Asphalt Asides 6 2016 – Patriot Stages Rally

Damian Cole/Paul Morris (Fiesta WRC) – 2016 MSA Asphalt Rally Champions Photo courtesy : ‘ralliphotoswales’

Damian Cole & Paul Morris are the 2016 MSA Asphalt Rally Champions! Aboard their customary Ford Fiesta WRC, the pair won the penultimate round of the series, the Raintite/Curzon Wealth Management Patriot Stages, to take their fourth maximum of the
season and clinch what is Cole’s sixth and Morris’ first title. Even with the Cheviot Keith Knox Stages still to run, this particular victory puts the Championship out of reach of their main rivals, Steve Simpson/Patrick Walsh, who were unfortunately absent from the Caerwent Training Area after their Impreza WRC developed an engine fault in the days leading up to the event. Even so, runners-up spot in the Championship is still very much a possibility – dependent, obviously, on a good run on the Cheviot!….

John Stone had another successful run-out in his Fiesta S2500 to take 2nd overall at Caerwent, while David  Tinn (Proton Satria Neo) – currently 2nd overall in the Championship – and Giles Dykes were 3rd. Following on from their podium finish on the Mewla Rally, Bob Fowden/Paul Wakely brought their Impreza WRC back home in 4th place – the veteran driver is sitting just outside the Top Ten and one can only imagine where he would be, but for the gearbox woes that beset the car earlier in the year!

Wynne Watkins/Ashley Trimble – 2016 MSA Asphalt Group N Champions Photo courtesy : ‘ralliphotoswales’

The Group N category has been quite a contest this year but that, too, was put to bed at Caerwent. Wynne Watkins (Impreza) began the day just one point ahead of Oliver Hopkins (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) but, with Ashley Trimble reading the notes, Watkins cruised home in 6th place to take maximum N4 points and put the matter beyond doubt – just! Hopkins was only a couple of places adrift and, as both drivers approach the end of their first full season of Asphalt Championship events, they can be well pleased with their efforts!

William Hill/Richard Crozier’s season just goes from strength to strength – their Fiesta R200 finished just outside the Top Ten at Caerwent to clinch the AB Motorsport Front-Wheel Drive Challenge and Class B10 for the season.

William Hill/Richard Crozier – 2016 AB Motorsport FWD Challenge Champions Photo courtesy : ‘ralliphotoswales’

Unfortunately, other category and class entrants had their hopes dashed – Tim Seipel/Val Thompson’s MG ZR suffered a front drive flange failure very early on and, with no spare available, they were heading back to the Midlands shortly afterwards. Indeed, Tim was home soon enough to have the car fixed and ready for the Cheviot before nightfall – onwards and upwards!

It’s a long story, but Kev Harbour was hoping that a demon tweak to one of his Peugeot 205’s engine mountings would cure an electrical problem that had blighted the last couple of events. It seemed to be going so well – but he, too, was destined to finish the event on the back of a recovery truck!

Also registering a DNF last time out, courtesy of a broken driveshaft, Richard & Pat Egger returned in their ‘trusty’ Nova to take maximum points in Class B11. They move ahead of their rivals, but preparations for a trip to the Tour of Mull preclude an entry on the final round of the Championship, leaving the way open for yet another change in the pecking order!

Richard Milbank’s Corsa looking somewhat worse for wear!

Richard Milbank/Lee Bezuidenhout were the leading Championship 1400 crew right up to the final stage when their Corsa suffered a front puncture. The debacle cost them five minutes and allowed David & Mathew Smalley to nip in front of them to claim maximum points. Going into the final encounter, Milbank/Bezuidenhout lead the class but need a result on Otterburn to ensure it stays that way.

Outgoing MSA Asphalt Rally Champion Simon Mauger was at Caerwent in a Mitsubishi Mirage R5. Reunited with Brian Cammack, who won his particular category in 2013, the pair were destined for ‘one of those days’. Transmission problems on the second stage eliminated them from the final results but, such is the nature of the venue that they were able to carry on for practice once repairs had been effected.

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS tables following the Raintite/Curzon Wealth Management Patriot Stages have already been circulated – if you have any queries, please contact the Championship Coordinator before 12 noon on Tuesday 4th October when they will go FINAL.

ERRATUM! – we inadvertently included some incorrect dates in our announcement of Jane Evans’ appointment as the new MSA Asphalt Rally Championship Coordinator. Val Thompson was the ANCRO Registrar until the end of 2008 – apologies to all concerned.

Round 7 : The Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally (9th October) brings the curtain down on the 2016 season. Anyone wishing to enter should go to as a matter of some urgency. Following a recce – unfortunately only one run this year due to current restrictions – on Saturday afternoon, the first car is due to leave the start from the Airstrips, on the Otterburn Military Ranges, at 9.00am on Sunday morning, with 12 stages, totalling 60 miles, on offer before the finish at 4.50pm.

Awards Presentation & Dinner Dance (Saturday 12th November).
The MSA Asphalt Rally Championship Awards Presentation is a splendid way of rounding off the season – just ask anyone who’s been before (if they can remember!). Moor Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield, look after us very well and the relevant booking forms
(tickets & accommodation) are available HERE. We look forward to seeing you there.

Andrew Haill




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