International Rally Yorkshire (Trackod) - 27 Sep 08

Posted: October 15, 2008 8:43 PM - 9682 Hits

Round 5 - 2008 British Rally Championship
Round 7 - 2008 ANCRO MSA National Rally Championship
Round 8 - 2008 MSA British Historic Rally Championship

Guy Wilks and David Moynihan reinstated as Winners!

Posted: October 15, 2008 8:43 PM

Guy Wilks and David Moynihan have been reinstated to the results after the appeal of Atlas TEG Sport failed.

Greer moves to 3rd in the BRC

Posted: October 14, 2008 8:11 PM

Controversy has followed the British Rally Championship over the last two months and the 5th round of the Championship the Trackrod International rally held on Saturday 27th September seen no change in the proceedings. Eventual winner Guy Wilks being excluded from the results by the organisers after post event scrutiny revealed an irregular component.

The compact event’s extremely fast ten stages and 95 miles are held in the Yorkshire dales in and around the Dalby forest complex. Jonathan Greer, from Carryduff, who recently turned 20 had a fraught time preparing for the event with a dose of the flu during the build up.

The event was not to run any smoother than the build up had although the crew completed by navigator Dai Roberts managed to complete the event taking what is provisionally 5th place. Half way through stage 4 the centre differential on the Mitsubishi Evolution failed and with service a further two stages away Jonny had to complete the remainder of the stage and SS5 + 6 with the differentials locked effectively making it a rear wheel drive car.

A superb job by the DGM service crew meant the diff was changed with plenty of service time to spare and the crew could resume their challenge having dropped from 6th to as low as 8th with the problem.

Jonny commented on the issue “ four wheel drive is hard enough to stop and control when you have four wheels working, when it has only two it is a nightmare I was glad to see the service so we could put the problem right”

The Rest of the stages went to plan and Jonny maintained his 100% finish record and given the provisional results should move into 3rd in the Championship standings. With the exclusion previously mentioned The results could be subject to change and will be finalised after ten days once an appeal has been heard.

Jonny’s next event will be the Bulldog rally on the 18th October, based in Oswestry, the final round of the Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge and will be Jonny’s penultimate outing this season. His Final rally being the final round of the British Championship which is a double point scoring event when the series meets the WRC for Wales Rally GB held from the 4th- 7th December.

Jonny would like to thank Toyota Materials Handling and Bott LTD for their continued support.

Cronin on track in Yorkshire!!

Posted: September 30, 2008 10:05 PM

Ballylickey sensation Keith Cronin and Co-driver Greg Shinnors headed to Yorkshire last weekend in order to gain some further experience of the pace of the British Rally Championship. They had sampled at first hand the tenacity of the Championship regulars on the tarmac roads in Ulster, which was contested as it was also a counting round of the UK Mitsubishi ‘Evo’ Challenge 2008 and as contenders for that prize, they did their cause no harm by taking top points in a faultless drive.

Tackling the Yorkshire International Rally, however, also known as the ‘Trackrod’ was primarily to experience making pacenotes on a gravel surface for the first time (Pacenotes are provided to the competitors on the ‘Evo’ Challenge rounds), but also to gauge their gravel speed against the top British Championship contenders which included the current champion, Guy Wilks and former champions Mark and David Higgins and Gwyndaf Evans.

They knew they would be at a major disadvantage on the faster sections as the car’s ECU had to be re-mapped prior to the event in order to run on the Tesco pump fuel that is obligatory on the British Rally Championship. In order to ensure that the engine would be preserved for the remainder of the year it was mapped “on the safe side of conservative”. However, they started off well enough and after 2 stages had slotted into 3rd overall. They were more than happy with this, being amongst such illustrious opposition.

They maintained this position over the next three stages despite the lack of power costing them 20 seconds on stage three where the very fast sections took their toll. Over the next few stages they moved into second overall as Mark Higgins suffered some minor technical problems, however their position was well justified as the rest of the field were left for dust by the leading trio.

Following service after stage six Mark Higgins, as expected, re-claimed second place from the young Cork driver, as his ‘works’ car and vast experience of these stages made all the difference. The final stage was a re-run of stage 3 which the young Irish team had struggled with on the first run and again it proved costly as another 20 seconds was dropped. However they reached Parc Ferme in 3rd overall and in jubilant form, as this was a better result than they had been expecting albeit thoroughly deserved.

A technical infringement found in the steering of rally winner Guy Wilks' car subsequently saw him being excluded from the results, promoting Cronin/Shinnors to second place overall. This matter is believer to be under appeal.

