Metro 6R4 crew Mor­ris and Hark­ness see off mod­ern ma­chin­ery in tricky Bly­ton con­di­tions

Jack Neal Me­mo­rial Rally

Motor Sport News - - Historics - By Peter Scherer Re­sults

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.

Mor­ris/hark­ness gave 6R4 a pop­u­lar and rare vic­tory

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