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Jim Clark Rally - 31 May-2 Jun 13

Posted: October 20, 2016 10:30 AM - 5137 Hits

International / National (BRC) - 31 May-1 Jun 13
Reivers (Scottish) - 2 Jun 13

Round 3 - 2013 British Rally Championship
Round 4 - 2013 Scottish Rally Championship
Round 3 - 2013 MSA Asphalt Rally Championship
Round 4 – 2013 British Historic Rally Championship

Daniel Mc Kenna the Billy Coleman Award Winner Produces a Star Drive Performance at the Jim Clark

Posted: October 20, 2016 7:21 AM

After a very tough weekend’s rallying in the Scottish Borders at the 2nd round of the BRC, the Jim Clark Rally, Daniel and Co-Driver Arthur Kierans finished a very impressive 7th O/A, won the R2 category and an extra bonus was securing the much coveted Pirelli Star Driver (PSD) nomination based on his performance on the weekend’s event.

At the wheel of his Scanbitz Ltd and Ravelol Motoroil Lubricants Ford Fiesta R2, Daniel had a mixed weekend. After a very tough recce on Thursday the crew used the shakedown stage on Friday morning to fine tune the settings on the car before the car passed scrutiny on Friday afternoon prior to the event starting at 7pm Friday evening. The first stage was a short blast around the town of Duns before heading to the mammoth 16 mile stage Abbey St. Bathans. Then a shorter 4 mile test, which were all then repeated. Daniel set the joint 2nd fastest time on the town stage with no drama, but about 6 miles into the Abbey stage the car dropped down on power getting progressively worse as the stage went on and the crew found them selves 15 seconds off the pace with no chance to repair the unknown problem until after the 6 stages on Friday night were completed before overnight service back at Kelso Racecourse.

After some investigation a faulty fuel pump was diagnosed as the problem and Daniel and Arthur knew they could do nothing but struggle with the intermittent problem until the service crew could change the faulty part. So Daniel and Arthur put in a massive effort on the remaining stages that were completed in the darkness of Friday night doing their best to minimize their disadvantage and finished leg 1 of the event 2nd in the R2 category and 18 seconds behind the leader, local man Gary Pearson despite the car being very uncompetitive.

The service crew then kicked into action and after a late night, a second hand fuel pump was fitted to the car with the hopes of the power loss problems eliminated before Daniel and Arthur could launch their attack for the lead of the R2 class. Leg 2 of the event was a scheduled 90 stage miles, but with the longest stage of the day being cancelled due to Marshall Problems the route was reduced by 27 miles which was going to make Daniel’s job even harder. However Daniel attacked undeterred and set fastest R2 time taking 8 seconds of the leader reducing the gap to 10 seconds but unfortunately the power loss problem was not fully rectified but was a lot more manageable than Friday night.

For the next test Daniel found himself on the front foot and was confident of taking the lead from Pearson and the pressure applied to the leader was enough as Daniel was promoted to the lead as his leading rival had a spin and dropped 30 seconds, so Daniel and Arthur had a 20 second lead.

On the next test the battle was over as Pearson crashed out of the event and Daniel and Arthur had a 58 second lead over the next R2 car. So with a car not at 100% Daniel kept pushing hard with a string of fastest R2 stage times throughout Saturday to keep the concentration levels high and also trying to impress the secret judging panel who would decide which driver would become the PSD nomination winner. Daniel stretched his lead to a 1min 40 secs in the R2 category and 7th O/A by the finish with hopes of securing the coveted nomination.

At the finish ramp in Kelso town centre, it was announced that Daniel was the chosen nominee for the PSD competition which was the perfect way to cap of a brilliant performance on a very challenging event.

Daniel and Arthur now find themselves joint leading the R2 category in the championship and lying joint 5th O/A in the main championship ahead of the 3rd round of their campaign, the Scottish rally in Dumfries which is back on gravel.

Video Clips

Posted: October 20, 2016 7:16 AM



James and Evans win repeat Borders battle to take the lead in Mintex MSA BHRC

Posted: October 20, 2016 7:14 AM

Gareth James and Steffan Evans continued their superb season-long run of form in the Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship by winning the Jim Clark Historic Rally last weekend. Just four weeks after winning the Pirelli Historic Rally in Kielder forest, the Welsh youngsters set a phenomenal pace through the asphalt lanes around Duns in their Ford Escort Mk2 to claim their third consecutive Category Three (1975-81 cars) victory and take the championship lead.

The cancellation of several stages due to safety issues failed to spoil the spectacle as the classic machinery contesting the BHRC’s third round stormed through the narrow, hedge-lined Berwickshire roads. In Category Three, James / Evans continued to be the dominant force, revelling in the change of surface to Tarmac for the first time this season. Continuing with the four-speed gearbox that proved successful at the ‘Pirelli’, the Welsh crew settled into the Category lead on Friday evening, stretching their Escort’s legs through the long Abbey St. Bathans and Tweedside stages. A consistent series of fastest stage times throughout Saturday eventually gave them a comprehensive victory over Ernie and Will Graham’s Escort RS Mk2 by 3m 20s. For the father and son pairing it was their best result so far this season. Finding and overcoming a misfire on the shakedown stage proved crucial as they remained mechanically untroubled and set one overall fastest stage time to score a host of valuable championship points. Confirming that the BHRC is continuing to attract new contenders, Will Rowlands / Emyr Hall finished third on their first outing this year. Their vivid green Escort Mk2.had a new ZF gearbox as well as a back axle transplant over the winter, and the crew belied any ring-rustiness with their consistently high pace, culminating in setting fifth overall fastest stage time on the event’s final test.

BHRC returnees Adrian and Dan Seabridge chose the Jim Clark Rally to open their season’s account and were rewarded for another deceptively quick run with fourth place, only 14 seconds behind Rowlands. Their pace on Friday night surprised even them as they started the Saturday leg fifth in the rally overall. A mistake-free day followed, giving them valuable championship points. For fifth-placed Lee Ashberry, a winter spent carefully preparing his immaculate Ford Escort RS1800 paid dividends reliability-wise, as he and experienced co-driver John Pickavance racked up quality mileage and experience with the new car. At first regroup on Friday evening – his first time ever driving competitively in the dark - Ashberry’s determination was clear: “This is a superb learning curve, and I so want to get to the finish this evening, and then finish again tomorrow,” he said.

