JUST A SECOND!…
Defending Champion Damian Cole and co-driver Elliott Edmondson have continued where they left off at the end of last season by winning the opening round of the 2014 REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Championship, the Tour of Epynt. Already the signs are that the highly competitive nature that was a feature of the 2013 Series is set to continue – having missed out on a tiebreak last year, Cole’s winning margin this time was a mere one second!…
The Impreza WRCs of Peter Lloyd/Neil James and last year’s winners Steve Simpson/Patrick Walsh were 2nd& 3rd respectively but, even then, only five seconds separated 1st from 3rd! John Stone/Carl Williamson (Skoda Fabia WRC) were 4th, with the Impreza WRCs of Rob Swann/Darren Garrod and recent four-wheel drive convert John Indri/Peter James rounding off the Top Six. These last two were all the more impressive as Swann was unfamiliar with Epynt and Indri was still getting to grips with the technology that is a World Rally Car!
FTD on the opening stage put Cole/Edmondson into a lead they would maintain for the rest of the day, with Lloyd and Simpson jockeying for the remaining podium places. A dry, sunny day on Epynt and it goes without saying that the pace would be fast and furious – and so it was! Although the overall entry was down slightly on therecord-breaking figure set last year, the element of MSA Championship-registered crews remained constant at 66 – a very impressive 62% of the total…
Millington Rear Wheel Drive Challenge
Having proved so popular last year, the Millington RWD Challenge is back and, unsurprisingly, 7th overall secured top marks for Simon Mauger and 2013 MSA Asphalt Champion Co-driver Brian Cammack. It was another superb run from the Oxfordshire crew in a new-build MkII Escort, but such is their pedigree that it’s almost as if we’ve come to expect giant-killing performances now!
JOHN HORTON MOTORSPORT MANAGEMENT ‘STAR PERFORMER’
One of the drives of the rally came from Darren Atkinson/Phil Sandham whose own Escort finished the day just five seconds behind Mauger. Any unfamiliarity with the venue was quickly swept aside as they set Top Ten times on three of the six stages that were run to take 9th overall. For his efforts, the Lancaster driver was awarded the first JHMM ‘Star Performer’ trophy of the new season.
Meanwhile, Richard Merriman/Kath Curzon finished just outside the Top Ten in their Darrian T90 to take a class win and third Millington points. After a season to forget last year, 2012 Group N Asphalt Champions Rob Tout/Dan Holley are back in their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 and have started their campaign off with a ‘full-house’. 12thoverall gave them maximum points ahead of the Impreza of Wynne Watkins/Sherryn Roberts.
AB MOTORSPORT FRONT WHEEL DRIVE CHALLENGENew for 2014, maximum points in the AB Motorsport Front-Wheel Drive Challenge were claimed by the Underwoods, Darren & Sue, who took their 1600cc
Nova to a class win and 17thoverall. Next up were Ian Godney’s Renault Clio and the Citroen DS3 of James Ford/Michael Gilbey. Other class winners on the day included David Earthy/Maria Rayner (Citroen C2R2), David Morgan/Richard Suter (Darrian T9) and Carwyn Watkins’ Fiesta ST.
FUCHS TITAN RACE BEST IMPROVEMENT ON SEEDING
We are delighted that Fuchs Titan Race have elected to continue with vouchers for £50 worth of products on each round of the Asphalt Championship going to the driver deemed to have made the ‘Best Improvement on Seeding’. On this occasion, it was won by Paul Clapham whose Peugeot 106 was seeded at 93 and classified 39th in the final results. On the other side of the coin, Roger Hicks/Terry Martin will have had better days! Seeded at No.22, their Escort suffered various problems on its way to 60th place, not least of which was the loss of its bonnet.
With so many Championship-registered crews on Epynt it is impossible to include everyone’s tales of derring-do but, having outlined many of the success
stories, it’s perhaps only fair to mention a few of the crews whose day ended prematurely. Firstly, Alex Laffey/Jack Morton were carted off to hospital after
their Fiesta R5 came to grief on SS3. We are happy to report that, although Jack was kept in overnight for observation, neither crew member has suffered any
lasting injuries and we look forward to seeing them out and about again very soon.
The much-vaunted Championship debut of Graham Coffey’s new Fiesta WRC was curtailed after mechanical failure, whilst also in a new – to them – car were Mark Jasper/Don Whyatt. Their ex Mark Worley Impreza WRC broke an engine mounting in an altercation with a bale on the opening stage – unfortunately, Mr Worley was on hand to see the extent of the damage for himself!…
WHAT’S THE POINT!…
The MSA Asphalt Rally Championship points tables following the Tour of Epynt have already been circulated and, in the absence of any queries, will go
final at midday on Tuesday 18th March.
ON THE TELLY!…
Motors TV’s broadcast schedule for each round of this year’s Asphalt Championship is such that Wayne Goldring has a week less to prepare each individual
programme. Those wishing to see themselves on the Tour of Epynt should make sure they are near a TV set at 10.00pm on Friday 21st March. If, for any reason,
you miss the programme, the recordings will be available shortly afterwards on the Championship website: http://asphaltrallying.com/
Special Stage always want to make them as extensiveand entertaining as possible and, in order to achieve this, depend very much on information received from
you both during and after each event. Therefore, they would love to hear from you with snippets on how your day went and any particular incidents or dramas.
They will also consider using film coverage taken from your in-car cameras. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org and there is a form to fill in on their website: http://www.specialstage.co.uk
Round 2 : MANX NATIONAL RALLY (9th/10th 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 – so, the choice is yours!…
JIM CLARK NATIONAL RALLY (30th/31st May) – Regulations and full details will be available shortly from http://www.jimclarkrally.comThe rally will, once again,
be based in Kelso and, as the only closed-road event in mainland UK, it’s so popular that it attracts people from far and wide who all need somewhere to stay.
Consequently, it’s in your interests to book your accommodation ASAP!
ALMC STAGES (6thJuly). This year’s ALMC Stages Rally will be based at the Castle Arch Hotel in the historic Co Meath town of Trim. Parc Ferme will be in the adjacent
County Council Offices, while the trailer park and scrutineering are in the adjoining commercial premises. Further details from http://www.almcstagesrally.com