Speaking after the event Keith Cronin said “To come here and finish without problems would have been acceptable to us, but to come here and be within 10s a stage of Guy Wilks on 7 out of 10 stages is unbelievable! I know that he has been excluded, and I don’t want to comment on that as I believe it is the times on the stages which are the most important. Either way, Cronin Motorsport had an fantastic weekend and we would like to thank the Trackrod Motorclub and everybody who helped out on the day to ensure the rally was a success.”

O’Mahony and Higgins get top 10 finish on International Rally Yorkshire

Posted: September 30, 2008 9:57 PM

Irish crew Brian O’Mahony and John Higgins had an impressive first outing on the International Rally Yorkshire on Saturday (27 September) as they finished ninth overall.

County Cork driver O’Mahony and County Mayo co-driver Higgins made a positive return to the gravel as they came home ninth and won class R3 in their OM Concrete Products and MIS-backed Super 1600 Renault Clio in round five of the British Rally Championship (BRC).

The pair actually finished 10th overall and the rally’s results remain provisional pending an appeal after winners Guy Wilks and David Moynihan in the works Mitsubishi were excluded following a post event protest over a technical infringement.

O’Mahony and Higgins, who had never contested the International Rally Yorkshire before, did not, however, have the smoothest of runs on the 110-mile North Yorkshire-based event.

On the first stage they lost a considerable amount of time after they were first on the scene of fellow Irishmen Daniel Barry and Martin Brady’s accident and they stopped to help the crew out of the car.

The Clio then went down on power on stage three and they lost time across the following three tests until they could solve the issue in the main service back at Pickering showground. It turned out to be a crank sensor problem, so it was replaced and they contested the remaining four stages without drama to earn a top 10 finish.

“The car wasn’t suited to the stages at all as it only had a top speed of 98mph, which wasn’t enough but we’re pleased with the top 10 result,” 23-year-old O’Mahony said.

“We were disappointed that the crank sensor problem cost us a lot of time but we were just delighted to finally get to the bottom of what was causing the mysterious drop in power, we had every other thing changed and this was the last on our list.

“The stages were lovely though, we enjoyed the rally overall and it’s good to get a good finish on the loose and more points in the championship.”

Fordes claim second in Swift Sport Cup on International Rally Yorkshire

Posted: September 30, 2008 9:46 PM

Irish brothers Ross and Arron Forde claimed second place in the penultimate round of the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup on Saturday’s (27 September) International Rally Yorkshire.

The Galway crew finished 21st overall and second in class R1 as well as being second in the single-make series, coming home 53.3 seconds behind winners Mark Gamble and Stephen Link in their Global Group Ireland and BCC Group-backed Suzuki Swift on the 110-mile Pickering-based gravel event.

Their day was not without problems, however. The pair battled through the first five stages without a clutch and had to bleed it at the end of every test whilst the suspension was set too high and soft for the fast dry loose surface.

They headed into the final test in third spot and despite it only being driver Ross’ fifth time out on the gravel and the duo’s first time competing together on International Rally Yorkshire, they managed to haul themselves up to finish second and earn some valuable points in the Swift Sport Cup.

“We were happy to get second as we had all the problems,” 24-year-old Ross said. “It took a while for me to get back up to speed on the gravel as I hadn’t been out on it since April.

“Some of the stages were like tarmac they were so smooth and quick and I enjoyed every minute of the rally. Most importantly we got some more points in the Swift Cup so it keeps us in the frame to finish as runners-up in the series.”

The inaugural Suzuki Swift Sport Cup title was won by Gamble/Link on the event but the Fordes remain in line to finish second in the series.

Ross also leads the Junior Swift Sport Cup standings with the winner getting a place in the Pirelli Star Driver Award and in with a chance to win a funded drive next year.

The pair will return to action in their Galway Mini Centre-prepared Swift for the final round of the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup, the Hampshire-based Tempest Rally, on Saturday 8 November.

They will also contest the County Tipperary-based Birr Forestry Rally on Sunday (5 October) as it is a round of the Billy Coleman Award for Ross.

Mitsubishi’s Yorkshire win on hold

Posted: September 30, 2008 9:45 PM

Having led from start to finish and recording the fastest time on all of the event’s ten stages, GuyWilks and co-driver David Moynihan crossed the line of this weekend’s Rally Yorkshire, round five of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, to record a resounding victory for the Mitsubishi Motors UK Rally Team by a margin of one-and-a-half minutes.

