BTRDA ROUND TWO: MAL­COLM WIL­SON PAYNE WINS Wil­liams in Fi­esta R1 Dou­ble Simp­son

Cruel last-stage luck for David Wright hands re­demp­tion to Char­lie Payne. By Jack Benyon (AND KEEPS IT)

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Steve Simp­son and Pa­trick Walsh ex­e­cuted dou­ble duty over the week­end, mak­ing the 250-mile trip from the Mal­colm Wil­son Rally to the Tour of Epynt. Simp­son swapped the Ford Fi­esta S2000 used on the Mal­colm Wil­son for a Subaru Im­preza WRC and the jour­ney was worth­while as he took the vic­tory ( see re­port page 33). Carl Wil­liamson also made the same trip to sit with Richard Clews in a Subaru Im­preza. They man­aged a top 10 fin­ish.

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fter more fi­nal-stage drama in an ex­cit­ing start to the BTRDA sea­son, David Wright lost a lead he’d held for most of the Mal­colm Wil­son Rally, with Char­lie Payne and Carl Wil­liamson pounc­ing to win.

Wright lost last year’s Grizedale Stages by just one se­cond and he had been on course to right that wrong be­fore a drive­shaft failed on the fi­nal test of the rally. It cost him the 13s lead he headed into the fi­nal test with.

Payne and Wil­liamson had opened the sea­son by spray­ing the win­ners’ cham­pagne at the Cam­brian, only for Luke Fran­cis and co-driver John H Roberts to query a time, which gave them a se­cond and earned them the vic­tory over­all. So Payne knew the heartache Wright felt af­ter his Grizedale loss.

The crews en­dured some strange con­di­tions; on the face of it the weather ap­peared dry but some of the Cum­brian stages were muddy on the top, catch­ing out lots of driv­ers. Fog also played a part.

Con­nor Mccloskey opened up with a stage win, de­spite stick­ing to his pre-sea­son mantra of not tar­get­ing wins in the se­ries early on in a new car. The Mini WRC is one of the more pop­u­lar sights on na­tional ral­ly­ing stages, but the Derek Mcgeehan car went no fur­ther when Mccloskey caught a pud­dle and aquaplained, beach­ing him. Payne suf­fered a sim­i­lar fate but es­caped, leav­ing Mccloskey to credit “fa­mous Ul­ster luck” – or lack of it – for the off.

Fran­cis was also gone af­ter ser­vice, which came af­ter SS3. He ground to a halt when a con­rod came out of the side of the en­gine and the erst­while cham­pi­onship leader was out of the ac­tion.

All that left Wright in the lead af­ter three stages, hav­ing set the quick­est time through two of them – and he’d had no brakes for the first half of the stage that he wasn’t quick­est on. The driver was mak­ing the most of his home knowl­edge. How­ever, it was only six sec­onds back to Payne, and Wright knew he would have to push to keep the York­shire­man, who has been a dom­i­nant force in the se­ries since his win on the Track­rod Rally last year, be­hind.

Payne re­ported a few “mo­ments” in the morn­ing to sit se­cond – bizarrely fin­ish­ing se­cond on ev­ery spe­cial stage of the morn­ing, while Stephen Petch was through into third. The lat­ter strug­gled through the morn­ing with clutch is­sues. With­out the clutch and sub­se­quent launch con­trol the Ford Fi­esta R5+ was los­ing bucket loads of time to the World Cars, ef­fec­tively bump start­ing the car on most of the morn­ing’s stages.

Paul Benn was back out in the Ford Fo­cus WRC02 he used on the Cam­brian last year and which Euan Thor­burn cam­paigned on var­i­ous rounds in early 2015, and go­ing well on his lo­cal BTRDA rally. Wayne Sisson rounded off the top five be­hind Benn in a very strong show­ing, still in a rel­a­tively new car – a Mit­subishi Lancer E10 B13 – along with the added learn­ing of new MRF tyres. Co-driver Neil Shanks re­ported that the cov­ers were work­ing well.

The short Thorns­gill stage took Wright just 1m06s to com­plete, putting an­other two sec­onds be­tween he and Payne. Petch was se­cond quick­est though, be­fore a ra­di­a­tor leak on the road sec­tion emp­tied eight litres of fluid onto the Cum­brian B-roads. He was his usual chirpy self at ser­vice

