Asphalt Asides 2014 – Issue 10

No1fHaving already been confirmed as 2014 REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Champion before he set foot on the Otterburn Ranges, Damian Cole’s second consecutive victory on the final round, the Cheviot Keith Knox Stages, saw him end the season with a full house – five maximum scores. Fortunately, regular co-driver Elliott
Edmondson, who was unavailable on this occasion, had also made sure of his place in the record books after the Wexford Stages Rally.

So, Cole’s fifth title-winning season was completed in dominant fashion with eight FTDs from the nine stages on offer. Nipping in to prevent a complete whitewash by the red Focus WRC was the Escort MkII of Simon Mauger/Ashley Trimble on its way to runner-up spot on the day. This result saw Mauger overhaul Keith Robathan, whose own Escort looked somewhat worse for wear by the end of the first loop, for both Class B12 and the Millington Rear-Wheel Drive Challenge. However, the Aberdeen driver, who had the RWD Challenge Champion Co-driver Phil Sandham for company on Otterburn, should be well-pleased with second place in both on what was his first full assault on the series this century!

No2hA comfortable third on the Cheviot was John Stone in his Skoda Fabia WRC, giving him the following statistics for the season – started 7th, finished 7th and runner-up in the Asphalt Championship which, after his 3rd overall in 2010, is his best result to date. The ‘Legend’ was another to be without his regular co-driver, Carl Williamson, who, nevertheless, takes 3rd behind Patrick Walsh.

Indeed, neither Steve Simpson nor Walsh featured in this year’s Cheviot entry list but we can’t finish off the season without mention of their Impreza’s speed and competitiveness. Given a clear run, nobody is safe when they’re about and, in the finish, Simpson was just two points adrift of Stone.

No5cAndy Fenwick/Andrew Roughead recently-acquired Focus WRC a run-out on the Ranges, coming home in 4th place, a handful of seconds in front of David Hardie/John McCulloch’s Impreza which took Class B13 both on the day and in the Championship result that qualifies them for this year’s Kwiktrak awards. Their main rival, Jim Sharp outside the Top Ten on the Cheviot in his Lancer EVO9.

Simon Chapman was getting some mileage under his belt in his ex-Ollie Mellors Proton Millington Satria prior to a full season in 2015 and took 8th ahead of David & Mathew White’s Group N Impreza whose efforts were rewarded with the John Horton Motorsport Management ‘Star Performer’ trophy. Meanwhile, 2012 Millington RWD Champions Richard Felgate/Mark Mason rounded off a pretty disappointing season with a fine 10th BMW M3.

Amongst those who were hoping for a good run on the Cheviot in order to boost their final standings in the MSA Asphalt Championship were Morton. Their progress in a Fiesta R5+ has been marked and, prior to the trip to Otterburn, the crew were in a position to fight for a podium place provided, of course, that they finished the last round…… Just a couple of miles into the first stage the car slid off the road and on to the grass – well, you can probably guess the rest! In spite of the DNF, Laffey was a creditable 5th in the overall table, having been overtaken at the last gasp by Simon Mauger.

Ditto David Tinn who has been a revelation in his first full Championship season. With BTRDA 1400 Champion Co-driver Giles Dykes with him for the ride David was lying as high as 4th durign the morning in his Proton Satria but engine failure with two stages to go brought about a premature end to their participation.

Starting at No.39 and finishing 13th earned Martin Hodgson/Tony Jones the Fuchs Titan Race ‘Best Improvement on Seeding’ award, not to mention
enough points to confirm Jones as 1st B11 co-driver.

For his part, Hodgson won the battle, but not the war. Although beating Andy Hawkins on the day, it was the VW Golf driver who took B11 in the Championship by a narrow margin and finished 2nd, behind the all conquering Nova of Darren & Sue Underwood, in the AB Motorsport Front-Wheel Drive Challenge.

The organisers of the Cheviot Keith Knox Stages, Whickham & District MSC & Hadrian Motor Sports Club, had been handed a difficult date by the MoD – any time after the clocks have been changed causes certain issues, but the experienced team dealt with everything that was thrown at them with aplomb. In order to support the final event in the Championship – whichever one that may be – a coefficient of 1.25 is applied to the points in an effort to encourage participation. It’s interesting to note, therefore, that there was an increased percentage of registered contenders in this year’s entry, compared with that of 2013!….

The programme produced by ‘Special Stage’ from the Cheviot Keith Knox Stages is due to be broadcast on  Motors TV at 20.30 on Friday 21st November.

The final 2014 MSA ASPHALT RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS TABLES following the Cheviot Keith Knox Stages have already been circulated and are now final.

Due to the unusually late finish this year, the Awards Presentation for the REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Championship is now only just over a fortnight away
(Saturday 29th November)! We hope as many of you as possible will be able to join us at Moor Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield, which is holding a number of rooms for our use for a little while longer. However, in order that an appropriate number of staff are on duty that evening, they are keen to have some idea of numbers as soon as possible. Consequently, as a matter of some urgency, can you please advise your ticket requirements to Championship Coordinator Andrew Haill (details below).

As we’re sure you will be aware, REIS are committed to remain with us as joint headline sponsor for the 2015 MSA Asphalt Rally Championship and we are currently seeking extra funding to assist in the running costs. Following the recent news of the unfortunate demise of the Jim Clark Rally next year, we are looking again at next year’s calendar and hope to be able to confirm events/dates soon.

Thank you for your support of the REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Championship throughout the year and, as this is the final bulletin of the season, it just remains for us to wish you all a Happy & Prosperous 2015 – hopefully with us.

We value any communications from competitors and therefore if you have any news, comments, questions or
simply require advice we would like to hear from you.

Coordinator – Andrew Haill: Tel 0121 313 1416, Mobile 07836 729 549, Email:
Eligibility Scrutineer – Geoff Doe:
Mobile 07808 129 663, Email:

Andrew Haill

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