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Mewla National - 24 Aug 08

Posted: August 29, 2008 2:01 PM - 7923 Hits

Round 6 - 2008 ANCRO MSA National Rally Championship
Round 5 - 2008 MSA Asphalt Rally Championship
Round 5 - 2008 BTRDA Asphalt Rally Series

Video Clips............

Posted: August 27, 2008 6:58 PM


Posted: August 27, 2008 6:57 PM

Contenders for both the Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Rally Championship & BTRDA Asphalt Rally Series were out in force at the weekend on the Eventsigns Mewla Rally and 90 miles of competition on the Epynt Military Ranges has begun to whittle down the number of crews still in with a shout of taking each of the titles.

With one round of the MSA Championship still to run, there are three drivers in contention for outright honours whilst, in the BTRDA Series two events have yet to take place and, on paper, the trophy could go any one of seven different ways!

Between them, the two series were responsible for almost a third of the total entry on the Mewla and it was defending MSA Asphalt Champion STEVE SIMPSON who was first home. After an excellent run in his Hyundai Accent WRC, which included setting second-fastest time on the final 20-mile stage, he came home in 3rd place to take his first maximum of the season and increase his lead in the Championship at this point.

However…… Simpson has finished all five qualifying rounds to date and must drop a score before the end of the season, whilst his closest pursuers, DAVID KYNASTON/ANDY RUSSELL (Audi A3 Quattro) & DAVID MANN/ALUN COOK (Subaru Impreza WRC), have already registered one retirement each. Both crews finished the Mewla – coincidentally, just eight seconds apart by the end of the day! – to keep their Championship hopes very much alive and set the scene for a grandstand finish on the Cheviot National Rally in mid-October.
Although they can still finish comfortably in the top three, the Mewla put paid to the Championship aspirations of both JOHN & CAROLINE PRICE (MG Metro 6R4) and SIMON MAUGER/BRIAN CAMMACK (Ford Escort RS). The Prices suffered a tyre blow-out and the flailing tyre tore one of the rear brake callipers off the Metro, while Mauger/Cammack were comfortably in 8th, despite various problems, when their Escort’s clutch gave up on the final stage.

Having been forced to miss Sligo, an under-the-weather GRAHAM HOLLIS and co-driver ASHLEY TRIMBLE brought their Escort home in 8th place overall to increase their lead in Class B11 and maintain the pressure on Mauger in the Rear-Wheel Drive category.

10th overall gave CHRIS JONES/RICHARD WILLIAMS (Ford Focus STI) maximum BTRDA Series points – their first of the season – and kept them at the top of the table with two rounds to go (Patriot Stages & Keith Knox). Keeping a watching brief on the leaders, and finishing less than a minute behind them after an over-cautious approach and a wrong tyre choice cost some time, was MARK WELCH. In as similar scenario to that in the MSA Championship, Jones has yet to drop a score while Welch was absent from the first round…

Also in there fighting are GARY LE COADOU/PAUL HOLLINGHAM (Toyota Celica GT4) who would have been 3rd Series scorers but for some road penalties, and GRAHAM MUTER/STEVE PRINCE whose 1300cc Ford Escort has also maintained a 100% finishing record to put itself into third place overall in the standings.

2007 BTRDA Asphalt Rally Series winners ADRIAN SPENCER/MARK HEWITT (Subaru Impreza) have spent this season acclimatising themselves to life in the MSA Championship and are improving with each event. A Top 15 place on the Mewla was in spite of the fact that Hewitt was feeling decidedly off-colour, to the point that he spent some time in hospital immediately after the finish. We all hope that the as-yet undiagnosed problem is soon remedied.

CHRIS MARSHALL had been forced to find a replacement co-driver for his Mitsubishi Lancer EVO after his usual partner, SIMON HUNTER, had entered the event separately – as a driver!… Both recorded finishes, the main difference being that one scored points, while the other didn’t!…

GEOFF GLOVER/CHARLIE TURNER were hoping that modifications made to their Vauxhall Astra RWD’s gearbox since its last outing would put an end to the problems they have had with the unit in recent times. In the event, it was a loose manifold that caused them some concern, but the car was soon restored to full health once again. Just one second behind the Astra were RICHARD BUTLER/ MATT DUBBER in their Honda Civic Type ‘R’ – an effort for which Richard was awarded the John Price Rallying ‘Star Drive’ salver. The Civic ended up on its roof in Sligo six weeks ago and was looking decidedly second-hand but, due to a large amount of TLC on the part of the driver, not only was it back to the shape that Honda originally intended, but it also earned maximum Championship class points on Epynt.

