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Manx National Rally - 8-9 May 09

Posted: May 12, 2009 3:23 PM - 10009 Hits

Round 4 - 2009 MSA ANCRO Gravel Rally Championship
Round 3 - 2009 MSA Asphalt Rally Championship
Round 4 - 2009 UK Evolution Challenge

  • Paul Bird/Ian Windress dominate the Manx National

Photo: cmwi.net

MSA ASPHALT RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP - MELVYN’S MANX MAXIMUM!…

Posted: May 11, 2009 6:23 PM

For the second year running, MELVYN EVANS and co-driver SEAN MULLALLY returned home from the Manx Telecom Rally with maximum Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Rally Championship points. Second place overall was more than enough to give the Welsh driver his third top score from three starts so far this season and it, therefore, goes without saying that he leads the series, although not as comfortably as he would perhaps like! The Isle of Man result puts Sean, who was absent from the first round on Epynt, up into 3rd place in the Co-drivers’ section.

Melvyn & Sean won the event last year and another crew with their names already on the trophy, DAVID MANN/ALUN COOK (Subaru Impreza WRC) also recorded a Top 10 finish this time. Former MSA Gravel Rally Champion David moves up to 2nd, behind Evans in the Drivers’ points table while Alun assumes the lead of the Co-drivers following the retirement of the Audi Quattro A3 of DAVID KYNASTON/ ANDY RUSSELL. The defending MSA Asphalt Champions had been running as high as 6th overall before electrical problems sidelined the car on Stage 13!…

Following retirements on each of the first two rounds of the Championship, DAVID HARDIE/JOHN McCULLOCH were delighted to bring their Subaru Impreza home in 15th place to finally open their 2009 account in fine style. Just a minute behind them, after well over 100 miles of competition, were PETE HUGHES/CHRIS EVANS in their Ford Escort MkII. An excellent run saw them finish as top 2WD Asphalt Championship runners and take a class win on the event. Pete’s efforts were rewarded with the ‘John Horton Motorsport Management Star Drive’ salver, presented to him at the Awards Ceremony at the Villa Marina in Douglas on the Saturday evening.

Both the main protagonists in Class A6, ROGER DONNAN/KIM BAKER (Ford Puma S1600) & ROD BENNETT/HENRY RICHARDSON (Fiat Punto S1600) continued their good-natured rivalry from the Circuit of Ireland and arrived back at the finish of the Manx, at the famous TT Grandstand, two places – and half-a-minute – apart. There is now just one point between Roger and Rod in the Drivers’ points, so there is plenty more to come from that little battle!

Manxman DAVE CORRIS rejoined the Championship and, after rolling his Escort Cosworth on his ‘home’ event two years ago, managed to keep it the right way up this time to record a finish and travel the short distance home with a bag full of points.

Manx regulars GEOFF GLOVER/CHARLIE TURNER seem to have overcome their Vauxhall Astra RWD’s gearbox problems that beset their 2008 campaign. A good run to take 2nd Championship class points, behind Pete Hughes, puts them in good shape for the second half of the season.

Having had so much fun contesting the event last year, NEIL DODD/ VALTHOMPSON returned with their Group N MG ZR and went home with a class win, while the Group A version of MARTIN NEWSON/PETER MORRIS took 2nd in A5.

Joining David Kynaston’s Audi Quattro on the ‘DNF’ list was the ever-smart Legend Motorsport MG Metro 6R4 of JOHN STONE/LEE CARTER. The car’s centre diff. had failed during the opening stages on Friday evening and then fourth gear started jumping out. The team spent half the night replacing both items, only to find that the problem still persisted and the decision was taken to withdraw before the start of the second leg.

The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 of TOMMI GRAHAM/MIKE BAILEY succumbed to driveshaft failure early on Saturday morning, while ROSS HUNTER/EILDON HALL, on their first visit to the Isle of Man, retired their EVO4 with a burst oil cooler on the same stage.

With two stages to go, ROLAND JONES/KATE GAMEZ were progressing well in their MG ZR before a gearbox oil seal failed and, unable to make the necessary repairs, they had to call it a day. Then, with only the final stage to complete, GRAHAM HOLLIS/ASHLEY TRIMBLE suffered the indignity of the Ford Escort’s throttle cable snapping and, if that was not enough, the problem was compounded by the ECU also developing a fault. This proved to be the final straw on an event on which they had already had to cope with oil leaking from the gearbox and a faulty starter motor. ‘Character-building, my boy’!…

Moving swiftly on, the next round of the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship is the Jim Clark National Rally which takes crews to the Scottish Borders on 22nd/23rd May.