RF1.4: Do­minic Hodge/stefan Arndt (Nis­san Mi­cra) RF 1.6: Richard Wells/calvin Houldsworth (VW Polo GTI) 1400C: Gor­don Alexan­der/sa­man­tha Alexan­der (MG ZR) 1400S: Mat Smith/ Derek Carn­forth (Pro­ton Sa­tria) H1: Robin Shut­tle­worth/ Ron­nie Roug­head (Ford Es­cort Mex­ico Mk1) H2: Dave For­rest/char­lie Carter (Es­cort Mk2) H3: Steve Ban­nis­ter/ Kim Gray (Es­cort Mk2) N3: Cameron Davies/ Lee Tay­lor (Ford Fi­esta ST) NR4: Paul Davy/ Roger Al­lan (Subaru Im­preza) B10: James Hutch­ings/james Hood (Vaux­hall Nova) B11: Boyd Ker­shaw/ Bryan Hull (Es­cort Mk2) B12: Phil Bur­ton/ Mal Cap­stick (Es­cort Mk2) B13: Wayne Sisson/ Neil Shanks (Mit­subishi Lancer E9) B14: Charles Payne/carl Wil­liamson (Ford Fi­esta) Sil­ver Star: Ker­shaw/ Hull Pro­duc­tion Cup: Sam Bilham/ Richard Crozier (Fi­esta ST) His­toric Cup: For­rest/carter Rally First: Hodge/arndt ST Tro­phy: Cameron Davies/ Lee Tay­lor MG ZR Rally Chal­lenge: Gor­don and Sa­man­tha Alexan­der Ju­nior driver: Davies Ju­nior co-driver: Max Free­man Se­nior driver: Phil Pickard (Subaru Im­preza) Se­nior co-driver: Mal Cap­stick Lady driver: Emily Re­tal­lick Lady co-driver: Sa­man­tha Alexan­der

track­ing and power steer­ing prob­lems with his Honda Civic. This al­lowed Done­gal man Brian Bro­gan in his Ford Es­cort to surge to the front, with Adrian Hether­ing­ton (Es­cort) se­cond and Alan Ring third in his newly ac­quired Ford Fi­esta R5+.

Hether­ing­ton was trou­bled a lit­tle by bits of the fuel tank lin­ing foam get­ting into the injection sys­tem, but seemed to lose lit­tle time. He did shed a cou­ple of sec­onds though when he came upon Eu­gene Mee­gan’s stranded BMW 1M. The BMW had suf­fered a spin and then the bon­net flew open and smashed the wind­screen. Mee­gan kept go­ing, but lost a lot of time and then re­tired.

The Satur­day af­ter­noon stages con­sisted of two trips over the fa­mous Ring stage and two runs at the dif­fi­cult Dun­wor­ley test. On the first visit to Ring, both Kelly and Cronin beat the bo­gey time. Jen­nings spun his Subaru at a hair­pin near the har­bour lo­ca­tion, and sud­denly Kelly was lead­ing by over 40s. Jen­nings slipped from se­cond to third and Cronin was pro­moted.

On the se­cond Dun­wor­ley stage Fisher set a fastest time, pos­si­bly spurred on by los­ing 6s to Cronin on Ring.

On the se­cond visit to Ring, Kelly was again fastest, but Fisher was se­cond fastest, by just a frac­tion from Jen­nings and Cronin. Then on the se­cond visit to Dun­wor­ley, the last stage of the day, the Fisher Fi­esta flew off the road at the end of a 600-yard straight and it was game over.

For­tu­nately nei­ther Fisher nor his co-driver Gor­don Noble suf­fered any in­juries.

Kelly thus held a 50s lead over Cronin at the overnight halt as he was fastest through stage eight. Jen­nings was third, a fur­ther 20s back. He ad­mit­ted that his Pro­driveap­pointed Subaru en­gi­neer had set the map­ping on his Im­preza to suit the wet Gal­way Rally and wasn’t able to make it to West Cork, so the car re­mained on the wet weather set­tings. It could have been the rea­son for at least two stalls.

Wes­ley Patterson re­tired his Ford Es­cort, hav­ing lost 10 min­utes with an ECU prob­lem.

Through the fi­nal day’s six stages Kelly made no mis­takes, al­though there was a small panic when his Fo­cus WRC needed quite a quan­tity of coolant be­fore the fi­nal stage.

Cronin’s Citroen sur­vived a penul­ti­mate stage punc­ture, which cost about 20s, but oth­er­wise had no prob­lems. Jen­nings couldn’t re­ally im­prove on his third place so treated it as a tyre test for Done­gal.

The two Mof­fett brothers, Sam and Josh, had a red hot bat­tle for fourth place, with Sam just edg­ing ahead through the later stages. White made some small im­prove­ments to his Fi­esta WRC through the day, and was a lit­tle hap­pier on his way to sixth. O’rior­dan was very un­happy with his Fi­esta WRC; remap­ping changes didn’t im­prove the power.

David Guest (Mit­subishi Lancer) won Group N com­fort­ably. ■

An­other BTRDA win for Payne/wil­liamson

Wright put in a ‘star of the rally’-worth per­for­mance on home stages

Wayne Sisson proved new MRF tyres work in the forests with a podium

Phil Bur­ton/mal Cap­stick headed the B12 field

Payne:stage wins

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