show for the thousands of spectators and, of course, my sponsors.”

The festival starts on Friday 29th June and runs until Sunday 1st July. Wright will be in action on all three days.

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Sykes maintains title challenge with Jim Clark podium

Richard Sykes, from Stourbridge, continued his quest for the BRC Challenge rally title last weekend when he finished in second place and first in class on the Jim Clark Challenge event.

The event was due to start on Friday evening but due to delays experienced by the other rallies running ahead of the Challenge the opening stage was cancelled, with the 16-mile Abbey St Bathans test now kicking things off on Saturday morning.

Sykes was quickly on the pace in his Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Boroughbridge Marina and Silverstone Tyres-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max, catching and passing Richard Archer in the car in front after 7 miles of the stage. However, he then picked up a puncture which cost a lot of time and meant he was only fifth fastest. It could have been worse though as the puncture damaged the wing and bumper with the wheel arch liner catching fire. Fortunately the fire was put out with one of the fire extinguishers at the finish control.

Sykes and co-driver Simon Taylor were able to change the tyre before the next stage but with the car running slicks on the front and intermediates on the rear and only wet weather tyres as spares the handling was all over the place.

“With the changeable weather we wanted to cover the possibility of rain with our choice of spare,” said Sykes. “Getting the puncture meant we had to put one of the intermediates on the front and a wet weather tyre on the back, running three different compounds certainly made the handling interesting!”

Despite his tyre woes Sykes pushed hard and set some excellent times, including fastest time on the Fogo stage, a time which would’ve put him in the top five had he been contesting the International rally that was running at the same time. By mid-event service he was up to second-place on the leaderboard, 25 seconds behind the rally leader.

Another run of the long Abbey St Bathans stage was next and, with the tight and twisty stage suiting Sykes’ car, he flew through the lanes 22 seconds quicker than anyone, pulling the gap to first back to three seconds.

Two super-fast stages remained. On the first of these Sykes made a small error and dropped to 14 seconds off the lead. With championship points being vital he decided to settle for second place rather than risk an accident in the last stage.

“Second overall and first in class is a great result and it puts me in second place in the championship battle. It’s a little disappointing that our second run of the Abbey stage showed that the puncture cost us around 48 seconds so it looks like without it we would’ve won. Our aim for the rally was to get a good haul of points though so we’ve definitely achieved that.”

Sykes will continue his BRC Challenge season with the Ulster Challenge rally in August.

Image courtesy Colin Smith

Monday 4 June 2012

Monaghan overcomes tyre problems to take class win

Kev Monaghan endured a difficult Jim Clark National event last weekend but was rewarded with a class win in the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship.

The rally started on Friday evening with two short stages around Duns town centre. As he braked for the first corner Monaghan realised that he had chosen the wrong tyres for his Pirtek-backed Vauxhall Corsa Kit Car. With no opportunity to change the tyres between the stages Monaghan drove cautiously to make sure the car was in one piece for the full day of competition that was to follow on Saturday.

Day two started with the longest stage of the rally, the 16 mile Abbey St Bathans and, despite having changed to new medium compound tyres on the front wheels the car was still moving around a lot. With three stages to go before service Monaghan could do nothing about the tyres so drove with the need to get a good haul of championship points foremost in his mind.

Once he reached service some changes were made to the suspension settings and a soft compound tyre was fitted to the front wheels.

Another loop of four stages concluded the event. The car was now handling well and Monaghan was looking forward to enjoying the rest of the rally. Sadly his problematic event continued though as the display on the paddleshift gearbox stopped working meaning that he had to revert to conventional gear-changing for the last three stages.

Despite the problems Monaghan reached the finish of the event with a MSA Asphalt Championship class win as well as 25th overall.

“ I’m delighted with the result after the troubles we had,” said Monaghan. “I was determined to get to the finish so to get a championship class win is a good bonus.”

