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Organiser: Clitheroe and District MC When: November 26 Where: Blyton Park, Lincolnshire Championships ANCC; ANWCC; ANEMMC; SD34 MSG; EMAMC Stages: 8 Starters: 72
In an event thwarted by fog, retirements for both Jamie Elston and Geoff Roberts handed Tommy Morris and Ian Emmerson a late Hall Trophy victory in their MG Metro 6R4.
Elston and co-driver Shaun Ridlington threw down the gauntlet from the start in their home-built Subaru Impreza, the pair managing to pull out a 5s lead on the opening two stages. Roberts and co-driver Terry Martin’s Darrian T90 headed the pursuit, with a couple of seconds in hand over Graeme Bell/russ Radford’s MEM Proton-millington.
Morris ran first on the road but was having tyre problems. “They were just too hard,” he explained after settling into fourth spot.
The fog began to descend as stage three got under way but that did little to put off Elston, who doubled his lead. Morris climbed to third though after Bell locked up at the final chicane and stalled. Stephen Harvey/jeff Simm were early retirees, when their eighthplaced Impreza lost second gear.
The leading six crews held station on stage four, but the first major development was to come on the next stage. With the fog lifting, Roberts opted for new tyres and inherited the lead, as a broken rear driveshaft forced Elston to pull out.
That handed the Darrian crew a 15s lead over Morris, who had finally began to edge away from the Ford Escort Mk2 of Martin Hodgson and Tony Jones.
There was one more stage before the fog began to descend again. While the top three began to settle, Bell had shot back up to fourth at the expense of Adrian Atkinson/dave Riley (Mitsubishi Lancer E6).
Four more stages had been planned, but after the eighth the fog began to thicken again – bringing the rally to a premature end. That came just too late for Roberts, though, who painfully retired when his leading Darrian encountered gearbox maladies.
“I spun at the hairpin and after that it wouldn’t come down the box again,” said Roberts.
Morris also overshot in the fading visibility, but still had 14 seconds in hand over Hodgson to take the victory, after attempts to run stage nine were abandoned when two cars collided. Bell completed the podium with Atkinson finally settling a three-way fight for fourth.
Alistair/joe Hutchinson (Renault Clio) led the class for 1601-2000cc cars all day from Mick Pickles/beverley Warren’s Peugeot 205, with Stuart Diaper/roy Bell’s Escort a clear third.
David Duff/andrew Kellett’s Escort led the 1401-1600cc class early on but had to settle for third behind David White/ David Scorah’s Fiesta R2 and Chris/ James Greenall’s Nova, while Jonathan Hudson and Adi Collins’ Suzuki Swift took Class 1 spoils for cars up to 1400cc.
“Peugeot is the first one of course because it was the Group B car, something that is different to today’s cars. It was like nothing I’d ever driven before. I’d never driven a fourwheel-drive car [before driving the 205 T16]. It was like a rocket! It was so light so it was very easy to drive but to handle the power at the same time was difficult. I got to handle it quite well. Monte Carlo 1986 was the first event, I was leading after four or five stages and then the turbo pipe came off ! We lost minutes but still finished fifth.
“Those are very good memories, and of course we won the championship, so what better memory is there?”
R2: 3rd R3: 1st