Newly-BHRC registered Phil Rogers / Ashley Trimble’s rally worked out to be a game of minor problems, but punctuated by a very solid set of stage times. Rogers’s admission that “We are quite shocked to be in the middle of the leaders,” belied their commitment on each stage, especially on the fog-affected Friday evening, where they set a bravely driven ninth overall fastest time through Abbey St. Bathans. Their strong pace continued through Saturday, and a sheared alternator bolt on their Escort failed to stop them from reaching the finish. Stephen Richards / Keegan Rees achieved their seventh in Category despite getting caught in a convoy of competitors through one of Friday evening’s fog-bound stages, and then a mix-up in the Duns remote service area on Saturday, which saw them park in a bay on the opposite side of the road to their service crew. After much frantic arm-waving and repositioning, they got their Escort Mk2 to the correct place, but then became one of several later-running crews affected by safety-related stage cancellations.
“We’ve seen a lot of pubs, a lot of cream tea shops (on the road sections) and done a lot of socialising. Just very little rallying,” said a philosophical Richards.

Graham Waite and Gill Cotton swapped their usual pre-1968 Volvo Amazon for a Category Three Opel Ascona. They, too, became affected by the cancelled stages, but had a problem-free run to eighth in Category. Their strong points haul moves them up to fifth overall in the championship standings.

In Category One, pre-rally Category leaders Rikki Proffit / Phill Harrison brought their Porsche 911 to Duns looking for a strong result to maintain their joint lead in the Mintex MSA series. But their plans went awry on Friday evening, when they suffered badly with visibility problems in the fog, dropping 1m 15s through Abbey St.Bathans to fellow Porsche 911 crew, Dessie Nutt / Geraldine McBride. This effectively decided the outcome of the pre-1968 Category as, despite chasing hard throughout Saturday, Proffitt could not make up the deficit and he had to settle for second. Nutt suffered a couple of spins on the approach to chicanes on the Saturday tests but stayed mechanically untroubled to win by 39.8 seconds. Derek Boyd / Peter Scott fixed an early electrical problem in their Porsche 911 before recording a typical steady points-scoring run and take third. At the Friday evening regroup, Boyd – who last competed at the Jim Clark Rally in 1976 – smilingly described the Borders lanes as:
“They’re just like Flanders, but with more hedges.”

Nigel and Henry Webster, who finished fourth in Category, typified the clubman spirit of the BHRC competitors. Where most rally crews would be unhappy with a low seeding, the father and son crew actually wished they were further back in the early stages.
“We have the smallest engined-car in the rally, and all the bigger machines keep catching us,” said driver, Nigel. “We constantly have to move over, and we really can’t get focused at the moment.” Things improved markedly on Saturday as, running further down the field, they were able to set their own pace and scored solid points in the Imp 50 Cup.

As on each of the previous BHRC rounds, the battle for Category Two (1968-75 cars) was incredibly close. David Stokes / Guy Weaver led the whole rally early on Friday evening in their Escort Mk1, pursued by Richard Hill / Pat Cooper’s identical car. The two crews ran neck and neck throughout Saturday morning, with Stokes having a slight upper hand, stage times-wise. At the Duns remote service, Hill admitted to a spin at a slippery-surfaced hairpin and that he now needed to increase pace: “I really need to put more coal on the burner,” he said. Things changed dramatically on stage 12, when Stokes put his car into a ditch and lost masses of time while spectators pulled him out. He got going again, but when he reached the final service, found he was excluded. Confusion reigned for a while as he, naturally, questioned the decision and was eventually classified as retired. Hill, meanwhile drove tentatively through the final, rain-affected stage to claim his second Category win of the year and move up to eighth in the overall series standings.

Stokes’s retirement moved Peter McDowell / Peter Moss (Porsche 911) up to second, ahead of a superb, close battle for class C3 honour between the Escort Mk1s of Mark Holmes / Tony Lindsay and Wayne Bonser / Richard Aston. In their first Tarmac event since the 2012 Ulster Rally, the Porsche crew once again found on-stage grip where nobody else could, and the distinctive growl of their 3-litre engine reverberating off the hedge-lined banks indicated they were pushing hard. McDowell later said it was his first visit to the Jim Clark Rally for nigh-on 40 years:
“We retired last time, but still had to drive our car all the way back to London. At least we’ve got a trailer nowadays.” Behind McDowell, the weekend’s best battle ensued between Holmes and Bonser. Holmes lost time in Friday evening’s fog but then picked up speed, admitting to “getting a bit nervous” through the fast, flowing lanes during Saturday morning. A spin approaching a hairpin in Langton cost a few seconds and, in the closing miles his starter motor broke, necessitating push starts. His margin of victory, 22 seconds, could have been even closer if Bonser had not had a persistent gearbox problem. With a new clutch fitted since the ‘Pirelli’, his mechanical woes stared early on Friday evening, with the car jamming regularly in fourth gear.
“I have to take my foot off the accelerator early, to unload the transmission. Otherwise it won’t come out of gear,” reported Bonser at Saturday’s Duns service halt. Eventually he ignored top completely and, despite using only the bottom three gears, still mounted a very strong challenge.

Nick Danks / Martin Corbett brought their venerable Escort Mexico home fifth following a steady run, although truncated by the safety-affected stage losses. The crew reported they had their trailer stolen after the Pirelli Historic Rally, but were rewarded for their efforts to get to Duns with another win in the up-to 1600cc class C2.

With the Mintex MSA series now well under way, and with new crews registering at each round, the prospects for the championship becoming even stronger look very good as the series moves back onto gravel for the BHRC perennial favourite, the Severn Valley Stages, on June 15th.

Results: Category One:
1 Dessie Nutt / Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911) 1h 19m 6.8s;
2 Rikki Proffitt / Phill Harrison (Porsche 911) 1h 19m 46.6s;
3 Derek Boyd / Peter Scott (911) 1h 23m 15.3s.

Category Two:
1 Richard Hill / Pat Cooper (Ford Escort Mk1) 1h 14m 9s:
2 Peter McDowell / Peter Moss (Porsche 911) 1h 18m 36.1s:
3 Mark Holmes / Tony Lindsay (Escort Mk1) 1h 18m 37.5s.

