Asphalt Asides No. 8

wexford 2013 - coleThe first visit of the REIS – Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship to the Wexford Stages Rally since 2004 saw five of the top six places in the results occupied by registered contenders. The main beneficiary on this occasion was Damian Cole (Ford Focus WRC) whose 2nd place overall earned him maximum points and moved him back to the top of the table as the season moves towards its conclusion. Over a weekend punctuated by sunshine and showers, tyre choice was something of a lottery, but it was a non-functioning paddle shift that troubled the defending MSA Asphalt Champion over the first loop of stages. The problem turned out to be a faulty sensor which was a relief as the anticipated clutch change was not required! Cole was 2nd fastest on the first of the twelve stages on Saturday morning and maintained runner-up spot through to the finish on Sunday afternoon.

wexford 2013 - simpsonSteve Simpson arrived in the Irish Republic as Championship leader but, having already posted the required five scores, was only able to improve on his lowest. 3rd overall enabled him to do just that, but he now finds himself four points off the lead and, having yet to miss an event, both he and Cole must wait until the Cheviot to resolve the issue. Simpson’s Impreza WRC began on the incorrect tyres : ‘we used a medium slick which was too hard – and then it rained!’ was the Manchester driver’s summation of the opening loop.

For his part, Simpson’s co-driver Patrick Walsh has led his particular category since the pair’s victory on the opening round of the season on Epynt. His nearest challenger is Brian Cammack but he and his driver Simon Mauger, must score well on both the remaining events if the situation is to change.

After a troubled start which saw his Darrian T90 GTR requiring a push ovewexford 2013 - fieldr the start line, Ashley Field down to take a fine 4th and, in addition to overall points, was also in line for top Millington RWD Challenge billing. The problem was traced to an alternator connection that kept coming loose but, once rectified, Ashley set about producing a series of Top Six times. One of the most pleasing aspects of the team’s appearance in Wexford was that the mechanic who was hurt when the Darrian fell on him on the Mewla was back in action and able to see his driver take his best result of the season to date.

Having missed a couple of events, Graham Coffey returned to the Championship in his Impreza S12B and, in spite of the car’s propensity for damaging its front spoiler, finished a fine 5th. After the first ‘incident’, the car began overheating causing him to back off for a while but, once restored to full health cosmetically, it was back to business as usual.

As the season has progressed, Alex Laffey/ Jack Morton have become noticeably more ‘at one’ with their Fiesta S2000 and the results just keep on coming. On the first Sunday loop, they slid sideways into a bank and took a chunk out of a rim – however, someone was watching over them as the tyre remained inflated until they arrived at service! 6 World Rally Cars and two Darrian T90s, was just reward for their efforts and, for the season, Alex was awarded the John Horton Motorsport Management ‘Star Performer’ trophy.

Try as they might, Matt Beebe/Paula Swinscoe could not get the tyre choice right for their MG ZR 190. ‘Whatever the weather does, we’ve got the opposite!’ was how Matt viewed the situation. Nevertheless, 14 overall and their third maximum in B11 they’ve achieved each time they’ve finished this season – was a fine result.

Following the Wexford Stages Tim Daltry/Emma Morrison really need to be looking at hiring a van for the Awards Evening! In spite of inflicting considerable damage to one of their Peugeot 205’s front wings on the final stage of Day 1, 28th overall and a class win mean that they can no longer be caught for the Front-Wheel Drive category, the AB Motorsport Peugeot 205 Challenge or Class B11!….

Also put beyond doubt in Wexford was the recipient of the Fuchs Titan Race 1400cc award winner. £500 worth of product will be heading to Howard Moore who, with Sasha Heriot reading the notes in his Lotus Elise, has not only won the end-of-season award but also qualified for the FTR ‘Best Improvement on Seeding’ over the weekend. They started at 115 and, in spite of the Elise’s best efforts in refusing to start in Parc Ferme on both mornings, went on to finish in 41st place…

There were a couple of non-finishers from amongst the Asphalt Championship contingent. Firstly, spare a thought for Richard Felgate/Mark Mason – problems prior to the rally had been overcome, or so they thought, but then their BMW M3 suffered suspension failure on the road section to the opening stage…..

