Tuesday 19 March 2013

Rally2Raise team aiming to contest Scottish Rally Championship

After a highly successful 2012 which saw £2,500 raised for four charities the Rally2Raise rally team are hoping to contest up to five rounds of the ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) this season to help continue their funds and awareness raising project.
For 2013 Rally2Raise is continuing its support of the Nystagmus Network and it will also raise awareness of the Bottle Stop campaign. Driver Rachel Clark, from Aberdeen, has already used the Rally2Raise Nissan Micra on two events this season, running as course car on the E.Watson and Son Coneyhatch rally sprint in January and the Edradour Saltire Classic rally in March. Fundraising for the Nystagmus Network has got off to a good start with over £250 raised from a raffle that was held at the Saltire.

After taking part in selected SRC rounds last year Clark and co-driver Katherine Begg, from Heysham, are aiming to contest five rounds this year starting with Clark’s home event, the Coltel Granite City rally in April.
“Rally2Raise did really well last year and thanks to all our supporters we raised £2,500 for the causes we were helping, hopefully we can do even better this year,” said Clark. “Ideally we’d like to do five SRC rounds but that will depend on us getting the budget together to enter the events.”

“We’re selling advertising space on the car and other promotional opportunities so if any company can help us please get in touch via rally2raise@gmail.com. Katherine and myself are planning on dying our hair bright red for the Granite City rally so we are sure to get noticed and get publicity! We’re also willing to sell advertising on our cheeks!”

More information on the project can be found at www.rally2raise.co.uk or www.facebook.com/rally2raise.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Monaghan encouraged by Epynt performance despite engine woes

Kev Monaghan had mixed fortunes on last weekend’s Tour of Epynt rally when engine problems forced him to retire after what had been a strong performance.
The event was the opening round of the MSA Asphalt rally championship which Monaghan is contesting in his Pirtek Tyne & Wear, Stauff, F&R Belbin, Bill Falconer and GB Lubricants-supported Vauxhall Corsa S1600.

Bitterly cold conditions greeted the crews on the notoriously tough stages of the Epynt military ranges near Llandovery. With a new engine fitted and new tyres on the Corsa Monaghan made a great start to the rally, setting fastest time in his championship class on the opening stage.

Monaghan maintained this position over the next four stages and going into stage 6 he was 35 seconds ahead of his nearest championship rival.

Sadly Monaghan’s victory hopes were dashed when the engine let go part way through the stage meaning he was unable to finish.

“The car was on the pace right from the off,” said Monaghan. “We were taking time off the local guys which is very encouraging and we had a large lead over the crew behind us so we were in a great position to take the championship class win but sadly it wasn’t to be.”

“The new tyres and engine plus having Chris Purvis back in the co-driver’s seat made the rally a joy to drive. We’ve already made plans for a replacement engine to be fitted in time for our next event so fingers crossed we can get it sorted in time.”

“Huge thanks to everyone that has helped me out and our sponsors Pirtek Tyne & Wear, Stauff, F&R Belbin, Bill Falconer and GB Lubricants.”

Monaghan’s next planned event is the Jim Clark rally at the end of May.

Image courtesy Martin Taylor

Class podium for Brown on season opener

Rochdale’s Steven Brown enjoyed a very successful start to his 2013 rally season when he finished third in class on last weekend’s Tour of Epynt in Wales.

The event was the opening round of the MSA Asphalt rally championship and Brown and co-driver Paul Stringer were keen to get their year off to a good start on the notoriously tough Epynt event.

With his new car not ready in time Brown used his usual Nissan Micra with support from Mintex Racing, Fuchs Titan Race, 710 Oil's, PIAA and Sabelt UK.

The early stages were damp and slippery but Brown had a good run to lie in fourth place in class after stage 4. Three long stages completed the event and Brown pushed hard on the tortuous tarmac to move up to third in class at the rally finish.

“It was a really good start to the season,” said Brown. “We had no problems at all with the car and we achieved our goal of getting a decent haul of points to start the championship.”

“It was the coldest event I’ve ever done, Epynt is known for inhospitable weather but even by Epynt standards it was cold. Credit to all the marshals for braving those conditions! Fortunately, despite the temperature, the forecast snow stayed away.”

“I’m looking forward to the Jim Clark rally in May now which will be our next event. The new car will definitely be ready by then and I’ll be looking to give it a great debut.”

Please visit www.facebook.com/stevebrownrallying for more information.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Rally2Raise team battle through to finish Saltire Classic rally

The Rally2Raise team travelled to Dunkeld last weekend to drive in the Saltire Classic Rally as part of the Saltire Rally Club’s generous support of the Rally2Raise project which this year is raising funds for the Nystagmus Network and raising awareness of the Bottle Stop campaign.
The popular event was based at the Birnam hotel and it attracted a full entry including some unusual rally cars such as an Austin Maxi and Fiat 127. The crews faced a challenging 95 mile route through some gorgeous scenery around Pitlochry and Loch Tummel which included 17 tests and three regularity sections.

The Rally2Raise Micra was running as “0” car ahead of the competitors with Rachel Clark driving and Gary Simpson, who is usually outside of the car photographing it, making his debut in the co-driver’s seat.

After a short road section the crew arrived at the first test which was like a mini-rally stage featuring a gravel road surface, several very slippery hairpins and a “stop-astride” finish on snow. The Micra successfully completed the test in a good time. Tests 2-5 also went well but ominous noises were heard coming from the engine bay in test 6, a test which also saw the Micra almost collide with a large bale on one particularly slippy section. At the end of the test the bonnet was lifted and it was found that the exhaust manifold had cracked.

