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International Rally Isle of Man - 17-19 Jul 08

Posted: January 20, 2009 10:44 AM - 15492 Hits

Round 6 - 2008 Tarmac Rally Championship
Round 3 - 2008 British Rally Championship
Round 5 - 2008 MSA British Historic Rally Championship

Rally Isle of Man scoops British Rally of the Year award

Posted: January 20, 2009 10:44 AM

Rally Isle of Man was named ‘Rally of the Year’ at the Tesco 99 Octane British Rally Championship Awards Presentation in Birmingham recently, becoming the first event ever to lift the accolade twice.  

The prestigious award is voted for by a selection of competitors, championship officials and personnel who attended all rounds of the 2008 calendar, comprising each of Britain’s major International rallies, including the world championship Wales Rally GB.  

Presenting the trophy to Event Director Richard Bargery, Championship Manager Mark Taylor was quick to praise the event that topped the poll.  

‘The vote for Rally Isle of Man to be the 2008 British Rally Championship Rally of the Year was very popular, beating their nearest rival by a considerable margin’, he said. ‘It is a true reflection of the dedication shown by their team and volunteers in organising a first class event.’  

The event organisers are naturally thrilled with the news. 'This is a fantastic achievement and is testament to the hard work and dedication of the Organising Committee and the many volunteers who give their time and effort to make this Rally the undoubted success that it is,’ says Brian Walton, Chairman.  

‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved, particularly the residents of the Island, who I appreciate have to put up with some considerable inconvenience to their domestic arrangements when the roads are closed. But I think this once again highlights how far the Island has come in its sporting achievements and all those who have contributed, and there are many, should feel proud that Rally Isle of Man has gained such a prestigious award once again.'

‘In addition we must thank all of our commercial partners, especially the Isle of Man Government’s Department of Tourism and Leisure, without whom the rally simply wouldn’t happen.’  

Speaking for the Department, the islands Tourism and Leisure Minister, Hon Martyn Quayle MHK said, ‘This is great news for the Rally Isle of Man team and I would like to congratulate everyone involved in achieving the prestigious award for British Rally of the Year.  

‘The Department of Tourism and Leisure has provided financial support to the event for many years and the award is a great honour for Richard Bargery and his team who thoroughly deserve this recognition for their enthusiasm and dedication to the event.’  

‘I would like to place on record my thanks to everyone involved for their commitment and hard work over the years.’  

The event featured, quite literally, a Grandstand finish, with Mark Higgins claiming a fourth win by just 11 seconds over Irish Tarmac champion Eamonn Boland after a last gasp run down to the TT finish line, the closest margin in the events history. The rally received worldwide media coverage, helping build the profile of the island.  

Rally Isle of Man is also a round of the Irish Tarmac Championship, Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Championship, British Rally Challenge and the Suzuki, Citroen and Ford Fiesta Trophies.  

The event previously scooped the award in 2005.  

The 46th Rally Isle of Man takes place from the 9th to 11th July.

Posted: January 20, 2009 10:43 AM


Photo: Roy Dempster

Tough fightback for Greer on Manx

Posted: July 27, 2008 3:16 PM

The British Rally Championship is beginnning to take shape now, the isle of man international (17th – 19th July) marked the third round of the seven round series. Northern Irish driver Jonathan Greer (19) lay third in the championship entering the event after two strong finishes.

Much like the bad luck that has plagued him in his Mitsubishi evolution challenge campaign everything would not run smoothly this time. Jonny had contested the evolution challenge round held on the island previously in the year and was in high spirits coming into the event. “ It is very difficult to challenge the top crews in any championship when your a newcomer to events as you are up against years of experience. But having done the event earlier in the year in the mitsubishi it certainly makes the learning curve a little less steep”

The event was held with two full days of rallying on the Friday and Saturday and a handful of stages on the thursday night including the famous castletown super special stage. Thursday night was to be the sticking point for the crew, a downpour after the third stage meant the crew had to change from slick tyres to a wet tyre for the fourth stage. A slight niavety with regards to international ruling meant the change was done illegally and unknown to the crew a stewards investigation launched.

To make matters worse Jonny struggled on the cold tyres during the stage losing time to his rivals and dropping from 7th to 9th Position, with the introduction of a 5 minute penalty they now lay 28th Overall at the first leg halt.

Friday morning dawned and the roads were drying out fast after the overnight rain, the fight to claw himself back up the leaderboard and to salvage some valuable championship points began for the MSA Rally Elite Driver. Jonny stated “ I knew there was still a long way to go in the event, so although i was angry with myself for making the mistake our rally was not over. I eased myself back in over the next couple of stages being cautious not to over drive or try and make up time in unreasonable places”

After the days 12 stages Jonny now found himself 8th overall and had made an incredible come back jumping 20 positions during the day thanks to keeping a steady head and driving controlled throughout. The DGM team had a new Mitsubishi Built for the event for Jonathan and with only a small test prior to the event throughout the day car set up was being tweaked and the car was coming more to his liking.

Seven more stages tested the crews before the finish line could be crossed, Jonny moved up yet another place to 7th Overall on the first loop of Saturdays stages and had consolidated the place on arrival at first service. Like previously on the Jim Clark round a late charge on stage 20 and 21 would show a glipse of the talent that seen jonny win the fiesta sporting trophy in 2007 setting 4th fastest time on both stages.

However with a large margin infront and behind him this would make no difference to the overall results and Jonny finished the rally 7th Overall keeping himself in touch with the championship leaders he now lies 5th in the championship only 3 points behing second place.

