BOWEN RE­COV­ERS FROM EARLY TROU­BLE TO HEAD NW STAGES

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Phil James Re­sults Pho­tos: pro-rally.co.uk, Jm­spho­to­graphic.com

Or­gan­iser: Mo­tor­sport (North West) Ltd. When: Fe­bru­ary 5/6 Where: Black­pool Cham­pi­onship: ANCC; NETRC; ANWCC; SD34 Starters: 90 Stages: 24

Si­mon Bowen and Richard Robin­son re­cov­ered from an in­aus­pi­cious start to fi­nally win in their ex-pet­ter Sol­berg Subaru Im­preza WRC S11.

The vic­tory looked un­likely with the pair mired in 12th place af­ter Fri­day’s open­ing leg, but trou­ble for oth­ers helped them claw the deficit back.

With top seeds Tony Bardy and Neil Col­man ar­riv­ing late for scru­ti­neer­ing and hav­ing to run their Ford Fo­cus WRC01 last on the road, it was Bowen who was first through the open­ing Lytham stage. That left him sweep­ing a path through the leaf-strewn woods in tor­ren­tial rain leav­ing him to be­moan his tyre choice: “I put in­ter­me­di­ates on and I should have had wets,” Bowen said.

At least he was still in the rally: John Stone and Carl Wil­liamson’s run fin­ished at the end of that 1.7-mile opener when the al­ter­na­tor on their Ford Fi­esta S2500 failed.

Head­ing the stand­ings fol­low­ing the open­ing pair of Lytham tests were Mark and An­drew Con­stan­tine in their Vaux­hall Corsa, three sec­onds up on Tris­tan Pye and An­drew Fal­coner’s Im­preza. Bardy was a fur­ther three sec­onds in ar­rears and tied for third with Ian and Kathryn For­gan in their two-litre Ford Ka.

Fri­day night’s short sched­ule was com­pleted with a pair of three-mile tests on Black­pool Prom­e­nade, by the end of which Bardy was es­tab­lished as overnight leader. He had a six-se­cond lead over Ar­ron Newby and Rob Fagg, who had set fastest times at both venues on their de­but with their new B13-spec Im­preza. Pye was next, his time be­ing matched by Charles and Lind­say Shaw, who had a set of re­moulds on their Im­preza. The Con­stan­tine brothers were run­ning in fifth place.

More rain came on Satur­day when Fleet­wood Wa­ter­front, Docks, Wee­ton and Black­pool Prom­e­nade made the bulk of the mileage. A break in the weather came with a fur­ther visit to Lytham, but tim­ing is­sues forced the can­cel­la­tion of one of the two stages.

Bowen started the day as he meant to go on with fastest time on each of the open­ing six stages and left SS10, Wee­ton 2, with a 21s ad­van­tage ahead of Bardy. Newby, Pye, Shaw and Con­stan­tine filled the next four places ahead of Damian Cole and Paul Mor­ris, who headed Class D in their Es­cort Mk2. Chris Ford/ Michael Gil­bey were eighth but were soon to re­tire their Im­preza WRC with trans­mis­sion is­sues. An­drew Var­ley/ Paul Wild (Es­cort Cos­worth) and An­drew Fen­wick/an­drew Roug­head (Pro­ton S2000) com­pleted the top 10.

Bardy then started to slowly chip away at Bowen’s lead un­til a mo­ment of mad­ness at the Docks led him to break two wheels, col­lect three punc­tures and pick up a stage max­i­mum for good mea­sure. Newby, en­joy­ing a trou­ble­free run, slot­ted into se­cond place leav­ing Bardy to fend off Pye, who sur­vived a few mi­nor offs, for third.

With Shaw al­ready out with clutch prob­lems, Cole claimed fifth on the fi­nal stage af­ter Lee Hast­ings and Julie Mcguire slipped to eighth as they strug­gled to restart their Im­preza af­ter the fuel pump cut out. Fen­wick en­joyed a trou­ble-free run to fin­ish sixth on his North West Stages de­but. The Con­stan­tines ran out of fuel in sight of the fi­nal con­trol and had to push their car the fi­nal few yards to claim sev­enth.