Third victory of the season for Daniel

Posted: May 11, 2009 4:20 PM

A delighted Daniel Barry from Eniskerry, together with co-driver Martin Brady from Navan, crossed the line at this weekend's Manx Telecom Rally to record their third victory in this year's Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge and, in doing so increase their lead in the highly competitive series for Group N (Production Class) Mitsubishis. The result also sees them continue to top the tables in the MSA National Gravel Championship - although the Isle of Man based event is held entirely on asphalt!

Putting aside the dramas of his visit to this event last year, when - although he finished in a hard-earned third place - his previous Evo IX ended up looking decidedly second-hand, Daniel was determined to continue his current form on the first tarmac event of the season. Following the first of the event's 16 stages on Friday evening, a run through the south-coast town of Port Erin, he emerged in the lead by two seconds from rivals Simon Hughes/Craig Parry and Nik Elsmore/Craig Drew.

With intermittent rain making grip levels unpredictable, Hughes spun on stage two. Then, following a further five stages through the Manx lanes, cars returned to the Douglas TT Grandstand for the overnight halt, where the time sheets showed Daniel leading the Evolution Challenge field by 17 seconds.

Saturday featured a further ten stages and, with the rain disappearing overnight, the first four were all run in the dry. With Hughes suffering a broken driveshaft on SS8 and then a high-speed spin on SS9, Daniel's lead was looking even better.

However, stage nine also caught-out the 24-year old Irishman, when just 100 meters from the finish a deceptive jump caused the car to bounce into a ditch. Daniel admitted that luck was on his side, as he got away with just a puncture, the removal of the rear bumper and, most importantly, without losing any time.

As cars left the first service halt of the day for the next leg of three stages, the heavens opened and Daniel was pleased he had opted for wet-weather tyres. Now a minute ahead of the other Mitsubishis, he knew that this was no time for heroics and concentrated on maintaining his advantage.

Hughes was now back to full speed, but had lost too much time to make an impression. Therefore, Elsmore was now the only threat, but a faulty throttle sensor did little to help his cause.

But in rallying, it's never over until it's over and, just before the end of the stage before the second service halt, Daniel noticed a vibration coming from beneath his car. Once back to Douglas his team traced the fault to a broken prop-shaft joint and were able to make the necessary repairs before the final loop of three stages.

Still ahead by a minute, a steady run through the final leg was to be the best course of action. Daniel executed his strategy perfectly and returned to Douglas later that afternoon to record his third Evo Challenge victory of the season and first ever Mitsubishi championship win on tarmac.

"It's great to take my third win of the year - especially as it's my first on tarmac", said Daniel. "We had a really good run all weekend and I have to thank the team as the car was excellent. We were a bit lucky this morning to get away with our brief visit to a ditch, but this result really sets us up well for the second half of the season."

Daniel's result also netted him first place in Group N overall and sees him extend his lead in the Evolution Challenge to six points. He also continues to lead the MSA Gravel Rally Championship.

Over the next three weeks Daniel and his team will return their Evo IX to gravel specification for round five of the Mitsubishi series, the Severn Valley National Rally, which takes place in mid-Wales on 30th May.

Daniel's 2009 campaign is supported by: Tech-Plus, Irish Shipping and Transport, BPI Telecom and SC Signs.

WEATHER THWARTS PEREZ'S MANX BID

Posted: May 11, 2009 4:18 PM

Former ANCRO champion Steve Perez was left rueing his luck as the changeable weather conditions hampered his bid for honours when round four of the 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship took place with the Manx Telecom Rally.

Driving the Kick Energy-sponsored Ford Focus WRC07, along with replacement co-driver Stephen McAuley, the Chesterfield driver fell foul of a number of incorrect tyre choices but despite this, he managed to claim fifth position overall to record his best result on the Isle of Man to date.

As well as the tyre issues, Perez suffered from a gear selection problem late on but held on to claim an important third place in the ANCRO standings to maintain his championship bid.