Jonny explained his feelings about the rally on Saturday evening “ I am pleased with the result, after Thursday it seemed the top ten was unreachable but with rallying anything can happen. I drove at my own pace and it paid off. The team and I had been adjusting the set up during the rally especially the suspensions settings as i felt the car was too stiff. We got the set up right for two stages and are times showed this. We then adjusted it more and are times dropped off again”

Jonathan’s next event will be the local Ulster Rally about an hours journey from his base in Carryduff, the rally combines as a counting round of the British Rally Championship and Mitsubishi evolution challenge the two championships jonny has been focusing on all year. The event has been moved forward a week from its traditional end of august date and is now on the 22nd/23rd of August

In Car

Posted: July 22, 2008 11:01 PM

JODY PATTERSON / JEREMY TAYLOR

Atlas-TEG Sport wins titanic battle on the Isle of Man.

Posted: July 22, 2008 10:55 PM

Atlas TEG Sport crew Mark Higgins – navigated by Rory Kennedy – have won the International Rally Isle of Man outright in their production class Subaru Impreza N11, beating opposition from works teams and entrants with latest specification World Rally Cars on the way.

This three-day rally which had 150 entries was a round of the Tesco ’99 British Rally Championship and the Global Group Irish Tarmac Championship and the rally started on Thursday evening with four stages, run over the difficult, narrow and bumpy lanes of the Isle of Man in changeable weather conditions, with both wind and sharp showers – making the route treacherous, as even when the roads were nearly dry there were still many damp patches under trees to catch out unwary crews.

Mark and the TEG team chose the best tyres suitable for the conditions and as a result they were able to set several fastest stage times and throughout the rally were never outside of the top three overall, and were up from third place to first overall, with a lead of 18 seconds at the overnight halt, despite a spin on the hairpin bend at Ronague.

The second day of the rally lasted more tan twelve hours and used parts of the famous TT course and the Tholt –y-will hillclimb and Mark set some spectacular times In his efforts to win and his navigator Rory was desperate to do well, as he had previously competed on the rally several times with the late, great Irish driver Bertie Fisher, but had not previously won this event.

A sterling drive on the second day had seen Mark and Rory extend their lead, but they had to be wary of the high powered WRC car that had looked favourite to win and sure enough their lead was diminishing on the third day, as the improving weather suited the more powerful cars but the inspired tyre selection by Mark and the team boss of Atlas-TEG Sport Stuart Newby, together with Mark’s driving held on to the lead. Mark and Rory crossed the finish line to claim another history-making victory for the Atlas-TEG Sport team, after their previous win on the Jim Clark Rally. Team boss, Stuart Newby said “We are on it now, it’s a fantastic result for the whole team and we feel we are in a strong position to win theTesco ’99 British Rally Championship”.

Mark has now won this rally on four occasions – beating the results of such great drivers as Roger Clark, Tony Pond and Jimmy McRae but to win in a production class car, against WRC opposition and with such a high quality entry, including top Scandinavian and Irish crews, as well as the regular drivers in the British Rally Championship, was an outstanding achievement for Mark and all of the Atlas-TEG Sport crew. Mark said that “TEG have done a fantastic job of setting the car up and once again it ran faultlessly “. This was the first time ever that a production class Group N car has won the Isle of Man Rally.

Now it’s back to Warton, near Carnforth, to prepare for the next round of the Tesco ‘99 British Rally Championship – the Rally of Ulster, which takes place on the 22nd and 23rd of August.

O’Mahony and Higgins get championship back on track on Rally Isle of Man

Posted: July 22, 2008 10:35 PM

Irish crew Brian O’Mahony and John Higgins got their British Rally Championship (BRC) campaign back on track with a solid result on this weekend’s (17 – 19 July) Rally Isle of Man.

The pair finished an impressive seventh overall and first in class R3 in their OM Concrete Products and MIS-backed Super 1600 Renault Clio in round three of the BRC.

They posted consistent stage times inside the top 10 and were fifth fastest on stage 15 as they had a relatively trouble-free run on the tarmac event.

It was the first time in two years that they had contested the rally and O’Mahony and Higgins had a lucky escape on stage four on Thursday night when they misjudged the location of a chicane but made it round to keep on course.

A close battle with the Ford Escort Kit Car of Guy Woodcock and John Skinner developed after the first stage and as the fight heated up on Saturday, they made sure they pushed hard to keep the pace and had quite a few close moments over the final few stages but made it round to the finish ramp at the TT Grandstand in Douglas to collect more points in the BRC.

“It was a really enjoyable event but extremely tough,” 23-year-old O’Mahony said. “I’m pleased with the result and it’s good to get our BRC season back on course after the disappointment of not finishing the previous rounds.

“We had a good battle for position with Guy and John that kept the pressure on and the car went really well. I’m now looking forward to the next round in August.”

The result sees O’Mahony move up to 15th equal in the BRC drivers’ standings, to sixth in the junior drivers’ table and third in class R3 whilst Higgins is 17th in the overall co-drivers’ championship and second in class R3.

The crew will return to action across the tarmac in round four of the BRC, the Ulster International Rally, on 22 – 23 August.

Mitsubishi claims second place after Isle of Man encounter

Posted: July 22, 2008 10:34 PM

After having to stop mid-stage and change a wheel during day-two of the Rally Isle of Man, Guy Wilks and stand-in co-driver David Moynihan battled back to finish second in round three of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, which took place on 17th – 19th July.

Mitsubishi team mates Phillip Morrow and Daniel Barritt also had a challenging event: Following an excellent start to hold a solid fourth place, they were caught out by the changeable road conditions on stage 14 and hit a bank. After the team repaired the car, they rejoined the rally for the final day and clawed their way back up to 16th place and, in doing so, scored valuable team’s points.

Starting and finishing from the famous TT Grandstand, just north of the Island’s capital Douglas, the event featured four stages on Thursday evening followed by a further 12 on Friday and seven on Saturday. This makes it the longest asphalt rally in the BRC calendar at 182 competitive miles and therefore, one of the toughest events of the season.

The Isle of Man has a reputation for its changeable weather, a factor that makes tyre choice a lottery – and this year was no exception. Initially, Thursday evening started dry and Wilks blasted into the lead following the first three stages.

