Kershaw tyre switch
Boyd Kershaw and Bryan Hull used a tyre change to turn their fortunes around after a difficult start to the rally. A switch from DMACK to Dunlops after the first service helped the duo net 13th overall and a Class B10 win, despite a touch of late drama with a bent link bar. It was fixed in the last service and the duo held on to another good result as the Silver Star champion continues to bed into the new Ford Escort having missed the season opening Cambrian Rally.
1 Charlie Payne/carl Williamson 2 David Wright/steve Pugh 3 Wayne Sisson/ Neil Shanks 4 Paul Benn/ Richard Cooke 5 Peter Stephenson/john Millington 6 Russ Thompson/andy Murphy 7 Rory Young/allan Cathers 8 Steve Simpson/ Patrick Walsh 9 Aaron Mcclure/alex Kihurani 10 Andy Davies/ Max Freeman
11 Karl Simmons/ Mark Glennerster (Subaru Impreza); 12 Phil Pickard/ Simon Pickard (Subaru Impreza); 13 Steve Bannister/ Kim Gray (Ford Escort Mk2); 14 Boyd Kershaw/ Bryan Hull (Ford Escort Mk2); 15 Gavin Edwards/ Caron Tomlinson (Ford Escort Mk2); 16 Daniel Moss/ Sam Allen (Mitsubishi Lancer E9); 17 Phil Burton/ Mal Capstick (Ford Escort Mk2); 18 Stuart Egglestone/ Brian Hodgson (Vauxhall Astra); 19 Matthew Robinson/ Sam Collis (Fiat 131); 20 Jon Cean/ Mark Morris (Mitsubishi Lancer E3).
but disappointed such a strange breakage had ruled him out of the rally.
Payne put on a real push through Grizedale North, and that was enough to stoke the fire of the lead battle. He pulled eight seconds off Wright and the gap was gone as they headed into SS6 Grizedale South. Could the car Petter Solberg rolled into trees on Rally Finland and Carlos Sainz steered on the Monte Carlo Rally hold on for the win, or would Payne’s more modern hybrid Ford Fiesta steal the spoils?
Through SS6 there was trouble for Payne. He had no brakes. He described how difficult that was. Wright stole back 14s and a comfortable lead headed to the next test. Sisson had cemented himself in third. To say it was just down to attrition would be unfair, he was going well in the E10 and on the new MRFS. Benn and Peter Stephenson, with former-m-sport logistics manager John Millington on the notes, completed the top five.
Through Thornsgill 2 Payne took back another second after sorting the brakes on the road section, but Wright still had 13s in hand heading into the final test.
The performance of the stage came from Russ Thompson. He made an incorrect tyre choice on the previous stage and was under pressure from next in class Aaron Mcclure, but a stonking third overall in the N4 Lancer E9 was a joy to behold. He and co-driver Andy Murphy had discussed whether one of the corners on the test was possible to complete flatt, and the upcoming Special Stage TV programme will prove it was. But only just. Thompson won’t be doing it again.
As the crews went into the last test, Payne was pushing hard but he needn’t have made the effort. Wright was equal 14th quickest on the stage after the driveshaft problem and his chance of glory had slipped. It was redemption for Payne, though, who had so cruelly had his win revoked on the Cambrian.
Rory Young had a day to forget in his Ford Fiesta, with a broken throttle cable earlier in the day just the tip of the iceberg. But an equal second quickest time on the final test made up for it a little as it secured him seventh, just ahead of the man who equalled his time on the test, Steve Simpson.