Tuesday 18 October 2016

Images from the Beatson's Mull Rally 2016

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Monday 12 September 2016

Images from BCCC Bovington South 2016

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Sykes set for Isle of Man rally return

Stourbridge's Richard Sykes will continue his rallying comeback next weekend when he contests Rally Isle of Man in his Bathams Breweries, G I Sykes Ltd and Body Clinic-supported Citroën DS3 R3 with co-driver Emma Morrison.

Shoulder surgery put Sykes out of action for several months but he made a successful return to competition in July with a second in class finish on the Nicky Grist Stages forest rally and he feels he has sufficiently recovered to take part in the very tough three day Manx event.

"I've competed on the Isle of Man before, most recently on the National event last year. It's one of my favourite places to go rallying with its mix of high-speed sections and tight and twisty stuff. The event is a round of the new British Rally Championship so we're keen to see what the championship is like with a view to competing in it next year."

"I've already done three tarmac events in the DS3 but it has rained on every one of them. I'm hoping for some dry weather as it's an awesome tarmac car. My usual crew are busy working on site so the car has been prepared by Andy Davies Motorsport and James Ford will be running it on the event."

"It's been an incredibly frustrating year, I've never been too injured to drive before, not even when I played rugby. Hopefully the shoulder will stand up to three days of competitive driving. We will be focusing on a smooth trouble-free run, trying a few little set up changes and learning the tarmac capabilities of the car."

The rally is based at the TT Grandstand in Douglas and the crews will face nearly 170 miles of competitive stages.

Image courtesy Russ Otway/90Right.com

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Sykes takes class podium on rally return

Stourbridge rally driver Richard Sykes made a successful return to competition last weekend when he finished second in class and 19th overall on the Nicky Grist Stages event in Wales.

Sykes' day didn't get off to the best of starts when his Bathams Breweries, G I Sykes Ltd and Body Clinic-supported Citroën DS3 R3 dropped onto three cylinders at the start of the first stage. Despite an under-performing car, Sykes was fifth in class on the opening Crychan stage and fourth on stage two, Halfway.

"We had the best preparation for a long time ahead of this event," said Sykes. "We had a 40 mile test of the car and we did a lot of work getting it ready after our retirement on Wales Rally GB last year. However, as the countdown for the start of Crychan started, the engine went on to three cylinders so, despite the team fixing the issue in auxiliary service, our hopes of getting a class win were dashed immediately."

Sykes and co-driver Janice Moore's troubles weren't over however as an electrical gremlin affected the car on the remaining stages. Sykes continued to push as hard as he could though and he was rewarded with a second in class finish.

"The electrical problem meant that the car would not run correctly when accelerating hard so we were particularly affected on stage starts and coming out of the corners. We didn't get the class win that we wanted but second is a great result under the circumstances and we had a really enjoyable day. Our time on the second running of the first stage was 30 seconds faster so that shows what sort of time we were losing."

"Service and Sport were supplying us with their latest medium compound MRF tyres which suited the rough conditions very well and, when the car was higher up the speed range, they performed very well . My shoulder stood up to the job and Janice did a great job guiding us through the classic stages used on the event."

Image courtesy JMS Photographic

Monday 4 July 2016

Sykes set for rally return on Nicky Grist Stages

Stourbridge rally driver Richard Sykes will start his first event of 2016 next weekend when he contests the Nicky Grist Stages in Wales in his Bathams Breweries, G I Sykes Ltd and Body Clinic-supported Citroen DS3 R3. 

Sykes has been out of action since Wales Rally GB last year, a shoulder injury suffered while snowboarding in January curtailing his 2016 rally plans. However, following an operation, he’s now fit to return to the driving seat. 

“I went snowboarding to celebrate my 50th birthday,” said Sykes. “Unfortunately I damaged my shoulder and had to have an operation in February. It’s been very frustrating as I thought I’d be fit again within six weeks but it’s taken exactly as long as the surgeon said. I’d hoped to be competing in March and April but I had to pull a few entries as I just wasn’t fit to drive.” 

Sykes’ last event ended in retirement at the end of the penultimate stage when the car drowned out in a flood after the stage finish. 

“The car has needed extensive repairs as we did damage to both the engine and gearbox on Wales Rally GB. We did some testing last week though and both car and driver performed well, we made a few tweaks to the car and we’re now all set for the Nicky Grist Stages.” 

“The rally is one of my favourites in the BTRDA championship as it has very fast and flowing gravel stages. We were second 2WD “Silver Star” finisher last year so we’ll be pushing hard to try and go one better this year.” 

“Janice Moore will be in the co-driving seat, we’ve done three events together before and she is a very capable co-driver.” 