However, stage four was a different matter and, although unfazed by the slippery conditions, the reigning British Champion collected a puncture just two miles into the 13-mile run across the hills. Without stopping to change the wheel, Wilks made it to the finish and ended the day in second place, 18 seconds behind Mark Higgins who had now inherited the lead.

Intent on doing a good job for the team, Morrow opted for a steady start. Even so, he concluded the first leg in fourth place and reported a trouble-free run.

With the scene set for another front-line battle between Wilks and Higgins, the uncertain weather forecast made tyre selection critical and a last-minute change saw a 10-second penalty applied to Wilks’ time after leaving the service area a minute late. Even so, because of the pace of the Mitsubishi, the team were confident about the prospect of Wilks catching Higgins.

However, the plan was thwarted on stage eight, the fourth run of the day, when Wilks slid wide and the car dropped into a small ditch – normally not a problem – but a protruding drainage gully broke a wheel, forcing him and Moynihan to stop by the side of the stage and change it. Inevitably over three minutes were lost, which meant they slipped back to fifth place and now had a tough task ahead of them if they were to stand a chance of winning.

Meanwhile, things were going according to plan for Morrow, who continued to set a steady pace and was elevated to third following Wilks’ delay. However, the young Ulsterman admitted that he was not feeling completely comfortable with the handling of his car, this being his first time competing over the Manx lanes in the works Mitsubishi.

As grip levels changed almost from stage to stage, conditions were unpredictable and unfortunately for Morrow, he was the front-runner who came off worse. As he approached an uphill 90-degree right-hand bend halfway through the stage, the car momentarily stepped out and, although correcting the slide, the loss of grip in the braking zone resulted in front-end contact with a solid bank.

With a broken radiator – plus considerable damage to a number of other components – the once pristine Lancer was going no further for the rest of the day. Once it was taken back to the service area, the team then worked into the small hours to get it ready to run under SuperRally regulations for Saturday’s stages,

Although having set a string of fastest stage times and fighting back to third, the drama of day-two was still not over for Wilks, when the rear of his Lancer clipped a bank on the exit of a corner on SS11. This bent the rear suspension and caused the car to handle strangely, until the problem was fixed at the service halt before the last loop of stages.

Realising that unless Higgins was to have a problem a win would be out of the question, Saturday saw Wilks focus on overhauling Mark’s brother David in second place - and on stage 17 that’s exactly what he did. Following another batch of fastest stage times, Wilks managed to reduce the final margin between him and the leader, but eventually had to settle for second on this occasion.

For Morrow the final day was one of consolidation, as to rejoin under SuperRally rules sees a 10-minute penalty applied for every stage missed. Therefore, a trouble-free run on Saturday resulted in a final of position of 16th, not the result he was looking for, but a finish and points towards the team’s championship nonetheless.

The whole team was delighted that, other than accident damage, both of its Lancer Evolution IXs ran faultlessly, the cars built by Chesterfield-based ADR Motorsport, who also provide the on-event technical support.

The team is sponsored by Lovell Group and Virgin Money, together with its technical partners: HKS, Sparco, Speedline Corse, PIAA, Ricardo, and Performance Friction Brakes.

Team Quotes
Guy Wilks
“We knew what we had to do this weekend and everything started well but luck was not running with us. We again proved we had the pace to win and to finish second even after changing a wheel is not a bad result. We therefore need to put the record straight for the remaining rounds to keep our title hopes on track. I have to thank David (Moynihan) for doing a good job and stepping in at the last minute in place of Phil (Pugh), who is currently suffering from back problems.”

Phillip Morrow
“I knew how important it was to do a good job for the team this weekend and, although I wasn’t feeling completely comfortable with the set-up I had chosen, it was so frustrating that the only real moment I had was punished in such a dramatic way. The team did a great job in fixing the car and getting me back out for the final day and, although the final result was not what we wanted, at least we collected points for the team’s championship, which I know is a priority for Mitsubishi.”

Paul Brigden
“Following the result from round two, we came to the Isle of Man with a strategy to get our crews to the finish in strong positions. Even though we again proved that we have the quickest cars, things did not go according to plan, so once we have had a de-brief to assess our position in the team’s and driver’s championships, we will decide on what our strategy will be for the forthcoming Ulster Rally and for the rest of season in order to keep our championship hopes intact.”

BHRC report, round five: Isle of Man Historic Rally

Posted: July 22, 2008 10:31 PM

  Jimmy McRae and Andy Richardson stormed to a classy victory on the Isle of Man Historic Rally over the weekend (17-19 July), winning category three in style as they drove their Porsche 911RS for the first time since crashing out of the Pirelli Rally in April.

Round five of the 2008 Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally ran over the closed roads on the island and was every bit as testing and demanding as its reputation suggests. For anyone driving over the finish ramp back in Douglas on Saturday afternoon, there was a tremendous feeling of achievement, whatever the final position.

In category one, Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride added another Manx victory to their record while making it a clean-sweep for the Porsches was a fine category two victory for Steven Smith/John Nichols.

  Category 1
Through the opening leg of stages on Thursday evening and much of Friday, the lead contest in category one was nip and tuck stuff between Nutt/McBride and Patrick Watts/Elgan Davies in the Sunbeam Tiger. As the weather changed frequently, so did the class lead, but it all went wrong for the Tiger as the weather closed in on the second run through the Little London stage. After a clash with a sheep, worse followed when standing water put the fan into the radiator and they were out for the day.
That took the heat off Nutt/McBride and they were able to measure their pace through Saturday's stages to make certain of another victory. "Dessie's driven very well," reported his co-driver after the champagne spraying on the podium.

Right up with the leading pace on the opening legs was the Lotus Cortina of Jonathan and Graham Gale, but they went out with a broken halfshaft. That put the MG Midget of James Stait/Gill Cotton in line for second in the category, but they joined a number of others by going off on standing water on the Cringle stage on Saturday. It cost them 11 minutes and handed B2 spoils to Matt and Dood Pearce after a mighty run in their Mini Cooper.