However, at the finish second-placed Mark Higgins, driving for the TEG Sport Subaru team, protested the compliance of the steering column in Wilks’ car. Following a scrutineer’s report and a meeting of the event’s Stewards, Wilks was excluded.

The Mitsubishi team has since lodged an appeal with the MSA. The decision regarding the compliance of the component in question will be known in the next few weeks.

“We were very surprised when the protest was made as we build our cars in accordance with the regulations.” said team principal and Ralliart General Manager Paul Brigden. “We have lodged an appeal and it is now in the hands of the MSA. Therefore we can say or do nothing about the situation until we know the outcome. However, we are confident that our cars comply to the rules.”

Team-mates Gwyndaf Evans and Paul Nagle finished a determined fifth, after fighting back following a broken rear driveshaft and resulting turbo problem slowed them in the early stages.

BHRC report, round seven: Trackrod Historic Cup

Posted: September 30, 2008 9:43 PM

After four first-class forest stages in Yorkshire, Nick Elliott and Dave Price scored an impressive debut victory as they contested the Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship for the first time.

The Cheltenham crew went quickest on the opener in Housedale and extended their lead to score a classy victory in category three.

In category one, Patrick Watts/Elgan Davies bagged another win despite a spirited challenge from Bob Bean/Malcolm Smithson, while Steven Smith/John Nichols won category two in the face of a real challenge from Tim Mason/Graham Wild. Smith and Watts will now await the deliberations of the championship stewards to know the destiny of the BHRC title, which remains undecided pending the outcome of eligibility issues with the C4 Porsches on the Tour of Flanders.

  Category 1
Watts/Davies went into the rally knowing that another category one victory would keep their title hopes running, and duly took victory despite running on a range of used tyres. "It was tricky in Langdale," said Watts of the 15-mile stage that wrapped up the short, sharp event. "We had some big tank-slappers, so eased off a bit," he added. But victory was secure, although the margin to the flying Lotus Cortina of Bean/Smithson was only 20s. With one of the drives of the rally, Bean bagged class B4 and stunned his rivals with his speed over his native Yorkshire forests. "Well pleased," said Bob of his day's work. Pushed back into third in the category were Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911), after a couple of spins and several overshoots in an unusually untidy run. They were just 5s up on the Lotus Cortina in Neil Calvert/Arlene Cookson, who were quick to acknowledge Bean's pace. "Bob's been on a mission and we couldn't keep with him, although we have tried," said Calvert.

The fight for B2 fell to James Stait/Gill Cotton, who completed a 100% finishing record in the MG Midget. However, Terry Cree/Richard Shores (Mini Cooper S) were only 12s behind despite picking up two punctures on the opening stage. It looked like their rally might be over, but the generous help of Mike Barratt loaned them the spare wheel from his Imp, albeit of a different size, but it got them running again.

Barratt and Jody Watson (Sunbeam Stiletto) were rewarded for their sporting act by winning B1 after the Imp of Geoff Taylor/Steve Greenhill was sidelined by diff problems.  

Category 2
Despite a handling problem over the opening three stages followed by brake dramas in Langdale, Smith/Nichols (Porsche 911RS) bagged category two. "The pedal went to the floor and I had to give it a second pump," said Smith after a major overshoot at the downhill hairpin in Langdale. "For some reason it didn't get any worse and I did have some brakes," he said of the rest of the 15-miler.

Only 22s down on Smith at the finish was the 911 of Mason/Wild after a mighty performance. "We went off on the first stage and spun in Cropton," but I'm pleased with the result said Mason after his best ever BHRC result.

The Escort Mk1 pack in C5 lost Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard when they stopped in Langdale and Rikki Proffitt/John Roberts who rolled at Milner's Bend in Gale Rigg. Instead, Belgian commuters Stefaan Stouf/Joris Erard were delighted C5 winners after a fine run, with Simon Wallis/Ian Beveridge taking second in C5 after a good day in their Escort. "Excellent day," said Wallis at the finish.

However, the highest placed Escort Mk1 in the category was the C3 car of Peter Smith/Russ Langthorne, who marked the driver's birthday with a mighty run on Peter's first rally in his local forests for 30 years.

Despite a couple of moments in Langdale, Drew Wylie/Howard Pridmore (Escort Mk1) bagged second in C3 from Robin Shuttleworth/Mark Midgley as camshaft failure sidelined Russell Morgan/Martin Kenyon.

However, there was consolation for the Morgan/Kenyon team as the junior squad of Adam Morgan and Chris Kenyon took C2 in their Escort Mk1 despite losing time to an electrical gremlin.  

