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Asphalt Asides – 10

COLE GOES FOURTH!…
Victory on the UTS Cheviot Keith Knox Stages Rally, the final round of the REIS – Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship, was enough to clinch a fourth consecutive title for Damian Cole. At the end of what has been the most competitive Championship for years, Cole arrived in Otterburn as one of four drivers still in with a chance of lifting the trophy.

The day dawned misty and damp but it was quite obvious that the pace would be electric right from the off. Thirteen stages, totalling 92 miles, were on the menu and Cole was immediately ‘on it’, setting FTD on each of the first five. Initially, his main opposition came from late-entry Peter Taylor, but his challenge came to an abrupt end on SS4 when the Carlisle driver’s Focus WRC left the road at high speed.

The Impreza WRC of fellow Championship aspirants Steve Simpson/Patrick Walsh moved up to 2nd, but any hopes of lifting the title soon disappeared after a large quantity of oil was found to be leaking from a crack in the gearbox casing. Game over!

Simon Mauger/Brian Cammack then took up the cudgel in their MkII Escort – Cammack was the only person in a position to challenge Walsh for the Co-drivers’ title, but he would have to take a maximum score to squeeze the season-long leader into second place and, even then, it would only be by a single point! Clutch trouble hampered the Escort’s progress as the day wore on, allowing John Stone’s Skoda Fabia WRC to close in. By the time the pair reached the finish, they were on identical penalties, with Stone getting the nod for 2nd with a quicker time on the opening stage.

Nevertheless, neither Cole nor Stone’s co-drivers were Championship-registered, giving third-placed Brian Cammack top points – and the title! Whilst we congratulate him on his success, especially in a two-wheel drive car, at the same time please spare a thought for Patrick Walsh. Having been at the top of the BTRDA Silver Star Championship points throughout the season, he was to miss out on that honour by the narrowest of margins on the Saturday and then, less than twenty-four hours later, his hopes of succeeding James Morgan to the Asphalt crown also went up in smoke – literally!

The other two drivers hoping to return home from the north-east of England as MSA Asphalt Champion were Paul Bird and John Indri. Bird’s day began badly when his Focus WRC’s power steering pump failed just prior to the start. Now anyone will tell you that Otterburn is not the place to be without power steering – so, 6th in such exalted company after the first couple of stages is no mean feat!

Fastest times on four stages followed but then it all went wrong on the last one when the Focus slid off into a ditch. It eventually regained the road but Bird took a maximum for his troubles, losing six minutes to the leaders. Ninth place overall gave him 2nd overall in the Asphalt Championship, but that wasn’t what he was there for!…

Meanwhile, having won the 2012 Cheviot, John Indri started the rally with No.1 on the doors of his Darrian T90 GTR. With Josh Davison along for the ride on this occasion, Indri was up to 5th with two stages to go when the car was withdrawn in service due to transmission problems – his first retirement from seven starts and a disappointing end to an otherwise excellent season.

MILLINGTON  REAR WHEEL DRIVE CHALLENGE
The Millington Rear-Wheel Drive Challenge has added an extra dimension to the Asphalt Championship this year – 30 drivers have scored points and, in the end, it came down to a straight fight between Simon Mauger and John Indri who was leading prior to the Cheviot. Mauger finished the final round, Indri didn’t – second-place points went to the BMW M3 of outgoing champions Richard Felgate/Mark Mason, with the Escort of the Doroszczuks, Paul & Julian, taking third.

At the start of the season, Alex Laffey/Jack Morton appeared in their new Fiesta S2000 and, to begin with, ‘Caution’ was the watchword. Speed, in conjunction with familiarity, has increased considerably in the intervening months, culminating with 6th overall and first in class on Otterburn. Morton’s points tally has risen to such an extent that, at just 18 years old, he ends the season as 3rd overall in the Co-drivers’ Championship – respect!…

AB MOTORSPORT PEUGEOT 205 CHALLENGE
Tim Daltry was already confirmed as BTRDA FWD Champion and winner of both the AB Motorsport Peugeot 205 Challenge & Class B11 prior to the start of the Cheviot. So, when his particular 205 ground to a halt with engine failure, it didn’t matter quite as much as it might have done!

FUCHS TITAN RACE BEST IMPROVEMENT ON SEEDING  
The other two similar cars in the entry did get round Craig Jose/Nigel Hewett took top points in Class B10, while Andrew & Reg Irving were 2nd in B9, behind the flying Nova of Ian Barnard/Andy Bull starting at No.62 and finishing thirty higher, in 28th, Andrew Irving earned himself the final
Fuchs Titan Race Award for ‘Best Improvement on Seeding’ of the year.

Although the perennially popular Class B13 had already been settled, 2nd & 3rd still had to be fought over with the Imprezas of Chris Daykin/Dan Megannity & Neal Arden/ Giles Corbett the contest.

On the day, both were upstaged by the Lancer of Jim Sharp/Craig Wallace but, as far as the other two were concerned, Daykin finished the rally and Arden finished in a ditch! However, having missed a round earlier in the season, Megannity couldn’t get ahead of Corbett but, nevertheless, managed to close the gap considerably!

JOHN HORTON MOTORSPORT MANAGEMENT ‘STAR PERFORMER’
Julian Barnett (Subaru Impreza) used the Cheviot to take an even tighter grip on Class N4 –he was leading before the start but, on paper, could have been
caught. It was a measured drive in far-from-easy conditions and, for this and also maintaining a 100% finishing record throughout the season, Julian was
awarded the John Horton Motorsport Management
‘Star Drive’ trophy.

23 Championship-registered cars entered the final round and a report on their progress good, bad or indifferent – is due to be broadcast on Motors TV 22.00 on Friday 8th November.

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
The final set of 2013 Championship Pointsthe UTS Cheviot Keith Knox Stages has already been circulated. If you have any queries on them, please
contact the Coordinator immediately as they will go final at midday on 30th October.

AWARDS EVENING
Preparations for the Awards Presentation for the REIS – Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship (Saturday 30th November) are well underway and Moor Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield, is holding a number of rooms for our use until 3rd November. Ticket requirements should be notified to Championship Coordinator Andrew Haill (details below) as soon as
possible and we look forward to seeing you there.

We are delighted that REIS are committed to remain with us as joint headline sponsor for the 2014 MSA Asphalt Rally Championship and we are currently
seeking a partner to replace the departing Get Connected who we thank for their support over the last 2 years.

The calendar has already been announced and in the meantime, as this is the final Championship Bulletin for 2013, it just remains for us to thank everyone who has supported the series throughout the year and to wish you all a Happy & Prosperous 2014 – hopefully with us!

CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR 2014

Tour of Epynt 9th March  – Llandovery
Manx National 9th/10th May – Douglas
Jim Clark National 30th/31st May – Kelso
ALMC Stages 6th July – Dublin
Tyneside Stages 3rd August – Otterburn
Mewla Rally 24th August – Builth Wells
Wexford Rally 13th/14th September – Wexford
Cheviot Keith Knox 9th November – Otterburn
2013 CHAMPIONSHIP CONTACT DETAILS 
Coordinator – Andrew Haill: Tel 0121 313 1416, Mobile 07836 729 549, andrew.haill@btconnect.com
Eligibility Scrutineer – Colin Salkeld: Tel 0191 492 1771, Mobile 07860 960 489, colinsalkeld@btinternet.com

Website – http://www.asphaltrallying.com/
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/asphaltrallying
Twitter – @AsphaltRallying

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