Category Three:
1 Gareth James / Steffan Evans (Escort Mk2) 1h 11m 32.5s;
2 Ernie Graham / Will Graham (Escort RS Mk2) 1h 14m 52.5s;
3 Will rowlands / Emyr Hall (Escort Mk2) 1h 15m 21.2s.

Newby Bounces Back In Style On Jim Clark Rally

Posted: October 20, 2016 7:10 AM

arnforth teenager Arron Newby bounced back from his recent disappointment of retiring from the Manx National Rally with another superb performance to take a top seven placing on this weekend's Jim Clark National Rally.

Contesting the latest round of the REIS Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship on the closed public roads around the Scottish borders, the 18-year-old Lancastrian battled against tricky damp conditions and the more powerful cars to claim a class win in the Pirelli-sponsored and TEG Sport -prepared Subaru Impreza.

Keen to lay the ghost to rest after crashing out on last year's event, Newby along with Manx co driver Rob Fagg didn't do their confidence much good when a high speed moment on the Abbey St Bathans stage on Friday night saw them scrape a wall but they reached the overnight halt in 16th overall and sixth in class.

Damp patches greeted the crews for day two and Newby made a steady start to climb into the top ten overall before upping the pace as the day progressed. It wasn't long before he was up to eighth overall, taking the class lead in the process and with one last push on the final stage in the wet; he elevated himself to a fantastic seventh overall and also took the class win.

Arron Newby: "I was a little bit nervous after crashing out last year and then last night, when the car started swapping ends at high speed, I held my breath and we were lucky to get away with just catching a wall. It was all quite new to me but it's all part of the learning process and we came away with a good result all things considered. Once again thanks to Rob, the TEG Sport team as well as the marshals and organisers and it's great to claim yet another class win."

Stuart Newby, TEG Sport Team Owner: "It was important that Arron bounced back in positive fashion after the Manx and also what happened here last year and we couldn't have asked any more from him. We came with the intention of finishing inside the top ten and we achieved that. This was a new experience as the sheer high speeds are like nowhere else and the data showed the car was doing 130mph at times! But Arron got round, learned a lot and will build on this unique experience. The Pirelli tyres were again fantastic and the car never missed a beat so we will come back next year and aim to improve further."

Jim Clark Rally lessons as Armstrong chases tarmac experience.

Posted: October 20, 2016 7:07 AM

Jon Armstrong, the 18 year old rally talent form Fermanagh Northern Ireland tackled his second British Rally Championship event of the season and also his second ever tarmac event over the June 1st weekend. It was expected to be a challenge for the youngster as the Jim Clark Rally is one to be respected given its prestigious history and previous winners not to mention the visible holes in hedges that show where it has caught out people on previous attempts. As the only closed road tarmac rally on the UK mainland it is a revered and celebrated event with a special atmosphere right from the town centre start in Duns.

This was to be the first stage of the rally with a short blast around the narrow town streets and Jon in his Ford Fiesta took to it cautiously to end the stage 22nd overall. The plan at this point was just to settle into his Fiesta R2 now in tarmac trim for the first time and also gain confidence in the pace notes which Jon had prepared himself for the first time ever in his short rally career to date.

The confidence in the car was good heading to the second stage which was the famous 16 mile Abbey St Bathans stage, a relentless attack over farm land hills, as it sinews its way over cattle grids and steep fast sections that wait to punish the unwary over exuberant driver. This was surely to be the test of Armstrong and how comfortable he was with both his car and pace notes which in no uncertain terms were untried for him on this surface and type of tarmac test. However Jon did not disappoint and took tenth fastest and second in class behind local driver Gary Pearson who was in an identical Ford Fiesta. This left Jon in 14th overall on the leader board but second in the Fiesta battle slightly ahead of Irishman Daniel McKenna. Armstrong was to hold this position over the next two stages including the repeat of the town stage in front of the many fans now out to enjoy the rally.

However the return to the Abbey St Bathans hills was where it all began to unravel for Jon and codriver Martin Brady, a fast start to the stage was going well and the rhythm over the crests, humps and cattle grids was all under animated control when a small sliver of an exposed rock at the edge of the road made contact with a rear wheel with a telling clink of metal meeting a solid object. The Pirelli tyre predictably could not withstand such a hard blow and in less than a mile the tyre was off the rim and there was no option but to stop and change the wheel with about 10 miles of stage left to go. The puncture change was exemplary and Jon and Martin were out of the car with wheel replaced and back on the move again in just under 2 minutes, making the best of a bad situation by minimising that time loss with the quick wheel change. Regrettably fate had not finished with Armstrong & Brady and as the stage climbed to its foggy summit in the fading daylight another puncture was to lie in wait for the crew. With the front left wheel now deflating and stopping on a steep downhill section before a cattle grid junction the car spun sideways towards the fence lined field. Codriver Martin freely admitting
“as the car approached the junction in completely the wrong direction I was packing my bag and waiting for the bang that would signal the end of our rally but somehow Jon didn’t surrender so easily and he managed to pitch the car backwards and we travelled into the field backwards to a thankfully soft stop with only a minor dent on the boot lid from a fence post, knowing we had used about 9 lives getting away with that moment we sombrely made our way over the final 1.9 miles of the stage to resume puncture changing duties again at the finish of the stage”. Yet despite getting away almost scot free with such a moment there was still a time loss of over 4 minutes compared to the previous time over the stage for Armstrong, bitterly disappointing for the crew but a not unexpected consequence of two punctures one a roadside repair and the other pre-empting a trip into a field. The car still handled like new and there was no mechanical damage. A flapping boot lid from bent catches was the only issue that hampered the Fiesta over the final stage of the night, as it trailed behind the car on the last stage like a parachute the bottom line was Jon & Martin had dropped down out of the top 20 drivers and day two and its eight stages would now be a fight back up the order.