Category 3
The battle between Elliott/Price and Darren Moon/John McNichol never really got started and came to a close when Moon punctured in Cropton and stopped to change the wheel. By then, Elliott had gone clear and, having caught Moon struggling through Cropton, knew that he could ease back his pace and score a hugely impressive victory on his first run in his historic spec car.
With Moon way down the order, through to a fine second place in the category came Dick Slaughter/Geoff Dearing, on their first rally since the Isle of Man with their ex-works Escort Mk2. They ended the rally just 4s up on Simon Tysoe/Rob Dyson, with Charlie Taylor/Steve Bielby not far adrift.

"Not bad for an old chap; we've had a super day," said Slaughter. "We backed it off a bit too much on the last stage," said Tysoe, who had been 8s up on Slaughter going into the Langdale stage.

Polly Patti/Chris Dewsnap (Escort Mk2) had a good run to fifth, while another good run came from Roger Kilty/Lynette Banks, who were sixth in the Vauxhall Chevette.

Making a welcome return to rallying after a six-month break was Steve Magson, and he took his Opel Ascona to D3 victory with Geoff Atkinson alongside. They saw off the challenge of Keith Stones and young Tom Hughes (Escort Mk2) as the Escorts of Chris Shooter/Bev LeGood and Mark Dickinson/Gavin Heseltine completed the top four in D3.

In D2, Pat Anderson and Tom Mansfield bagged the class in their Sunbeam Talbot, despite losing a lot of time.


Posted: September 30, 2008 9:39 PM

In a repeat of his dominant performance in 2007, Guy Wilks took victory on every stage of Rally Yorkshire, beating title rival Mark Higgins by a minute and thirty seconds at the end of the penultimate rally in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship.  

However, the result was overturned soon after the finish ceremony, when a protest relating to his Mitsubishi was lodged, leaving Mark Higgins and Rory Kennedy classified as provisional winners. At time of going to press, the results are still provisional as the statement below explains.  

“Prior to the results of International Rally Yorkshire being declared final, a valid protest was received regarding a technical infringement relating to car No.1. After interviewing all parties and considering a technical report from the BRC eligibility scrutineer, the stewards excluded car No.1 from the results.  

Notification of intent to appeal was subsequently received and consequently the results of International Rally Yorkshire 2008 remain Provisional until the outcome of the appeal is known.  

Until such time as the event results are declared final the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship tables reflecting the overall driver and co-driver, the teams and class Rally 4 will not be published.”  

The result of the rally will therefore not be known until an appeal is posted and decision on the outcome made. Mitsubishi Motors UK has ten days from the date of the event in which to lodge an appeal.  

The start of the rally was foggy, but stunning sunshine broke through soon after, bathing the competitors throughout the ten fast stages. The battle between Wilks/Moynihan’s Mitsubishi and Higgins/Kennedy’ Subaru got of to a reasonably close start, but Higgins dropped over a minute when his gear linkage broke, meaning a chase was fruitless.  

Even if Wilks’ appeal is successful and he is re-instated, Higgins would still take over the joint lead of the Championship alongside his brother David, who snatched third from Darren Gass/Neil Shanks, the reigning Pirelli Star Driver having problems on the final stage which dropped from third to sixth on the final road section. His eventual eleventh place after penalties was certainly not representative of his performance on the stages.  

Taking the Rally 3 class win were Brian O'Mahony/John Higgins in the front wheel drive Clio S1600, although they suffered all day with the same down-on power engine that had plagued them on the Ulster Rally. [AUDIO]  

Also in Rally 3 was Fin McCaul who took his sideways BMW to victory in the BRC’s Diesel Rally Cup after Steve Graham retired his Astra with transmission problems. The result also secures the Diesel title for McCaul for the second year in a row, even with two scoring opportunities remaining on Rally GB. [AUDIO]  

Rally 2 was won by a Pirelli Star Driver nominee Adam Gould with Seb Marshall alongside. Shaking of early flu-like symptoms, Adam’s text-book victory also put them just one place behind O'Mahony overall, taking tenth place in the BRC. [AUDIO]  

Driving a storming event and finishing just two places behind Gould were Luke Pinder/Kim Baker, despite a broken gear linkage in the Puma. The youngster was rewarded with the fifth Pirelli “yellow jersey”, putting him in the end of season shoot-out for the fully funded Pirelli Star Driver prize in the 2009 BRC.  

