Bowen ‘lucky’ with prom victory
Promenade Stages Rally
Organiser: Wallasey Motor Club When: September 2/3 Where: New Brighton, The Wirral Championships: ANWCC; ANCC; SD34; BMW Cup Stages: 12 Starters: 90
Last year’s Promenade Stages winners Simon Bowen and Richard Robinson brought their Subaru Impreza WRC to victory for a second year in a row following an epic battle with the Skoda Fabia R5 of early leaders Neil Simpson and Paula Swinscoe.
The Skoda crew set the early pace, retaining their overnight lead right through to Saturday’s lunch break. But, by that points, the Impreza pairing had matched their time.
Bowen then snatched a three-second advantage on SS9 before identical times on the following test left the prospect of a fight to the wire over the last two tests.
Simpson took one second from his rival through SS11 but he completed the stage with a smashed rear wheel after clouting a kerb. The impact damaged a shock absorber and with no time to change it his rally was over. For his part Bowen now had a gearbox problem that would force him to tackle SS12 with only three gears but not knowing Simpson’s predicament he couldn’t back off. A relieved Bowen acknowledged at the finish: “We’ve been lucky!”
Wil Owen and Rob Hopewell’s late entry was serving as a test session for their Ford Escort Mk2. After a trouble-free run, they finished the day in second place.
Completing the podium were Mark Holmes and Craig Simkiss who survived a big moment on SS9 in their MG Metro 6R4. Earlier in the day Paul Swift and Giles Dykes had been on course for a top three finish before their Escort Mk2 was forced out with transmission problems.
Heading a strong BMW contingent were Chris Ransley/darren Ikin, who finished fourth in their M3 five seconds ahead ahead of Brandon Smith/terry Martin’s Darrian T9. Martin Hodgson/ Tony Jones then topped a quartet of Escort Mk2s ahead of Terry Clarke/ Dan May who gained three places with a last-stage dash.
Despite flatshift problems from the outset, Paul Evans/steve Mcnulty
Johan Kristoffersson Andreas Bakkerud Sebastien Loeb Petter Solberg Reinis Nitiss Ken Block