“I really didn’t think it was our day when the paddleshift display broke pretty much as soon as we’d got the car’s handling sorted but the result makes up for the problems. If anyone has some tyres they want me to try please get in touch!”

“Thanks to Pirtek Tyne and Wear, F and R Belbin, GB Lubricants and Playskool Motorsport for their support, Steve Dargan for a good job on the pacenotes and Neil Thompson and Garry Salmon for servicing.”

Monaghan is hoping to contest the ALMC Stages in Dublin next month if the budget can be found to contest the event.

Image courtesy Colin Smith

Sunday 27 May 2012

Monaghan looking for repeat performance on Jim Clark rally

Kev Monaghan is aiming to repeat the class win he got last year when he contests next weekend’s Jim Clark National rally in his Pirtek-backed Vauxhall Corsa Kit Car.

The event is round three of the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship and Monaghan has had a mixed start to his title campaign, a retirement on the opening round followed by a good second in class finish on the Isle of Man at round two.

With usual co-driver Chris Purvis still out injured Steve Dargan will be on the notes with Monaghan for the Kelso-based event.

“We had a really good run on last year’s event,” said Monaghan. “We need another good result to help our championship hopes so getting another class win would be the perfect result although rallying is never that easy.”

“I was very happy with the second place we got on the Manx rally but I’m looking to go one better on the Jim Clark. Steve has co-driven for me before so there won’t be any issues getting used to the notes, we’ll be aiming to be quick right away.”

“The event is usually very challenging with a mix of extremely fast roads and tight and twisty lanes, it will test cars and crews to the maximum but I’m confident that we’ll go well. Thanks to Pirtek Tyne & Wear, F&R Belbin, GB Lubricants and Playskool Motorsport for their support and thanks also to Proflex for their speedy work getting the suspension changed since the Manx.”

The rally starts on Friday evening with a stage which runs around Duns town centre in front of thousands of spectators. A full day of action will take place on Saturday with the crews battling over stages on closed public roads around Duns.

Image courtesy Jess Quirk

Sykes ready to resume title challenge on Jim Clark rally

Stourbridge’s Richard Sykes is hoping to put the disappointment of his retirement on the previous BRC Challenge championship round behind him next weekend when he contests the Jim Clark Challenge rally in the Scottish Borders.

Sykes and co-driver Simon Taylor were in second place on April’s Pirelli rally in their Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Boroughbridge Marina and Silverstone Tyres-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max, ideally placed to challenge for a win. However, an electrical fault meant the car was unable to complete one of the stages resulting in a retirement and no points for the championship battle.

After three rounds on gravel the Jim Clark rally will see the championship crews battle on closed public roads in and around Duns. Sykes had a good result on last year’s event and, with tarmac being his preferred surface, he is looking for a win to get his title challenge back on track.

“The Pirelli was a huge disappointment after all the work we did to prepare the car,” said Sykes. “We’ve put that behind us now though and we are all set to go flat out for the win on the Jim Clark.”

“The tarmac suspension has been completely overhauled and the car is set up the same as last year as we were very happy with how it performed. We’ll do the shakedown stage on Friday to get both us and the car settled and then we’re aiming to be on the pace right from the start.”

“I think we can win the event, we have the speed, experience and team to do so. There’s no doubt that our main rivals are very quick but tarmac is my preferred surface and I think the work we did fine-tuning the car on last year’s event will pay-off this year.”

“The championship allows us to drop a score so we’re still in a great position to take the title but a good result at the weekend is absolutely vital. Hopefully the current good weather will continue as dry conditions are preferable but we’re ready for rain too.”

The rally starts on Friday evening with a short spectator stage around Duns town centre. The crews will then have a full day of competition on Saturday.

Image courtesy Jakob Ebrey Motorsport Photography

Monday 21 May 2012

Wright sails to Plains podium

Bentham’s David Wright continued his run of rally success last weekend when he finished in a brilliant second place on the Plains rally, just one week after winning the Tour of Hamsterley.

