After an absence of a couple of years, Ashley Field returned to the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship for the second round of the 2016 series, the Manx National Rally, in an extremely potent Darrian T90 GTR. Aided, no doubt, by the dry weather encountered during the opening leg of the event, the Mansfield driver set fastest times on the opening two stages through Ramsey to put himself into the lead. Holding 3rd by the overnight halt, he maintained that position until midway through the second day when, according to information received inside the car, the oil pressure began to drop. Rather than risk damage to the engine, Ashley wisely decided to retire – subsequent investigation, however, has revealed that a faulty sensor was to blame. Hey ho!….
The Manx National Rally is the one round of the current MSA Asphalt Championship calendar that Damian Cole has not won and, while that situation was not to change this time, the former Champion and co-driver Paul Morris did come away with a maximum points score. Their Fiesta WRC was pipped for a podium finish on the final stage, but 4th overall sees them move into the lead of the series at this stage.
John Stone had enlisted the services of defending Champion Co-driver Jack Morton for his assault on the Manx in his Fiesta S2500 (or ‘Le Diva’ as the Legend Fires team has christened it!). Although the car lacks out-and-out speed, its 5th place, inherited from Manxman Stu Bainborough (Lancer EVO6) on the final stage of the rally, sets them up nicely for the trip to Ireland for the ALMC Stages at the beginning of July.
Now Richard Clews had some unfinished business on the Manx National Rally…. In 2015 he had been running comfortably in the Top Ten in his Group N+ Impreza when problems intervened which saw him drop down the order. Dipping in and out of the Top Ten stage times throughout the event, Clews arrived back at the Grandstand in 7th place which, added to his good run on the season-opening Tour of Epynt, sees him in runner-up spot in the Championship.
As mentioned above, Stu Bainborough’s hopes of finishing top Manxman on his ‘home’ event were dashed almost in sight of the finish but, in his first season at this level, he still came away with a good haul of Championship points. Meanwhile, after a DNF on Epynt, Group N Champion for the past two seasons David White opened his 2016 account with a comfortable Top 20 finish in his Impreza.
Richard & Ben Slinger (Lancer EVO6) won the Manx Challenge Rally (for National ‘B’ licence holders) overall, finishing 19th in the combined results, moving them up to 3rd in the overall Championship standings.
Ian Chadwick’s Honda Civic was victorious in the battle for AB MOTORSPORT FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE CHALLENGE points, finishing half-a-minute to the good of Mathew Roberts’ Saxo.
William Hill/Richard Crozier (Fiesta R200) were 3rd and move into the lead of what is shaping up to be a closely-fought battle this year.
Oliver Hopkins/Ian Taylor (Lancer EVO9) and the Impreza of Wynne Watkins/Ashley Trimble took 2nd & 3rd respectively in Group N. However, in the points table, their roles are reversed with Wynne holding a narrow advantage over Oliver…..
Geoff Glover / Keith Barker – Vauxhall Astra RWDGeoff Glover/Keith Barker (Vauxhall Astra RWD) have been contesting the Manx National Rally on and off for the best part of two decades and, obviously, over such a long period, results have been mixed. This time, following Ashley Field’s demise, they returned home with top MILLINGTON REAR-WHEEL DRIVE CHALLENGE points in the bag to add to those they’d already earned on Epynt. Adam Booth was less than a minute behind in his Ford Escort to open his account as well, but not so lucky were Chris Simmons/Andy Moss whose Darrian went out with engine maladies after eight stages.
After almost 85 miles of special stages on the closed public roads on the Isle of Man, the top two 1400s were a mere 12s apart! For the second event running, Richard Milbank/Lee Bezuidenhout (Vauxhall Corsa) were unable to shake off the attentions of Ian & Margaret Kelly (Nissan Micra) – obviously, the B9 points table reflects this, but it’s one that will run and run!…
Richard Milbank / Lee Bezuidenhout – Vauxhall Corsa As last year, the Manx National Rally was the first asphalt round of the BTRDA RALLY CHALLENGE whose calendar is made up of events featuring in both the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series (gravel) and the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship. Beginning with the Somerset Stages Rally in April, Jack Morton set about the defence of his Co-driver’s title in style and now, with the Manx behind him, has resumed his place at the head of the table.
Whilst Julian Barnett/Sasha Heriot (GpN Impreza) were the first Challenge crew home, Scotsman George Morrison (MG ZR) leads the Drivers’ table in his MG ZR.
In addition to those already mentioned who were subjected to an involuntary ‘early bath’, David Hardie/John McCulloch’s return to the series was short-lived when, having set 3rd & 4th fastest times through the stages in Ramsey, their Impreza was sidelined with brake problems. Bob Fowden/Paul Wakely’s first Championship outing in their ex Rob Swann Impreza WRC saw them retiring from 6th place when its gearbox packed up on the first run over the Baldwins.
The MSA Asphalt Rally Championship points tables following the Manx National Rally have already been circulated. If you have any queries, please contact the Co-ordinator as soon as possible as they will go final at midday on Tuesday 17th May.
Round 3 : SMARTPART ALMC STAGES RALLY (3rd July). The regulations for our next round, which is based at the Castle Arch Hotel in Trim, Co. Meath, will be published on the event website – http://www.almc.ie – on Monday 23rd May. N.B. This event is also a round of the Irish National Championship this year and it goes without saying that the entry is bound to fill very quickly. Please get your entries in early to avoid disappointment.
Round 4 : TYNESIDE STAGES (7th August). Regulations should be available on the event website – http://www.alnwickmotorclub.co.uk – in early June. 80 miles of special stages on the Otterburn Military Ranges await competitors but, as above, this event is also likely to be very popular – it is a qualifying round of a number of different series including, for the first time, the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship.
CHAMPIONSHIP CONTACT DETAILS
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Coordinator – Andrew Haill: Tel 0121 313 1416, Mobile 07836 729 549, Email: email@example.com
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