COLE FIRES WARNING SHOT OVER EPYNT!…
Damian Cole/Elliott Edmondson’s win on the Old Forge Garage Mewla Rally, the sixth round of the REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Championship, over the August Bank Holiday moves them to the top of the points table with just two rounds remaining. However, that statistic, whilst nevertheless impressive, doesn’t tell half the story of the day!
Indeed, it was Steve Simpson, complete with a broken finger sustained while on holiday in Tenerife, and codriver Patrick Walsh who set the early pace in their Subaru Impreza WRC. Anxious to banish the memory of retirement from both the last two events, they started in determined fashion, setting FTD on each of the first four stages to the point that, even after a lurid – but, fortunately, undamaging! – spin on SS5, they still held sway over Cole’s Focus.
With seven of the fourteen stages done, the two crews were on identical penalties – so Cole’s fastest time on the next one put him in to a lead he then maintained through to the finish back at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells. Simpson/Walsh took the runners-up spot which keeps them in the hunt for the title, but everyone will be feeling the pressure from now on!
MILLINGTON REAR WHEEL DRIVE CHALLENGE
Reverting to his Darrian T90 GTR in which he finished second on last year’s Mewla, John Indri, accompanied by Peter James, brought the two-wheel drive machine home in an excellent 3rd place – on the same minute as the leaders after 82 miles of competition. Their efforts were also rewarded with maximum points in the Millington Rear-Wheel Drive Challenge which is led by Tyneside Stages winners Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead were running as high as 5th in their Fiesta S2400 for a while but an off-road excursion with just a couple of stages to go relegated them to the rank of spectators and, unfortunately, put paid to any thoughts they may have had of Championship honours this year. The place was taken by Tim Wilson’s Impreza WRC, while the ever-present Fiesta R5+ of Alex Laffey/Jack Morton rounded off the Top Six.
Championship leaders prior to the Mewla, John Stone/Carl Williamson, were absent on this occasion – an important birthday in the Stone household quite rightly took precedence but, as a result, the pair drop to second in the table.
In a total entry of 87, almost exactly half were MSA Asphalt Championship-registered and, indeed, the first twelve finishers each came away with a bag of points. David Tinn/Marc Fowler maintained their Proton Millington’s 100% finishing record with 7th overall and, as the Championship paid its second visit of the year to the Epynt Ranges, it is a good time to evaluate the former racing driver’s progress – compare 7th with 27th on the Tour of Epynt in March!
We hadn’t seen the Group N Lancer EVO9 of Rob Tout/Dan Holley since that opening round, but they were back doing what they’re good at – 8th and 1st Group N, both on the event and in the Championship, was just reward for a fine effort. By the end of the day Adge Spencer/Mark Hewitt (Subaru Impreza) were a mere five seconds behind them, with Ian Godney’s Impreza WRC closing out the Top Ten.
AB MOTORSPORT FRONT WHEEL DRIVE CHALLENGE
Class B10 was won and lost by one second! Darren & Sue Underwood’s Nova was 11th, 1st in class and maximum points scorer in the AB Motorsport FrontWheel Drive Challenge, giving them the 2014 title from the Citroen C2R2 of David Earthy/Maria Rayner. Kevin Tappin, meanwhile, finished 12th in his 1600cc Escort by the narrowest of margins!
JOHN HORTON MOTORSPORT MANAGEMENT ‘STAR PERFORMER’ & FUCHS TITAN RACE BEST IMPROVEMENT ON SEEDING
Further down the list, Cathy Sewart was presented with the John Horton Motorsport Management ‘Star Performer’ award on this occasion. Starting from No.90, she guided her Talbot Sunbeam Lotus through to finish 39th – an improvement of 51 places for which she also earned the Fuchs Titan Race ‘Best Improvement on Seeding’ £50 product voucher.
Andy Hawkins was contesting his fourth event of the season – with his fourth different co-driver! – and his fourth finish sees the Ashadi Rallysport VW Golf leading the ever-popular Class B11. His nearest rival is Martin Hodgson whose Escort actually beat him on the day while, in spite of retiring with broken throttle cables on the Mewla, Paul & Julian Doroszczuk’s Escort is also still in the running. They are unable to contest the next event in Wexford as Paul will be on holiday in Las Vegas, ‘hoping to win enough money to buy one of Roy Millington’s finest!’ – their words – but will be back for the Cheviot….
The programme of the Old Forge Garage Mewla Rally is due for broadcast on Motors TV on 5th September at 9.00pm – put the date/time in your diaries!
Championship points following the Old Forge Garage Mewla Rally were circulated earlier in the week. If you have any queries, please contact the Coordinator immediately as they will go final at midday on 3rd September.
Round 7 : Regulations for the Wexford Stages Rally (13/14th September) have been available to download from http://www.wexfordmotorclub.ie for a while. This event has a habit of filling up quickly and, so, any Championship contenders who are planning to make the trip, but have yet to place an entry, are advised to do so without delay! The Entries Secretary is : Gary Nolan Tel : +353 (0) 87 9007152 (7.00-9.00pm only) / E-mail: email@example.com
Round 8 (Final) : Regulations & entry forms for the Cheviot Keith Knox Stages (9th November) will be available to download shortly from http://www.cheviotstages.org.uk.
AWARDS EVENING : The Awards Presentation for the REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Championship will take place on Saturday 29th November at Moor Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield. Further details will be released shortly but, in the meantime, please put the date in your diary.
Photos : RallyGallery.com