Class B4 went to non-BHRC registered David Mylchreest/Allan Cathers in the MGB, while a measured performance in the light of on-going misfire problems netted second in class for the Lotus Cortina of Neil Calvert and Arlene Cookson. Importantly, they stayed at the head of the BHRC overall points as Arlene co-drove on the island for the first time in a decade.
Class B1 was all about the Imps of Gary and Jane Edgington and Mike Barratt/Jody Watson. Both crews finished, which was a major achievement, and the Edgingtons took the class by a healthy margin after an attacking drive. Despite an engine that was consuming oil at an increasing rate, they also took a remarkable fifth place overall in the category.  

Category 2
It all started badly for Smith/Nichols on the opening stage on Marine Drive when an errant seagull smashed the Porsche's windscreen, while uncharacteristic road penalties added to their woes. With no replacement on the island, the XS Racing crew had to make a borrowed screen from a later 911 fit.

Once that was sorted, the Porsche and its crew ran faultlessly, giving chase to McRae in overall terms, but also measuring the need to bag maximum championship points. "We struggled a bit with set-up, but we had a very fair run," reported Smith after wining C4 from the 911s of Derek Boyd/Roisin Boyd and Dessie McCartney/Andrew Holmes.

Second in the category with a fine performance came David Stokes and Guy Weaver (Escort Mk1). "That's about where we thought we'd be," said Stokes after a remarkably trouble-free event.

Out of contention in C5 with a broken halfshaft after a spectacular run went the Escort of Rupert Lomax/David Alcock, while engine dramas accounted for Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard on Friday morning.

The contest for C3 was a topsy-turvy affair and the lead changed three times in less than a mile. Out after a clash with a bank on the Orrisdale stage went Ken Forster/John Stanger-Leathes and less than mile further on Drew Wylie/Neil Ewing parked their Escort Mk1 with a starter problem. Instead, fellow XS Racing crew Andrew Siddall/Captain Thompson moved ahead on the driver's first Isle of Man event. But, cruelly, an engine problem on the very last stage cost them three minutes and into victory came Peter Smith/Howard Pridmore, another XS crew with a driver making his island debut.

Neil Rudd/Brian Hodgson had a good run to take C2 in their Escort Mk1.  

Category 3
McRae started as meant to go on with fastest time on the opening stage and was never headed once the meat of the event got underway on a very foggy run over Little London on Friday morning.
It proved to be a very problem-free run for McRae/Richardson, until the final stage of the rally. Heading into the Classic stage they had 50s in hand over Smith/Nichols, but going over the top of the stage at Injebreck, the Porsche shed another fan belt.

"The last six miles were very nervous," said McRae. He backed off as much as possible to nurse the car home and only dropped six seconds, despite finishing with a very hot engine.

On only his second visit to the Island, Richard Hill – co-driven as usual by Patrick Cooper – was as spectacular as ever in his Escort Mk2 and took second in category three as well as D5 spoils. However, a rather battered Escort showed how hard he had been trying, with notable damage from an off on the Orrisdale stage. The same corner claimed Dick Slaughter/Geoff Dearing, while Simon Tysoe/Rob Dyson had earlier inverted their Escort Mk2.
Ian Corkill, co-driven by his daughter Rivka, came through to second in D5, while third in the class was reward for Roger Kilty/Lynette Banks (Vauxhall Chevette HSR).
The D3 class was also action-packed, with pacesetters Will Onions/Tim Hobbs out with a blown engine and Arwel Evans/Arwel Jenkins sidelined by clutch failure. Instead, another mighty Isle of Man drive from Mark and Brett Clifford netted D3 victory and tenth overall in their Escort Mk2, two minutes up on Chris Shooter/Bev LeGood.

Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy win Manx thriller

Posted: July 20, 2008 11:52 PM

Mark Higgins took a last gasp victory to become a four-time winner of Rally Isle of Man.

Going into the last stage the Manxman, driving an Atlas TEG Sport Group N Subaru Impreza, was 14.7 seconds ahead of Wexford’s Eamonn Boland in his Subaru Impreza WRC.

As the crowds thronged the grandstand, many of them had stop watches at the ready to see if local hero Mark had managed to hold onto the lead. As he crossed the finish line the home crowd cheered.

He had held the lead since the last stage on Thursday night, and set five fastest stage times throughout the event, having called the weather correctly all the way through to mid service this morning.

Trying to protect a 47.7 second lead after Boland had already hit back on the drying roads. Mark gambled on taking an intermediate tyre for a loop that included the longest stage of the rally, Conister Trust Cringle. It was completely the wrong decision, and Irish Tarmac Rally Championship leader Boland slashed the lead to 15 seconds, with just two stages to go.

The victory means Mark is now joins Tony Pond and Russell Brookes, as the only other driver to win the event four times. In addition, the final 11.6 second margin makes it the closest finish in the 45 year history of the rally. For Mark’s co-driver Rory Kennedy it’s a first island win after over 20 years of trying, during which time he has led the event on more than one occasion with the late Bertie Fisher.

The runner-up spot for Boland means he and Damien Morrissey narrowly failed to tie up the Global Group Irish Tarmac Rally Championship title on the Isle of Man.

Behind, Guy Wilks and David Moynihan completed a fine comeback drive after Friday’s accident, overhauling Tesco 99 Octane British Rally Championship leader David Higgins on the first stage of the day, Visitisleofman.com St Runius. David and his co-driver Ieuan Thomas finished right behind Wilks in fourth, and continues to lead the British Rally Championship.

James Wozencroft and Chris Ridge put a superb run in to finish fifth, on their third BRC outing in the Revolution Wheels Subaru Impreza, while Darren Gass and Neil Shanks took sixth in their Pirelli Mitsubishi Lancer which was Gass’s prize for winning the BRC’s Pirelli Star Driver shoot out last year.

