Giddings takes Gwynnespeed victory
James Giddings took another step towards a first Gwynnespeed Challenge championship crown with a class win on the Gareth Hall Memorial Stages.
Giddings – visiting Traws for a second consecutive year – took 10 fastest stage times out of 12 on the event, as the emerging Mat Wheeler was his only challenge for top honours.
Matt Devlin – making his Challenge debut – rolled on SS3 and damaged his radiator putting him out.
Due to Giddings experience, Wheeler felt at a disadvantage but the former M-sport mechanic was rarely further than a few seconds back from the championship leader. In the end the deficit was 42s after 12 tests.
Giddings victory was further boosted by playing his joker card, meaning he takes a 17-point lead into the next round – September’s Peter Lloyd Stages – with three rounds in total remaining. His only real issues were another lost C2 bumper and a detached water pipe on the event’s second stage.
The Vauxhall Zafira doesn’t rate highly in the pantheon of great motorsport successes but that’s the vehicle that Graham Hepworth/ Iain Tullie used to take victory on the Colman Tyres Rally.
It proved to be a tough event with torrential rain and mist, combined with demanding sections over the Catterick Ranges, creating a severe challenge for crews.
Dave Leadbetter/cath Woodman (BMW) were only eight seconds behind the winners at the halfway point, but a missed board in the second half demoted them to third behind Geoff Goodwin/sam Spencer’s Proton at the Finish.
None of the top three starters made the finish; Richard Hunter/gary Evans and Richard Hemmingway/ Sam Collis ended their rallies in the ditch, while Tony Harrison/ Paul Taylor succumbed to clutch failure.
The overall win on the novice oriented Classic Lanes Rally had to be decided on a tie break with Tim Owen/ Ryan Griffiths winning out over Zak Hughes/ Paul Hughes.