His­torics steal Manx lime­light

Motor Sport News - - Isle Of Man Preview - Paul Lawrence

Nowhere is the cur­rent his­toric ex­o­dus from the forests more am­ply demon­strated than in the en­try for Rally Isle of Man.

The un­prece­dented his­toric en­try to­tals 65 cars as com­peti­tors from five his­toric cham­pi­onships come to­gether at this Mecca of asphalt ral­ly­ing. It is an en­try that sur­passes any en­try on this year’s gravel pro­gramme and the ap­peal of the event is as strong as ever. At 160 stage miles be­tween Thurs­day evening and Satur­day af­ter­noon, it is the long­est and tough­est his­toric event on the 2016 UK sched­ule.

Many crews are chas­ing the Min­tex MSA Bri­tish His­toric Cham­pi­onship which, like its sta­ble­mate the R.A.C. His­toric Asphalt Cham­pi­onship, has a dou­ble­header for­mat.

The HRCR Old Stagers His­toric Cham­pi­onship brings a horde of Minis, in­clud­ing three from Ja­pan, while the HRCR Stage Masters Chal­lenge and the Ir­ish His­toric Tar­mac Rally Cham­pi­onship com­plete the line-up.

Sadly, 2015 his­toric win­ner Rob Smith now seems un­likely to run af­ter rolling his Ford Es­cort Mk2 out of the Harry Flat­ters, but the field is still rammed with qual­ity and four driv­ers stand out.

Reign­ing BHRC cham­pion Ja­son Pritchard, for­mer IOM win­ner Ryan Bar­rett, Ryan’s el­der brother Paul and Guy Wood­cock are the top seeds but a whole raft of ri­vals could well be in the mix by the time the sur­vivors show boat their way over the fin­ish line at the TT grand­stands on Satur­day.

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