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Rally Yorkshire (Trackrod) - 26-27 Sep 14

Posted: October 20, 2016 8:54 AM - 3086 Hits

Round 8 - 2014 BTRDA Rally Series
Round 6 - 2014 English Rally Championship
Round 7 - 2014 RAC Rally Championship

Hill wins WWRS R.A.C. Rally Championship round seven

Posted: October 20, 2016 8:54 AM

Richard Hill and Steffan Evans claimed a superb victory on the Trackrod Historic Cup (Friday/Saturday 26/27 September), the seventh and final round of the West Wales Rally Spares R.A.C. Rally Championship.

A fabulous field of historic rally cars tackled the classic Yorkshire forest stages, including Staindale and Dalby in the darkness of Friday evening and it was Matt Edwards and Paul Morris who made the early pace in their Ford Escort Mk2. However on Saturday morning Hill/Evans started a major attack to try and claw back Edwards’ 15-second overnight lead.

Going into the final stage in Langdale, the gap was down to just two seconds and Hill pushed hard to secure victory by seven seconds after a fine performance by both crews. Next up in the Rob Smith Rallying Category 3 were the Escorts of Tim Pearcey/Neil Shanks and Tim Freeman/Paul Williams.

David Stokes and Guy Weaver turned in yet strong performance to win the Capital Construction Category 2 in their Ford Escort Mk1, underlining their status as Category 2 champions. The Holton Homes Category K went to Tom Coughtrie/Calvin Cooledge (Escort Mk2) while in Category O it was Barry Stevenson-Wheeler/John Pickavance on top in their Open Category Escort Mk2.

The opening two stages in Staindale and Dalby on Friday evening and they proved to be full of drama and incident. James Potter/Bob Duck and David Goose/Caron Tomlinson both had scary high-speed accidents in Dalby, fortunately without injury.

Ray Cunningham and Phil Clarke (Mini Cooper) took championship victory in the Walker Diecastings Category 1 for the Irish ace, finishing clear of the Volvo Amazon of title rivals Graham Waite and Gill Cotton. Category 1 victory on the event went to local legend Bob Bean with Malcolm Smithson (Lotus Cortina), who made a welcome return to the stages after their accident on the Tour of Hamsterley.

Cunningham, teamed with Clarke for the first time, took class B2 and the Category One title in his mighty Mini Cooper. Clarke, co-driving in a Mini for the first time in about 40 years, loved the experience after his recent WRC outings with 2013 R.A.C. champion Marty McCormack. Class B4 and overall Category One victory went to the evergreen Bean in his Lotus Cortina. An off on Friday evening cost Graham Waite and Gill Cotton (Volvo Amazon) any chance of beating Cunningham to the title. Meanwhile, Stephen Higgins and Dom Bramfoot topped class B1 in their wonderful two-stroke Saab 96.

Dave Watkins and Linda Cariss teamed up for the first time to win C2 in Watkins’ famous Escort Mk1. However, it might have been different if Baz Jordan/James Gratton-Smith had not suffered damaged steering on Friday evening. Robin Shuttleworth and Ronnie Roughead also lost a lot of time with a puncture.

There was a great Escort Mk1 battle in class C3 as Steve Magson and Darren Smith took a much deserved win on home ground after a big tussle with David Kirby/Chris Rixon on what Rixon claimed to be his final rally. Peter Smith and Patrick Walsh had a tough time with the Opel Ascona, with an off on Friday and a broken halfshaft the following day. The result left Kirby as a worthy class C3 champion after a season of tremendous competition.

Ceiriog Hughes and Emyr Hall were welcome class D2 winners in their Toyota Corolla after Chris Skill and Glenn Hall slid their Escort Mk2 into a Dalby ditch. Class D3 featured a cracking battle between the Pinto-powered Escort Mk2s and top points’ scorers were Paul Fry and Mike Steele, despite starting their rally with a spin after three miles of Staindale.

After the drama of the opening leg, Edwards was 15s up on Hill, but when Saturday morning dawned Hill was wide awake and immediately on the attack. He pulled back time on each of the next three stages and went into the final 10-miler in Langdale only two seconds behind. By the end of the stage, Hill had gone nearly 10 seconds quicker than everyone else and pipped Edwards by seven seconds to claim a deserved victory.

“We didn’t have a brilliant run last night and we slid wide on the fourth corner of the first stage, but this morning we pushed really hard from Dalby onwards,” said Hill. “We struggled for traction a bit this afternoon but no excuses: he was just quicker than us at the end,” said Edwards.

The first six-miler in Staindale significantly shaped the event when Matthew Robinson and Sam Collis slid off less than two miles in. They lost two and a half minutes, but Robinson made amends the following morning by beating everyone by 10 seconds in Gale Rigg.

Overnight, Nick Elliott and Dave Price ran third despite giving themselves the challenge of running on maps rather than notes. “It was a complete baptism of fire,” said Elliott. They dropped a place to Tim Pearcey/Neil Shanks on Saturday morning but sadly went out with a not too damaging roll at Mikkola’s Bend in Dalby.

“It was like a car park in there,” said Pearcey of the opening two stages. Once into the daylight of Saturday, the Yorkshireman upped his pace and was never too far away from the lead contest to score a strong third place overall.

Behind Pearcey, the battle for the glory of Gloucestershire fell to Stokes and Weaver (Escort Mk1) by less than three seconds from the Escort Mk2 of Freeman/Williams. Both crews had run very well, with Stokes also claiming overall honours in Category Two.

In pursuit of Stokes in Category Two was another excellent contest between the Escort Mk1s of Warren Philliskirk/Nigel Hutchinson and Chris Browne/Ali Cornwell-Browne. The final gap was only 26s as Philliskirk revelled in his local stages. Running nicely in the top 10, and shaking off the effects of a year away from competitive driving, was Tim Mason with Graham Wild on the notes in the class C4-winning Porsche 911.

Clutch dramas eliminated both Alan Walker/Jez Rogers and Richard Lane/Frank Richer but not before Walker had posted top six stage times. Lane was one of many to drop a lot of time after going off in Staindale. Even quicker, despite a fair lay-off, was Ryan Champion in the Tuthill Porsche 911 with Craig Thorley alongside. A detached fan belt in Dalby wrecked any chance of a good result, but fastest overall in Cropton showed what might have been.

Gearbox failure sidelined the leading Open Category Opel Manta of Simon and Alistair Crook early in the opening Staindale stage. Instead, their season-long rivals Stevenson-Wheeler and Pickavance took the Category in their Ford Escort Mk2. They had a minute and a half in hand over the similar car of Dave Hemingway and Simon Ashton. “I’d nearly forgotten what to do,” admitted Stevenson-Wheeler after several moments on Friday evening and an off in Staindale, but it all came back together on Saturday.

The Trackrod Historic Cup was organised by the Trackrod Motor Club.

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