"Whatever tyres I chose always seemed to be the wrong ones as it would either be drier than we were expecting or else it would start raining on the way into the stages! It was a little frustrating but I'm happy enough with the result, the only downer being that because Paul Bird won, I am in for an expensive night!" said Steve.

The result sees Perez move up to sixth place in the championship standings and despite missing the next round of the series which clashes with his annual outing in Rally Barbados, he is still well placed going into the second half of the season.

MANX VICTORY FOR BIRD - AT LAST!

Posted: May 11, 2009 4:18 PM

After eight years of trying, Penrith rally driver Paul Bird eventually got his hands on the winner's trophy by taking a deserved win on this weekend's Manx Telecom Rally.

The 2005 ANCRO Champion has had lots of success around the world-famous TT course with his various bike racing teams over the years, including the legendary Joey Dunlop winning his 26th and final TT on one of Bird's bikes in 2000, but had never won on the hallowed Manx lanes himself despite coming close on numerous occasions.

However, that all changed as following a display of domination in very changeable weather conditions, Bird and his Northallerton co-driver Ian Windress brought their www.supercasino.com, Vent Axia and Kick Energy-backed Ford Focus WRC07 home to win the event and with it, get their 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship bid back on track.

Once a clutch problem following the opening stage had been sorted in record time by the TEGSport team, Bird hit the front and was never headed meaning he set fastest time on ten of the fifteen stages, converting a 21 second overnight advantage to just under a minute at the end, after backing off to preserve his lead in the latter stages.

After crossing the Douglas finish ramp, Bird said: "The job's a dream and it's very satisfying to win round here as the place is so special to me. I've been so close so many times and I thought I'd maybe never win this rally but I'm absolutely made up. I only used four slicks and four wets throughout the rally and eased off in the end but now it's time to celebrate and I feel a major bender coming on!"

The result has seen Bird move up to fourth in the series but with his best five scores to count, it will be a couple more events before the true reflection of who holds sway in the title chase will become apparent.

Bird and Windress will next be in action later this month when they contest Rally Barbados, which unfortunately clashes with the next ANCRO round (Severn Valley) so all will be to play for when battle resumes thereafter in Wales in July.

GEARBOX WOES HALT COOKSON/WILKINSON

Posted: May 11, 2009 4:15 PM

Saltash driver Alan Cookson and London co-driver Julian Wilkinson saw their 100% finishing success rate in 2009 disappear when gearbox problems halted their bid for honours on this weekend's Manx Telecom Rally.

The crew were contesting the fourth round of the 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship in their Robert Wiseman Dairies, Kick Energy, GillettsSpar.com, Riverside Property Services, montpeliergroup.com and Olverelectrical.com-supported Subaru Impreza World Rally Car and were hoping to consolidate their lead in Class 9 going into the two-day event after three strong finishes on the preceding rounds.

Despite the very changeable weather conditions on Friday night, Cookson overcame the treacherous lanes to the south and east of the Island to hold a creditable 12th place overall at the overnight halt and was confident going into today's action.

However, a puncture on the opening stage of the day saw the pair lose a minute but going into the eighth stage, Cookson started to notice a gearbox problem which got gradually worse until he had no option but to retire on SS11.

"I was well chuffed with the way things went last night but then it all started to go wrong today. After suffering the puncture, I noticed a noise in the gearbox and although we tried to continue, there was no point in wrecking it just for the sake of it so I parked it up. It's disappointing to miss out on the points and to lose the lead in the class but we can still bounce back what with the dropped scores so everything's not lost yet. It's our first non-finish of the year and I just need to find some Manx luck in future as this place hasn't been too kind to me recently!"

The next round of the series takes place with the Severn Valley National Rally on May 30th meaning it shouldn't be long before Cookson is able to bounce back from his weekend's disappointment.

Evolution Challenge - Daniel Barry/Martin Brady records third victory of the season

Posted: May 11, 2009 4:13 PM

Daniel Barry and co-driver Martin Brady were delighted to cross the line of the Manx Telecom Rally to win the fourth round of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge and, in doing so, take their third Mitsubishi series victory of the season - their first on asphalt.

Traditionally the first non-forest rally of the season for the Mitsubishi series, even with just three cars the event saw the Evolution Challenge field represent 43% of the N4 Class and 37.5% of the MSA Gravel Championship entry.