The Welshpool-based event was round four of the BTRDA rally championship and after two retirements on the early championship rounds Wright was keen to get a strong result in the mid-Wales forests.

The rally kicked off with a stage in Gartheiniog forest which, at over 10 miles, provided a stern test for the crews. Wright was immediately on the pace in his Kumho Tyres, Drenth, York Brewery, Proflex and Grove Hill Garage-supported GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9, finishing the stage in second place.

Wright went one better in the following Dyfi stage as he was fastest through the twisty forest tracks. Three stages in Hafren and Sweet Lamb were next and Wright kept up his challenge for the win with another fastest time backed up by two third quickests.

A storming run through the second run of Gartheiniog saw Wright lie just three seconds off the lead going into the final Woodyard stage. Despite the stage only being one mile long Wright went flat out for the win but he overshot a corner which lost him time, meaning that he had to settle for second place.

“It was disappointing to have the overshoot as I think we would’ve been very close to taking the win,” said Wright. “I’m extremely happy with the result though, it has been an incredible few days winning in Hamsterley and then finishing second here. It has made all the hard work we’ve done on the car worthwhile. Thank you to all the sponsors and the team that have helped me get such fantastic results on the last two events.”

As well as his rally success Wright received some other good news with an invitation to take part in the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed at the end of June.

“I’m really looking forward to taking part in the festival, it’s an honour to be invited. I’ll be using the car on the rally circuit and I’ll be doing my best to put on a good show for all the spectators!”

Image courtesy Simon Clarke

Images from the Stravaigers Lodge Gravel Sprint

Please click here to see the images.

Monday 14 May 2012

Monaghan fights back to take second in class

Kev Monghan made an excellent fight back from a stage one disaster to take second in class on last weekend’s Manx National rally, round two of the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship.

The rally kicked off on Friday evening with a stage that started in Port Erin town centre before heading up a hill out of the town over a very testing series of bends and crests. Monaghan and co-driver Dave Jones had a good run through the stage but as they crossed the finish line a joint on the driveshaft sheared which meant they had no drive in their Pirtek-backed Vauxhall Corsa Kit Car.

They managed to get back to service where Neil Thompson and Derek Belbin set about repairing the car, determined that it would be ready for Saturday’s action. Thanks to their efforts the car was ready to go again and with nothing to lose Monaghan pushed hard on all of Saturday’s stages.

With no further problems Monaghan was able to climb back up the leaderboard to claim vital championship points with a second in class finish.

“We were lucky that the rally rules meant that we could take a penalty and restart on Saturday,” said Monaghan. “The guys in service did a fantastic job in getting the car fixed and to get points for second in class was a huge unexpected bonus after our disastrous Friday night.”

“Thanks to Pirtek Tyne & Wear, F&R Belbin, GB Lubricants, Playskool Motorsport for their support and to Dave Jones for co-driving.”

Monaghan will continue his championship campaign on the Jim Clark National rally at the start of June.

Image courtesy Jess Quirk

Images from BCCC Epynt

Please click here to see the images.

Wright returns to winning ways in Hamsterley

Rally driver David Wright, from Bentham, put his disappointing start to the 2012 rally season behind him when took victory on the Tour of Hamsterley event last weekend.

After retirements on both the Wyedean and Malcolm Wilson rallies Wright decided to take some time out from competing to make some modifications to his Kumho Tyres, Drenth, York Brewery, Proflex and Grove Hill Garage-supported Mitsubishi Evo 9. With the modifications finished last week he entered the Hamsterley forest event as a test ahead of the BTRDA championship Plains rally next weekend.

Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson made a fantastic start to the event, setting fastest times on the first three stages to lead by 34 seconds. However, most of that lead was lost on stage four when a puncture meant that Wright was only 7th fastest.

Wright fought back from the puncture to take another fastest time on the fifth and final stage which meant he won the event by 7 seconds.

