FIELD PLOUGHS THE OPPOSITION
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