Day two began with an intention to reset from the maladies of the first night and to begin to rebuild the confidence after the field trip of the Abbey St Bathans stage. Jon had to be cognisant that he was still learning both the car and his pace notes so that approach was the mindset the crew began day 2 with. Gary Pearson was still the benchmark in the Fiesta class and he was being chased hard by Daniel McKenna, this meant Jon’s target was to stay as close as possible to the times of these guys without taking un necessary chances trying in vain to recover a 4 minute time loss. Pearson was soon to leave the fight parked stuck in a ditch on a slippy corner at the end of greasy straight, and such was the conditions Jon also overshot the very next corner after Pearson’s departure and had to reverse back from a gravel driveway to recover from the overshoot, Jon describing the braking surface for the corner as “like a bottle”. The following Daniel McKenna admitted he found the surface there lethal and only he escaped incident as he braked early catching sight in the distance of Armstrong pulling away from the overshoot with the stage marker tape streaming behind as a reminder.

Confidence was returning in the Armstrong Fiesta and as the stages dried out Jon was literally getting to grips with everything from pace notes to the Fiesta’s performances and the timesheets confirmed this as Jon set two fastest Fiesta times ahead of both McKenna and the round 1 victor, Steve Rokland. By the end of the final stage Jon had pulled back to 14th overall and 5 th Fiesta and in a last stage battle just managed to pip David Carney by 9.4 seconds to once more claim the top place in the BRC Ravenol Newcomers Trophy. A silver lining in a weekend and a rally that started positive, became gloomy after the Abbey St Bathans bit a large chunk of time away from the Fiesta to then return to a positive by the end of the event.

Jon had this to say at the finish
“I am happy with what we learned this weekend and the car worked really well and we got good experience of our notes and the car on tarmac this weekend. It was a tough rally and the punctures were a big disappointment but that’s rallying and to get close to Daniel McKenna’s times here was a really good thing today as I know he goes so well on tarmac and he is definitely the benchmark”

Martin Brady codriver commented “once again this rally Jon drove with a maturity and a solid temperament that makes you forget he is only 18 years of age and four rallies under his belt in this car, I was hugely impressed especially when he saved us from certain disaster on Abbey St Bathans, we had a great rally together in the car and even changed the puncture in perfect unison, I am really looking forward to the rest of the rallies and the season because I know we can keep improving”

The next rally is less than a month away and the BRC series will return to gravel and return to Scotland for the Scottish in Dumfries. As unpredictable as rallying is, there is a guarantee that for this rally Armstrong will be right up there on the pace and if luck can stay with him then hopes are high for a good result on the next step of the BRC championship.

Jon is joined and supported in his championship efforts by a number of partners and sponsors, including Monaghan Bros Ford Garage of Lisnaskea, Tyrone Truck & Trailer LTD, Jennings Fuel & Lubricants, Lakeland Tyres, Loane Transport Kesh and Battery Energy Drink.

Korhonen conquers the Border

Posted: October 20, 2016 7:03 AM

Jukka Korhonen and Marko Salminen dispelled any doubts over their asphalt ability by hanging on for a two second victory on the Jim Clark Rally, round two of the MSA British Rally Championship.

Their overnight lead remained intact when Saturday’s first damp and slippery stage was cancelled on safety grounds, but a spin on stage eight saw him drop within the grasp of the chasing pack, headed at that point by Tom Cave & Ieuan Thomas. Korhonen so nearly fell into Cave’s clutches and by the penultimate test the gap was down to just a tenth of a second. But with a last gasp effort, the Finn made it two wins on the trot on a surface that he had previously disliked.

A clearly delighted Korhonen said at the finish in Kelso, “Very Pleased. My first tarmac win and only third tarmac rally. Very pleased with the result and a good two days; Ups and downs, but we managed to do the win. A perfect rally.”

Cave’s four fastest stage times in the Morris Lubricants DMS Citroën just weren’t enough at the end, but he managed to hold off the charging Osian Pryce & Dale Furniss, who closed to within ten seconds of their fellow Welsh crew by the last run through Langton’s famous spectator stage.

Culina Palletforce Racing crew John MacCrone and Phil Pugh had set a great early pace on Friday, staying within eight seconds of Korhonen after four stages. But brake problems and a bent rear axle dropped them down the order, eventually retiring with broken front suspension in the Duns remote service on Saturday lunchtime.

DGM Sport’s Alastair Fisher and Gordon Noble had already taken the mantle of chasing crew and ran second on the road throughout Saturday. But in the end they were overhauled by a charging Cave, now second in the points tables, while also succumbing to advances by Pryce to finish fourth with setup difficulties.

Pryce’s event just got better and better, posting a pair of fastest times on stages 12 and 13 to cement a fine third place on what was a fast, furious and ultra-competitive blast through the Scottish Borders lanes.

Ending the rally as they started in fifth place, were Ulstermen Jonny Greer and Jonny Hart, who enjoyed the stages when they were dry, but struggled like many others with Saturday’s early damp conditions.

2012 Pirelli Star Driver Mark Donnelly and his co-driver Dai Roberts had an imperfect event, struggling with setup and grip and finally a troublesome downshift in their DGM Sport car. They managed sixth, having climbed from an early tenth place, but never bettered fifth fastest on the stages and will look forward to the Scottish, rather than back on the Jim Clark.

The BRC Teams Cup is now a dead-heat for first place, DGM Sport and Morris Lubricants DMS level on 38 points, with Peter Taylor’s ninth place enough to keep Culina Palletforce Racing in touch in third.

Topping the BRC’s RallyTwo runners in his Fiesta R2 was the 2012 Irish Billy Coleman Award winner Daniel McKenna, in what could have been a master class for local driver Garry Pearson. After a shaky start through his home town of Duns, Pearson, the 2012 British Junior Rally Champion with Tom Hynd alongside, had set about building an overnight lead of seventeen seconds.

But pressure from McKenna and Arthur Kierans eventually found a chink; Pearson dropped to second on stage nine after a big spin and ended his day after an impact with a tree on stage ten.

Round one RallyTwo winner Steve Røkland was delighted to slide into the vacant second spot, but it was to be short-lived when, three stages later, the Norwegian and his English co-driver James Aldridge were overtaken for the place after just three more stages.

Last year’s Twingo Renaultsport R2 Trophy winner Chris Ingram was on a charge, helped by the exit of then third-placed James Ford who crashed through a hedge, damaging his radiator and oil filter. Ingram and Stephen McAuley catapulted from fourth to second in two stages in the same car that he debuted just over a year ago.

