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Motor Sport News - - Historics - RE­SULTS BHRC, round 1/8, Red Kite Stages, Fe­bru­ary 21 Pho­tos: Writ­tle Pho­to­graphic

ason Pritchard and Phil Clarke car­ried on where they left off last sea­son with vic­tory on the Red Kite His­toric Stages, the open­ing round of the Min­tex MSA Bri­tish His­toric Rally Cham­pi­onship. Pritchard and Clarke led from the start as rain, fog and mud made it a tough day in the forests around Llan­dovery. Their Ford Es­cort Mk2 never fal­tered and they won by 13s af­ter a big fight with the sim­i­lar car of Nick El­liott and Dave Price.

The other cat­e­gories were just as hard fought. A lack of re­verse gear on the fi­nal stage for John Per­rott and Keaton Wil­liams (Ford Es­cort Mk1) cost them two min­utes at a hair­pin and left the way open for Stan­ley Orr and Guy Weaver to win Cat­e­gory 2 af­ter a day-long bat­tle. Mean­while, Cat­e­gory 1 was also set­tled on the fi­nal stage as Bob and Dale Gib­bons (Ford Cortina Mk2) took vic­tory when the hard-chas­ing Bob Bean and Mal­colm Smith­son had an elec­tri­cal fail­ure stop their Lotus Cortina in Caio.

“That’s an ideal start to the sea­son; no dra­mas at all, just neat and tidy,” said Pritchard, who went five sec­onds up on El­liott through Crychan and Route 60. But El­liott pared the gap back to just two sec­onds in Caio and it was all to play for as they headed back to Crychan to start the se­cond loop. Un­for­tu­nately, a stall and an en­gine that was slow to fire cost El­liott around 15s and Pritchard added seven more in Route 60.

POS DRIVER /CO-DRIVER

Don­nie Macdon­ald/an­drew Fal­coner Dale Robert­son/stu­art Loudon Quintin Milne/sean Don­nelly Mark Mccul­loch/ Michael Hendry Garry Pear­son/ Rob­bie Mitchell Jimmy Christie/ David Macfadyen Reay Mackay/ Robert Macdon­ald Steven Ron­ald­son/gor­don Chalmers Bruce Mccom­bie/ Michael Coutts Scott Mccom­bie/ Mark Fisher

But all that was to come. The first stage at Meall Mor south of In­ver­ness is al­ways an un­known quan­tity. There are parts of the for­est that rarely see the sun, and de­pend­ing on who you spoke to, it was ice all the way or 50-50 be­tween ice and gravel. This wasn’t a com­pe­ti­tion, it was a bat­tle for sur­vival.

Us­ing the same tyres he used to win a snow­bound Bor­der Coun­ties Rally three years ago, Quintin Milne set the pace in his Mit­subishi Lancer E9 but by only a se­cond from Bruce Mccom­bie, with Mark Mccul­loch a fur­ther two sec­onds adrift. As for the top seeds, run­ning first car on the road, Jock Arm­strong was 25th fastest, over a minute down on Milne. It was the same for the num­ber two seed: Mike Faulkner was 35th and John Mac­crone 41st. Con­di­tions were no re­specter of skill or brav­ery here.

The next stage at Mill­buie had less

Cham­pi­ons Clarke (l) and Pritchard (r)

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