The other DNF was Paul Bird whose Focus WRC was 3rd after four stages before suffering a puncture early in the next. Attempting to carry on, the tyre came off, the wheel was damaged and the resultant time – 13 minutes slower than the leaders – put him down in 76th place. Game over! On the plus side (yes – there is one!), having already won two rounds of the Championship, ‘Birdy’ is still in a position to challenge for the title, provided that he scores well on both the last two events. Time will tell!…

special stageTV PROGRAMMING
Wayne, Brid, Phil & Co were across the water filming the action for Motors TV and the results of their labours are initially due to be broadcast on Friday 27th September at 21.00.


Points following the Wexford Stages Rally have already been circulated. If you have any queries, please contact the Coordinator immediately as they will go final at midday on 17th September.

Round 8: The entry list for the EDP Photonews/Bob Dowen Rally Services Patriot Stages Rally (29th September), which takes place at the MoD training area at Caerwent, is already full. The organisers are compiling a reserve list – details are available from

Round 9 (Final): Regulations & entry forms for the UTS Cheviot Keith Knox Stages (20th October) are available to download from The organisers are promising thirteen stages, totalling 92 miles, on Otterburn and, with the 1.25 coefficient available on all points gained, the scene is set for the climax of one of the most competitive Asphalt Championships for years – be there!

awards12_mrol7671AWARDS EVENING
The Awards Presentation for the REIS – Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship will take place on Saturday 30th November at Moor Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield. Tickets are £47.00 for an excellent four course meal + a disco into the early hours.

Application forms for tickets and hotel reservations are available HERE, and we hope you will be able to join us for the annual season finale!

To say that Phil Barnard, Head of Motorsport Broking at REIS, was instrumental in putting together the deal that sees his company and Get Connected as current headline sponsors of the BTRDA Rally Series rather underestimates the true value of his involvement!

Firstly with the MSA Asphalt Championship and now also with the BTRDA Rally Series, Phil has been responsible for brokering the deal which sees each round of both being broadcast on Motors TV throughout the season. He is the first to admit that it would not have been possible without the financial input of several other individuals and companies, but it is through his good offices that Wayne Goldring and the crew from ‘Special Stage’ are now present every time the Championship takes to the stages.

With a motorsport industry background going back more years than he cares to remember, Phil ran the Daihatsu Rally Challenge, which dipped in and out of the BTRDA Rally Series, for three years between 1997 and 1999. Having completed his tenure of the ‘pocketrockets’, Phil determined to take six months off while deciding on his next course of action. Hardly had he sat  down when the phone rang – Richard Egger, then of Competition Car Insurance, had got a particular problem and was asking Phil if he would bring his engineering knowledge to bear in order to help solve it. ‘That’ll take three months’, thought Phil – well, three months later he was on CCI’s books and the rest, as the saying goes, is history….

‘I got into the insurance industry by default!’ is how he describes his entry into the profession that now sees REIS as one of the leading companies in its chosen sector of the market and one of the few that is increasing its share of the market year on year. And how has it changed? ‘Our core business is still the same as it was when we started, but there are now far more precise underwriting models to work from than was previously the case.’ That’s all part and parcel of the much more commercial view taken by the insurance industry in this day and age which, obviously, has an effect on premiums. Having said that, it is still necessary to apply an element of common sense to some of the requests that are received in the REIS offices in Edwalton on the outskirts of Nottingham – and it is the application of same that keeps the company where it is…

REISUnit 4 Wheatcroft Business Park
Landmere Lane, Edwalton
Nottingham, NG12 4DG
Tel: 0115 965 1020

Coordinator – Andrew Haill: Tel 0121 313 1416, Mobile 07836 729 549,
Eligibility Scrutineer – Colin Salkeld: Tel 0191 492 1771, Mobile 07860 960 489,
Website –
Facebook –
Twitter – @AsphaltRallying

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