McKenna stayed out of trouble at the front, impressing en route to a 1 minute 40 second victory, enough to secure the second Pirelli Star Driver nomination of the season. At the finish in Kelso he admitted that it had been a tough event.

He said, “We suffered with fuel pump problems all events but it has all been worth it. Our goal at the start of the season was a nomination for the Pirelli award, so I’m delighted that it has happened on just the second event.”

But both crews hit trouble on the second run through the longest stages of the event, Abbey St Bathans. First Threlfall hit a tree, permanently ending his charge, then the Mckay’s gearbox mount broke, stranding them in the darkening stage. Using re-start rules they managed to complete Saturday, levelling the points with two rounds gone.

Citroën UK continues to dominate the MSA British Manufacturers Championship and the prestigious Citroën Racing Trophy UK results and points tables followed those of the overall event and championship, the top six locked out by the DS3. McKenna took top Fiesta SportTrophy points and moves to within two of Røkland, while the Twingo Renaultsport R1 Trophy UK is a tie between Mckay and Threlfall.

Jon Armstrong took maximum points in the RAVENOL Oils Newcomers Trophy, extending his lead to eight points over David Carney who moves up from fifth. The Ulsterman admitted he was disappointed with fourteen place overall though, having damaged the rear of the car on Friday.

Another son and father team Kit and Tim Leigh took the Mantis Best Presented Car Award for their immaculate Ford Fiesta R2 and with it a trophy, £250 and Mantis products. The award is voted on by championship scrutineers before each event, but their car was still pristine at the Kelso finish. further proof of their attention to detail.

Strong pack chase Reivers’ glory

Posted: May 30, 2013 10:00 AM

Competitors in the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship are readying themselves for the only tarmac event in the eight-round series – the Jim Clark Reivers Rally on Sunday June 2nd.

Last year’s winner Euan Thorburn will have local support as he attempts to kick-start his Scottish campaign on the fast Berwickshire stages after a non-finish in his Ford Focus WRC on last month’s Granite City Rally. The Duns’ driver received a confidence boost in the run-up to his home event with a win on the Plains Rally in Wales alongside co-driver Paul Beaton from Inverness.

Reigning Scottish champion David Bogie, meanwhile, is targeting a fourth Reivers victory behind the wheel of his ex-Colin McRae Focus WRC. The Dumfries-based driver, co-driven by Kevin Rae from Hawick, leads the championship by one point from Quintin Milne after a dominant display on the Granite.

On last year’s Reivers, the gearbox of Bogie’s MG Metro 6R4 failed on the opening test, but twelve months on the 25-year-old believes he has a car which could win him back the Reivers crown:

“It was great to get back to winning ways in Aberdeen”, said Bogie: “Up until then we hadn’t been able to assess the full potential of the Focus. Also with it being left-hand drive, we needed more time in the car. We’ve now had that and I’m sure the pace can increase as the season unfolds. I’m really looking forward to the Jim Clark. Obviously, the likes of Euan, Mike Faulkner (Reivers’ runner-up in 2012), and Jock Armstrong (third in 2010 and 2011) are always a threat, but I’d like to think we can battle it out with the guys at the front”.

With just seven points separating Bogie from sixth-placed Donnie MacDonald after two rounds, the high standard of competition in this year’s SRC means a number of drivers could be in with a chance of a podium at the finish in Duns.

Among them, Faulkner and co-driver Peter Foy, whose second-place last year was preceded by a fourth overall in 2011. Faulkner was happy with the performance of his recently-acquired Mitsubishi EVO 9 on the Granite, where he finished third, but admitted he would have liked more time with the car before heading to Duns:

“We’ve still got quite a lot of work to do to get it right on the gravel. We could have done with another couple of events to sort it out properly, and then think about tackling the tarmac. The encouraging thing is that we know there’s more to come from the car. I like the Jim Clark roads and it’s another challenge to get the car set up for it and to get it right. As always on the Reivers, the weather will be a big factor in deciding tyre choice – you can easily get caught out from one stage to the next”.

Castle Douglas crew Jock Armstrong and Kirsty Riddick have still to finish an event this year in their Subaru Impreza. They were on course for a podium place on the Granite, before their challenge ended abruptly with a blown engine.

Fifth seed Milne, winner of the Border Counties, and fourth on the Granite alongside navigator Martin Forrest, was in line for a big points haul on last year’s Reivers, before his EVO 9 succumbed to mechanical problems. Fellow Aberdeenshire-based driver Barry Groundwater goes into the Jim Clark weekend third in the championship – three points behind Milne. The Stonehaven competitor, with Neil Shanks of Elgin on the notes, took the final podium spot on last year’s Reivers in his EVO 9.

Two local drivers – Dom Buckley and Dale Robertson – finished fourth and fifth respectively last year, and will be looking for another strong showing in front of home support. Buckley will again have Doug Redpath alongside him in his Subaru Impreza, while Robertson, driving an EVO 9, will be co-driven – as in 2012 – by Paul McGuire from Tranent.

Aberdeen’s Chris Collie, with navigator Lisa Watson from Alford, heads to Duns off the back of a second-place finish on the Granite – his best ever SRC result – in his Mitsubishi EVO 6. The pair start one place in front of Donnie Macdonald and fellow Invernessian Andrew Falconer in an EVO 9. Malton’s Steve Bannister, with Louise Sutherland of Hawick on the notes, is the leading rear-wheel drive entry in his historic class Ford Escort Mk2 – one of eighteen Escorts entered for the rally – while John McClory and David Hood return to the fray in their Group N Subaru Impreza following, what was for them, a rare “off” on the Granite.

Among the 2WD entries, Ian Haining and Mairi Riddick (Vauxhall Nova) will be aiming to keep the momentum going after their Class 3 victory in Aberdeen, while in the 1600cc category, current joint leader Kieran Renton from Coldstream, co-driven by Kelso’s Carin Logan, in a Ford Fiesta R2, will look to get his nose in front, ahead of, among others, Dalbeattie’s Iain Wilson and Keith Fremantle in a Vauxhall Nova; Dumfriesshire duo James Robertson and Ian Crosbie in a Citreon C2R2; and Lanarkshire’s Graeme Smith, with Laura Marshall navigating, in a Honda Civic.