Mark and Ed Bent­ley had noth­ing more than a punc­ture on Wee­ton to con­tend with as they fin­ished ninth ahead of fel­low Im­preza in­cum­bents Steve Har­vey and Andy Fal­coner, who sur­vived mo­ments at Fleet­wood and Lytham. Break­ing a ball joint on the fi­nal stage robbed Var­ley of a cer­tain top 10 fin­ish.

Class A win­ners Stephen Beth­waite and Ann Forster brought their Vaux­hall Nova home 17th over­all with con­cerns about im­mi­nent sus­pen­sion fail­ure. Fin­ish­ing just be­hind them were Alis­tair Hutchin­son and St John Dykes, who claimed Class C awards in their Re­nault Clio LPG. Suzuki Swift pair­ing Gra­ham and Toby Mar­shall took the Class F prizes whilst Class L hon­ours went to Clive Allford and Tom Thomp­son in their Land Rover Wolf XD.

1 Si­mon Bowen/ Richard Robin­son (Subaru Im­preza WRC S11) 1hr30m54s; 2 Ar­ron Newby/ Rob Fagg (Im­preza) +0m32s; 3 Tony Bardy/ Neil Col­man (Ford Fo­cus WRC01) +1m27s; 4 Tris­tan Pye/an­drew Fal­coner (Im­preza); 5 Damian Cole/ Paul Mor­ris (Ford Es­cort Mk2); 6 An­drew Fen­wick/an­drew Roug­head (Pro­ton S2000); 7 Mark Con­stan­tine/an­drew Con­stan­tine (Vaux­hall Corsa); 8 Lee Hast­ings/julie Mcguire (Im­preza); 9 Mark Bent­ley/ Ed Bent­ley (Subaru Im­preza); 10 Steve Har­vey/andy Fal­coner (Im­preza). Class win­ners: Stephen Beth­waite/ann Forster (Vaux­hall Nova); Con­stan­tine/ Con­stan­tine; Alis­tair Hutchin­son/ St John Dykes (Re­nault Clio LPG); Cole/ Mor­ris; Pye/ Fal­coner; Gra­ham Mar­shall/toby Mar­shall (Suzuki Swift); Clive Allford/tom Thomp­son (Land Rover Wolf XD).

The gen­eral sec­re­tary of the MSA has writ­ten to all kart club chair­men and se­ries co-or­di­na­tors warn­ing of the prob­lem of cy­ber bul­ly­ing.

Si­mon Blunt’s com­ments fol­low a re­cent in­ci­dent where a karter was vil­i­fied on so­cial me­dia for ap­par­ently caus­ing a col­li­sion with an­other racer.

He said that kart clubs need to play an im­por­tant role in avoid­ing such abuse and that the MSA is pre­pared to in­ter­vene in ex­treme cases.

In the let­ter, Blunt said: “I am deeply con­cerned about the po­ten­tial con­se­quences of in­ap­pro­pri­ate and un­ac­cept­able use of so­cial me­dia within our sport. We all know the fan­tas­tic power of so­cial me­dia as a tool to pro­mote our sport, our clubs, our vol­un­teers and, of course, our com­peti­tors.

“I am de­ter­mined that the MSA must lead by set­ting a bench­mark of ac­cept­able be­hav­iour on­line for ev­ery­one di­rectly and in­di­rectly in­volved in our sport across the UK.

“Abuse, ag­gres­sion, in­tim­i­da­tion, or bul­ly­ing must not be tol­er­ated at

Bowen bat­tled back from 12th on stage one Leg­end Fires Northwest Stages Newby gave his Im­preza an im­pres­sive de­but in Black­pool

MSA has re­spect cam­paign in place

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