The Citroën C2R2 Cup was won by Jason Pritchard/George Gwynn [AUDIO], over a minute clear of Matt Cotton/Anthony Godden, but Andrew Hockridge/Rich Mills still lead the series with Cotton two points behind. [FULL REPORT]  

Suzuki Swift Sport Cup drivers occupy all the places in Rally 1, and it is in that series that a new champion has been crowned. Mark Gamble/Steve Link had suffered a puncture early on, but then took chunks of time throughout the day to lie second after the penultimate stage. [AUDIO]  

Gordon Nichol/Emma Morrison had led after Gamble’s puncture, but their event and Championship chances were dashed on the start line of the final stage. The clutch cable snapped, dropping them from first to fourth and gifting the title of inaugural Suzuki Swift Sport Cup to Gamble. [FULL REPORT]  

News, championship points, reports from the stages, photos and more audio interviews with the top drivers are available at


Posted: September 30, 2008 9:21 PM

Following his Peruvian adventure when he tackled the Incas Rally last week, Kick Energy rally driver Steve Perez returned to the fast Yorkshire forests to record his second successive victory on the Trackrod National Rally which comprised the penultimate round of the 2008 MSA Pirelli Gravel Rally Championship.

Driving the Ford Focus WRC, the Chesterfield businessman, along with co driver Paul Spooner, made a steady start to the 75 stage mile event by posting third place overall on the opening stage in Housedale before moving up to second place behind defending ANCRO Champion Marcus Dodd as the crews headed for the service area at Pickering Showground.

Moving into the second loop of stages, Perez trailed Dodd by thirty seconds going into the final test but a combination of a concerted attack, coupled with Dodd suffering engine problems on the fourteen-mile Givendale stage, saw Perez sweep to victory and in doing so added to his win on the Yorkshire-based North Humberside Rally earlier in the year.

"I've won, Yorkshire has been very good to me this year! It was difficult in the narrow bits, and I was a bit too cautious early on, but it's great to take victory and maximum points but I feel very sorry for Marcus who suffered problems on the final stage. It was unusual not to see any donkeys or llamas on the stages after what happened in Peru!" said Steve at the finish.


Posted: September 30, 2008 9:17 PM

Steve Perez and Paul Spooner claimed the honours in the penultimate round of the Pirelli National Gravel Rally Championship as they won the Trackrod National Rally today (Saturday 27 September).

In their Ford Focus WRC, top seeds Perez/Spooner finished 40.2 seconds ahead of the Subaru Impreza WRC of Roger Duckworth and Mark Broomfield on the Pickering-based event to claim his first maximum points in the series this season.

"I've won, Yorkshire's been good to me!" Perez said. "It's great to take the victory and maximum points in the championship but it's unfortunate under the circumstances."

Early leaders Marcus Dodd and Andrew Bargery, who took charge after stage two, suffered some bad luck and a small setback to their championship title hopes when they retired on the final stage, the Givendale test, after the engine blew on their Hyundai Accent WRC. They had earlier been struggling with a misfire despite leading the pack.

Late entry Julian Reynolds and Patrick Walsh finished up third in their Subaru Impreza WRC after a trouble-free run followed by North Yorkshire driver Charlie Payne and co-driver Craig Thorley in their Mitsubishi Lancer WRC.

Production cup leader Nik Elsmore and his navigator Craig Drew claimed the spoils in the production category as well as winning class N4 in their Mitsubishi Evo 9 as they finished fifth overall 14 seconds ahead of the similar machine of Tony Thompson and Jon Dunning, who survived a full spin in stage eight.

Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson were seventh in their Hyundai Accent WRC after having a bit of trouble in stage three when they had no reverse and lost time at a chicane.

They were followed by the Subaru Impreza WRC of Alan Cookson and Julian Wilkinson in eighth whilst Harrogate pairing Michael and David Curtis were ninth in their Mitsubishi Evo 5 with Ian Tippett and Andy Rowe rounding up the top 10 in their Evo 6.

Andrew Coley and Dan Pearce took the honours in the Two-Wheel Drive Challenge after a problem-free run.

Other retirements included Marcus Dodd's father Harry and co-driver Richard Skinner, who bowed out after stage two with a mechanical problem on their Hyundai Accent WRC.

The result means the MSA Pirelli Gravel Rally Championship title remains in the balance heading into the final round, the Bulldog Rally, on Saturday 18 October, with the absent Jon Ingram, who withdrew from the event following his wife suffering a serious horse riding accident last weekend, leading Dodd by five points on dropped scores.