“We had a brilliant event, the car is absolutely awesome, and the stages were fantastic – really fast and flowing which suited us,” said Wright. “It was frustrating to lose the time with the puncture but I am delighted to have been fastest on most of the stages. It’s great for Michael to win his local event too.”

“We’ll do the Plains rally next weekend and I’m feeling very confident that we can get a good result. We’ve nothing to lose after retiring on the first two BTRDA rounds so we will be pushing hard to battle with the World Rally class cars.”

Image courtesy Steve Pugh

Sunday 6 May 2012

Dominant DCC Stages victory for Vassallo

Fourteen year old rally driver Alexander Vassallo took a dominant win at last weekend’s DCC Junior Stages rally, his third consecutive victory in his debut season.

Vassallo, from Corbridge, is contesting both the Junior 1000 Rally Challenge and Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge championships this year, both championships are for drivers aged between 14 and 17 using cars with engines of 1000cc or less. Despite only starting rallying this year Vassallo had already won two of the three events he had contested prior to the DCC Stages so hopes were high of a good result at the Ingliston-based second round of the Ecosse Challenge.

With experienced co-driver Janice Moore in his Birkbeck-prepared Citroën C1 Vassallo made a storming start to the event, setting a time 28 seconds faster than his nearest rival. He continued that form throughout the days eight stages, being quickest on each one despite the tyres going off on stage 4 and a small overshoot on stage 5. By the end of the event he had pulled out a lead of almost three minutes, a remarkable performance when Junior 1000 events are more usually settled by a few seconds.

“To get my third win in four events is fantastic, I did not expect such a good start to my rally career,” said Vassallo. “I was very pleased with my performance and the car was faultless all day. The tyres going off and the overshoot cost us a few seconds but we still managed to be fastest on every stage.”

“Thanks to Chris Birkbeck and his team and to Janice who was sitting with me for the first time and did a great job.”

Vassallo’s Ecosse Challenge season will continue with the Summer Stages at Crail in June while the next Junior 1000 Rally Challenge round is the TSH Stages at Portreath on 18/19 May.

Image courtesy Davie Hatrick

Wright returns for Tour of Hamsterley

After being out of action since the Malcolm Wilson rally in early March Bentham’s David Wright will contest the Tour of Hamsterley next weekend.

Wright retired from the Cumbrian event with gear linkage problems and since then lots of work has been undertaken on his Kumho Tyres, Drenth, York Brewery, Proflex and Grove Hill Garage-supported Mitsubishi Evo 9 to increase both pace and reliability.

“We were going really well on the Malcolm Wilson rally but the gear linkage issue meant we had to retire,” commented Wright. “We also retired on the Wyedean event in February and, with our hopes for a good BTRDA championship result pretty much over, we decided to miss last month’s Somerset Stages to concentrate on getting the car ready.”

“We’ve had the car on a dyno and we’ve found some good gains on the engine so we should have a bit more performance to help us try and keep on the pace of the World Rally class cars.”

“The Tour of Hamsterley is my co-driver Michael Wilkinson’s local event so we’ve decided to enter it to test out the modifications to the car. We’ll also hopefully do the Plains rally in Wales the weekend after if all goes well.”

The Tour of Hamsterley takes place entirely in Hamsterley forest in County Durham with the crews facing around 37 miles of competition.

Friday 4 May 2012

Rally2Raise passes £1,500 mark in fundraising quest

The Rally2Raise project, which is using motorsport to raise funds and awareness for charitable causes, recently passed the £1,500 mark in donations.

 The project was set up in late 2011 by Rachel Medich to support the Nystagmus Network, the MS Society, Cancer Research UK and the Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation for post-natal depression.

As well as undertaking fundraising activities Rachel and her friend Katherine Begg have been promoting all four causes through participating in motorsport events in their DMACK Tyres and Clark Motorsport-supported Rally2Raise Nissan Micra rally car.

 “The support for the project has been absolutely fantastic,” commented Rachel. “I’d like to thank everyone who has helped us so far, I am delighted that we have been able to raise so much already.”

