HARPER SUR­VIVES LATE SCARE

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Chris Boyde

Or­gan­iser: Manx Auto Sport When: Novem­ber 11/12 Where: Isle of Man Cham­pi­onships: Manx Rally Cham­pi­onship, ANWCC, ANCC, SD34 MSG Stage Rally Cham­pi­onship Stages: 14 Starters: 50

Lan­cashire crew Daniel Harper and Chris Camp­bell sur­vived a late scare to se­cure vic­tory on the fi­nal stage of the two-day Pok­er­stars Rally and with it claim the Manx Rally Cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

The BMW Mini pair were fastest on Fri­day night’s first two closed-road stages in the north of the is­land, es­tab­lish­ing a 16s lead over Jamie Jukes/dave Wil­liams (Suzuki Swift), who were for­tu­nate to es­cape an off-road ex­cur­sion at the sec­ond junc­tion of the event as rain fell.

As con­di­tions wors­ened fur­ther still with thick mist on SS3 The Moun­tain, Stu Bain­bor­ough and co-driver Char­lotte Shim­min re­tired their Mitsubishi Lancer E6 from third af­ter leav­ing the road and drop­ping seven min­utes.

Jukes also strug­gled, drop­ping to fourth be­hind Will Heavey/bar­rie Ford (Mitsubishi Lancer E4) and fa­ther and daugh­ter crew Timmy and Cliona Collins (Mitsubishi Lancer E10), as Harper stretched his lead to 31s.

TT star Michael Dun­lop and Rob Fagg had gam­bled on a dry tyre in their Ford Es­cort Mk2 and had in­cor­rectly set spot­lights. With those is­sues re­solved at first ser­vice they set the fastest time by nine sec­onds on SS4 The Lhen, only to crash out back­wards quar­ter of a mile into SS5 Glas­coe, prompt­ing the stage to be cut in dis­tance for the rest of the field.

With con­di­tions wors­en­ing amidst driv­ing rain, Dy­lan Davies (Subaru Im­preza), who had im­pressed on his as­phalt rally de­but, re­tired from fifth at the end of SS4 with a bro­ken drive­shaft.

Kex Walker/danni Matthews (BMW 325) set the fastest time on the fi­nal stage of the night to move up to third be­hind Heavey, as class-ri­vals Ge­orge Col­lis­ter/ Adam Yates (BMW 325) dropped 40s with a trip into the Tholt-y-will scenery.

De­spite the rain hav­ing cleared, wet roads re­mained on Satur­day and Jukes, strug­gling with engine tem­per­a­ture is­sues, was caught out on SS7 – putting his Suzuki on its side in Glen Roy.

Harper ex­tended his lead on each stage of the loop, to 1m14s by ser­vice af­ter SS9 as Heavey con­tin­ued his trou­ble­free run in sec­ond. Walker hit a bank at a chi­cane on the Creg ny Baa test, he and Matthews one of sev­eral crews to be caught out by stand­ing wa­ter – al­though they re­tained third, with fourth-place Collins un­able to take ad­van­tage thanks to gear­box is­sues.

But disas­ter then struck for Harper on the next stage as his Mini broke a drive­shaft, leav­ing him to limp through three stages be­fore he could get to ser­vice, sur­ren­der­ing the lead to Heavey.

With the is­sue fixed he was de­ter­mined to try for vic­tory, and launched an as­sault as the event moved on to West Bald­win. With Heavey suf­fer­ing sus­pen­sion is­sues, Harper went 27s faster on SS13 to move back ahead, and sealed vic­tory on the fi­nal stage de­spite a close en­counter with a house, go­ing fastest by 11s.

Heavey took the run­ner-up spot only on count­back af­ter in­cur­ring a penalty at the fi­nal con­trol, leav­ing Walker to rue sev­eral over­shoots. Collins held on to fourth ahead of Col­lis­ter, who had swapped times with Walker through­out the sec­ond day.

Dan Col­ley/jim Cal­lis­ter fin­ished sixth in another BMW, with new­comer Nathan Cafearo (Mitsubishi Lancer E9) next af­ter go­ing off in the same place as Walker. Sean Kelly re­turned af­ter two years out to fin­ish eighth in a Mitsubishi Lancer E9.

Kyle Col­lis­ter/chris Sharpe-simkiss (Peu­geot 106) im­pressed with 1600cc class vic­tory de­spite hit­ting a wall on SS10, hold­ing off Wal­ter Brid­son/stephen Chris­tian (Honda Civic), who rounded out the top 10 de­spite fuel star­va­tion is­sues de­lay­ing the pair on the open­ing night of the event. Re­sults

Harper and Camp­bell claimed Manx ti­tle with win

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