However, if Ingram contests the final event, he must finish no lower than second, if indeed Dodd wins the event, meaning a grandstand finish is set for this season's title chase.


Posted: September 30, 2008 9:15 PM

International Rally

National Rally:
Final Classification:
1, Steve Perez/Paul Spooner (Ford Focus WRC) 52:55.1
2, Roger Duckworth/Mark Broomfield (Subaru Impreza WRC) 53:35.3
3, Julian Reynolds/Patrick Walsh (Subaru Impreza WRC) 54:33.1
4, Charlie Payne/Craig Thorley (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC) 54:44.8
5, Nik Elsmore/Craig Drew (Mitsubishi Evo 9) 55:01.5
6, Tony Thompson/Jon Dunning (Mitsubishi Evo 9) 55:15.5
7, Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Hyundai Accent WRC) 55:40.8
8, Alan Cookson/Julian Wilkinson (Subaru Impreza WRC) 56:31.4
9, Michael Curtis/David Curtis (Mitsubishi Evo 5) 58:25.6
10, Ian Tippett/Andy Rowe (Mitsubishi Evo 6) 59:55.0

From twists and turns to flat out forests

Posted: September 24, 2008 8:38 AM

The stages of International Rally Yorkshire could not be more different from the previous round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, as asphalt gives way to ultra fast gravel for the first time since April.

Crews will return to the classic gravel stages after a five month break, during which three consecutive asphalt events have shaped the championship into yet another burgeoning classic. With five of the seven scoring opportunities counting towards the championship and sixty points still up for grabs, it is by no means over yet.

The narrow twisty and bumpy stages in Northern Ireland on the Ulster International Rally played host to round four of the Championship, where Mark Higgins and Rory Kennedy took their third straight victory, David Higgins and Ieuan Thomas preserving their overall lead by just two points.

David?s season alongside regular co-driver Ieuan Thomas has seen the development of his new Team Impreza and an early string of third places. Adapting to the new hatchback Subaru has been difficult, but each event has netted improvements in the performance and handling. Last year?s Rally Yorkshire saw him swap to an Impreza, taking third place. With the new N14 he will be hoping to improve and hang on to his championship lead.

Mark Higgins? hat-trick of rally wins looked unlikely at the start of the year, after an ill-fated foray in a Super 2000 car ended in engine failure. But it is testament to his determination that he re-signed with Atlas TEG Sport following a good 2007 season with the new-to-the-BRC family run team, taking a perfect 60 points on the three tarmac events. Second in 2007, he will have to pull out all the stops to take victory from his hard-charging rivals.

Guy Wilks? Irish Mitsubishi challenge was thwarted by a rear differential problem and subsequent off in Ireland . But he took the runner up spot behind triple Champion Higgins for the second time in as many events, with David Moynihan still standing in for Phil Pugh. The reigning champion?s season has not gone too well after a textbook start on the Pirelli. A total loss fire denied any points on the Jim Clark and a minor off cost him time with a broken wheel on the Isle of Man.

However, not only was Wilks the winner in Yorkshire in 2007, but he was the one who took three straight victories at the end of his title-winning season, results that bode well for his championship defence.

Gwyndaf Evans replaced Phillip Morrow at Mitsubishi, an unpopular move with some in the sport, although not through dislike of the ever cheerful Welshman. Contractual detail allowed the move, and Evans delivered third in Ulster , but in the intervening time after the Manx, Philip Morrow had joined Mark Higgins. The event turned into for a one-off appearance, though, budget constraints sidelining him in a difficult year.

Fellow Irishman Jonny Greer?s season has been consistent enough to put him in fourth place in the Championship after four rounds. An excellent achievement when you consider the three drivers ahead share five British Rally Championship crowns. His best result, a fifth place on the Jim Clark, was no mean feat either and he has not been outside the first eight all year, topping the standings in the Privateers Cup in his Mitsubishi.

Another revelation is James Wozencroft, although he has experience in the BRC above that of Greer, his switch to four wheel drive paid dividends on the first two tarmac events, taking a brace of fourth places. His Revolution Wheels backed Impreza won?t be quite the same again after the second Ulster stage though, rolling at around 100 miles per hour. He and Chris Ridge recovered after a brief visit to hospital, but carried the aches and pains of the high speed trauma as they hobbled around the service area.

Stepping up from the BRC?s support series come Scots Dale Robertson and Paul Beaton. Their self-prepared Mitsubishi Evo 6, now nearly ten years old, has not only been mainly trouble free, but apart from the Pirelli where they were forced to use Super Rally, has not been outside the top ten BRC finishers.