“We’ve got a lot more fundraising events planned over the next few months so hopefully we will be able to raise even more.”

Nystagmus Network development manager John Sanders said: "We are so grateful to Rachel and Katherine for all that they are doing to raise both funds and awareness through their rally driving. At around one in 1,000, nystagmus is more common than most people think - you've almost certainly met someone with nystagmus for instance. One of the challenges we face is getting that message across, and that's where Rally2Raise is making a big difference."

Rachel is hoping to contest the Dumfries-based Scottish rally in June and she has already agreed to take part in the Merrick stages in September after the rally organisers made Rally2Raise their nominated charitable cause for 2012.

For more information on the project please visit or Online donations can be made via

Monaghan all set for Manx rally debut

Kev Monaghan is aiming to get his rally season back on track next weekend when he contests round 2 of the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship, the Manx National rally.

After retiring from the opening championship round in March  Monaghan needs a good finish on the Manx to kick start his championship campaign.

With usual co-driver Chris Purvis out injured after an accident at work Monaghan will have David Jones on the pacenotes in the Pirtek-backed Vauxhall Corsa Kit Car.

“Having competed for more years than I care to remember I cannot wait to rally on the Isle of Man, it is a venue that I have always wanted to compete at,” said Monaghan.

“Losing Chris is a big blow - as most drivers know the confidence you get from working together with the same co-driver over a period of time is difficult to replace but David Jones has competed on the Manx before so that experience will be very useful. Everyone at Pirtek wishes Chris a speedy recovery and we hope to see him competing again soon.”

The front hubs have been strengthened on the Corsa following problems on the last event and an additional front engine mount has been added to cope with the paddle shift gearbox.

“Hopefully the work we’ve done on the hubs will prevent the problem we had on the last round reoccurring. I’ll be aiming to get into the top three of the class so that we pick up a decent amount of points. Thanks to Pirtek Tyne & Wear, F&R Belbin, GB Lubricants, Playskool Motorsport and Carl and Rob Tuer for getting the car setup sorted.”

The rally starts on Friday evening (11th May) before continuing with a full day of action on Saturday. Competitors will face 120 miles of stages all held on the island’s closed public roads.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Electrical gremlins rob Sykes of Pirelli podium

Rally driver Richard Sykes had a disappointing Pirelli Challenge rally last weekend when a mystery electrical problem caused him to retire from the event.

The Carlisle-based event was round 3 of the BRC Challenge championship and after excellent performances in his Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Boroughbridge Marina and Silverstone Tyres-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max on the opening two rounds Sykes went into the event at the head of the championship leaderboard.

The rally started well and going into the third stage Sykes was just six seconds behind rally leader Simon Moore despite not pushing hard as his target for the event was a podium finish rather than a win.

Part way through the third stage the car suffered an electrical problem which meant it had very little power as the engine would not rev above 1500rpm. Sykes and co-driver Simon Taylor carried on through the stage hoping to nurse the car to the end but there was a steep hill near the finish and the car did not have enough power to get up it. Despite frantic attempts to repair the car the event was over for the Stourbridge driver.

“Everything was going to plan, we were aiming for a podium finish so to be in second place early on was ideal,” commented Sykes. “Sadly the mysterious electrical fault ended our hopes. I tried changing various items on the car at the side of the stage but I couldn’t cure it.”

“It’s very disappointing as we’d prepared for the Pirelli more than any other rally we’ve done – I didn’t drink in the week before the event and I’d even been to the gym three times. The only positive thing is that the guys who took the podium places have already had retirements on the previous events so we’re still in a good position for the championship, especially as the next three rounds are on my preferred surface of tarmac.”

“Thanks to my service crew who have put heart and soul into the car for the last four weeks and were more gutted than we were at the retirement. We’ll get the little glitches sorted and move forward.”

Sykes’ next event will be the Jim Clark Challenge rally which takes place at the start of June.

Image courtesy Jakob Ebrey Motorsport Photography