The action got underway on Friday evening with a run through Port Erin on the southern coast of the Ireland. Fastest of the Evo Challenge crews on the first stage were Barry/Brady, who stopped the clock just over a second ahead of both Hughes/Parry and Elsmore/Drew.

With the weather on the island living up to its reputation of changing from dry to wet on the same stretch of road, grip levels for the evening’s remaining four stages were a lottery and in SS2 Hughes/Parry were caught out and spun, losing 20 seconds in the process.

As cars headed to the TT Grandstand for the overnight halt after six stages, interim results showed Barry/Brady leading the Evo Challenge charge by 17 seconds, ahead of Hughes/Parry, who were doing their best to make up for lost time and had overhauled Elsmore/Drew by 14 seconds.

Saturday dawned dry and bright and the first loop of four stages was run mainly in the dry. Hughes/Parry were to drop time again on the second of the morning’s stages, when a front driveshaft took a turn for the worse. However, that soon became the least of their worries when, on the next stage, the car went light going over a series of bumps and spun at over 100 mph, bouncing off the banks on either side of the road.

Although the front and rear of their Evo IX was damaged and the car’s differential pump had been broken – causing the centre differential not to operate correctly – Hughes was able to nurse the car back to Douglas for the first service halt of the day, where his team set about a variety of repairs.

Barry/Brady also experienced dramas on stage nine, when their car bounced into a ditch following a deceptive jump just before the finish. They admitted that luck was on their side, as they got away with just a puncture, the removal of the rear bumper and, most importantly, without losing any time.

Just before the next leg of three stages the heavens opened and all three Evo Challenge crews were pleased to have opted for wet-weather tyres. But when the rain stopped and SS12 was cancelled due to an obstruction in the stage, the roads in SS13 started to dry out, which caused the Mitsubishi crews a series of entertaining sideways moments due to the choice of soft rubber.

This time it was Elsmore/Drew who reported a time loss, their delay caused by an intermittently operating throttle sensor which was making the car rev erratically. Luckily, having had the same problem happen before, they were carrying a spare unit and were able to change it before the next stage.

At the final service halt the time sheets revealed Barry/Brady were now ahead by a minute, which meant that a steady run through the final three stages was the best course of action. Their strategy was executed perfectly and they returned to Douglas later that afternoon to record their third Evo Challenge victory of the season and their first championship win on tarmac.

“It’s great to take my third win of the season – especially on tarmac”, said Barry. “We had a really good run all weekend and the car was excellent. We were a bit lucky this morning getting away with our brief visit to the ditch, but this result really sets us up well for the second half of the season.”

Elsmore/Drew crossed the line one-minute, ten seconds later, whilst Hughes/Parry did all they could to make up for lost time and were pleased to get back to the finish to claim third place - the ten minute penalty applied by the organisers in light of their morning’s dramas making no difference to their championship position.

The fifth round of the Evolution Challenge sees a return to gravel roads and the first of two events in Wales, when the series heads to Builth Wells for the Severn Valley National Rally on 30th May.

The 2009 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is supported by Mitsubishi Motors UK, Ralliart, Pirelli tyres, Sunoco fuels, JR Motorsports, Speedline Corse wheels, Carbone Lorraine brakes, Walkinshaw Performance, Sparco racewear and PIAA lights - who sponsor the junior award for under 25-year old drivers.

Round four results
1 Daniel Barry (Enniskerry)/Martin Brady (Navan) 1:34:54.6
2 Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Craig Drew (Bream) 1:36:04.4
3 Simon Hughes (Abergele)/Craig Parry (Llanymynech) 1:48:25.9

ANCRO - MANX MAXIMUM FOR BIRD/WINDRESS

Posted: May 11, 2009 4:06 PM

Despite the changeable conditions that were prevalent throughout the weekend, former ANCRO Champions Paul Bird and Ian Windress saw off the weather as well as the opposition to take a comfortable victory by just under a minute in round four of the 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship on the Manx Telecom Rally.

Never having won around the Manx lanes in eight years of trying, the Penrith driver and his Northallerton co driver took maximum points after a controlled drive in their Ford Focus WRC07 to see off championship rivals Marcus Dodd and Andrew Bargery (Hyundai Accent WRC) and the similar Ford Focus of Steve Perez and Stephen McAuley as well as the major Group N runners to throw the series wide open at the halfway stage.