With an hours rest halt after test 10 which would give the chance to make a temporary fix the crew decided to carry on at a reduced pace in the hope that the exhaust would not completely fall off. Test 7 was a run around a course in the grounds of event sponsor Edradour’s distillery with several whisky barrels to hit if you got it wrong but Clark and Simpson got through unscathed and headed through Pitlochry to tests 8, 9 and 10. The exhaust situation was getting worse with fumes filling the car but the crew managed to make it to the very picturesque lunch halt venue of Ardgualich Farm where the course car crew of Craig Wallace and Ryan Hay patched up the exhaust sufficiently to allow Micra to continue in the event.

“We were pleased to reach the lunch halt,” said Clark. “After looking at the exhaust following test 6 we were doubtful we’d make it that far. We’re very grateful to Craig and Ryan for their efforts in keeping us in the event.”

The afternoon section had another 7 tests and two regularity sections including a run across the mountain road north of Trinafour which was surrrounded by snow-capped peaks. Despite the exhaust problems returning in that latter stages of the rally the Micra successfully completed all the tests and made it to the finish.

“It was a brilliant event, we thoroughly enjoyed it. The tests were great fun and the road sections went through some absolutely fantastic scenery. We didn’t have any problems with the navigation despite it being Gary’s first time on the maps so that was good too!”

At the event finish the team organised a raffle to support the Nystagmus Network and £251 was raised. Event winners Noel Cochrane and Olly McCollum generously donated two bottles of Edradour for a future Rally2Raise raffle.

“Thanks to everyone who bought raffle tickets, we were amazed to raise so much. Thanks also to Colin Wallace and all at the Saltire Rally Club for their continued support of Rally2Raise.”

The team is hoping to contest the Coltel Granite City rally in April if a budget can be pulled together. Promotional opportunities with the team are available, please email rally2raise@gmail.com for further information. More information on the Rally2Raise project can be found at www.rally2raise.co.uk.
Image courtesy Bill Crichton

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Monaghan all set for season-opener

Kev Monaghan will kick off his 2013 rally season next weekend when he competes on the Tour of Epynt. The event is the first round of the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship and Monaghan will be driving his Pirtek, Stauff, F&R Belbin, Bill Falconer and GB Lubricants-supported Vauxhall Corsa. Chris Purvis will be back in the co-driving hot seat again after being forced to miss a few events last year through injury.

Monaghan is planning to enter a minimum of five of the championship rounds and, after contesting the popular tarmac series for the last two years, he feels he has an excellent opportunity to push for some good results.

“It’s our third season doing the Asphalt championship so I’ve got some decent knowledge of the events and the stages as well as having good information on the car set-up,” said Monaghan. “We’re aiming to do at least five of the events including one of the Irish rounds which will be a first for me.”

“We need to get the championship off to a decent start on Epynt first though. It will be our third visit to the awesome military ranges and I can’t wait to get to the start line. Huge thanks to all my sponsors who have helped me get out on the stages again.”

The rally will take place on the Epynt army ranges near Llandovery on Sunday 10th March.

Monday 4 March 2013

Brown ready to take on Epynt challenge

Rochdale’s Steve Brown will start his MSA Asphalt Rally Championship next weekend when he takes part in the Tour of Epynt in Wales.

Brown will use his old Nissan Micra 1300 as it has not been possible to finish work on his new Micra kit car in time for the event. The car, which is supported by Mintex Racing, Fuchs Titan Race, 710 Oil's, PIAA and Sabelt UK, was tested by Brown on the Roskirk Stages last weekend and he had a trouble-free run to 20th place.

“I’m looking forward to Epynt,” said Brown. “It’s a very challenging place to compete, especially in March when the tarmac roads are likely to be very slippery”.

“I’m aiming to get a good finish to kick off the championship, it’s a shame the new car won’t be ready but I’m confident we can go well in the old one, it has served me well over the years.”

“We put a late entry in for the Roskirk Stages to give the car a run before Epynt and that went really well.”

The Tour of Epynt takes place on the Epynt military ranges near Llandovery. Please visit www.facebook.com/stevebrownrallying for all the latest news and pictures.

Dramatic crash ends Wright’s Malcolm Wilson rally hopes

Bentham’s David Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson were lucky to escape without serious injury after a broken part on their car resulted in a high-speed accident on last weekend’s Malcolm Wilson rally.

After a good result on the opening BTRDA championship round in February Wright was hoping for another fine performance on his home event in his Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, York Brewery, Millers Oils, Owen Developments and Grove Hill Garage-backed GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9.

The event started with the Hobcarton stage and Wright was going well until the car stalled at an uphill hairpin costing him 10 seconds and leaving him in 13th place going into stage 2 in Comb forest.

Wright was storming through the stage and was all set for a top time when, towards the end of the course, a suspension arm broke while braking for a corner. With the car unable to steer it flew off the road and straight into a tree stump before rolling onto its side and setting on fire. Wright’s own fire extinguisher ran out with the flames threatening to destroy the car but fortunately fellow drivers David Bogie and Connor McCloskey stopped at the scene and they helped put the fire out with their own extinguishers.

“It was a scary accident,” said Wright. “We were slowing for a right hand bend and suddenly there was no steering, we went off and hit the tree stump head on with a very heavy impact. We got out of the car ok but then we had the fire to deal with. I’m very grateful to David and Connor for stopping, without their help the car would’ve burnt out. Thanks also to the rescue and recovery teams who attended.”

“We’re both bruised and shaken but it could’ve been a lot worse. The car can be repaired but there is a lot of work today. Hopefully we can be back out again soon.”

If the car can be repaired in time Wright’s next event will be the Somerset Stages in April.