FIELD PLOUGHS THE OP­PO­SI­TION

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Or­gan­iser: Duk­eries MC When: Oc­to­ber 23 Where: Don­ing­ton Park, Le­ices­ter­shire Cham­pi­onship AWMMC Heart of Eng­land; Alexan­der Calder Fi­nan­cial EMAMC; Road­run­ner/ Phoenix Awards ANEMMC Stages: 7 Starters: 80

For the se­cond suc­ces­sive year, Ash­ley Field took the vic­tory spoils at Don­ing­ton Park but, un­like 2015, his Dar­rian was quick­est on ev­ery stage with a win­ning mar­gin of over two min­utes.

With Steve Mcnulty on the notes for the first time since Field up­graded to the new Dar­rian T90 last year, Field thrived. De­spite find­ing the open­ing stage ex­ces­sively slip­pery, Field had 12 sec­onds in hand over Graeme Bell/ Russ Rad­ford’s Pro­ton Milling­ton.

Roger and Sam Cox were third best in their Ford Es­cort, from Dave Wood/ Pete Ket­tle’s Mit­subishi Lancer, Lee Ed­wards/mike Roberts’ BMW M3 and Craig/alex Flem­ing’s Es­cort, de­spite Flem­ing at one point hit­ting a straw bale chi­cane.

As the track be­gan to dry, Field’s lead con­tin­ued to grow and by the end of stage three he was 57 sec­onds up, while Bell was al­ready look­ing over his shoul­der as Martin Hodg­son/tony Jones closed in. Hodg­son suf­fered with a “lack of trac­tion” on the opener, be­fore a change to in­ters on stage two had taken him up to fourth.

Hodg­son was se­cond quick­est on stage four be­hind Field and re­duced Bell’s se­cond place cush­ion to only 10 sec­onds. De­spite find­ing his tyres too soft on stage three, a quick change for Ed­wards kept him in fourth, while Flem­ing was up to fifth, hav­ing usurped class ri­val Cox. But out had gone Wood’s Mit­subishi with a rear dif­fer­en­tial prob­lem, hav­ing been fourth on stage one.

While the lead con­tin­ued to grow, the duel for se­cond in­ten­si­fied. Field used up some old tyres but still took a clean sweep of fastest stage times. After five stages Bell’s ad­van­tage was down to four sec­onds, but after a tie on stage six he con­sol­i­dated his place on the fi­nal run. “We had to up it a bit though,” he ad­mit­ted. Hodg­son had to set­tle for third. “We tried hard and went side­ways a lot, but it wasn’t enough,” he replied.

Ed­wards also in­creased his hold on fourth on the clos­ing stages, while Flem­ing suc­cess­fully held off Tom Wal­ster/chris Ridge’s Suzuki Swift for fifth and vic­tory in Class C, after Cox had re­tired on stage five with dif­fer­en­tial fail­ure. “We had a fuel surge prob­lem on stage five but It cleared, it was only my third rally,” said cir­cuit racer Flem­ing.

Wal­ster was de­but­ing his Suzuki, which was well-suited to the Don­ing­ton stages. “It was great fun but we did hit a chi­cane on the fi­nal stage which had al­ready been moved,” he said.

Dave Welch/stu­art Proc­tor had come back from an off on stage one and were up to sev­enth by stage five, be­fore they went out with gear­box prob­lems in their Im­preza. John Grif­fiths/paul Gould there­fore claimed the place and were se­cond to Bell in Class Five, de­spite a few first-stage ex­cur­sions and swip­ing a post with the rear cor­ner.

Si­mon Belcher/peter But­ler’s Im­preza was eighth, with Mike Taylor/martin Haggett’s Sun­beam next. “We hit a chi­cane on an early stage and it bent the front sus­pen­sion and a hub, so made steer­ing in­ter­est­ing,” said Taylor. Craig Mcin­tosh/paul Vasey’s Es­cort Cos­worth com­pleted the top 10.

In Class One, a punc­ture on stage five robbed Paddy/tom Ho­man’s Puma of vic­tory, hand­ing the win to John and Ryan God­be­here’s sim­i­lar car, over two min­utes clear of Trevor and Mark Jones’ Metro GTI.

Richard Bliss/jamie Vaughan’s Honda Civic was in limp mode on stage one, but led Class Two from stage three. Ri­vals and early lead­ers Matt Wood/ Riki Mus­son had clutch fail­ure in their Vaux­hall Corsa on stage four, pro­mot­ing Paul Rees/paul Briggs’ Vaux­hall As­tra.

Char­lie Robin­son took an im­pres­sive Gwynnespeed Rally Chal­lenge vic­tory on the Peter Lloyd Ral­ly­ing Stages at Pem­brey.

It didn’t all go to plan, with a spin on SS1 cost­ing he and co-driver Mar­cus Mor­phew around 10s. Robin­son had the new Gwynnespeed power steer­ing up­grade for the event and mis­judged the turn in, re­sult­ing in the pirou­ette.

From there on in the pair­ing pro­duced a ma­ture drive, lead­ing home the cat­e­gory and tak­ing se­cond in Class 3 over­all.

While he’s not in the cham­pi­onship hunt, the re­sult bodes well for next year as more de­vel­op­ment work on his car yielded a strong re­sult and only a lost bumper to re­port.

Se­cond in the chal­lenge was Mat Wheeler and co-driver Alex Hawkins, while the win­ner last time out, James Gid­dings, rounded out the top three with Dan John­son on the notes.

Aus­trian de­vel­op­ment firm STARD, owned by world rally podium fin­isher Man­fred Stohl, has launched the world’s first fully elec­tric four-wheel-drive ral­ly­cross and rally pro­to­type.

Us­ing an adapted Peu­geot 207 Su­per 2000 chas­sis as a test-bed, STARD has de­vel­oped its own bat­ter­ies in-house for the project, which cur­rently uses in­de­pen­dent mo­tors for the front and rear axles. The new car boasts the equiv­a­lent of 544 horse­power and 760Nm torque, but will be able to de­liver an even greater fig­ure when a four-mo­tor sys­tem is in­tro­duced at the next stage of the pro­gramme.

The new car can cur­rently run for

Lo­cal man Field won by over two min­utes Duk­eries Rally

Graeme Bell held onto se­cond after a fight with Martin Hodg­son

Robin­son and Mor­phew took con­trolled vic­tory

STARD has based elec­tric car on an S2000 Peu­geot Car can run for 15 min­utes

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