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Christmas Stages (Croft) - 28 Dec 08

Posted: December 29, 2008 5:28 PM - 5509 Hits

Specsavers Christmas Stages Rally


Posted: December 29, 2008 5:28 PM

In his first rally for six months Penrith driver Paul Bird came back in fine fashion to claim runner up spot in the Specsavers Christmas Stages Rally held at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.

Driving the Vent Axia and Kick Energy sponsored Subaru WRC, Bird and Northallerton co driver Ian Windress were up against some of the top drivers in the UK but after a steady start, which involved having no handbrake for the first three stages, the pair started to climb the leader board as the day progressed.

As darkness fell Bird knew that a big effort was needed to bump himself up the order and the former double winner of the event in 2002 and 2003 managed to do just that to snatch runner up spot by just three seconds ahead of the Nissan Sunny GTI-R of Tony Bardy.

However Bird had no answer for runaway victor Kevin Procter (Subaru) who led the event from start to finish, but despite conceding victory Bird was reasonably happy with his performance.

"It's been so long since I sat in a rally car I'd forgotten what half the switches did and when we sorted out a couple of minor problems we managed to set some decent times.  I need some more time in the car but I'm happy enough with second place today and all credit to Kevin, he was in a class of his own all day and thoroughly deserves his win.  The plan is now to come back to Croft in three weeks time to do the Cartersport Jack Frost Stages Rally and then I'll have a venture out on gravel somewhere in readiness for Rallye Sunseeker in Bournemouth.  What a great little event Ian Jackson and his team put on at Croft and I couldn't believe the size of the crowd!"


Posted: December 29, 2008 5:23 PM


Posted: December 29, 2008 5:16 PM

1 Kevin Procter/Dave Bellerby - Subaru Impreza WRC - 39.20s
2 Paul Bird/Ian Windress - Subaru Impreza WRC - 40.34s
3 Tony Bardy/Reg Smith - Nissan Sunny GTI-R - 40.37s
4 Ashley Field/Janice Hooley - Darrian T90 - 40.39s
5 Mark Jasper/Don Whyatt - Metro 6R4 - 40.48s
6 Ryan Champion/Carol Rosendale - Subaru Impreza - 40.52s
7 Charlie Payne/Tom Hughes - Mitsubishi Lancer Evo - 40.55s
8 Steve Hogg/Phil Short - Subaru Impreza - 41.26s
9 Chris Wise/Tracey Taylor-West - Metro 6R4 - 41.42s
10 Darren Docherty/Michael Wilkinson - Subaru Impreza - 42.56s

Full Results


Posted: December 19, 2008 9:29 AM

Reading like a 'who's who' of British Rallying, perm any one of the top ten to win next weekend's Specsavers Christmas Stages Rally which takes place at Croft Circuit, North Yorkshire on Sunday 28th December 2008.

With Northallerton Automobile Club once again assembling a capacity ninety-car entry for the annual festive feast around the North's premier motorsports facility just south of Darlington, the emphasis is on quality as much as quantity as no less than six previous winners are set to do battle.

Defending champions John Stone and Lee Carter will head over from Blackburn to contest the 45 stage mile event in their recently rebuilt MG Metro 6R4 after a titanic battle last year but if anything, they face even stiffer competition this year.

Former National Champion Paul Bird from Penrith is coming out of retirement specially to try to win the title for a third year since the event has been held at Croft and he will be at the wheel of his Subaru WRC alongside Northallerton's Ian Windress as he seeks to add to his 2002 and 2003 titles.

Scotch Corner driver Tony Bardy sampled the winner's champagne in 2005 and he's determined to do so once again with Reg Smith from Richmond on the maps in their venerable Nissan Sunny Gti-R.

One driver who is making his debut at Croft is three-times winner, Charlie Payne from Ripon, who won in 1992, 1994 and 1999 when the event was held on the military ranges around Catterick. Driving the unique Mitsubishi Lancer WRC, Payne is teaming up with regular co driver Craig Thorley's grandson, Tom Hughes from York, who is just sixteen years old.