After clutch problems had beset him on the opening stage last night, Bird bounced back to set fastest time on ten of the next twelve stages to build a lead of over a minute before easing off on the final couple of tests today to ensure his inaugural victory on the Island, to add to the TT successes gained by his motorcycle racing team over the years.

Winner of the previous three rounds, multiple ANCRO champion Dodd had no answer to the 2005 champions on this occasion and was happy to settle for fourth place overall behind the Subarus of non-registered crews Melvyn Evans and Roger Duckworth meaning second placed ANCRO points, with Perez, who seemed eternally blighted by an incorrect tyre choice, one place further back in fifth overall and taking third place on the ANCRO podium.

Championship leaders Daniel Barry and Martin Brady won the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evo Challenge round ahead of Nik Elsmore/Craig Drew and Simon Hughes/Craig Parry and although all had major moments around the unforgiving Manx lanes, all saw the Douglas finish ramp to add to their various points tallies. Sadly for Alan Cookson and Julian Wilkinson, they retired their Subaru on SS11 with gearbox problems meaning they were the only registered crew to not finish the tortuous event.

"This is a very important win as I thought that the Manx may just prove elusive and this place means an awful lot to me. I've been close in the past but to win is amazing and vitally important as Marcus was getting a bit of a foothold in the championship. It was a tough event and tyre choice was a nightmare but the boys at TEGSport have done a great job for us and it's great to get that win under our belts this season. The job's a dream and it's time to go and celebrate" said the Cumbrian before asking for the latest information from Monza where his World Superbike Championship team is in action this weekend!

With both Bird and Perez missing the Severn Valley National Rally which comprises the next round of the series on Saturday 30th May, due to their participation in Rally Barbados, Dodd is odds-on favourite to add to his points tally and when the stagger of dropped scores starts to unravel on the following round which also takes place in Wales with the Pro-Art Signs Swansea Bay Stages Rally, the destiny of the title may just become a little clearer.

Photos:

Posted: May 11, 2009 4:05 PM

Results

Posted: May 11, 2009 3:56 PM

1 Paul Bird/Ian Windress (Ford Focus WRC) 1:27:59.5
2 Melvyn Evans/Sean Mullally (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1:28:56.4
3 Roger Duckworth/Mark Broomfield (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1:29:29.3
4 Marcus Dodd/Andrew Bargery (Hyundai Accent WRC) 1:29:36.1
5 Steve Perez/Stephen McAuley (Ford Focus WRC) 1:31:36.1
6 George Collister/Janet Craine (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3) 1:33:43.6
7 David Mann/Alun Cook (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1:34:05.4
8 Daniel Barry/Martin Brady (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 1:34:54.6
9 Wayne Sisson/Daniel Stone (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 1:35:20.4
10 Nik Elsmore/Craig Drew (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) 9 1:36:04.4

Top three Evo Challenge teams prepare for battle on the Isle of Man.

Posted: May 8, 2009 2:45 PM

The trip half-way across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man is the now traditional first asphalt surface rally in the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge calendar and this year is no exception, with the Manx Telecom Rally hosting the fourth round of the championship.

First of the Mitsubishi seeds are winners last time out Simon Hughes and co-driver Craig Parry. The Pirelli Tour of Cumbria was their first Evo Challenge victory of the season, having been runner-up on the previous two rounds. The switch to tarmac may well suit them and win on the island would take the tally to two-all between Hughes and current championship leader Daniel Barry who, with co-driver Martin Brady, could not have got their season off to a better start.

Barry admits he needs more time on asphalt and will not want a repeat of last year’s outing on this event, when a series of incidents caused both bodywork and mechanical damage to his previous car. However, notwithstanding the dramas, a determined drive did see him claim a hard-earned third place for his efforts in 2008.

Next to cross the start line will be currently third in this year’s series Nik Elsmore and Craig Drew. Although he has also had his memorable moments on the island, Elsmore likes the Manx roads and a clean run this year may well see him and Drew standing on the top step of the podium on Saturday afternoon.

After a frustrating drive in round three last month, when an untraceable electrical fault caused their car’s engine to cut-out intermittently, Owen Murphy and Dai Roberts have reluctantly withdrawn their entry from next weekend’s rally, Murphy vowing not to put himself through the stress of another event until the wiring problem has been rectified.

