PRITCHARD BACK ON TRACK

Rally Isle of Man His­torics

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Paul Lawrence Re­sults

Or­gan­iser: Rally Isle of Man ltd When: Septem­ber 15-17 Where: Dou­glas, Isle of Man Cham­pi­onship Bri­tish His­toric Rally Cham­pi­onship; HRCR Old Stager; HRCR Stage Masters Stages: 20

Af­ter a typ­i­cally tough and ex­cit­ing Rally Isle of Man, Ja­son Pritchard and Phil Clarke were the big his­toric win­ners with over­all vic­tory and two per­fect BHRC scores af­ter an ex­em­plary per­for­mance on the best as­phalt rally of the sea­son.

A su­perb field of cars tack­led the event, which in­cluded two rounds of the Min­tex MSA Bri­tish His­toric Rally Cham­pi­onship, and Pritchard put him­self firmly back in the hunt for a sec­ond ti­tle af­ter two and a half hours of flat-out as­phalt ac­tion. “It’s been a per­fect week­end,” said Pritchard.

How­ever, this was no easy cruise to vic­tory over 160 miles of is­land roads in warm sun­shine. Ri­vals came at Pritchard from all sides and it was Ryan Bar­rett and Paul Mccann who were clos­est to top­pling Pritchard. Ig­ni­tion prob­lems early in the rally and 40s of road penal­ties left the North­ern Ir­ish­man fight­ing back and his pace on Satur­day was awe­some as he got back to within 10s of the leader. But with two stages to go his oil pres­sure dropped and hopes of vic­tory fell away.

Bar­rett went ahead on the Thurs­day evening leg of three stages, but right with him was fel­low Ford Es­cort Mk2 driver Will Onions and co-driver Jamie Ed­wards at the start of a mighty per­for­mance. Guy Wood­cock and Richard Skin­ner were in there as well, but en­gine fail­ure on Fri­day morn­ing ended their rally.

Through a long, tough Fri­day, which ended af­ter mid­night for many crews, Pritchard set the pace he needed and was ahead at the main ser­vice halt to se­cure a first BHRC max­i­mum with eight sec­onds in hand over Bar­rett. By the end of the night, Bar­rett’s road penal­ties handed Pritchard a 30s lead for Satur­day.

Bar­rett bravely pulled back 15s on the dif­fi­cult four-mile Snuff the Wind test and ar­rived at fi­nal ser­vice only 10s down on Pritchard with 27 stages miles to run. But the oil pres­sure van­ished and his rally was over af­ter a storm­ing drive.

Pritchard was then able to set a mea­sured pace over the fi­nal two stages to com­plete a week­end that puts him firmly back in the BHRC as­cen­dency. Lack of a clutch over the clos­ing stages didn’t pre­vent Onions from tak­ing a fine sec­ond place on only his sec­ond rally of the year, though he ad­mit­ted that Pritchard and Bar­rett were in a dif­fer­ent league.

An­other star per­for­mance came from the el­der Bar­rett brother, Paul, and co-driver Dai Roberts in their Pin­topow­ered Es­cort Mk2 to take third over­all and con­firm their place as the big BHRC ri­val to Pritchard. “It’s a bril­liant rally and Pinto won’t go any harder,” said Bar­rett, who took a few stages to find his true pace at the start of the rally.

Two lo­cal BMW crews ran within the his­toric sec­tion and Kex Walker/ Dan­nii Matthews were as quick and spec­tac­u­lar as ever on the way to fourth, while An­drew and Jamie-lee Fox were sev­enth.

Fifth over­all was a tri­umph over ad­ver­sity for Will Row­lands and Llion Wil­liams (Es­cort Mk2) who lost the al­ter­na­tor and clutch on Fri­day night and a sec­ond clutch near the fin­ish, but still de­liv­ered a great re­sult, while Belgian vis­i­tors Christophe Ja­cob and Is­abelle Reg­nier took a mighty sixth on their maiden is­land rally.

Three more Ford Es­cort crews packed out the top 10 with fine per­for­mances and for Shawn Rayner/de­clan Dear it was a first Manx fin­ish at the third at­tempt. De­clan Jack­son/barry Mc­car­ney and Mark Holmes/mark Per­ry­man com­pleted the top 10 while Stan­ley Orr/guy Weaver were a Fri­day ca­su­alty with two bro­ken rock­ers in their Pinto en­gine.

De­spite los­ing more than 10 min­utes with a late trip into a ditch, Si­mon Tysoe and Paul Mor­ris sealed the BHRC Cat­e­gory 2 vic­tory in their Ford Es­cort Mk1, while Bob and Dale Gib­bons (Ford Cortina Mk2 GT) had a tre­men­dous rally to take Cat­e­gory 1 in both the rally and the BHRC. The father and son team over­came a strong Cat­e­gory 1 field to head Dessie Nutt and Geral­dine Mcbride (Porsche 911) by a handy mar­gin.

A marvel­lous Mini field for the Old Stager Cham­pi­onship was topped by Colin Mcdow­ell/cameron Raw­son, who threw their car around in style to be first Mini home.

Pho­tos: Writ­tle Pho­to­graphic, Martin Walsh

Af­ter poor luck Pritchard fi­nally won

Pinto-pow­ered Bar­rett was rapid

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