Asphalt Asides – No. 5


Paul Bird, Ford Focus WRC

With only the final stage of the ALMC Stages, the fourth round of the REIS – Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship, to go, the Ford Focus WRCs of Paul Bird and Damian Cole were just one second apart. Throwing caution to the wind, by the end of the event Bird had increased the margin over the defending MSA Asphalt Rally Champion to six seconds to take his second outright victory of the season.

Hugh Hunter/Andy Marchbank, Subaru Impreza WRC

Cole, who was joint fastest with Steve Simpson/Patrick Walsh on the opening stage of the day, stayed ahead of the Impreza crew who, having scored on all four rounds to date, still maintain their Championship lead. Also Subaru-mounted, new recruits Hugh Hunter/Andy Marchbank had an excellent run to 4th as they explored the limits of their car, and we look forward to further forays later in the year.



Simon Mauger/Brian Cammack, Ford Escort Mk2
Simon Mauger/Brian Cammack, Ford Escort Mk2

24 Championship-registered cars started the event (almost 30% of the entry) and, from them, a third Impreza, in the capable

hands of Graham Coffey, finished in the Top Six, a handful of seconds in front of Simon Mauger/Brian Cammack, a result which also gave the Escort MkII crew maximum points in the Millington Rear-Wheel Drive Challenge for the third time this season.

Washington James’ Darrian T90 GTR was 9th overall, maintaining the Welshman’s runner-up spot in the overall Championship points and, but for clutch trouble during the day which resulted in a couple of minutes of road penalties, Ashley Field/Josh Davison would have easily taken a Top Ten finish. As it was, they were 11th, just managing to keep the Metro 6R4 of Simon Chapman/Michael Calvert at bay.


Chapman and Mark Jasper/Don Whyatt, who can count themselves lucky to get out of a serious accident on the opening stage relatively unscathed (good wishes to them both for a speedy recovery from everyone associated with the Championship…), have been experiencing transmission problems with their respective 6R4s, to the point that they have each gone back several paces in technological terms in an attempt to rectify the situation.

In Chapman’s case, it seems to have worked and he went on to win the popular Class 20 on the event, a feat for which he was awarded the John Horton Motorsport Management ‘Star Performer’ trophy.

Alex Laffey/Jack Morton’s learning curve in their Fiesta S2000 continued in Ireland with a Top 20 result and London Rally for Heroes winner Gary Le Coadou’s Toyota Corolla WRC wasn’t far behind by the time cars arrived back at the Dunboyne Castle Hotel finish.





Following their Jim Clark retirement, Adge Spencer/Mark Hewitt put their season back on track, taking their Impreza to 2nd Class B13 points and are now only one point off third place. Although in different classes, Pete Rayner (Ford Escort MkII) and Matt Beebe/Paula Swinscoe (MG ZR) were only two seconds apart at the finish as they pursued their respective RWD & FWD causes. The main threat in Matt & Paula’s class (B11) was the Peugeot 205 of Tim Daltry. Having to be content with 2nd place on the day, Tim can derive some satisfaction from maximum AB Motorsport Peugeot 205 Challenge points, plus the £50 product voucher from Fuchs Titan Race for the ‘Best Improvement on Seeding’ – he had climbed from 60th at the start to 33rd….

Stephen Ritchie (BMW M3 Compact), Richard Barnard (GpN Impreza) and James Sharrock/Stuart Faulds (Escort MkII) finished line astern, each with their own stories to tell. Indeed, following the exits of Rob Tout/Dan Holley (Lancer EVO9 – accident) and Chris Rice (Impreza – misfire), Barnard becomes the fourth different driver to take maximum N4 points this season!

In addition to those already mentioned, others whose trip to Dublin ended prematurely included John Stone (Fabia WRC), Mark Worley/Hamish Campbell (Impreza WRC) and Richard Felgate/Mark Mason (BMW M3).

Photographs courtesy of


As ever, Wayne Goldring and the team from ‘Special Stage’ (Brid, Luke, Phil & Russ) were on hand to record events as they unfolded and the results of their efforts will be available for public consumption on Motors TV from 9.00pm on Friday 26th July.


Following the ALMC Stages points have already been circulated. If you have any queries on them, please contact the Championship Coordinator ASAP as they will go final on Wednesday 17th July.


Registered Championship contenders are reminded that their cars must conform to all MSA & Championship regulations at all times.

In particular, please note the following :

Championship Regulations – Articles 4.7 & 4.8 regarding screenstrips.

Championship Regulations – Article 6.3 regarding homologation papers.

MSA Regulations – J5.13.7 regarding dry-fuel sampling couplings.

MSA Regulations – R48.1.12 regarding mudflaps.

MSA Regulations – R46.1.4 regarding the referral to the Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations. As the Blue Book is not specific as to which country’s law it refers to when an event is run outside the UK, this is to be clarified by the MSA.


Are like buses – you wait for one and then three come along all at once!…

ROUND 5: The Wilkinson Maintenance Tyneside Stages (11th August) is next up. 90 miles, in nine special stages on the Otterburn Military Ranges, with a recce of the route between 15.30-18.00 on the Saturday afternoon. The Entries Secretary is:

Maurice Mabon – Tel: 01665 602690

Full details are available on

ROUND 6: The Eventsigns Mewla Rally (25th August) takes us back to Epynt over August Bank Holiday weekend. 80 stage miles, in eleven stages, and a chance to recce the route between 11.00-16.00 on the Saturday. The Entries Secretaries are:

Keith & Trina Edwards – Tel: 01982 551246

Full details are available on

ROUND 7: The Wexford Stages Rally (7th/8th September). As previously announced, the Championship has obtained permission to go to Ireland for a second time this year. The rally takes place over two days and competitors can recce the stages on both Thursday 5th & Friday 6th September between 09.00-18.00.

N.B. The event also runs to ‘Super Rally’ rules and, thus, anyone who experiences problems during the day and who is able to rejoin may do so, albeit with the addition of penalties as laid down in the regulations.

The Entries Secretary is :

Karen O’Dowd – Tel: +353 (0) 86 0247121

Full details are available on

Andrew Haill

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