Other Evo Challenge regulars that won’t be seen on the island are Alan Carmichael and Ivor Lamont. Committed to contesting both the UK and Irish Evo Challenges this season, they are choosing to sit this one out, mainly due to their hectic timetable and the difficulty of getting suitable ferry crossings this year.

Although just three teams will contest this weekend’s round of the Evo Challenge, the series still represents a over a third of the MSA Gravel Championship field and nearly half of the N4 Class entry.

“Even though these current economic times are having an effect on numbers, it is a little more reassuring to know that the Evolution Challenge proportionally still represents the same amount of entries as it has done in the past”, said Championship Coordinator Simon Slade. “Needless to say, we would like to see more of our ten registered crews out this weekend. However, I am confident that numbers will increase when we get the next round and back onto gravel”

The Manx Telecom Rally starts on Friday evening from Port Erin on the Southern coast of the island and sees six stages before the overnight halt in Douglas. A further ten stages are planned for Saturday, with the finish taking place in the pit lane outside the TT Grandstand at 4.30 that afternoon.

The 2009 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is supported by Mitsubishi Motors UK, Ralliart, Pirelli tyres, Sunoco fuels, JR Motorsports, Speedline Corse wheels, Carbone Lorraine brakes, Walkinshaw Performance, Sparco racewear and PIAA lights - who sponsor the junior award for under 25-year old drivers.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge entries (in start number order)
9 Simon Hughes (Abergle)/Craig Parry (Llanymynech)
10 Daniel Barry (Enniskerry)/Martin Brady (Navan)
12 Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Craig Drew (Bream)

 

CRUCIAL MANX BATTLE AWAITS ANCRO CREWS

Posted: May 5, 2009 12:31 PM

The battle for the 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship is set to continue when crews make their one and only trip away from the UK mainland and head over to the Isle of Man for the annual Manx Telecom Rally which takes place next weekend.

The all-tarmac, two-day event marks the halfway point in what is proving to be a dramatic season and the demanding fast and narrow lanes of the Isle of Man are expected to throw up a few more surprises along the way.

After three rounds, the points table is headed by the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evo Challenge drivers, Daniel Barry (Enniskerry) and Simon Hughes (Abergele), who are separated by just two points but all is not as it seems as with the scoring system of a competitor's best five results from eight rounds counting, the issue of dropped scores is likely to come into play soon.

That will mean that ANCRO's 'big three' are likely to come into contention after they all missed out on Rallye Sunseeker when defending champion Marcus Dodd (Poole) as well as other former champions Steve Perez (Chesterfield) and Paul Bird (Penrith) all failed to see the Bournemouth finish ramp.

Since then, Dodd has taken back to back victories on the Brick and Steel Border Counties Rally as well as the Pirelli Tour of Cumbria over the past couple of months in his Hyundai Accent WRC, with the Ford Focus WRC07 pairing of Perez and Bird trading the other podium placings to edge up the leaderboard, and all know how vital a win around The Island could be.

For Dodd, it would mean he would have won three rounds with Bird and Perez yet to take a victory, and with the latter two missing from the Severn Valley National Rally later in the month due to competing on Rally Barbados, it could mean that the four-times champion has title number five within sight. But if tarmac specialist Bird or Perez, who has recruited Swedish world championship co-driver Staffan Parmander in as co-driver for the event, manages the win, then it really will be game on going into the final three events.

Dodd and co driver Andrew Bargery (Hove) have taken maximum points in the past on the event and Bird, along with co driver Ian Windress (Northallerton), have also been on the podium too although Perez has never enjoyed the best of luck on the Manx, crashing out spectacularly in 2006 although he did manage a 4th place overall the following year.

Irishman Barry and co driver Martin Brady (Nevan) along with Welsh counterpart Hughes and his co driver Craig Parry (Oswestry) will no doubt resume battle in Group N and are expected to show well and add to their points tally and both Nik Elsmore (Coleford) and Owen Murphy (Kilcrea) cannot be ruled out as they are both currently in the top five of the overall standings, whereas Alan Cookson (Saltash) and co driver Julian Wilkinson (Wandsworth) will be out to maintain their bid for class honours in their Subaru and they'll be looking to add to their decent scores in the opening three rounds.

