FIRST AMONG EQUALS!…
The 2013 REIS – Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship has begun with the traditional season-opener, the Tour of Epynt and, after 75 miles of special stages over the icy cold Military Ranges, 2007 Asphalt Champion Steve Simpson and co-driver Patrick Walsh emerged victorious in their Subaru Impreza WRC – just!…
With one stage to go, Simpson/Walsh were 24 seconds ahead of the Ford Focus WRC of defending champion Damian Cole and co-driver Craig Drew, but sliding into a bale and stalling, coupled with a late charge from Cole, saw the two crews arrive back at the Llandovery finish on identical times.
This invoked the tie-break which stated that, in such a situation, the crew setting the faster time on the opening stage would be declared winners – Simpson had set FTD on SS1 and, consequently, he and Walsh were confirmed as victors.
Cole, whose much-publicised switch to a new-build Ford Escort Mk2 for the new season had been put on hold, was credited with 2nd place, with Paul Bird taking third after a very impressive run in his Focus WRC.
From a record entry of 117 crews, 66 were MSA Championship-registered and, from this number, 18 of the Top 20 finishers returned home with points in various classes and categories.
Another superb performance by Simon Mauger/Brian Cammack saw their Ford Escort Mk2 take 4th place, while John Indri’s Darrian T90 GTR wasn’t far behind them in 5th. Next up was Washington James’ Darrian but, with 5th to 10th places separated by just 40 seconds, it was all very close!
The Imprezas of Mark Worley/Hamish Campbell and Bob Fowden, the Ford Focus STI of Chris Jones/Ashley Trimble and John Stone’s Skoda Fabia WRC completed the Top Ten.
In Group N Rob Tout/Dan Holley continued where they left off at the end of last season, bringing their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 home to a category win, ahead of the Impreza of a returning Chris Rice.
Similarly, 2012 Front-Wheel Drive Challenge winners, Matt Beebe/Paula Swinscoe, pushed their MG ZR 190 to its limits to start their season off with a maximum. Their nearest challenger on this occasion was the Renault Clio of Ian Godney, with the Underwoods, Darren & Sue, claiming third place points in their rapid Nova.
Other class winners on the event included Graham Muter’s 1300cc Escort, Alex Laffey/Jack Morton’s immaculate Fiesta S2000 and David Earthy/Maria Rayner took Class A6 in their Citroen C2R2.
MSA Asphalt Rally Championship points tables following the Tour of Epynt have already been circulated. Please check them thoroughly as they will become final at midday on Tuesday 19th March.
||MILLINGTON REAR WHEEL DRIVE CHALLENGE|
Having been associated purely with Escorts and Darrians for the past couple of years Roy Millington, of Millington Racing Engines, has opted to ally his company with all the Rear-Wheel Drive cars in the Championship this time.
In addition to the 2012 category-winning BMW M3 of Richard Felgate/Mark Mason, there were no less than sixteen Ford Escorts and six Darrians, with a couple of Toyotas thrown in for good measure, in the start line-up on Epynt!
From that number, Simon Mauger/Brian Cammack came out on top with 4th overall in their Escort, followed by the Darrian T90s of John Indri and Washington James. Graham Hollis/Alan Jones were 4th in their 2-litre Escort, with the M3 of Richard Felgate/Mark Mason beginning the defence of its title in 5th.
||TITAN FUCHS BEST IMPROVEMENT ON SEEDING|
Fuchs Titan Race are providing £50 worth of product on each round of this year’s MSA Asphalt Championship to the driver deemed to have made the ‘Best Improvement on Seeding’. To start the ball rolling Richard Bliss, who started at No. 107 in his Honda Civic, had moved up to 46th in the final results, thereby earning himself the inaugural voucher.
||AB MOTORSPORT – PEUGEOT 205 CHALLENGE|
The Tour of Epynt saw old rivalries renewed in the AB Motorsport Peugeot 205 Challenge, with 2012 winners Tim Daltry/Emma Morrison’s 1900cc version going head-to-head with the 1600cc model of runners-up Craig Jose/Nigel Hewett – and that’s the order in which they finished….
||JOHN HORTON MOTORSPORT MANAGEMENT‘STAR PERFORMER’|
As the name suggests, this award goes to someone who has achieved a result which is, perhaps, better than one could have reasonably expected. In this case, David Earthy had only visited Epynt on one previous occasion – and that outing didn’t last long! Co‑driven by Maria Rayner, 23-year old David took his Citroen C2R2 to a class win and, obviously, maximum points in his class. Now for the Isle of Man!
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!…
With funding from our sponsors and a number of other individuals and companies (to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for their part in ‘raising the bar’ in terms of publicity for the Championship!) Wayne Goldring and his team from ‘Special Stage’ were out recording the action on Epynt and the results of their labours are due to be broadcast at 21.00 on Friday 29th March. At the risk of stating the obvious, Wayne’s job is to tell the story of the rally but, with the best will in the world, he won’t be able to include all 66 of you in an hour-long programme!
From the Tour of Epynt, there are some scrutineering/technical matters which require your attention:
1. There are still a few vehicles contesting the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship that are being presented without the facility to enable a fuel sample to be taken. For fuel-injected cars, this must be in the form of a dry- break fuel-sampling coupling, approved by the FIA. Competitors must carry, and make available, a 300mm-minimum length of hose to which, where necessary, the appropriate mating part is to be attached. See MSA Blue Book J5.13.7, (page 145). Please note that it will be the competitor’s responsibility to supply the fuel sample if requested.
2. We have been advised of the possibility that weight checks may be carried out at some point during the season. All FIA class vehicle weights are specified in their homologation papers (see below – 3), while all others are as per MSA Blue Book R48.9 Page 309.
3. Homologation Papers for ALL FIA class cars MUST be carried in the car at all times whilst on events.
4. Number plates MUST conform to Construction & Use Regulations.
Having started in fine style, the REIS – Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship now has a nine-week break – but make the most of it! The Manx and Jim Clark National Rallies both take place within a short period of time and, then, it’ll be all hands to the pump as the season moves into full swing. Representatives of both the Irish events included in the calendar, the ALMC Stages (7th July) and Wexford Stages (7th/8th September), were present on Epynt canvassing support for their respective rallies and the signs are that, once again, we are in for a very competitive year!
MANX NATIONAL RALLY (10th/11th May) – Regulations/entry forms are available on http://www.manxautosport.org Both National ‘A’ & ‘B’ events cover identical routes and are eligible for Championship points. Anyone wanting advice on ferries and/or flights, please contact Craig Thorley @ Just Ferries – Tel: 01759 301010 or E-mail: email@example.com
JIM CLARK NATIONAL RALLY (31st May/1st June) – Regulations will be available shortly from http://www.jimclarkrally.com Based at Kelso Racecourse, an event of this magnitude, not surprisingly, tends to have an effect on the availability of accommodation in the area. Prospective competitors would do well to sort this particular aspect of their trip out ASAP!
ALMC STAGES (7th July) The event has a new base this year – Dunboyne Castle Hotel, Co. Meath, will be welcoming all the Asphalt Championship contenders making the trip. Further details from http://www.almcstagesrally.com
CHAMPIONSHIP CONTACT DETAILS
We value any communications from competitors and therefore if you have any news, comments, questions or simply require advice we would like to hear from you.
Coordinator – Andrew Haill: Tel 0121 313 1416, Mobile 07836 729 549, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eligibility Scrutineer – Colin Salkeld: Tel 0191 492 1771, Mobile 07860 960 489, email@example.com
Twitter – @AsphaltRallying
15th March 2013