On the subject of the Pirelli Star Driver, the nomination on Rally Isle of Man was Sweden’s Andreas Sjolander. Although he crashed out of the event in the 17th of the 23 stages, he had been running ninth in a Fiesta ST.

Leading two-wheel drive car was the Renault Clio S1600 of Brian O’Mahony and John Higgins, after their rally long battle with Guy Woodcock ended when Guy crashed the Escort Maxi kit car on the Cringle stage.  

Jimmy McRae takes Historics win
  Jimmy McRae preserved his overnight lead to take a convincing win in the Isle of Man Historic Rally. Along with Andy Richardson in the Stobart Porsche 911, the pair finished 49.6 seconds ahead of Steve Smith and John Nichols in a similar 911. Richard Hill and Patrick Cooper took third in their Ford Escort. Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride were the winners of the true historics.  

Harrison doubles up  
Home driver David Harrison and co-driver Glyn Thomas made it two out of two on the Challenge Rally. They initially trailed BRC Challenge opponents Richard Sykes and Simon Taylor, finally pushing their Peugeot 106 into the lead three stages from home to extend their championship advantage.  

Collister scores second Trophy win  
There was also a Manx win in the Trophy Rally. George Collister following up his 2002 victory with a near two minute victory over Rodney White and Sorcha Kelly in their Talbot Sunbeam.

George and co-driver Janet Craine inherited the lead with their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo3 when overnight leaders Lee and David Batty crashed their Ford Escort Mk2 out of the rally on the first stage of the morning.

Third place went to Kex Walker and Maurice Snell in their BMW 325

Results / Photos

Posted: July 20, 2008 11:48 PM

SS1 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS2 Guy Wilks/David Moynihan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N)
SS3 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
& Guy Wilks/David Moynihan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N)
SS4 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza N11 Gp N)
SS5 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza N11 Gp N)
SS6 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS7 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza N11 Gp N)
SS8 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza N11 Gp N)
SS9 Guy Wilks/David Moynihan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N)
SS10 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS11 Guy Wilks/David Moynihan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N)
SS12 Guy Wilks/David Moynihan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N)
SS13 Guy Wilks/David Moynihan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N)
SS14 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza N11 Gp N)
SS15 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS16 Guy Wilks/David Moynihan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N)
SS17 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS18 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS19 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS20 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS21 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS22 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS23 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)

Rally Isle of Man fills the island!

Posted: July 17, 2008 12:22 PM

The 2008 Rally Isle of Man, which takes place from today until Saturday, has proven so popular with spectators, competitors and officials that it has filled the island!

  The event, which is a round of the two major British Isles international championships, the Tesco 99 Octane British Rally Championship and the Global Group Irish Tarmac Championship, and several other national series in addition, will see over 150 rally teams tackle the islands famous closed public road stages.  

Along with significant numbers of spectators and officials travelling to the rally, the influx has prompted the ‘house full’ signs to go up, with the Department of Tourism struggling to find available rooms.  

Even the rally organisers are having difficulty finding accommodation to fill demand.  

‘It’s causing a few headaches, but in other respects it’s great news’, says Rally Manager Richard Bargery. ‘We are one of the islands major tourism events and this is one sign of the popularity of the rally, and that it is growing year-on-year’.  

This is the 45th running of the event, which has the names of world champions Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Ari Vatanen on its roll of honour.

Rally Isle of Man: Boland’s to lose?

Posted: July 17, 2008 12:15 PM

When Rally Isle of Man fires into life at tea-time on Thursday to head for the unique town centre stage in Castletown, Eamonn Boland will be seeking to all but secure a maiden Global Group Irish Tarmac Championship.  

Wexford driver Boland and co-driver Damien Morrissey have already chalked up three victories this year and will lead the main Isle of Man International Rally off the start ramp at the Grandstand. The pair will be red-hot favourites in the absence of other world rally car crews, including Welshman Mel Evans and Limerick’s Sean Mullally, who withdrew late on Tuesday.  

Starting behind Boland will therefore be the main protagonists in the Tesco 99 Octane British Rally Championship, headed by reigning champion Guy Wilks from Darlington in the first of the factory Mitsubishi Motors UK entries. With regular co-driver Phil Pugh out through injury, David Moynihan comes in for the pace-note duties. The pair are just back from last weekend’s Rally Russia, switching from gravel back to asphalt.  

As ever on the Isle of Man, the locals will look for strong performances from the Higgins brothers. Both Mark and David under-performed twelve months ago, but both are right in the title hunt. David tops the standings coming into the event in a Team TQ.com Subaru N14, David taking on the dual role of team boss and driver. Mark meanwhile will drive a slightly older model Subaru for the Atlas TEG Sport camp.  

Should Boland hit any trouble across the tough three day event, these three drivers are the most likely to score what would be a first ever showroom category outright victory on the event.  

They’ll be joined by the other leading lights of the British series, including Ulstermen Phillip Morrow and Darren Gass (Mitsubishi’s), and Wales’s Stuart Jones (MG).  

Kevin Kelleher and John McGlaughlin (Mitsubishi’s) will also add to the category battle, as they continue their fight for the Irish production title.  

The Isle of Man Historic Rally has attracted a stellar line-up too, led by five-time former British champion Jimmy McRae in a Porsche 911. Other former event winners on the list include the Porsche’s of Steven Smith, Adrian Kermode, Dessie McCartney and Dessie Nutt, the Ford Escort’s of David Stokes and Ian Corkill, and Glenn Leece with his Mini Cooper S.  

The Isle of Man Challenge Rally is headed by the leading Silverstone Tyres British Challenge contenders, Stourbridge’s Richard Sykes and Ramsey’s David Harrison. The event also includes the Trophy Rally, where Rob Watson and Bruce Craig will bid for successive victories.  

Renowned as one of the toughest events on the rally calendar, crews will tackle 23 closed roads stages between Thursday and Saturday afternoon.  