The rally starts from Builth Wells on Saturday morning with the crews battling over 45 miles of forest stages in the Llandovery area.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Another gravity bike podium for Greaves

Worlaby-based British Gravity Bike championship racer Justin Greaves continued his good start to his debut season with third overall at the recent Coleby Downhill Challenge in Lincolnshire.

A newly resurfaced road made conditions very testing for the riders with loose gravel increasing the risk of sliding off the course. Greaves had a good Saturday practice session and was setting some very quick times to set him up for the actual race on Sunday.

Torrential rain on Saturday evening meant that the course was very damp for the opening runs on Sunday but, as several other riders crashed, Greaves had a successful start to the day, setting second fastest time on one run and lying in third overall. 

Sadly the rain starting falling heavily again and, although he was able to complete his runs, Greaves was unable to improve his times as the course became progressively more slippery.

"I'm pretty pleased with another third place," said Greaves. "It's a bit disappointing that the rain meant that I was unable to improve my time, especially as I finished just 0.16 seconds off second place." 

"It was a good course, the bikes were touching 50mph going over the finish where the road was bumpy, it made for an exciting ride."

Round 3 of the championship takes place next weekend at Penn House in Buckingham before the Greaves' home event in Worlaby on 10th July.

Rally driver Wright set to join the stars at Festival of Speed

Bentham’s David Wright will join some of the best known names in world motorsport next weekend when he drives his GPM and Grove Hill Garage-supported Ford Focus WRC at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. 

It is the fifth time Wright has been invited to take part in the event by Lord March and his car will be one of several representing the International Rally Drivers Club. 

Joining Wright on the rally stage will be the likes of World Rally Championship driver Jari-Matti Latvala, who will be setting the pace in his VW Polo WRC, and former British champion Russell Brookes in a Talbot Sunbeam. 

The event isn’t just about rallying though, it also features a hill climb course which will be tackled by the drivers from various motorsport disciplines including Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. 

“It’s an honour to be invited to drive at the event again,” said Wright. “The Festival of Speed is the most prestigious event on the UK’s motoring calendar and to be able to be at the same venue as world championship level drivers from all sorts of motorsport is fantastic.” 

“We’re planning on doing several runs of the rally stage over the course of the Festival. It will be interesting to see how our times compare to a current World Rally Championship star in a latest specification car.” 

The event runs from Friday to Sunday with a crowd of over 150,000 people attending over the three days.

Monday 9 May 2016

Wright aiming for more success on Plains rally

Bentham’s David Wright is aiming for more success next weekend when he contests the Plains rally in his Kumho Tyres and Grove Hill Garage-backed Ford Focus WRC.

On his last outing, the Malcolm Wilson rally in Cumbria, Wright finished second overall after a final stage driveshaft failure cost him a victory so his ultimate aim is to go one better on the Plains.

“Second was a great result but we were so near to getting the win,” said Wright. “It was very disappointing to have the problem, especially as we were so near to the finish.”

“The Plains will be a tough event, the stages are very fast and there are some huge drops if you get it wrong. It will be difficult to get a win as we’re up against some much more modern cars than our Focus but we’ll give it our best shot.”

“My co-driver Steve Pugh has a lot of experience of the stages used on the event so that will be a great help. Thanks to GPM, Grove Hill Garage, Kumho Tyres, Proflex and Drenth for their help and support.”

The rally, which is a round of the BTRDA championship, starts from Welshpool and the crews will face several stages in Dyfi and Gartheiniog forests.

Images from BCCC 2016 Bovington North

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Sunday 10 April 2016

Birchall battles the elements to take BCCC win

Justin Birchall returned to the Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship in style as he took a win in the opening round at Pikes Peak.

Blue skies and sun greeted the crews as they got their cars ready on Saturday morning but by the time run one started snow was falling around the course. It was Birchall who set the fastest BCCC time on the opening run in his Lofthouse Freelander, three seconds ahead of the Milner LRM-1 of Ryan Cooke. In third was Ben Duckworth who was using a Milner R5 as his usual LRM-1 was not ready.

Birchall continued to set the pace throughout day one and he held a lead of over two minutes overnight. 

Other BCCC crews didn’t fare so well on day one. Steve Smith, who had flown in from Dubai the day before the event, didn’t even make the start on run one after problems with his Clio. Richard Coleby rolled his Polaris out of the event mid-way through the day after setting some quick times. Martin Gould, whose Buxton 4x4 Rivet was not ready in time, broke a shaft on his Polaris. 

Cooke’s hopes of challenging for the win on day two were dashed when he was forced to stop his car on the third run. With a good lead Birchall backed off slightly but in doing so he broke a propshaft on the penultimate run. The shaft was replaced and Birchall completed the final run of the event to win by over three minutes from Duckworth. 

“I’m very happy with the result,” said Birchall. “It was a fantastic course and the very changeable weather made it extremely challenging. I think we broke the propshaft by going slower in one of the rutted offroad sections so we went back up to normal pace on the last run.”