Leeming Bar all-rounder, Kevin Procter, won the event ten years ago on the ranges in a Ford Sierra Cosworth but despite a number of attempts, the part time Rallycross driver is desperate to win at his beloved Croft and once more has seconded fellow top rallycrosser Dave Bellerby from Northallerton in the co driver's seat of their Subaru WRC.

Whilst not expected to be battling for overall honours, York rallying legend Yuk Hodgson took the win back in 1985 and this year will be out in his Ford Escort Mk1 along with daughter Jemma.

Hoping to add to their double victory on the Jack Frost Stages at Croft in both 2007 and 2008 will be Pickhill crew Chris Wise and Tracey Taylor-West whereby a Christmas Stages victory would look good on their CV, so too it would on top British Championship driver Ryan Champion's whereby the Castleton driver is gunning for victory in the ex Pierro Liatti World Championship Subaru Impreza 555.

Riponian Rally winner Tim Pearcey from Thirsk is another top driver in his Mitsubishi Lancer whereas Keith Taylor (Subaru) and Mark Jasper (MG Metro 6R4) round out the top ten meaning any one of these drivers really does stand a reasonable chance of victory!

"It's got to be the best ever entry for the Specsavers Christmas Stages Rally!" enthused Clerk of the Course Ian Jackson. "To have the likes of top British Championship runners on gravel squaring off with some of the top tarmac drivers in the country is a mouth-watering prospect and one that I think everyone is really looking forward to."

But it's not just about the top ten as the quality continues right down the order and through the classes. In the two-wheel drive class, Stockton driver Keith Davison is favourite in his Darrian T90 but can expect stiff opposition from the similar car of Ashley Field as well as Scotsman Davy Hughes (Ford Escort) and the BMW Mini of John Cressey. Richmond's Mark Constantine starts as favourite in the 1400cc class in his Corsa and the 1600cc class should be an epic battle with the likes of Malcolm Davey (Ford Escort) and Barry Lindsey (Peugeot) in the mix.

Other local drivers expected to do well on the event include West Rounton's Nigel Keen (Ford Escort), Eppleby driver Alistair Hutchinson in his LPG-powered Renault Clio and John Gaskin from Chop Gate in his Subaru.

Following Procter in changing disciplines for the day are a number of other top British Rallycross drivers who are taking to the stages. Gosforth driver David Binks joins fellow Tynesiders Michael Boak and Brian Jukes whereas Bedale teenager Joe Cunningham also is set to sample his first rally.

An interesting entry has come in the shape of runner up in the DDMC Northern Sports and Saloon Car Championship, David Cox, who swaps his race suit for rally overalls as he drives his Rover 25 in aid of Breast Cancer Care so please give generously.

Utilising all of the tarmac roads around the popular North East venue, a massive crowd is one again expected as the first of the ninety cars gets underway at 09.15 with the first of eight stages which will run into darkness.

Admission costs £8.00 per adult with accompanied children under 15 admitted free and gates open at 8.00am. Entry lists costing 50p are available from the Scout Tent with all proceeds going directly to Northallerton Scouts.

Entry List

Posted: December 19, 2008 9:27 AM

Top Ten 1, John Stone/Lee Carter - MG Metro 6R4
2, Paul Bird/Ian Windress - Subaru Impreza WRC
3, Chris Wise/Tracey Taylor-West - MG Metro 6R4
4, Tony Bardy/Reg Smith - Nissan Sunny GTRI
5, Kevin Procter/Dave Bellerby - Subaru Impreza WRC
6, Charlie Payne/Tom Hughes - Mitsubishi Evo WRC
7, Ryan Champion/Carol Rosendale - Subaru Impreza
8, Tim Pearcey/Richard Nicholls - Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9
9, Keith Taylor/Steve Rogers - Subaru Impreza
10, Mark Jasper/Don Whyatt - MG Metro 6R4

Full Entry List on:

Details / Regulations

Posted: December 12, 2008 4:23 PM

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