Monday 27 May 2013

Sykes hopes experience will bring victory in Jim Clark Challenge rally

Stourbridge rally driver Richard Sykes is hoping his years of experience of the Jim Clark rally will help him take a win in the second round of the BRC Challenge championship. Sykes finished second overall and first in class on last year’s event and he is aiming to go one better this year in his Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd and Boroughbridge Marina-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max .

After an opening round on gravel forest tracks round two of the championship sees the crews compete on the tough closed public roads of the Scottish Borders and the tight and twisty stages should suit Sykes’ car as it was designed to rally on the tarmac lanes of France.

“The car should be ideal for the type of stages used on the rally, especially stages like Abbey St Bathans which is long, narrow and bumpy,” said Sykes. “Simon Hawthorne has meticulously prepared and converted the car from gravel to tarmac spec and, together with co-driver Simon Taylor and our BF Goodrich tarmac tyres the team is looking very strong.”

“We led the rally overnight two years ago and eventually finished second after a long battle and again finished second last year because of a puncture, so we will be really looking for a win this time. It’s essential for our championship defence that we do well, we have a car advantage on this event with it being designed for tarmac stages and we must make that count, especially with the very tough competition that we’ll be up against.”

“It will be my tenth visit to the event so I have plenty of experience of the stages. Even so, we’ll be putting 100% into our preparation and working very hard on the recce before the rally to make sure our pacenotes are correct. We cannot afford to make any mistakes.”

“We need to capitalise on our tarmac strength and if all goes well It would give us the lead in the championship table after this event which would put us in great shape for the rest of the season.” rally starts on Friday evening with a spectator stage in Duns town centre and then the crews will face another 10 stages before finishing on Saturday afternoon.
Image courtesy

Sunday 26 May 2013

Brown looking to continue early season promise on Jim Clark rally

Rochdale’s Steve Brown will contest his second MSA Asphalt Championship event of the year next weekend when he competes on the Jim Clark National rally in Scotland.

After a podium position on the Tour of Epynt in March Brown is aiming for another good result to boost his championship points tally.

With his new car not yet finished Brown will use his trusty Nissan Micra 1300 once more. The Mintex Racing, Fuchs Titan Race, 710 Oil's, PIAA and Sabelt UK-supported machine showed good pace on the tarmac events Brown contested in 2012 and the tough and testing closed public roads of the Scottish Borders should be no different.

“It’s a shame the new car isn’t ready but the purple Micra will be up to the job,” said Brown. “It’s my first time competing on the Jim Clark and I cannot wait for the start. We’re straight into the action with a hugely popular spectator stage in Duns town centre on Friday night closely followed by a very challenging 16 mile stage at Abbey St Bathans.”

“We’ve got a full day of competition on Saturday too so it’s an event that tests both man and machine to the maximum. We’ll be pushing the little Micra as hard as we can and hopefully we will be battling for a class podium again.”

"We will be using a HID Lamp pod from PIAA for the three night stages, we’ll have new gearbox and engine oil from 710 Oils/Fuchs and a new set of Mintex F6 pads for the event so I have to thank my sponsors for their support."

The rally will start in Duns on Friday evening with the crews facing 100 miles of competition before the finish late on Saturday afternoon in Kelso.

Monaghan aims for class honours in the Borders

Rally driver Kev Monaghan is hoping a new engine will power him to success on next weekend’s Jim Clark National event in the Scottish Borders.

An engine failure at the Tour of Epynt made for a disappointing season opener in March but Monaghan has had a new one built by Bill Falconer for his second MSA Asphalt Championship event of 2013.

Monaghan had a great result on the Jim Clark rally last year, winning his class despite problems with tyres and the gearbox and he is looking for another class win this year in his Pirtek Tyne & Wear, Stauff, F&R Belbin, Bill Falconer and GB Lubricants-supported Vauxhall Corsa S1600.

“It’s been a difficult couple of months since Epynt, I’ve had to dig deep to fund the new engine but we are determined to prove we can run at the front of the field,” said Monaghan. “Having Chris Purvis back on the notes made a noticeable difference at the last event and I am sure we can improve further.”

“Last year’s event was not exactly troublefree but we showed we had the pace on the fast closed public roads that the rally uses. Another class win next weekend would be the ideal result and that is what we will be aiming for. Thank you to all the sponsors whose support has helped us make it to the start line. ”

The rally starts on Friday evening with a short stage in front of thousands of spectators in Duns town centre. After two more stages on Friday the crews will face a full day of tough competition on Saturday.
Image courtesy Chris Huish

Sunday 19 May 2013

Wright storms to class victory on Plains rally

Bentham’s David Wright got his rally season back on track in style at the weekend with a convincing class win on the Plains rally, round 4 of the BTRDA rally championship.