In third place was Colin Gould on his first event in his Clio V8. Gould commented “I’m extremely pleased with third, I’m still learning the car and we’ll get quicker – the car has the pace, the driver needs to improve a bit! It looks like it will be a good championship, there are some very talented drivers and quick cars out this season.”

Mark Jacques’ Chevy-powered Lofthouse Freelander was fourth with Andy Powell, who had a new engine in his Simmbugghini, was fifth despite suffering brake problems on day one.

In the BCC Trophy Phill Bayliss enjoyed a successful first event as he took the win in his Land Rover 90 ahead of the Tomcat 100 of Ben Clay. Steve Anning was third.

2014/15 Freelander Challenge champion Ian Linford had suspected head gasket problems on the recce lap so decided not to start. Brian Chase was leading the Freelanders after day one but electrical problems dropped him to third behind Graham White and Pat Masters.

Chris Bird led the Clubman category after day one and he was setting times which would’ve seen him leading the event overall. He didn’t contest the second day so it was Toby Jefferson who was the first Clubman home. In second was Phil Ibbotson who was using his Metro 6R4 for the first time since 2013. Jonny Koonja was third, driving on his first event for around ten years after spending recent years in the navigator’s seat.

BCCC Top 10

1. Justin Birchall/Louise Birchall (Lofthouse Freelander) 01:39:39
2. Ben Duckworth/Mathew Cook (Milner R5) 01:43:07
3. Colin Gould/Aaron Burch (Clio V8) 01:48:24
4. Mark Jacques/Simon Last (Lofthouse Freelander) 01:50:48
5. Andy Powell/Evalda Kazla (Simmbugghini) 01:51:18
6. Richard Wynne-Williams/Ian Jones (Lofthouse Freelander) 01:54:56
7. Neil Davey/Tony Barley (Yamaha YXZ1000R) 01:57:55
8. Richard Green/Richard Griffiths (Tomcat 100) 02:00:25
9. John Thorne/ (Yamaha YXZ1000R) 02:01:41
10. Paul Harris/Karina James (GSR Maxilight) 02:08:53

Monday 14 March 2016

Wright denied rally win after final stage drama

Bentham's David Wright was denied a win on round 2 of the BTRDA rally championship, the Malcolm Wilson rally, last weekend after mechanical issues on the final stage of the event lost him time.
Despite suffering from a lack of brakes for part of the opening Comb stage Wright and co-driver Steve Pugh were third fastest in their Grove Hill Garage and Kumho Tyres-supported Ford Focus WRC.
The next stage was Wythop which featured a very long straight where Wright had the Focus on the rev-limiter in 6th gear. His bravery was rewarded with a fastest time which took him into the lead of the event.
There was one more stage before the service halt and Wright set another fastest time which gave him a lead of six seconds over Charlie Payne.
After a short stage in Thornsgill there were two stages in Grizedale forest, a venue where Wright usually goes very well. It was all going to plan until the Focus hit a large puddle of water which caused the windscreen to instantly steam up. The crew were forced to slow to walking pace for 10 seconds as visibility was zero. The time loss meant that Payne and Wright were exactly equal on time after the first Grizedale stage.
A storming drive in the second Grizedale stage saw Wright pull out a lead of 14 seconds and, although Payne pulled back a second on the next stage, it looked like Wright was set for the win.
Disaster struck on the final Greystoke stage though as a driveshaft broke on the start line. With drive going to three wheels rather than four the handling of the Focus became very difficult which led to a spin at a tight hairpin. At least 30 seconds was lost and Wright dropped to second overall as a result.
"We had a great run and I was really getting used to the car and enjoying the performance," said Wright. "Despite one or two issues we were setting some very fast times and with a lead of 13 seconds going into Greystoke the win should've been ours."
"However, the shaft issue made the car extremely hard to control, we were lucky to get away with only one spin. Sadly we dropped too much time so had to settle for second. It's still an excellent result but I was gutted to have the win snatched from us."
"I'm hoping to get some funding together to do more BTRDA rounds this year. Thanks to GPM, Grove Hill Garage, Kumho Tyres, Proflex and Drenth for their help and support."

