Asphalt Asides 3 2016 – ALMC Stages


Simpson-ALMC CRSPicsHaving been forced to miss the previous round of the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship due to work commitments, Steve Simpson and co-driver Patrick Walsh returned to their winning ways in their Impreza WRC by taking maximum points on the ALMC Stages,
the third round of the 2016 series. A gearbox oil leak towards the end of the second loop of stages was rectified in service, allowing them to continue on their merry way and lead the Asphalt Championship contenders back to the finish in Trim. So, their score
card currently reads ‘started – 2, finished – 2, maximums – 2’. There is, obviously, still a long way to go, but once dropped scores come into play, nothing trumps a 30!…

Field-ALMC CRSPicsHaving experienced such cruel luck last time out on the Isle of Man when, after topping the timesheets for a while, Ashley Field withdrew his Darrian T90 GTR because information in the cockpit led him to believe the oil pressure was dangerously low (it subsequently turned out to be a faulty sensor, rather than a problem with the engine itself!), it all came right for him in
Ireland. He brought the two-wheel drive car home to a Top Ten finish which earned him both maximum Millington Rear-Wheel Drive Challenge and Class B12 points. Keeping up with his four-wheel drive turbocharged counterparts was effort enough but when,
midway through the event, the car’s front brake discs warped, slowing the car up was an even greater task – good job Ashley’s teeth are his own!

Cole-ALMC CRSPicsDamian Cole (Fiesta WRC) didn’t finish the ALMC Stages last year and so, with Paul Morris guiding him through the stages, getting to the end was the No.1 priority. A misfire, which required the replacement of the coil packs, didn’t help their cause but they were
able to record a finish and, having done likewise on the other two events contested so far, maintain their positions at the head of their respective points tables.

David Hardie/John McCulloch (Impreza) are regular visitors to the ALMC Stages and, although unable to replicate their Top Five finish of 2015, once a questionable notional time had been amended, a solid run allowed them to open their account in this year’s
Championship. David Tinn/Giles Dykes (Proton Satria Neo) were right behind them, with John Stone/Jack Morton’s Fiesta S2500 just a handful of seconds adrift.

Having used the first loop of stages to settle into the event, David & Mathew White won the Group N battle on the day in their Impreza but, following their retirement on the opening round of the season, still trail the similar car of Wynne Watkins/Ashley Trimble in the points, with neither crew reporting any problems on this occasion.

Mathew Roberts flung his Citroen Saxo through the Irish lanes to take a class win on the event and, more importantly from the Championship perspective,maximum points in the AB Motorsport Front-Wheel Drive Challenge and Class B10 which, following the
demise of William Hill/Richard Crozier when their Fiesta’s engine cried ‘enough’, he now leads.

Paul Clackett/David Millard were able to put the disappointment of retirement on the Manx behind them, bringing their Suzuki Swift home to take 2nd & 1st FWD points respectively – the words ‘awesome’ and ‘brilliant’ were included in their description of the stages! That may well have been the view of ALMC regulars David Earthy/Sarah Edwards but their Citroen C2R2’s refusal to come out of 5th gear was a more important issue at the time! Nevertheless, they managed to coax the recalcitrant car to the finish and
their reward was a maximum in Class A6….

Richard & Pat (whose birthday fell on the day of the rally!) Egger were not experiencing any bothers with their Nova but, due to indiscretions of others ahead of them, only managed to contest three of the first six stages. Right behind them in the final analysis were Kev Harbour/Ryan Jones whose Peugeot 205 had really ‘got one on it’! It didn’t want to tick over and was refusing to run properly but, even so, it was coaxed to the finish to give its crew some more valuable points.

David & Mathew Smalley’s Vauxhall Corsa took the 1400 honours on the day, in spite of the driver’s admission that they overshot a corner on the recce – and then did exactly the same on the rally!…. Meanwhile, Jeff Simm/Matthew Daniels had one of those days their mothers warned them about, but still managed to get their Nissan Sunny to the finish of the event and collect some much-needed points! Fred Field’s Championship debut in his Vauxhall Adam Cup car seemed to be heading in the right direction –
until it disappeared on the penultimate stage of day. ‘Character-building, my boy!’. Yeah, right…… Never mind, we hope to see him back shortly.

For the first time since the MSA Asphalt Championship has included the ALMC Stages in its calendar, the event was also a round of the Irish National Series. Sponsors Triton Showers had put up an ‘Inter-Nations’ Cup which was to be fought over by a dozen crews
from either side of the Irish Sea. Just a bit of fun and a friendly gesture – however, a glance at the final results shows the Top Six finishers all to be from the ‘other side’ of the water. Oh well, thanks for the initiative, but maybe next time!….

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS after the ALMC Stages have already been circulated. Any queries should be notified to the Championship Coordinator by midday on 11th July when they will become final.

ROUND 4 : The Tyneside Stages (7th August) is next up. The capacity entry of 90 has long since been reached, although a reserve list has been opened. The organisers are experiencing restrictions in relation to the available roads on the Otterburn Ranges but rest assured a competitive route, with a recce on the Saturday afternoon, will be on offer. The Entries Secretary is :
Maurice Mabon – Tel : 01665 602690 / Email :
Full details are available on
ROUND 5 : The Forge Garage Mewla Rally (28th August) takes us back to the Epynt Ranges over August Bank Holiday weekend. The event contains 80 stage miles, in eleven stages, with a chance to recce the route between 11.00-16.00 on the Saturday. The Entries Secretaries are :
Keith & Trina Edwards – Tel : 01982 551246 / Email : N.B. Please note new e-mail address
Full details are available on

Andrew Haill


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