FURZELAND DOMINATES IN DORSET
Tappin, Le Coadou and Andy Vey/ Richard Fletcher (Mitsubishi Lancer E4) fought hard over the other podium places while four crews disputed fifth place: Darryl Morris/steve Gully (Escort Mk2) held Tim and James Self (Impreza S14) at bay by one second, while Geoff Bennett/john Billet (Escort) tied with James and Ben Harvey (Impreza).
Bovington’s notorious trackside concrete tank traps also claimed victims among frontrunners; second seeds Stevie Leonard/sion Humphreys hit one on stage two, retiring their Escort immediately.
Sunday, day two, dawned bright and dry, making for a consistently high pace. “The stages are beautiful: the concrete surface has so much grip but we need to keep the pressure on,” said Furzeland. Behind, the battle for second place intensified; Vey clung tenaciously to second but came close to disaster on stage nine. The Lancer E4 entered service trailing front and rear bodywork after hitting a concrete tank trap; Vey had to climb into the boot to hammer out a wing that was fouling a wheel. “We clouted the front and it swung the car round. At least we ended facing the right way,” he joked nervously. His time loss moved Le Coadou up to second but he also had problems. After a wrong tyre choice on day one, his Corolla now had a propshaft vibration.
Over the closing miles Furzeland could not relax as Tappin went on a charge. He set equal fastest time on stage 11 but could not catch Le Coadou, even though the Corolla’s tyres went off badly on the last test.
Vey took a well-deserved fourth ahead of Harvey, who battled through the day with his navigator suffering from a bad head cold. After Self retired on stage seven and Bennett went two tests later, both with mechanical issues, Morris/gully finished sixth and claimed the prize for top Jersey crew. Their Escort benefited from new tyres and brakes but, they said, they could have done with several extra gears on the long straights.
Drive of the day came from Ben Parker/alf Chanter. The Honda Civic pairing used a completely standard engine and survived breaking their exhaust – by clipping it on – on the penultimate stage to finish ninth overall and first front-wheel-drive car.
The R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Championship got underway for the first time at the Bovington Stages, with Roger Moran and Ashley Trimble establishing a safe pace to take a comfortable win while others fell by the wayside. It was Moran’s first run in the Escort Mk1.