MSA British Rally Championship round 2 preview

Posted: May 30, 2013 9:57 AM

With the dust literally and figuratively settled on the MSA British Rally Championship’s first round, it is time to leave the forest gravel for the ‘tar’ of the Jim Clark Rally. Big brakes and Pirelli slicks fitted, suspension stiffened - all that’s needed are the closed roads of the Scottish Borders – bring on the black stuff!

The Jim Clark Rally is unique on the British mainland as the only closed public-road rally and as such holds challenges peculiar to driving flat out on roads that are usually used by locals to go about their daily business.

The crews’ challenge starts with the reconnaissance of the stages; using diagrams and maps, they must traverse the route within the speed limit and abide by normal road-traffic laws. Sounds easy, but trying to sight a series of fast flowing bends while staying on the correct side of the road is tricky, particularly when during the rally, every inch of the road is used and the speed increases from 30 to 130 miles per hour.

Since everyone from last year’s runner up and this year’s number one seed, Tom Cave, to BRC newcomer and last of the main event runners, Ben Mckay gets to ‘recce’, the playing field is completely level.

So it is for the front-runners, in what is shaping up to be a vintage BRC season. Sole Morris Lubricants DMS team representatives Cave and fellow Welshman Ieuan Thomas are a new pairing for 2013, but they have already proved their mettle with a podium spot on the Pirelli RBF Rally. And with a second place in a Citroën DS3 on last year’s Jim Clark Rally, they must surely be in a position to finish atop the podium at the end of this week.

But round one runners-up, DGM Sport duo Alastair Fisher and Gordon Noble, will have other ideas. Although the 24 year-old has missed the last two Jim Clark Rallies, he was second in 2010 and has been keeping match-fit in the WRC-3 at the wheel of a - you guessed it – Citroën DS3 R3T.

Someone who probably wishes, more than most, that the opening round in Wales hadn’t been called-off is championship leader Jukka Korhonen. He and Mark Salminen would dearly have liked to post a couple of wins ahead of the move to asphalt, but one will have to suffice as they hold their breath on the unfamiliar surface.

BRC stalwart of seven years, Jonny Greer is back together with Jonny Hart and as long ago as 2008 they proved capable of mixing it with the best on the Jim Clark lanes. More than capable of finishing on the podium, a BRC win has always eluded the Belfast man. But in a year when the competition is so hot, he showed that the podium is never far away with fourth in Kielder.

More than Scottish pride is at stake from the next driver, as Mull’s John MacCrone joins with former BRC champion co-driver Phil Pugh again in a bid for the BRC Teams Championship. Driving their Culina Palletforce Racing DS3, a puncture put paid for an outright charge in Kielder, but MacCrone’s experience of the Isle of Mull’s fiercely tricky stages could mean an upset at the front in the Borders. Their team-mates Peter Taylor and Andrew Roughead ended their 2012 Jim Clark Rally with damaged suspension and were frustrated on the Pirelli. But they were third quickest two wheel drive in 2011, so should go well on the ‘tar’.

The Pirelli Star Driver scheme has already provided one World Rally Champion, albeit the WRC Academy. But this year’s Star Driver Mark Donnelly’s determination coupled with an easy-going demeanour could see him on his way too. A heavy landing caught the DGM Sport crew out last time, but despite the Jim Clark not being kind in the past, a pre-event test rally should see him and Dai Roberts go well.

Osian Pryce and Dale Furniss have also been busy before the Jim Clark Rally, going head-to-head with Tom Cave on a local airfield rally just last weekend. But for a blown turbo pipe on the start line of the very first stage, the battle could easily have been as close as last year in Yorkshire.

Rounding off the top ten are Northern Irish drivers Desi Henry and Brendan Cumiskey, partnered here by Phil Clarke & Conor Foley respectively. Henry has more experience of front wheel drive Citroëns, but both retired last time out so start the event on equal pegging.

MSA British Junior Rally Championship

So to the battle of the juniors; Local driver Garry Pearson has graduated to the BRC’s RallyTwo championship, leaving the door open for a fresh batch of under 23 year olds to fight it out for the MSA title.

Like Pearson’s 2012 assault, both Harry Threlfall and Ben Mckay drive the little Twingo Renaultsport R1 and both have more senior co-drivers to guide them to glory. Andy Bull’s ministrations have already helped Threlfall to the top of the tables, although Ben’s dad Jason could not foresee the broken engine mount that ended their Pirelli Rally.

The intricacies of rallying on closed public roads will be new to both drivers, but whatever the outcome, the chances of big grins and tall tales are high after this unique rally.

MSA British Manufacturers Rally Championship

As the only manufacturer actually claiming points towards the title, Citroën UK is pretty certain to retain the accolade in 2013. But given the number of DS3 R3T rally cars at the front of the field, it was going to be a hard task for Renault or Ford to grab points. Nevertheless, the additional exposure given to the championship by Citroën’s involvement is welcome, along with Renault UK which is the official vehicle supplier to the series.

Of course there is plenty more to entertain in the Borders lanes, the BRC RallyTwo Championship will be a great one to watch, with front wheel drive pocket-rockets aplenty . Further information on the runners and riders follows soon.
Jim Clark Rally details

The Jim Clark Rally returns to its now traditional Duns ceremonial start from 6.30pm on Friday 31 May followed by a 1.2 mile stage through the town centre. The crews then take on Abbey St Bathans, a sixteen mile stage than often sets the tone for the remainder of the rally followed by the new Tweedside stage. This loop is repeated on Friday, competitors restarting from Kelso at 8am on Saturday 1 June after an unlimited overnight service halt.

Saturday’s first two stages take place early, the cars returning to Kelso Racecourse for a quick service, before tackling a loop of three including the return of the 1.96-mile Langton stage with its famous watersplash. All five stages are repeated before the finish celebrations back in Kelso from 5.30pm.

BRC LIVE radio

The British Rally Championship's radio feed, BRC LIVE, will broadcast during the Jim Clark Rally: Friday 31st May 18:00 to 23:00. Saturday 1st June 08:00 to 18:00.