It all gets underway tonight from the Grandstand at 6.30pm, heading for the opening Marine Drive before the double run through Castletown and onto the longest test of the event, 13.66 miles of Cringle and Round Table.  

A further 12 stages follow on Friday across the island, the leading crews leaving the Grandstand at 8.55am and returning at 8.25pm. Saturday then has a final seven tests in store, including the final Classic test to finish at the Grandstand at 3pm.  

This is the 45th running of the event, which has the names of world champions Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Ari Vatanen on its roll of honour.

Mitsubishi team poised to bounce back

Posted: July 17, 2008 11:03 AM

Mitsubishi Motors UK Rally Team is set to get its season back on track when its drivers Guy Wilks and Phillip Morrow return to action for round three of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, the Rally Isle of Man, which takes place on 17th, 18th & 19th July.

Following a disappointing result in round two, the Jim Clark Rally, when Wilks’ car caught fire and Morrow was side-lined following an early accident, the Mitsubishi team are eager to put the record straight and get back to their winning ways. Taking into account last year’s visit to the Isle of Man, when the two works Lancers finished first and second, their aspirations are more than realistic.

The upshot of the last outing resulted in Wilks’ car being a complete write-off and therefore, he will appear this weekend in his 2007 British Championship winning Evolution IX which has now been upgraded to this year’s specification. Morrow’s car has been repaired and last week both drivers successfully tested their re-fettled Mitsubishis in Wales.

Eager to put his and the team’s season back on target, an upbeat Wilks said: “We now need to pull out all the stops to get back to where we should be in the championship and it would be great to repeat last year’s success on the island. However, the pressure is on, so whilst we’ve got to push hard, it’s also important to ensure we end up with a strong finish.”

Morrow is also keen to get back in action: “I really want to get out there and do a good job for the team - and for my own confidence as well. The Isle of Man is a notoriously difficult rally, so I am going to approach it with that in mind and, if things feel right, then I’ll start to up the pace.”

Mitsubishi UK Motorsport boss and Ralliart General Manager Paul Brigden, is looking forward to his team being back in action: “The best way to put challenging times behind you is to go out there and do well. Our target this weekend is to get both cars to the finish in strong positions and, by doing so, we can reignite our bid to retain the team’s and drivers titles.”

The Rally Isle of Man gets underway from the Douglas TT Grandstand on Thursday evening with four stages before the first overnight halt. Friday sees another 12 stages and Saturday a further seven before the finish back at the grandstand. The route features a total competitive distance of 182 miles, which makes the Rally Isle of Man the longest asphalt event - and one of the consequently the toughest rounds - in the British Championship Calendar.

Due to Wilks’ regular co-driver Phil Pugh currently suffering from back problems, David Moynihan from Mallow, Co. Cork, has been drafted in. Morrow continues to be partnered by Daniel Barritt.

The two works Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IXs are built by Chesterfield-based ADR Motorsport, who also provide the all-important on-event technical support.

The team is sponsored by Lovell Group and Virgin Money, together with its technical partners: HKS, Sparco, Speedline Corse, PIAA, Ricardo, and Performance Friction Brakes.

O’Mahony and Higgins aim to get back on track on Rally Isle of Man

Posted: July 17, 2008 10:02 AM

Irish crew Brian O’Mahony and John Higgins aim to get their British Rally Championship (BRC) campaign back on track when they contest next weekend’s Rally Isle of Man (17 – 19 July).

County Cork driver O’Mahony and County Mayo co-driver Higgins will be back in action in round three of the BRC in their OM Concrete Products and Tom Hogan Motors-backed Super 1600 Renault Clio, run by O’Leary Motorsport, and are looking to make amends across the tarmac after failing to finish the previous round.

They retired from the Jim Clark International Rally in May due to a mechanical problem and that did not help their push in the BRC after they were forced to finish the opening round, the Pirelli International Rally, in April under superally rules when the bottom arm snapped and ended their event.

Now the pair will compete across the closed roads of the Isle of Man for the first time in two years and bid to notch up more points in the series but the challenging Manx lanes have not been so kind to them in recent years.

Both times they have contested the event, in 2005 and 2006, they have finished but have broken the suspension, losing masses of time, but hopefully the Clio will hold out and make it third time lucky for them on the 165-mile event.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back out onto the Isle of Man stages, they are nice yet tricky which adds to the challenge,” 23-year-old O’Mahony said. “We last did the rally in 2006 and have had suspension problems both times we’ve done it previously so we’re hoping to avoid anything like that this year.

“We’re looking for a good solid result this time out following the disappointment of the Jim Clark, it would be nice to get a clean run on a tarmac stage and some valuable BRC points to keep us on course. We know what caused the problems on the Jim Clark so I’m confident the car will be reliable and we’ve made some changes so it should hopefully be even better.”

The Rally Isle of Man gets underway on Thursday evening with O’Mahony and Higgins starting at car number 18.

BRC crews on Rally Isle of Man

Posted: July 17, 2008 8:40 AM

With the third round looming, the first two rounds of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship have provided thrills, spills and several surprises in the drivers’ Championship, with a handful of the early favourites hitting trouble.  

At the head of the field are David Higgins & Ieuan Thomas who hoped for good results in their brand new Team TQ.com Subaru at the start of the season. A steady nerve and good consistent pace has netted a pair of podium finishes, although they lost second place with car trouble on the Jim Clark. The results put them a single point ahead of the fast improving Stuart Jones & Andy Bull in their Privateers Cup-leading MG Super 2000.  

Jones has returned to the BRC from the Production World Rally Championship last year and he is still getting used to the change from the conventional group N machinery to the MG. His second place on the Jim Clark bodes well for the asphalt events though, the lighter S2000 suiting sealed surfaces.  

In third place in the series are Jonnys Greer and Hart whose excellent position may be a surprise to many, but certainly not to those who know them. Their pace on last year’s Rally GB was and indication of thing to come from the Northern Irish duo.  

