‘Charlie Payne is the man in Malton’
Organiser: Malton MC & Clitheroe & DMC When: November 5 Where: Malton, North Yorkshire Championships: ANCC, ANECCC, ANWCC, ANEMMC, English Rally Championship, Northern Historic Starters: 72 Stages: 6. Charlie Payne took his sixth win on the Malton Forest Rally and his third event win in succession. With Carl Williamson on the notes, their Ford Fiesta RS WRC was never headed over the six stages in tricky conditions.
On the opening Cropton stage the brand new Proton Iriz R5 – making its competition debut – of Ollie Mellors/ Ian Windress was able to match Payne’s time, with Stephen Petch/ Michael Wilkinson’s Fiesta RS WRC a further two seconds down in third.
After runs through Gale Rigg and Langdale, Payne’s lead had grown to six seconds, with Petch second, one second up on Mellors. “After the first one and a half miles of each stage it goes flat, so we are losing time,” said Petch.
“I scared myself a little in Gale Rigg, arriving at a corner about three gears too high,” Mellors added.
Phil and Simon Pickard had established their Impreza in a clear fourth, with Steve Bannister/callum Atkinson’s Ford Escort Mk2 demoting Daniel Mennell/heather Grisedale’s Subaru Impreza from fifth after Langdale. Early casualties had been Peter Stephenson/patrick Walsh’s Ford Focus WRC off in Cropton, Steve Petch/john Richardson’s Ford Fiesta with a damaged radiator in Cropton and Peter Smith/john Millington with a broken oil cooler.
Although Payne increased his lead again through the second Cropton and Gale Rigg stages, the final stage in a wet and slippery Langdale proved to be the hardest of the day. “There were a few scary moments but we didn’t take any risks,” he said after taking victory by seven seconds.
“We had kissed the bank flat in sixth on the first Langdale, but this was one of the toughest stages I have ever done,” Petch added, after taking three seconds off Payne’s lead to consolidate second.
Mellors held onto third but had his last stage drama. “We lost the boost pipe and with no heated screen we couldn’t see,” he explained.
Pickard overcame a recurring electrical fault to retain fourth and Mennell managed to reclaim fifth on the second Cropton stage. When asked by Motorsport News how Mennell did this he said he “dropped the clutch and pulled the car’s pants down”. It was a brilliant result in his second multivenue gravel rally.
With Mat Smith/derek Cornforth’s Proton Satria puncturing only yards into the first stage, Chris Lawson/ Richard Wardle’s Nova led Class 1 all day. Smith fought back to second on the last stage despite a spin, when Chris Row/david Auden’s MG ZR retired.
Barry Lindsay/caroline Lodge’s Peugeot 206 headed Ben Cree/andy Brown’s 205 in Class 2, while Nick Dobson/steve Pugh’s Escort and Mike Wolff/mike Twiname’s BMW E30 were unbeatable in Classes 3 and 4, despite Wolff losing his gearstick mid-rally.
Payne knows Malton well after six wins