IN THE SER­VICE PARK JACK BENYON

STEVE BROWN GROUP NA­TIONAL EDI­TOR “Are there too many events and cham­pi­onships?”

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - Rochdale

Ral­ly­ing in the fam­ily “Alan, my dad, owns Quest­mead. He’s done a bit of ral­ly­ing but I’ve been into it since do­ing grasstrack rac­ing when I was 12. I moved into ral­ly­ing when I was 16. I did a year nav­i­gat­ing and then, at 17, did the Ju­nior For­mula 1000. We did the For­mula 1000 Tar­mac series af­ter that, in ’07 and ’08, then we went into the woods in ’09 and 2010 and then did odd events.”

He’s com­peted in Bel­gium “It’s some­thing dif­fer­ent. The money side is al­ways a plus, but I’ve done Epynt, Ot­ter­burn, Isle of Man, a few in Ire­land. I thought it was time to do some­thing dif­fer­ent and Bel­gium is ideal. The jour­ney’s a long one but it’s worth it when peo­ple see the car out there, they love it out there.”

His Mi­cra’s ‘dif­fer­ent’ “It’s ba­si­cally just a wide-arched kit car. It’s got a Peter Vaughan en­gine in who used to do work with Nis­san, other than that it’s stan­dard hubs, up­rated sus­pen­sion and big­ger brakes. But it isn’t an ex-works car, it was built by Melvyn Evans for us. It’s a 1300cc with an Elite five-speed dog­box. It’s quite com­pet­i­tive tak­ing that into ac­count. When it’s wet and muddy we can make up a lit­tle bit.”

Is it a Mini? A Saxo? “Peo­ple ask if it’s a Mini, a Saxo! Be­cause there’s no badges on it, peo­ple over there are un­cer­tain of what it is. Peo­ple see­ing it over there love it and that’s what we wanted: for it to be no­ticed.”

New rules next year “They’ve in­tro­duced a new rule in Bel­gium that the car has to be a min­i­mum of 900kgs. The car ho­molo­gated was 763kgs. We’d have to add 70 or 80kgs to our car, and still it’s only a 1300cc and we’re com­pet­ing against 1600s. We’d be go­ing to make num­bers up. So we’re not sure what’s next.”

Giantkilling abroad “We had four events out there this year. The Flan­ders Rally Chal­lenge that we’ve done is just for twowheel-drive cars and there’s times where we’ve been quick­est. It’s been a de­vel­op­ing year. Third in class in the cham­pi­onship isn’t bad, so the guy that won the class won the cham­pi­onship over­all and he was in a three-litre BMW. That’s the class we’re in in our 1300 Mi­cra! The rules are strange. There’s four­wheel drive, two-wheel drive and his­toric. We’re go­ing to strug­gle to beat some­thing like the BMW.”

Or­gan­iser: Kil­lar­ney and Dis­trict Mo­tor Club When: De­cem­ber 2/3 Where: Kil­lar­ney, Co Kerry Cham­pi­onships: 2017 Clon­akilty Black pud­ding Ir­ish Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship, 2016 Plas­ticbags.ie South­ern 4 Rally Cham­pi­onship, 2016 HRCR West Wales Rally Spares – Stage Mas­ters Chal­lenge Stages: 7 Starters: 120 (41 His­toric)

Omagh’s Ryan Bar­rett, with Isle of Man res­i­dent Paul Mccann co-driv­ing, took the over­all His­toric hon­ours in his Ford Es­cort RS1800, pulling out a com­fort­able lead over the fi­nal stages.

Bar­rett ad­mit­ted he was slightly dis­tracted over the open­ing stage, Moll’s Gap, where Melvyn Evans – also in an Es­cort RS1800 – took fastest time.

Bar­rett wasn’t fa­mil­iar with the Kil­lar­ney stages, but he quickly set­tled in and, from stage two on­wards, set the pace. He took the lead on stage four and as the day pro­gressed so did his pace, so that as dark­ness set­tled over the Kerry coun­try­side for the fi­nal stages he was over 20s per stage faster than Evans.

Bar­rett said: “It was a great event, we are over the moon with this re­sult. A few peo­ple doubted me but it all went very well.”

With that the 39-year-old gave an­other whoop and yelled: “Italy here we come!”

The prize for win­ning the His­toric is a free en­try and trans­porta­tion costs to com­pete on the Rally of the Legends, Italy’s big­gest his­toric Mo­tor­sport event at San Marino.

Evans’ Es­cort did clip a bank on one stage, which cooled his ar­dour some­what, and also a throt­tle ca­ble is­sue to­wards the end didn’t help his cause. Owen Mur­phy drove his heart out in the ex-rus­sell Brookes Sun­beam Lo­tus but a per­sis­tent mis­fire in the Lo­tus en­gine meant that Mur­phy, try as he might, couldn’t im­prove on third.

Gareth Lloyd had taken a rest from

Brown’s Saxo-mini-mi­cra

Yates/wood­burn won all but one Rock­ing­ham stage

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