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.