After a puncture cost three places on the Pirelli, James Wozencroft wowed in his older specification Subaru, having made the step up from his usual front wheel drive machinery in recent years. He and Chris Ridge took fourth in the BRC on the Jim Clark and he sits just a point behind Greer, hoping to continue his success on the tarmac Manx lanes, where he will be a nominated driver to score points for the Revolution Wheels Rally Team.  

Atlas TEG Sport’s Wyn Humphreys will have a bit of local knowledge in the form of Manxman Rob Fagg to guide him over the tricky stages. The pair lie fifth, a mere point behind “Woz”, but the Isle of Man was good to them in 2007, taking their first podium and moving them briefly into the lead of the BRC at their first attempt.  

A shock joint sixth at this stage of the season are the two main title protagonists of 2007. It would be foolish to discount the battle towards the end of the season involving Guy Wilks/Phil Pugh and Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy; after all they have four BRC titles between them.  

But both their early season results have been hampered by car related problems; Higgins’ MG S2000 engine letting go on round one, while Wilks’ Mitsubishi was a total loss after a broken propshaft caused a fierce fire in the Borders event in May. The teams have a win apiece in 2008, but Higgins will want to forget crashing out on last year’s Manx event, leaving Wilks to cruise to victory.  

Just outside the top six but certainly worthy of note are Phillip Morrow and Rob Swann. On the first round of the season Evo Challenge winner Morrow took an excellent fourth place, but pushed a bit too hard on the Jim Clark, crashing on the first stage and subsequently retiring. Revolution Wheels Rally Team’s lead driver Swann had car trouble for the Pirelli, then punctures and a crash hampered his progress in his new Impreza last time out. He was pipped for a podium by Humphreys in the Isle of Man last year so will be fired up for a fight.  

Cars will be on display on Douglas promenade during Thursday early afternoon before heading off to the start from 18.30. The whole event runs over three days and is all based around the TT Grandstand in Douglas with the finish on Saturday at around 3.30pm.

BHRC preview

Posted: July 10, 2008 4:19 PM

The stunning asphalt challenge of the closed public roads of the Isle of Man forms round five of the Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship, the Isle of Man Historic Rally (17-19 July).

Aside from all the major title contenders, the rally should also mark the welcome return to rallying of Jimmy McRae on his first competitive run since his accident on the Pirelli Historic Rally in April.

Category 1
Hot favourite for glory in category one (for the pre '68 cars) is the Sunbeam Tiger of Patrick Watts/Elgan Davies. The former touring car racer has got the V8 Tiger flying along and will want to win on the island after retiring last year with a blown engine.
However, Watts knows he will be hard pressed by the Porsche 911 of Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride. Dessie is a real asphalt ace and knows the Isle of Man roads very well. On gravel, the Tiger is now more than a match for the Porsche, but things could be different this weekend. Close behind Watts and Nutt in category one will be the rapid Lotus Cortinas, and this is set to be a three-way fight. Veteran Bob Bean, who celebrated his 70th birthday earlier this year, is having a great season and has young James Whitaker on the notes, so there is an age gap not far short of 50 years inside the car. Neil Calvert and Arlene Cookson head to the island with the overall BHRC lead, so they are eager for another strong result, while the hard-charging Jonathan Gale makes a welcome return with his father Graham in the co-driver's seat.

In the 1300cc category, class B2, James Stait and Gill Cotton are having a great season in their MG Midget and will go up against the rapid Mini Cooper of son and father team Matt and Dood Pearce. Meanwhile, in B1, the battle is between the Hillman Imps of Gary and Jane Edgington and Mike Barratt/Jody Watson.

Category 2
Category two is for the cars produced from 1968 to 1974 and it is Steven Smith and John Nichols who head the entry in their Porsche 911RS. They are real Isle of Man aces and rate this as one of their favourite rallies, so another strong run is highly probable.
Ranged against Smith in more Porsches are Irish veteran Dessie McCartney and French-based Peter Lythell, but it is a gaggle of Ford Escort Mk1s that will be battling for category honours. Top dogs should be David Stokes/Guy Weaver, but chasing hard will be Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard and Rupert Lomax/David Alcock.
Likely to set the pace in C3 for the Pinto-powered Escorts is the car of Ken Forster/John Stanger-Leathes, but their rivals include the fast-improving Peter Smith/Howard Pridmore and Drew Wylie/Neil Ewing from the XS Racing squad. In C2, for the 1600cc cars, Neil Rudd and Brian Hodgson head the BHRC contenders.

Category 3
Category three is for the most recent cars, those produced between 1975 and 1981, and is home for the Ford Escort Mk2s. However, this is also the category for McRae/Andy Richardson in their slightly later Porsche 911RS. McRae, a past master of this event when he was a multiple British championship winner, will go up against the similar car of local ace Adrian Kermode and Irishman Maurice Beckett.

A bunch of very quick Escorts will give McRae and Kermode plenty to think about, too, and it is Richard Hill and Patrick Cooper who have been flying along on the gravel rounds of the BHRC this season. However, Hill's last visit to the island in a Mitsubishi Evo ended with a big accident, so he's determined to keep out of trouble this time.

Other very quick Escorts include those of two of the most spectacular crews on the rally, Dick Slaughter/Geoff Dearing and Simon Tysoe/Rob Dyson, while Frank Cunningham/Ryland James will also be great to watch in their Mk2 Escort. Offering excellent variety to the Escort pack will be the Sunbeam Lotus of Adrian and Dan Seabridge and the Vauxhall Chevette of Roger Kilty/Lynette Banks. The contest for class D3, the 2-litre Pinto powered Escorts, is shaping up to be a cracker as well, with Will Onions/Tim Hobbs, Mark and Brett Clifford and Chris Shooter/Bev LeGood all being serious contenders for the class.

Of course, the BHRC contingent is only a part of the historic element of the rally and a gaggle of local and Irish crews add further depth to the entry. Notable runners include John Kirkpatrick/Martyn Quine (Sunbeam Lotus), Derek and Roisin Boyd (Porsche 911) and a clutch of quick Mini Coopers including the car of Mervyn Johnston/Wendy Blackledge.