The Manx Telecom Rally gets underway at 19.00 on Friday 8th May with the traditional stage through the streets of Port Erin before a loop of stages in the fading daylight takes crews back to Douglas for the overnight halt. Saturday sees a full day of action around the Manx lanes starting at 08.45 before the finish at the TT Grandstand around 16.30.

MANX LANES BECKON FOR COOKSON

Posted: May 5, 2009 12:30 PM

Cornwall rally driver Alan Cookson and London co-driver Julian Wilkinson will be heading over the Irish Sea destined for the Isle of Man where round four of the 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship takes place with the Manx Telecom Rally next weekend.

The Douglas-based all-tarmac event marks the halfway point in the season which has so far proved reasonably successful for the Subaru WRC pairing who have scored points in all three rounds of the ANCRO series to date and hold sixth place overall in the standings, despite a major problem last time out when the crew spent over twenty minutes in a Kielder Forest ditch before being towed out by a fellow competitor.

However, it's in Class 9 that the Saltash driver is excelling as he leads the class following a hat trick of runner-up placings behind outright winners Sean Devine on Rally Sunseeker, and then Marcus Dodd on both the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally and last month's Pirelli Tour of Cumbria to take a vital five point lead into the Manx.

"We're really looking forward to this event as it's our favourite of the year and one we hope to be able to maintain our class lead on in order to pick up the free tyres offered by Pirelli for class leaders after this event. For our team, these sorts of prizes are always very welcome and hopefully we can finish second in class or higher to pick them up" said Alan.

He continued: "We are also hoping the rallying gods are still with us after getting away with the result on the Tour of Cumbria which almost lost us that class lead. I think you always need a bit of luck to go your way so we're praying we still have some left in reserve!

"The car is having quite a few jobs done to ready it for this event after doing damage to the clutch and the bodywork in the infamous ditches of Kielder, but the TEGSport Team set the car up really well for the event last year, and it was working really well on the bumpy roads, and we were just inside the top ten when the gear linkage broke, ending our run.

"You never quite know what weather we will encounter but hopefully we will all be as ready as we can having had such a busy start to the year and we feel a little more confident and we hope to give our main sponsors Wisemans Dairies, SPAR and Vodka VK another top ten finish by tea time on Saturday night."

The Manx Telecom Rally gets underway at 19.00 on Friday 8th May with the traditional stage through the streets of Port Erin before a loop of stages in the fading daylight takes crews back to Douglas for the overnight halt. Saturday sees a full day of action around the Manx lanes starting at 08.45 before the finish at the TT Grandstand around 16.30.

MSA Asphalt Rally Championship - MANX MAGIC!…

Posted: April 29, 2009 12:51 PM

The third round of the Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Rally Championship is the hugely popular Manx Telecom Rally which has been voted the ‘Best Event’ in the Series for the past three years. All the pretenders to the coveted crown will be heading for the Isle of Man to do battle over the closed public roads and, as ever, a fascinating tussle is in prospect….

Welshman MELVYN EVANS has already made his intentions perfectly clear by winning the first two rounds outright. Victory on the Tour of Epynt was followed up by a resounding win on the Circuit of Ireland National Rally over Easter weekend and, obviously, Melvyn also took maximum points scores on each occasion. Regular co-driver SEAN MULLALLY was unavailable for the trip over the Epynt Ranges but was back reading the notes in Ireland and has, consequently, opened his account in the best possible way. As the pair were also victorious on the Manx last year, they must start as one of the favourites for 2009.

2008 MSA Asphalt Rally Champions DAVID KYNASTON/ANDY RUSSELL are handily placed in their Audi A3 Quattro. The Devonian crew have posted good results on the opening rounds and, although ‘DK’ trails Evans in the Drivers’ category, Andy actually tops the Co-drivers’ points table.

Former MSA Gravel Rally Champions DAVID MANN/ALUN COOK (Subaru Impreza WRC) are contesting their second full season of asphalt events and they, too, have started the year well. They are also past Manx Rally winners, putting their names on the trophy in 2003 on their way to securing the Gravel Championship crown that same year. Their Impreza caught fire twelve months ago and so they have some unfinished business on the island!

JOHN STONE/LEE CARTER return in their Legend Motorsport MG Metro 6R4 and could do with a good result to move their season forward. Clutch failure eliminated them from the first round and they were absent from the line-up in Ireland.