After disappointing retirements on the Malcolm Wilson rally in March and the Tour of Hamsterley in April Wright was keen to put in a strong performance on the Welshpool-based event in his Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, York Brewery, Millers Oils, Owen Developments and Grove Hill Garage-supported GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9.

The rally started with stages in Dyfi and Gartheiniog and Wright was immediately on the pace, setting fastest time in his class as well as mixing it with the more powerful World Rally class cars at the top of the leaderboard.

Despite a slight misfire Wright maintained his class lead after stages three and four in Hafren and Sweet Lamb. The final two stages were troublefree and Wright pushed extra hard in the last stage to set second fastest time overall.

“We had a good rally, it was a great feeling to get a decent result after everyone’s hard work in getting the car right after our accident in March,” said Wright. “The pace of the rally was really quick from the start, the dry and grippy surface suited the World Rally class cars so it was very difficult to beat them.”

“I’m very happy with the class win though and we also finished fourth overall so we get a good haul of points for the championship.”

Wright will continue his BTRDA championship campaign with the Dukeries rally next month.
Image courtesy Simon Clarke

Monday 13 May 2013

Images from BCCC Radnor

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Wright plans for points on Plains

Bentham’s David Wright is aiming to get his rally season back on track next weekend when he contests the Plains rally, round four of the BTRDA rally championship.
Wright has suffered disappointing retirements on his last two events and a good finish is need to keep alive his hopes of regaining the title that he won in 2009.
A few problems with his Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, York Brewery, Millers Oils, Owen Developments and Grove Hill Garage-supported GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9 were found on the recent Tour of Hamsterley event but these have been fixed and car and crew are ready to push hard on the Welshpool-based event.
“The Tour of Hamsterley was a good test to set up the car and iron out any problems,” said Wright. “We’ve had a few niggles to sort but nothing major, we’re in good shape for the Plains. The stages look in very good condition and I’m looking forward to the event. We finished a very close 2nd last year and it’d be great if we could go one better this year but we’re up against some very tough competition.”
  The rally starts from Welshpool on Saturday morning with the crews competing on some classic Welsh forest stages including Dyfi and Gartheiniog.

Image courtesy Simon Clarke


Monday 6 May 2013

Sykes storms to class win on Pirelli season opener

Stourbridge’s Richard Sykes made an excellent start to the defence of his BRC Challenge rally title last weekend when he finished first in class and second overall on the Pirelli Challenge rally.
After a successful test before the rally Sykes and co-driver Simon Taylor were feeling confident as they left the start line in Carlisle in their Bathams Brewery, Boroughbridge Marina, Silverstone Tyres and G I Sykes-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max.
The first of the event’s six stages was Pundershaw. Sykes completed the test in third place overall. A misfire in the second stage, Archy’s Rigg, cost around 15 seconds and dropped Sykes to fourth, a position he maintained after stage three.
“The car felt a little underpowered in stage one,” said Sykes. “We then had a misfire over 6000 revs so I had to short shift which lost us a good chunk of time. The car felt better in stage three but it still wasn’t 100%.”
After the third stage there was a short service halt but the team could not find anything wrong. The crank sensor was changed on the long road section to stage four to no effect and Sykes then discussed the problem with rival driver Luke Pinder before changing the throttle body which put the car back to good health.
Sykes showed exactly what he could do with the car running properly, setting fastest times on the remaining three stages to climb back to second place overall and first in class. His only issue came on the fourth stage when smoke was pouring out of the car.
“In my haste to get the throttle body changed I’d left the engine breather pipe off which splashed oil all over the hot exhaust and caused a lot of smoke. We were lucky there wasn’t a fire. I knew exactly what was wrong, I got the pipe back on and cleaned up the mess. Another driver, Aaron McClure, lent me some oil to make sure we’d get through stages five and six. This, and the earlier help I got from Luke Pinder, shows the awesome camaraderie in the BRC Challenge. Both of them were battling with me at the top of the leaderboard but they still helped me out.”
“I was very pleased to set the fastest times on the last three stages but I wasn’t quickest by much – there was only 0.1 seconds in it over the 9.5 miles of the second Pundershaw run which is pretty amazing given that we’re competing on tough gravel tracks with huge ditches waiting to catch you out, it’s not like going round a circuit!”
“The only stage we were a lot quicker on was the last one. Due to delays behind us the rally leader already knew our time in the final stage so I think he backed off a little to make sure he won.”
“Our aim for the rally was to get a good haul of points for the championship defence and we’ve achieved that. An overall win would’ve been nice but after the problems early on I’m more than happy with second. The championship isn’t won on the first round.”
The BRC Challenge switches to tarmac stages for the next round which is the Jim Clark Challenge rally at the end of May.
Image courtesy