Rally Isle of Man breaks 150!

Posted: July 10, 2008 3:44 PM

Next weeks 45th Rally Isle of Man has once again proven itself as one of the most popular events in the British Isles, attracting over 150 teams to the challenge of some of the fastest rally terrain in Europe.

Wexford driver Eamonn Boland will lead the main Isle of Man International Rally into action at tea-time on Thursday 17th July in his Subaru WRC. Boland and Damien Morrissey currently have a convincing lead in the Global Group Irish Tarmac Championship and maximum points would all but secure a first title.

Welshman Mel Evans and Limerick’s Sean Mullally however are seeking to complete an island double, again in a Subaru, hoping to add the International to their Manx National title earned in May.

Then come the main protagonists in the Tesco 99 Octane British Rally Championship, headed by reigning champions Guy Wilks (Darlington) and Phil Pugh (Tywyn) in the first of the factory Mitsubishi Motors UK entries.

They’ll once again take on two of the islands favourite son’s, Mark and David Higgins. Both are former champions and David tops the standings coming into the event in a Team TQ.com Subaru N14, the car entered by David’s own team. Mark meanwhile will drive a slightly older model Subaru for the Atlas TEG Sport camp.

They’ll be joined by the other leading lights of the British series, including Ulstermen Phillip Morrow and Darren Gass (Mitsubishi’s), and Wales’s Stuart Jones (MG),

Kevin Kelleher and John McGlaughlin (Mitsubishi’s) will also add to the category battle, as they continue their fight for the Irish production title.

The Isle of Man Historic Rally has attracted a stellar line-up too, led by five-time former British champion Jimmy McRae in a Porsche 911. Other former event winners on the list include the Porsche’s of Steven Smith, Adrian Kermode, Dessie McCartney and Dessie Nutt, the Ford Escort’s of David Stokes and Ian Corkill, and Glenn Leece with his Mini Cooper S.

The Isle of Man Challenge Rally is headed by the leading Silverstone Tyres British Challenge contenders, Stourbridge’s Richard Sykes and Ramsey’s David Harrison. The event also includes the Trophy Rally, where Rob Watson and Bruce Craig will bid for successive victories.

Renowned as one of the toughest events on the rally calendar, crews will tackle 23 closed roads stages between Thursday and Saturday afternoon.

Entry List Available

Posted: July 10, 2008 3:44 PM

Top 20
1 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
2 Melvyn Evans/Sean Mullally (Subaru Impreza WRC)
3 Guy Wilks/Phil Pugh (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)
4 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza N11)
5 David Higgins/Ieuan Thomas (Subaru Impreza N14)
6 Phillip Morrow/Daniel Barritt (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)
7 Stuart Jones/Andy Bull (MG S2000 Sport)
8 Kevin Kelleher/Martin Kelleher (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)
9 Darren Gass/Neil Shanks (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)
10 James Wozencroft/Chris Ridge (Subaru Impreza N11)
11 Wyn Humphreys/Robert Fagg (Subaru Impreza N12)
12 Jonathan Greer/Jonny Hart (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)
14 Robert Swann/Darren Garrod (Subaru Impreza N14)
15 John McGlaughlin/David Moynihan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)
16 Paul Curphey/Mark Perryman (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)
17 Guy Woodcock/John Skinner (Ford Escort Maxi kit car)
18 Brian O'Mahony/John Higgins (Renault Clio S1600)
19 Adam Gould/Seb Marshall (Renualt Clio Ragnotti)
20 Andreas Sjolander/Hakan Jacobsson (Ford Fiesta Sti)

Full Entry Lists:

Wilkins Diamonds join Rally Isle of Man as Official Timing and Results Partner

Posted: May 23, 2008 10:43 AM

The organisers of Rally Isle of Man today announced that Isle of Man Jewellers, Wilkins Diamonds will be the official results and timing sponsor for the 2008 and 2009 events. Wilkins will also receive overall naming rights to four Rally Isle of Man Stages.

Wilkins will also provide a Brietling watch to the competitor setting the fastest stage time through the prestigious Castletown spectator stages which open the Rally.

Brian Walton, Chairman of Rally Isle of Man commented: “We are delighted to have Wilkins Diamonds as a partner with Rally Isle of Man for the next two years. Wilkins is a prestige retailer and hopefully our respective brands will compliment each other throughout this partnership.”

Wilkins Diamonds has an enviable reputation for providing exquisite diamonds and the most exclusive jewellery. Serving discerning customers on the Isle of Man and further a field, the award-winning companyhas an unswerving commitment to the highest standards of customer service combined with excellent prices.

Under the stewardship of Neil Dunwell, the company has won a series of accolades for its flagship premises and first class product range, including exclusive licences for prestige brands.

Neil Dunwell, of Wilkins Diamonds, added: “We are extremely pleased to be supporting one of the Islands major events which is recognised as the premier rally in the UK.”

The 2008 Rally Isle of Man takes place between the 17th and 19th of July 2008.

Last year the event scooped the honour of being named the ‘Best Rally in the British Isles’ from the sports most important weekly UK publication, Motorsport News.

RALLY ISLE OF MAN REQUIRE MARSHALS

Posted: April 4, 2008 11:15 AM

RALLY ISLE OF MAN REQUIRE MARSHALS
For the INTERNATIONAL, HISTORIC AND CHALLENGE RALLIES

PACKAGE DEALS ARE AVAILABLE FOR ALL MARSHALLS, TIMEKEEPERS AND COMMUNICATION OFFICIALS
SPECIAL DEALS AVAILABLE FOR GROUPS OF 8 OR MORE

Every marshal will get free BBQ , rally programme, Ticket to Villa Marina award ceremony , and the opportunity to avail of nightly hospitality at the Grandstand.

More Details on Rally Website:

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