Metro 6R4 crew Morris and Harkness see off modern machinery in tricky Blyton conditions
Jack Neal Memorial Rally
Organiser: Clitheroe and District Motor Club When: February 20 Where: Blyton Park, Gainsborough Championships: ANEMMC; ANWCC; SD34 MSG; EMAMC Starters: 62 Stages: 10
Showers and tyre choice played a major part as Tom Morris and Colin Harkness’s Metro 6R4 held off Adrian Spencer/jeff Simm’s Subaru Impreza for a four-second victory in tricky conditions at Blyton Park.
Spencer led from the start but a half-spin on stage three wiped out his eight-second lead and dropped him to third behind Graeme Bell/ Russ Radford’s Proton Millington and the Mark Roberts/stephen Landen Ford Escort WRC.
Spencer recovered quickly and was only one second off Bell’s lead after four stages, with Morris and Roberts in contention. But Bell was caught out as the rain fell and spun into a field on stage six, handing the lead back to Spencer with a three-second cushion over Morris.
Although Roberts was still close in third, John Indri/steve Mcnulty’s Ford Fiesta R5 began to threaten too, having been fired up by merging with Spencer more than once.
A spin on stage seven then left Spencer chasing again. “There was just no grip,” he said.
Morris was out in front, 10 seconds clear, and despite a determined fightback from Spencer, it was Morris’ victory.
Indri revelled in the damp conditions and pushed his new mount to the limit to secure a solid third, after Roberts blew his engine on stage seven.
After battling all day with Class 3 rivals Mike English/ Andy Robinson (Escort) and Rob Hughes/sion Cunniff, Andrew Barker/steve Mort were set for fourth in their Citroen C2 R2, but were pipped overall by Lyndon Barton/ Janice Moore’s BMW 1M Coupe on the last stage, while David Longfellow/vaughan Graham’s Impreza ousted English for sixth in the final stages.
Crank sensor failure robbed John Savage/paul Rhodes’ Mini in Class 1 after leading the way for six stages. Alex Mill/ryan Watkins’ Nissan Micra took the win by 1m21s from Ian and Mags Kelly’s similar car.
Michael Farmer/bruce Lindsay’s Ford Focus was the Class 2 pacesetter until it dumped its oil on stage three and left David Duff/harry Oliver’s Escort clear by eight seconds from Craig Stevens’ Ford Fiesta at the end.
English and Hughes followed Barker home in Class 3 and, despite suffering engine failure as they finished the last stage, Steve and Jack Tilburn’s Escort retained second in Class Four behind Barton.