Keep in touch with all the action via TV, internet or mobile app

ONLY FOR THE BRAVE! THE CITROËN RACING TROPHY UK HEADS FOR THE SCOTTISH TARMAC

Posted: May 30, 2013 9:51 AM

The Jim Clark Memorial Rally welcomes the Citroën Racing Trophy crews this weekend, as the DS3 R3-mounted crews will challenge 130 miles of closed road tarmac stages, on the Border roads.

Welsh man Tom Cave will leave the Duns start at number one, having finished second to Keith Cronin in this event last year. Tom has already got his championship campaign off to a strong start, finishing third in round one – the Pirelli Rally, which was held in Cumbria.

Number two seed this weekend is Alastair Fisher from Trillick, Northern Ireland. This will be Alastair’s first tarmac event in a DS3, but he’s feeling happy after a test session.
“I was very pleased with the car in Portugal and on the Pirelli” commented Alastair. “It’s a well-balanced car and it felt very smooth to drive on our tarmac test. I’m really looking forward to the event, as they are good stages and fast too. It will be all go from the start with the Abbey St Bathan’s test an important one on the first night.”

Jukka Korhonen and co-driver, Marko Salminen, scooped the €4000 first prize on the opening Pirelli Rally with a dominant drive and it will be interesting to see if the fast Finns can continue that dominance on tarmac. The Autosport Technology team won the memorial rally last year however, so the car set up shouldn’t be far away.

Jonny Greer finished third overall in last year’s event, and the Carryduff driver could be one to watch. An increase in pace during round one saw Greer able to climb up the order to finish fourth at the opening event.

Meanwhile, Scot, John MacCrone, was another star of the first round on his CRT UK debut, but he was one of many to suffer a puncture on stage five. A fastest time on the final stage illustrated that he is acclimatising fast to DS3 power and the 23-year-old is confident ahead of this weekend’s rally, having tackled this event twice before. The Mull man will of course receive great support from his home crowd.

County Tyrone’s Mark Donnelly – this year’s Pirelli Star Driver – has been busy contesting two rallies. On the Tour of the Sperrins event he finished a fine seventh overall and the Northern Irishman also contested last weekend’s Cavan Stages, where he stopped early to allow co-driver Dai Roberts to catch a flight home. “We weren’t worried about our times in those events, it was just about working with the suspension settings, and for me to try and learn more about setting the car up. I definitely feel happier now” said Mark.

Desi Henry also contested the same two events, recording two superb results; fifth overall on his home Tour of the Sperrins and 13th in Cavan. Desi and co-driver, Phil Clarke, could be very much to the fore on this Scottish sortie.

Young Welsh charger, Osian Pryce, is aiming to make up for a less than ideal start to the season. The Welshman scored no points in the opening round and he endured a testing time on the Isle of Man, too, as a gearbox hydraulic failure put him out of the Manx National event after three stages.

Carlisle’s Peter Taylor was more fortunate on the Manx National, finishing thirteenth and picking up useful tarmac mileage. This is a relatively local event for Peter, whose family run a holiday park close to the Kelso finish. Dundalk’s Brendan Cumiskey is looking forward to the Jim Clark after a tweak to the steering rack made his DS3 easier to drive and James Grint from Hitchin in Hertfordshire is also eager to get onto the tarmac roads.

The Jim Clark Rally starts on Friday evening and includes two stages around the town of Duns, the home town of the late Formula 1 World Champion, Jim Clark. The event finishes on Saturday afternoon in Kelso, after 16 special stages.

TUTHILL’S DESSIE NUTT HAS HIS EYE ON A JIM CLARK PODIUM

Posted: May 30, 2013 9:49 AM

Irishman Dessie Nutt is hoping to narrow the gap in the British Historic Rally Championship overall standings when he contests the up-and-coming Jim Clark Memorial Rally at the wheel of a Tuthill-prepared Porsche 911.

Based in the Scottish Borders, the Jim Clark Memorial Rally uses closed public roads in the rural counties of Berwickshire and Roxburghshire. It remains the only closed road rally to take place on the UK mainland. Now in its 42nd year, the event is held in memory of Jim Clark: the legendary two-time Formula One World Champion who grew up in the area.

The Jim Clark Memorial Rally marks the third round of the MSA British Historic Rally Championship and the new addition to the historic calendar will challenge a healthy field of 27 historic entries. However, the total number of crews competing in the various classes on this year’s Jim Clark will exceed 300.

Flying the flag for Oxfordshire-based Tuthill Porsche will be 2009 British Historic Rally Champion Dessie Nutt and his co-driver Geraldine McBride. After a strong start to the 2013 season, Nutt is currently second in his class, 17 points behind class leader and Porsche rival, Rikki Proffitt.

Tuthill Porsche director, Richard Tuthill, said:
"The Jim Clark is a new addition to the British Historic Rally Championship, but I am astonished that it hasn’t been on the calendar before. It has the highest number of spectators of any British rally besides Wales Rally GB, which is proof that it is a very popular rally with drivers and fans alike. The Porsche can be tricky to handle on the slippery asphalt, and the Jim Clark is an event which requires the utmost concentration: the smallest mistake can result in an off. However, Dessie is a hugely experienced driver who has contested close to 200 rallies with ourselves so I have no doubt that he will be able to leave Scotland with a top three finish. Maybe even a victory.”

The Jim Clark Memorial Rally is set to take place over two days, beginning on Friday 31 May and will consist of 13 special stages covering 100 competitive miles.

BRC RallyTwo - Take two

Posted: May 30, 2013 9:37 AM

As the crews head off to make their all-important pace-notes on the Jim Clark Rally, spare a thought for the pundits who try to predict the outcome of the BRC’s RallyTwo Championship.

Like the battle for the prestigious solid silver MSA British Rally Championship trophy, it will be an intense one on the Scottish Borders lanes. And like the fight at the front, it will be dreadfully difficult to decide who might win.

The title is open to any crew piloting any two wheel drive car outside the top R3 category, but in reality it is likely to come from a crew with access to one of the Fiesta, Twingo or Citroën R2 machines.

Heading the field with maximum points is the furthest travelled of the BRC RallyTwo runners. Steve Røkland, with James Aldridge alongside, showed grit, determination and downright speed to head the pack in Kielder, putting their Fiesta R2 sixth overall to boot. But the Norwegian has never contested the event and his asphalt experience is limited.