Class podium for Kirvan-Rodgers on Fiesta rally return

Burton upon Stather’s Tim Kirvan-Rodgers enjoyed a successful Malcolm Wilson rally last weekend when he finished third in class and third in the Fiesta ST Trophy championship.
The rally started from Ford’s M-Sport World Rally Team base near Cockermouth in Cumbria and the crews faced 8 tough stages in the Lake District forests. Kirvan-Rodgers and new co-driver Abi Haycock made a good start on the opening Comb stage in their Nightingale Nursing Recruitment Agency Ltd-supported Ford Fiesta ST, which featured a new livery painted by Kirvan-Rodgers’ two children. They set fourth fastest time in the class, a position that was maintained over the following Wythop and Greystoke stages.
“The first three stages were ok but we had a few issues with the car,” said Kirvan-Rodgers. “The brakes weren’t performing as well as they should and the handling of the car felt strange. We tried making some suspension adjustments and tyre pressure tweaks at the service halt after Greystoke to improve matters."
A short stage in Thornsgill was next before two tests in the notoriously tough Grizedale forest. With the car handling slightly better Kirvan-Rodgers moved up to third in class after the first Grizedale test, a position he maintained until the event finish.
“We still had issues with the handling of the car in the later stages so we couldn’t push as hard as we liked although it was better than the early stages. I’m pretty happy to have finished third in the circumstances. We’ll have to strip down the car now and see if we can find what caused the issues.”
“I enjoyed the event, the Malcolm Wilson rally always provides a really challenging route including some of the real classic stages. Abi did a great job on her first event with me, we're planning on contesting the next round of the Fiesta championship in Somerset next month and hopefully some further rounds if we can secure some additional support."
Please visit www.facebook.com/timrodgersrallying for further pictures from the event.

Monday 7 March 2016

Two events in two weekends for rally driver Wright

Bentham’s David Wright will contest his first rallies since last November’s Grizedale Stages over the next couple of weekends when he takes part in events in Cumbria and Shropshire.

First up will be the Malcolm Wilson rally next weekend, a round of the BTRDA championship and an event that Wright has scored some good results on in recent years. He’ll be using an ex-Carlos Sainz Ford Focus WRC prepared by Giles Philips Motorsport and supported by Grove Hill Garage and Kumho Tyres. It is the same car he used to take second place on the Grizedale Stages and he also used the car to wow the crowds at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car after a few months break,” said Wright. “We had a great run on the Grizedale Stages and came within a second of winning the event, a result which gave me a lot more confidence in the car. We've made a few more handling tweaks to improve the set-up since then.”

“The Malcolm Wilson rally also uses Grizedale forest so hopefully we’ll go well again. We’ll also be tackling stages in Whinlatter and Greystoke forests so it’s sure to be a tough event, especially as the weather often throws all sorts of conditions at the drivers.”

“The event has attracted a very good quality entry including some more modern WRC and R5+ cars so getting a podium finish will be a huge challenge but that’s what we’re aiming for.”

Wright will switch from a four wheel drive Ford to a two wheel drive one for the following weekend's AGBO Stages in Weston Park near Telford where he’ll drive an Escort Mk2.

“It’ll be quite a change going from driving a four wheel drive car on gravel to a two wheel drive car on tarmac but it should be great fun! We did the event last year in the Mk2 and spent most of the time sliding sideways! Since then we've fitted a 2.5 Smith and Jones engine and a Drenth sequential box so we should be quicker and even more sideways this year."

"Steve Pugh will be my co-driver on both events. He has many years of experience which is vital for getting a good result. Thanks to GPM, Grove Hill Garage, Kumho Tyres, Proflex and Drenth for their help and support."

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Kirvan-Rodgers to make rally return in Cumbria

Burton upon Stather's Tim Kirvan-Rodgers will start his 2016 rally season on March 12th when he contests the Malcolm Wilson rally in Cumbria.
Kirvan-Rodgers' last event was the world championship level Wales Rally GB and he took his Ford Fiesta ST to a successful finish, winning the Copart Fiesta Trophy. Following the success of the Trophy event, a full Fiesta ST Trophy championship has been formed for 2016 and the Malcolm Wilson rally is one of the rounds.
Joining Kirvan-Rodgers on the event will be co-driver Abi Haycock. Haycock, from Tredegar, is in her third season of rallying and she has competed in a wide range of events.

"I'm looking forward to competing again," said Kirvan-Rodgers. "It's been a few months since Rally GB and I'm ready to get back out on the stages."
"I enjoyed competing against the other Fiestas in the Trophy on Rally GB so I'm hoping to get the budget together to contest a few rounds of the new ST championship. We've managed to secure support from Nightingales Nursing Recruitment Agency Ltd which has allowed us to put an entry in for the Malcolm Wilson event, we'll see how things go from there."

"It will be my first event with Abi. She's only been competing for two years but she has already done several stage rallies as well as road, targa and endurance events so I am confident she'll do a good job."

"The Malcolm Wilson rally uses some of the classic stages in the Lake District such as Comb and Grizedale. It is always a tough event with the weather usually playing a major part in the results. There will be a few Fiesta STs competing so it'll be interesting to compare our times - hopefully we can get a good result."

The rally starts in the morning of 12th March and the crews will face around 45 miles of competition in the Cumbrian forests. Updates from the event will be posted on www.facebook.com/timrodgersrallying.