Novas battle as Wilkes gets real challenge from Brick/williams
One of the most eagerly awaited conflicts through the field as the crews left Minehead for Exmoor was the 1400S battle, and whether early-season maestro Dave Brick – with Keaton Williams sat alongside – could challenge the mighty Julian Wilkes. Famous for his exploits in a 1400 Nova, Wilkes was joined by Will Rutherford for his home event, although some joked he didn’t need a co-driver as he knows the stages so well.
But, boy, did the 2012 and 2013 BTRDA 1400 champion get a shock from Brick in the turquoise Vauxhall Nova. If you don’t see the bright machine coming towards you in sideways style, you will hear it.
On the Timberscombe opener, Brick was 11th quickest overall, nine spots ahead of Wilkes and tied with Martyn England’s R5 on times! He went better in SS4, seventh overall on the stage. It transpired that Brick went quicker on all of the morning’s gravel tests before the Porlock asphalt run. That’s where local knowledge came into play, along with a hefty push from Wilkes. He went 13th quickest overall, while Brick could only manage 31st and that was enough to promote Wilkes into the class lead. He was quicker again on the second run.
At service Wilkes acknowledged the pace of Brick, but confirmed there would be a hard push in the afternoon with the lead only eight seconds.
By stage 11 Wilkes had pushed the gap to 20s, and on the next test Brick was out with a blown engine. It was a sour way for such a battle to end, but like all good things it was great while it lasted.
James Ball/gavin Gwillym Haycock in their Suzuki Ignis finished second, while Charlie Barlow/dale Furness managed third ( see Rally News).
Despite Brick’s loss, Freddy and Toby Brick brought the family some joy by heading the 1400c class in their Nova, ahead of 12 other finishers.
Wilkes is always a frontrunner on his sporadic outings but was run extremely close by Dave Brick’s Nova