The two-wheel drive contenders are as strong as ever in 2009 and run-away winners last year, SIMON MAUGER/BRIAN CAMMACK (Ford Escort RS), have plenty of company in their quest for top honours. The Escort of GRAHAM HOLLIS and Manx-domiciled co-driver ASHLEY TRIMBLE suffered front suspension failure on Epynt and was forced to retire and now needs a good result to put its season back on track. These two MSA Asphalt Championship regulars will be joined by the similar car of current class leaders PETE HUGHES/CHRIS EVANS. So, plenty of sparks will be flying there!…

TOMMI GRAHAM/MIKE BAILEY, who finished 3rd overall in the 2007 MSA Asphalt Championship, have returned this year in their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 but the chance of a good start to the season was ruined when the car’s front diff. gave out on the opening batch of stages on the Tour of Epynt. From a start number of 77 two years ago, they finished 33rd and, barring problems, can be confident of a considerable improvement on that this time.

Young Scots crew ROSS HUNTER/EILDON HALL are making a name for themselves in their first full MSA Asphalt Championship season. The two won the Scottish Peugeot 205 Championship last year and have moved up to a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO4 for 2009. Finishing 13th overall on their first visit to the Epynt Ranges earned them the ‘John Horton Motorsport Management Star Performance’ salver, but any hope of smooth progress through the Irish lanes was soon dispelled. A succession of driveshaft failures initially turned the car into front-wheel drive only but then further damage forced the crew to replace the rear diff. and, by doing so, convert it to rear-wheel drive. Consequently Ross spent much of the two-day event trying to alter his driving style to suit whatever drive-train formation the car happened to be in at the time! This will be their first visit to the Isle of Man, but their confidence should put them in good stead for the rally.

Another crew from north of the border, DAVID HARDIE/JOHN McCULLOCH, will be out in their Subaru Impreza, while Douglas resident DAVE CORRIS will be joining the Championship for the first time in his Ford Fiesta Cosworth WRC. He managed to roll his car on his ‘home’ event a couple of years ago, but at least did not have far to go to get it home!

Championship ‘Rear-Wheel Drive’ category contenders include the Vauxhall Astra of GEOFF GLOVER/CHARLIE TURNER and, amongst those propelled through the front wheels, the Ford Puma S1600 of ROGER DONNAN/KIM BAKER was really setting the Irish lanes alight, finishing a fabulous 4th overall on the Circuit. ROD BENNETT/HENRY RICHARDSON weren’t far behind in their Fiat Punto S1600 and, having finished 4th in class on the 2008 Manx in the car, have the experience and speed to improve this time.

MG ZRs feature prominently in the small-engine classes, with MARTIN NEWSON/ PETER MORRIS & ROLAND JONES/ KATE GAMEZ battling in Class A5 and NEIL DODD/VAL THOMPSON joining them in their Group N example.

Over the years, the Manx Telecom Rally has built up a reputation as an enjoyable, but very tough, event and one which competitors return to time and time again. The vagaries of the British climate can play a part in the eventual outcome but, with precious few exceptions, it is experience that counts – and there’s only one way to get that!…

Entry List

Posted: April 29, 2009 12:49 PM

Rally Set for Success with Manx Telecom Sponsorship

Posted: April 17, 2009 10:42 AM

Manx Telecom is to sponsor the Manx National Rally in a three-year deal which secures the Rally’s future, and which is expected to boost the event’s prominence as a major fixture in the Manx sporting calendar.

“We are delighted”, said Voirrey Corkill, Manx Telecom, marketing communications manager, “to be supporting such a prestigious event and look forward to working with Manx Auto Sport Limited, the drivers, co-drivers, crews, marshals, organisers, and all those associated with Rally. Together, I know that we can build on the Rally’s heritage of sporting excellence, and make this year’s event the most successful yet.”

The Rally, which has been in existence for over 30 years, will take place 8th and 9th May, when over 100 cars are expected to take part in a demanding test of skill and endurance for the cars, their drivers, and support crews.

“This is fantastic news for all involved”, said Rally spokesman, John Skinner. “In a difficult economic climate, it’s a massive vote of confidence to have Manx Telecom’s support for an event which brings so many people and so much publicity to the Island, and which plays a key role in making the Island the road race capital of the world.”

Regulations / Details

Posted: January 1, 2009 12:01 AM

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