Brian 0?Mahony and John Higgins are another returning to the Championship, the Super 1600 Clio pilot struggling early on. The junior driver was consoled with a pair of sixth places on tarmac and is just two points off the MSA Junior Championship category lead.

Three teams, Team, Mitsubishi Motors UK and Revolution Wheels have registered drivers for round 5, Rally Yorkshire. In the battle for Teams? supremacy, Team leads by virtue of solid results by David Higgins and Hugh Evans. Second place position is currently Atlas TEG Sport?s but having elected not to nominated drivers on this event assists Mitsubishi Motors UK with Guy Wilks and team mate Gwyndaf Evans, just another four points further back. James Wozencroft is back in a Revolution Wheels team car after his huge shunt in Ireland . His team mate Rob Swann, who is fresh from success in Flanders will need to pull out all of the stops in the fight to catch up the others.

The prestigious Junior title is close with three scoring opportunities left, just eleven points separates the top six with Dane Niki Bjerg ahead of a scrap for second. The gap to O?Mahony and Nick Rowland, who share second, is a mere two points, Adam Gould is three further back and Irishman Martin McCormack is tantalisingly close, a point adrift. The biggest gap in the top six is to Jason Pritchard in sixth, four points away from the leading pack.

BHRC preview, round eight: Trackrod Historic Cup

Posted: September 18, 2008 5:23 PM

The final round of the Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship will take crews into the legendary Yorkshire forests for the Trackrod Historic Cup.
After three asphalt events, the BHRC returns to gravel stages for the eighth and final round of the season and, heading for Yorkshire, it is Steven Smith and Patrick Watts in the running for the overall title.
The size of the BHRC entry has inevitably been hit by the date clash with the McRae Stages, but the rally still promises to be a fitting finale to a fabulous season for historic rallying.

Category 1
Patrick Watts and Elgan Davies are expected to head the category one entry in their Sunbeam Tiger and know that only victory will keep them in with a chance of the BHRC crown. But the Tiger is well suited to the Yorkshire stages, so they will start favourites to bag category one spoils.

Leading the chase of the Tiger will be Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride in their Porsche 911, returning to the faithful yellow 911 after running their later 911 in category two on the recent Tour of Flanders. Joining Nutt in another 911 from the Team Tuthill stable will be Phil and Barbara Smith.
Likely to keep Nutt on his toes will be the Lotus Cortina of Bob Bean/Malcolm Smithson, while Neil Calvert/Arlene Cookson should cap a mighty season with another fine run in their Cortina.
Terry Cree and Richard Shores will make a welcome championship return in their Mini Cooper and are sure to be pacesetters in class B2, while class B1 will be a battle of the Hillman Imps. Geoff Taylor/Steve Greenhill will pit their Sunbeam Imp Sport against the Stiletto of Mike Barratt and Jody Watson, although if an entry from Gary and Jane Edgington is confirmed, they will start as likely B1 pacesetters.

Category 2
Category two is for the cars produced from 1968 to 1974 and Steven Smith and John Nichols head the title contest in their Porsche 911RS. Like Watts/Davies, they really need another maximum score to give themselves the best shot of taking the title. Ranged against them in C4 will be the 911RS of Tim Mason/Graham Wild, which will go well on Mason's local event.

Missing from the Escort ranks in class C5 will be defending champions David Stokes and Guy Weaver, following their major accident in Flanders. Instead, the Escorts of Rikki Proffitt/John Roberts and Belgian crew Stefaan Stouf/Joris Erard will challenge for C5 victory.

A fabulous entry in class C3 should deliver one of the biggest battles of the rally, with at least five potential class winners among the Escort Mk1 pack. Showing great pace over recent rallies have been the three XS Racing cars of Peter Smith/Russ Langthorne, Drew Wylie/Howard Pridmore and Andrew Siddall/Captain Thompson, but the return to the series of Russell Morgan/Martin Kenyon will set the C3 bar very high. Locals Robin Shuttleworth and Mark Midgley should also be in contention in what promises to be a mighty contest, while opposition to the Escorts comes from the Toyota Celica of Robert Close/Mike Reynolds. In C2, the Morgan/Kenyon junior team of Adam Morgan and Chris Kenyon will field their Escort Mk1.

