BANNISTER WINS AS PRITCHARD TAKES THE TITLE
Trackrod Historic Cup
Organiser: Trackrod Motor Club When: September 30/ October 1 Where: Dalby Forest, Yorkshire Championships Mintex British Historic Rally Championship; Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship; Land Rover Challenge; Defender Challenge Stages: 6 Starters: 51
A dominant overall victory for Steve Bannister and Callum Atkinson and a second BHRC title for Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke were the headlines from an excellent Trackrod Historic Cup.
Starting with a 10-miler through Dalby in the dark of Friday evening and continuing with five more classic Yorkshire stages on Saturday, the Trackrod was once more a fitting finale for the Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship. A measured drive from Pritchard and Clarke was more than enough to seal the title after a season of dramatic highs and lows. “It was hard to concentrate, but we did what mattered,” said Pritchard, before apologising to the spectators for what, at times, felt like a pedestrian pace.
While Pritchard was content with fifth overall, Bannister and Callum Atkinson were peerless as the local legend delivered yet another mighty performance in his back yard. ‘Banner’ was hot to trot when the event started and grabbed an immediate 20s lead over 10 miles of Dalby darkness. By the end of Saturday, that margin was out to more than two minutes.
“We had a good run in the dark,” said the typically understated Bannister after a consummate performance. “Brilliant stages: you couldn’t ask for anything better than being in the Yorkshire forests with stages like that,” he said after another Yorkshire Grand Prix victory.
On Saturday morning, Matthew Robinson and Sam Collis had reason to be optimistic as a first BHRC maximum for the Fiat 131 seemed a real possibility. They started the day 20s down on stablemate Bannister and ‘Robbo’ reckoned he might have halved the gap with a tidier opening stage. “We would never have matched him. An on-form Bannister round here is unbeatable and last night he was on it,” said Robinson.
Unfortunately, the Fiat was out after two more stages. A propshaft vibration set in through Langdale and the shaft failed completely as they left service. The only consolation was that they retired right next to the catering wagon, so all was not lost.
With Pritchard setting an understandably modest pace, it was Steve Bennett and Paul Spooner who slotted happily into second and leading BHRC crew. On stages that he particularly enjoys, Bennett turned in his best historic performance to date and scored maximum BHRC points for the first time. However, it nearly went wrong on the final pair of stages in Cropton and Gale Rigg. “We had a drama as it didn’t want to go into first gear at the stage starts,” said Bennett. “But once it did go in, it was fine,” he added with relief.
Stages like Dalby and Langdale are hardly the places to take a 1600cc crossflow Escort Mk1 on a giant-killing mission, but that’s exactly what Adam Milner and Roy Jarvis did ( They took fourth overall and won Category 2 by a handy margin after an outstanding performance.
It could even have been third for Milner, but a very strong final stage from brothers Mark and Ed Bentley pushed their Escort Mk2 up a place for their best UK historic result to date. “We were fourth in Morocco in May and now third here,” said Mark of two fine results on wildly contrasting rallies.
Sixth overall behind Pritchard was a class D3-winning run from Shawn Rayner and Declan Dear who duly sealed the BHRC class title after a fine contest with rivals and friends Ben Friend and Cliffy Simmons in a battle of the Pinto Mk2s: “It was terrible last night with an overshoot and a stall, but today it came together,” said Rayner. Friend chased 1 Steve Bannister/callum Atkinson 2 Steve Bennett/ Paul Spooner 3 Mark Bentley/ Ed Bentley 4 Adam Milner/ Roy Jarvis 5 Jason Pritchard/ Phil Clarke 6 Shawn Rayner/ Declan Dear 7 Warren Philliskirk/ Nigel Hutchinson 8 Tom Hewick/ Mick Johnson 9 Barry Stevenson-wheeler/john Pickavance 10 Ben Friend/cliffy Simmons
Class winners Phil Harris/ Paul Kendrick (Mini Cooper); Bob Bean/ Captain Thompson (Ford Lotus Cortina); Milner/jarvis; Terry Cree/ Richard Shores (BMW 2002); Philliskirk/ Hutchinson; Chris Skill/tom Jordan (Escort Mk2); Rayner/ Dear; Bannister/ Atkinson; Pritchard/ Clarke.
hard but two spins in Dalby on Saturday, both in front of TV cameras, blunted his challenge.
Warren Philliskirk and Nigel Hutchinson had a scare with fuel vapourisation early in Dalby after a delay at the start, but otherwise had a fine day on home ground for seventh overall and second in Category 2, while Tom Hewick/mick Johnson and Barry Stevenson-wheeler/john Pickavance both pushed their Escort Mk2s into the top 10 overall.
In Category 1, the evergreen Bob Bean and his man servant Captain Thompson brought the venerable Lotus Cortina home well clear of the puncturedelayed Mini Cooper of Phil Harris and Paul Kendrick.
Chris Skill and Tom Jordan again topped class D2 in their 1600cc Ford Escort, but arrived at the finish with Skill berating himself for chucking it into a ditch in Gale Rigg and losing what would have been a fabulous sixth overall.
The final class winners were Terry Cree and Richard Shores (BMW 2002) in class C3, despite losing 50bhp in the run up to the rally.
Organiser: Munster Car Club When: October 1/2 Where: County Cork, Ireland Championship: Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, Southern 4 Rally Championship Stages: 14 Starters: 79
The Cork ‘20’ proved to be a rally of firsts: Josh Moffett scored his first international victory, while Keith Cronin overturned Alastair Fisher to take his first Irish Tarmac Championship – the first of the R5 era.
It also proved to be the first ITRC round of the season won overall by an R5-spec car when not sharing with the British championship, the others being won by WRC cars that are no longer eligible to win the outright title.
The opening Saturday stages were damp and slippy. Cronin opened his scoring with a fastest time through SS1 Caherduggan, and then Alastair Fisher was quickest through SS2 Glentane to hold a slender 5s lead at first service in Fermoy. Cronin said he was definitely
ROAD RALLY ROUND-UP
Reian Jones/cadog Davies kept their Welsh Championship hopes alive by charging to a clear win on The Autumn Rally. They finished a demanding 130-mile event over four minutes clear of the 90-car field.
Second place was taken by Ian ‘Dude’ Roberts/gwawr Hughes, who now need just one more top score to take the lead in the Welsh series as dropped scores affect those currently at the top of the table.
Present championship leaders Polly/chris Ashley came in seventh and still have a 100 per cent finishing record after 10 rounds.
Top seeds Dale Furniss/ Nick Bloxham went out in the first half, while John Davies/aled Richards got stuck in mud after sliding off the road after Petrol.
Huw Jones/ Lee Taylor held second at Petrol but were among a large number of crews who missed a tricky route check in Brechfa Forest. Kevin Davies/owain Davies would have finished in second but missed a code board.