PAUL HAREWOOD/BOB JONES benefited from the Civic’s misfortune then, but had to be content with 2nd this time, although less than fifteen seconds separated the two class rivals. RICHARD CLEWS/BARRY JAMES returned to the fray in a brand-new Renault Clio and spent the day learning about the car. Some niggling problems cost some time, but they brought it home to the finish and should be well-pleased with its debut.

A finish on Epynt keeps IAN COPPING (Ford Fiesta RWD) in with a chance of taking Class B11 this season while, in spite of swopping cars from a Citroen AX to a Peugeot 106, TRACEY-LOUISE & GARRY MUIR have made doubly sure of B9.

MARTIN NEWSON/PETER MORRIS & ROLAND JONES both took the opportunity to add to their respective tallies in Class A5 but whose MG ZR will take the class title will not be known until the conclusion of the Cheviot.

The BTRDA Series classes are all proving to be hot-beds of competition! Graham Muter leads the 1400s, but can still be caught by GARY BARLOW/NICK CHAPMAN (Vauxhall Nova), although SIMON SELBY/HAYLEY HENDERSON saw their miserable season continue after their Austin Seven went out with an overheating engine.

C2 (up to 1600cc) went to TIM SEIPEL/MARTIN HAGGETT (MG ZR) for the second time this season, as PAUL KENDRICK/ANTON BIRD registered their first retirement for nearly two years when their Chrysler Sunbeam succumbed to throttle cable failure. CRAIG JOSE/CHRIS HOWELLS & TOM BYE/PETE HOWES both brought their Peugeot 205s to the end of the Mewla, much to the delight of the latter crew for whom it was the first sight of a finish ramp all season!

Series sponsors RICHARD & PAT EGGER were not so lucky – when their Nova threw its alternator belt, a frantic search of the service barge revealed all the replacements to be….. still in the workshop at home! Not that it will be any consolation to them, but their class (C3) is being led by SARA WILLIAMS (Honda Civic Type ‘R’) who took her second maximum at the weekend.

Class S is led by Jones, Le Coadou & Welch, while NIGEL KILLERBY/COLIN WATSON (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO) & PETE DONNACHIE/PHIL ROWLEY (Subaru Impreza) both failed to finish. Donnachie’s day had started badly with turbo trouble and inconsistent brakes that seemed to be pleasing themselves when they worked and, more worryingly, when they didn’t! Having been able to continue even after a rear driveshaft snapped, further participation in the event proved impossible when a front one went as well!…

The Richard Egger Insurance BTRDA Asphalt Rally Series continues with the Patriot Stages, at Caerwent, on Sunday 28th September, before also heading for Otterburn for the finale in October.


Posted: August 27, 2008 6:55 PM

Full Results and Times

Posted: August 27, 2008 6:53 PM

Entry List

Posted: August 17, 2008 11:37 AM


Posted: August 15, 2008 12:24 PM

For the second time this season, contenders for both the Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Rally Championship & Richard Egger Insurance BTRDA Asphalt Rally Series will all be present on the same event - the Eventsigns Mewla Rally which is based at the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells, and takes place on August Bank Holiday Sunday 24th August. As each series heads towards its conclusion, the coveted titles are still a long way from being decided and the ultra-fast roads on the Epynt Military Ranges will present a stern challenge to all the pretenders to both crowns!

One particular crew who found this out to their cost is that of 2006 MSA Asphalt Rally Champions, DAVID KYNASTON/ANDY RUSSELL. Their Audi A3 Quattro crashed out of the Mewla in spectacular fashion in 2004, leaving the driver with a broken neck. They won the Mewla on the way to their 2006 title and were leading this year’s Championship before the trip to the Sligo Stages Rally a month ago saw them retire on the opening stage. Kynaston arrives in mid-Wales in third place in the points table but, with two events to go, has a score ‘in-hand’ over the two drivers in front of him.

Those two drivers are STEVE SIMPSON whose Hyundai Accent WRC has maintained its 100% finishing record that helped him in no small way to the 2007 MSA Asphalt Rally Championship title and SIMON MAUGER in his two-wheel drive Ford Escort RS. Mauger, and co-driver BRIAN CAMMACK, have had a fantastic season to date, regularly showing a clean pair of heels to more powerful four-wheel drive machinery. Cammack actually leads the Co-drivers’ points table and the pair have already secured their class for the season. In the ‘Rear-Wheel Drive’ category, the only crew who can catch them are GRAHAM HOLLIS/ASHLEY TRIMBLE (Ford Escort RS) who were forced to forego the trip to Sligo due to work commitments.

JOHN & CAROLINE PRICE (MG Metro 6R4) are still in the hunt for the overall title – it would be JP’s 13th!… - but, with dropped scores yet to start taking effect, a rare mechanical failure on the Jim Clark sees them further down the table than would otherwise be the case. For the second year running, they were top points scorers in Ireland and have not finished lower than third all season.