Northern Irishman Jon Armstrong, however, does have some experience on the ‘tar’, and experience of the ‘notes too. Martin Brady’s vast knowledge should guide the 18 year-old’s Fiesta well, but they will need to stay clear of punctures which cost them dear on round one.

Local Duns youngster Garry Pearson also has experience to hand in the form of Tom Hynd. The reigning British Junior Champion has done everything perfectly to this point, moving through the ranks of BRC Challenge and the juniors, but will have the added pressure of a home crowd as he guides his Fiesta R2 through the familiar lanes.

Chris Ingram & Stephen McAuley is the first RallyTwo crew to buck the Fiesta trend, opting instead for the Renault Twingo R2 EVO. Last Year’s Twingo Trophy Champion has mixed memories from the 2012 Jim Clark, his first ‘proper’ asphalt event seeing the save of his life over the infamous Swinton crossroads bump.

Irishmen Daniel Mc Kenna & Arthur Kierans have a simple goal this year; to gain another Pirelli Star Driver nomination and move up to the top R3 class. But between them and this goal are five of Britain’s best and toughest events. Their Fiesta steed helped them to third on the Pirelli RBF Rally and their speed on home asphalt is undeniable – definitely ones to watch.

Alex Parpottas was fourth in his class in the BRC last year and the 19 year-old continues to improve; the trouble is, the competition does too. Jamie Edwards has been drafted in this year to help up the youngster’s game and they will be looking to improve on Alex’s 2012 fifth in class on the all-asphalt event.

Sticking with the Fiesta is Scots pairing Ruary MacLeod and Drew Sturrock. A hasty repair was necessary to the car after a Pirelli Rally roll though, when a tricky crest caught them out on the very first stage. They finished last year’s ‘Clark one place above Parpottas, so will hope to build on that and put Pundershaw behind them.

A brace of Citroëns driven by James Ford and David Carney are next on the Scottish Borders stages, ably assisted by Steve Hartley and Ray Fitzpatrick respectively. On paper the 190bhp C2R2 Max should go really well on sealed surfaces, having been originally developed in France and both crews having experience of the car in the past. Ford contested the 2012 BRC Challenge event and Carney the Irish Citroën Racing Trophy; in fact the pair met last year in Ireland on the Ulster Rally, on that occasion Carney coming out on top.

A welcome return to this year’s championship is son and father team of Kit and Tim Leigh. Not so welcome was the persistent overheating problem that plagued their Pirelli Rally. The Fiesta did eventually behave, but they now have to contend with an event that they haven’t contested since 2011.

Røkland may be the furthest travelled of the regulars, but winning the long-haul award are Adam Spence and Erin Kelly. Their Honda Civic TypeR may be based in the UK, but they have travelled across the globe for a one-off Jim Clark rally experience. A crack team in the Australian ‘targa’ closed road racing series, they are keen to see how they measure up against the current BRC stars. However they fare, they will certainly be made more than welcome on this second round of the British Rally Championship.

Jim Clark Rally details

The Jim Clark Rally returns to its now traditional Duns ceremonial start from 6.30pm on Friday 31 May followed by a 1.2 mile stage through the town centre. The crews then take on Abbey St Bathans, a sixteen mile stage than often sets the tone for the remainder of the rally followed by the new Tweedside stage. This loop is repeated on Friday, competitors restarting from Kelso at 8am on Saturday 1 June after an unlimited overnight service halt.

Saturday’s first two stages take place early, the cars returning to Kelso Racecourse for a quick service, before tackling a loop of three including the return of the 1.96-mile Langton stage with its famous watersplash. All five stages are repeated before the finish celebrations back in Kelso from 5.30pm.

BRC on Sky Sports

Catch the action from the BRC’s front-runners on the Jim Clark Rally on Sky Sports 3 on Monday 10th June from 6pm. Full schedule of repeats HERE. Or if you can’t wait for the full programme, watch the highlights from the British Rally Championship, BRC RallyTwo and NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge on the BRC’s homepage player throughout next week.

Daniel Mc Kenna the Billy Coleman Award Winner Hoping for a Good Result on his Preferred Surface

Posted: May 28, 2013 11:18 AM

After an encouraging start to the 1st round of the BRC, the Pirelli RBF rally on the gravel roads of the Kielder forest complex, Daniel and Co-Driver Arthur Kierans are really looking forward to the sealed surface of the Jim Clark rally, the 2nd round of the BRC in Kelso, Scotland. The pair finished the final leg of the Pirelli rally setting the pace in their category doing enough to clinch 3rd in R2 and 9th O/A after two 1st punctures. This has been a huge boost for the crew who are definitely finding themselves still learning as they go.

Having done the majority of his rallying on tarmac, Daniel is feeling confident of producing a good pace in the Rally 2 category on the Jim Clark and is hoping for top result. Daniel and the crew are leaving no stones unturned in preparation for the event. Using the weekend’s Cavan Stages Rally, where parts of the stages have similar characteristics to that of the Jim Clark, the crew are making sure that the car set up is spot on and getting some much needed mileage on tarmac before the event. Daniel and Arthur are also doing a lot of behind the scenes work on their pacenote making for the 130 miles of specialised Scottish tarmac that will be held in both darkness as well as daylight.

The biggest hurdle Daniel has to face is that it is his first time competing on the event where a lot of his closest rivals have experience. However with experienced navigator Arthur onboard, who has competed on the event in recent years, the pair will still be expecting to be near the pace.
Daniel’s goals remain the same, he is still very much focused on trying to secure a Pirelli Star Driver nomination and also to collect as many points as possible for his championship assault.

Daniel will let you all know how the event goes with a post event press release so keep an eye on his website www.danielmckenna.net and Daniel’s also hopes to keep updating his Facebook and Twitter pages over the course of the weekend as the event unfolds.

Seeded Entry List

Posted: May 8, 2013 1:59 PM

Available at:

Regulations / Entry

Posted: May 8, 2013 1:58 PM

Available on the Event Website:

Rally Guide 1 / Event Website

Posted: March 17, 2013 4:58 PM

Available on the Event Website:

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