Category 3
After a tremendous victory on the Tour of Flanders, the Ford Escort Mk2 of Darren Moon/John McNichol should be the car to beat on stages they know very well. However, the BHRC debut of Nick Elliott/Dave Price in their Escort Mk2 could give Moon a major battle on his home event.
Adding great quality to the D5 entry will be more Escorts for Simon Tysoe/Rob Dyson, Dick Slaughter/Geoff Dearing and Charlie Taylor/Steve Bielby along with the Vauxhall Chevette HSR of Roger Kilty/Lynette Banks.
Local aces Steve Magson/Geoff Atkinson return to contest class D3 in their Opel Ascona, going up against the Escorts of Polly Patti/Chris Dewsnap and Keith Stones/Tom Hughes, while Pat Anderson/Tom Mansfield run their Talbot Sunbeam in class D2.

The Trackrod Historic Cup starts at 7.50am on Saturday 27 September from Pickering Showground.

Entry Lists available

Posted: September 17, 2008 3:17 PM

O’Mahony and Higgins set for unfamiliar territory on International Rally Yorkshire

Posted: September 17, 2008 3:00 PM

O’Mahony and Higgins set for unfamiliar territory on International Rally Yorkshire

Irish crew Brian O’Mahony and John Higgins will venture onto unfamiliar territory when they contest round five of the British Rally Championship (BRC), the International Rally Yorkshire, next Saturday (27 September).

County Cork driver O’Mahony and County Mayo co-driver Higgins will be back in action on the gravel in their OM Concrete Products and MIS-backed Super 1600 Renault Clio on the 110-mile Pickering-based event, which they have never contested before.

The pair have notched up two consecutive solid results across the tarmac in the BRC, finishing an impressive seventh overall in the Rally Isle of Man in July and 14th overall in the Ulster International Rally last month.

But now they are aiming for a simple class win as they head into the unknown classic loose stages of the North Yorkshire forests.

“We’ve only done the recce before for Rally Yorkshire, but that was two years ago so we’re not very familiar with the stages at all,” 23-year-old O’Mahony said.

“The stages are probably too quick for us and our inexperience over the stages means we’re just going to target a class victory.”

The duo competed on the Fisher Engineering Lakeland Stages on September 13 as a test prior to International Rally Yorkshire to get to the bottom of an engine problem they’ve been experiencing on the Clio and it proved useful as they discovered the issue was a faulty air temperature sensor.

“We’ve finally found out what was causing the problems in the engine and we’ve changed the air temperature sensor now so it should all be sorted for Rally Yorkshire and we’re looking forward to it,” O’Mahony added.

“The test was also useful to help us get used to a gravel surface again as it’s been a while since we’ve competed on the loose.”

O’Mahony goes into the event ninth overall in the BRC overall drivers’ standings whilst Higgins is eighth in the co-drivers table. O’Mahony is joint second in the Junior Rally Championship and joint second in the Class R3 drivers’ points whilst Higgins is second in the Class R3 co-drivers’ leaderboard.

The pair will start at number 11.

Fordes to contest International Rally Yorkshire together for the first time

Posted: September 17, 2008 2:59 PM

Galway brothers Ross and Arron Forde will contest the International Rally Yorkshire for the first time together next Saturday (27 September).

The Irish crew will be back in action in the penultimate round of the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup in their Global Group Ireland and BCC Group-backed Suzuki Swift across the gravel on the 110-mile Pickering-based event.

They head into the rally following three runs across a more familiar tarmac surface and after a long-awaited victory in the previous round of the single-make series on the Ulster International Rally last month.

Not only have the Forde’s never competed across the classic loose stages of the North Yorkshire forests together, but the task is made all the harder for the pair by the fact it will only be driver Ross’ fifth time out on gravel.

Co-driver Arron has navigated across the North Yorkshire stages before for his uncle Frank Cunningham in the historic series and Ross insists he’s not going to be fazed by the unknown territory.

“We’re going to be going for it 100% and look for that second victory,” the 24-year-old said. “We were on the pace on the gravel on the Pirelli International Rally in April so hopefully we can get a good result.

“Arron is familiar with the stages which will help a little but I’ve only ever been to Yorkshire as service crew and although I don’t have a lot of experience on the gravel I’m confident enough going into the event but I know there’ll be some stiff competition out there from the British guys who are more experienced.

“The championship is still open and it’s going to be interesting without superally rules on the event.”

Going into the rally, the Fordes are third overall in the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup and still within reach of the title.

With dropped scores, Ross is also joint first in the Junior Swift Sport Cup with Danish junior champion Niki Bjerg.

The pair will start at number 32 in their Galway Mini Centre-prepared Swift.

List of Entries Received

Posted: September 10, 2008 9:39 PM

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