From ‘veterans’ to newcomers, former MSA Gravel Rally Champions DAVID MANN/ALUN COOK are contesting a full Asphalt Championship calendar in their Subaru Impreza WRC for the first time. Consequently, most of the events see them on unfamiliar territory but their professional approach has put them in 5th place at present. Good results on the last two rounds could make a considerable difference to their end-of-season position.

2007 BTRDA Asphalt Rally Series winners, ADRIAN SPENCER/MARK HEWITT, have moved up to the MSA Championship this year and their Subaru Impreza is running comfortably in the Top 10 overall. Meanwhile, as to the identity of their successors in the BTRDA Series – well, that’s anyone’s guess!

Following the Rally of the Midlands, CHRIS JONES/RICHARD WILLIAMS lead the charge in their Ford Focus STI, from the Toyota Celica GT4 of last year’s runner-up GARY LE COADOU, co-driven by PAUL HOLLINGHAM. However, both crews will be keeping a sharp eye out for MARK WELCH who, having missed the opening round, has taken maximums on the last two events in his Ford Escort Cosworth.

GRAHAM MUTER/STEVE PRINCE hold 3rd place overall in their 1300cc Ford Escort, while NIGEL KILLERBY/COLIN WATSON (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO5) and Welsh teenager SARA WILLIAMS (Honda Civic Type ‘R’) have also recorded finishes on all three events so far.

In the MSA Championship classes, RICHARD BUTLER/MATT DUBBER (Honda Civic Type ‘R’) and PAUL HAREWOOD/BOB JONES (Vauxhall Astra GSI) are neck-and-neck in N3 after the former’s roll in Sligo. Following a sabbatical during which a change of car has taken place, RICHARD CLEWS/BARRY JAMES make a welcome return to the Championship on the Mewla in their Mechatronics-sponsored Renault Clio in which they will be attempting (in a good natured way!) to upset Butler & Harewood’s domination of the class! Meanwhile, ROBERT TOUT (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) is already confirmed as the winner of N4.

The MG ZRs of MARTIN NEWSON/PETER MORRIS & ROLAND JONES have some unfinished business in A5 and, although they have put B9 beyond the reach of anyone else in their first season of MSA Championship events, TRACEY-LOUISE & GARRY MUIR (Citroen AX) will be travelling down to the Mewla from their home in Peterhead.

The ever-popular Class B11 sees all five of the main protagonists present – HOLLIS/TRIMBLE, IAN COPPING/DAVE ROWLEY (Ford Fiesta RWD), PETE HUGHES/CHRIS EVANS (Ford Escort RS) and DAVE WEST/KEITH HOUNSLOW (Peugeot 306 Maxi) are joined by GEOFF GLOVER/CHARLIE TURNER whose always immaculately presented Vauxhall Astra RWD has been plagued with gearbox problems this year. The Teesside-based pair haven’t actually finished a Championship round since the last visit to Epynt in March and will, therefore, be hoping for a much-needed change of fortune!

Having already mentioned the ‘Rear-Wheel Drive’ category, there are still six drivers who could be crowned king – or queen! - of the ‘Front-Wheel Drive contingent. They are led by Martin Newson, but any one of Dave West, Tracey-Louise Muir, Roland Jones, Paul Harewood or Richard Butler could still rain on his parade!…

In the small-engined BTRDA Series class (C1), Graham Muter leads GARY BARLOW/NICK CHAPMAN (Vauxhall Nova) and the Austin Seven of brother-and-sister SIMON SELBY/HAYLEY HENDERSON. C2 is being fought out between PAUL KENDRICK/ANTON BIRD (Talbot Sunbeam), TIM SEIPEL/MARTIN HAGGETT (MG ZR) and GEORGE COOKE/SANDY WOODLEY (Citroen Saxo) and, at this stage, could go any one of three ways!

Sara Williams holds sway in C3 and the absence of her nearest rivals on the Mewla means that, whatever happens, the lead will not have changed. However, a good result from JOHN HARLAND/PAUL PRICE (Darrian T90 GTR) could put them within striking distance! The event also witnesses the return of series sponsors RICHARD & PAT EGGER in their Vauxhall Nova. Reliability problems have dogged the car’s progress in recent times but, hopefully, the work carried out during their absence will have put that to rights.

The first car – the Subaru Impreza WRC of last year’s winners, Eian Pritchard/ Martin Jones - leaves the start of the Eventsigns Mewla Rally on the Epynt Ranges at 8.00am on Sunday 24th August and, ten stages and ninety miles later, the survivors will begin arriving back at the Showground at 5.00pm that afternoon.

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