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Petch impresses in Lake District
3:22pm Friday 15th March 2013 in Sport
SUCCESS and disappointment came in almost equal measures when local competitors ventured over to the Lake District for the Malcolm Wilson Rally which comprised round two of the 2013 BTRDA Rally Series.
Leading the way with a sensational top six placing overall was Hamsterley’s Stephen Petch on his debut in the ex works Ford Focus WRC08 driven previously by top Finnish star Jari-Matti Latvala. Along with Northallerton co-driver Ian Windress, the pair soon got to grips with the car to claim third in class after 45 miles of challenging Cumbrian forests.
Ripon’s Charlie Payne and York co-driver Craig Thorley had to settle for seventh overall to add to their fifth place finishonthe openingWyedean round in their Ford Focus WRC but the consistent approach has them in third place going into next month’s Somerset Stages Rally where they will be looking to add to their recent Riponian Rally victory.
Following their brilliant performance on the Wyedean, Thirsk’s Mat Smith and Barnard Castle co-driver Giles Dykes once again did the business by bringing their little FordKahome inaremarkable 30th overall and second in class. The result sees them in secondplace intheMillers Oils 1400cc class behind multiple champion Julian Wilkes on their debut in the national series.
Morton-on-Swale’s Charlie Taylor had to second Pickhill’s Mick Johnson into co-driving duties in the CTMS Ford Escort Mk2 and came away with fourth in the Historic H3 class en route to 35th overall, but that was about as good as it for the locals as the second stage in Comb forest proved to be their nemesis.
Championship contender Michael Wilkinson, from Tow Law, was co-driving as usual for Lancastrian David Wright in their Mitsubishi but went out following a high speed accident following a broken wheel and suspension unit where they were soon joined by SG Petch ANECCC Championship sponsor Steve Petch from Scorton, along withExelby co-driver John Richardson who also retired their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 to continue their run of bad luck.
The third crew to join the SS2 casualty list was reigning Silver Star champions Matthew Robinson from Ripon and Helperby co-driver Nigel Hutchison who retired their Ford Escort Mk2 with an oil leak.
The next round of the SG Petch ANECCC Championship takes place with the Brick and Steel Border Counties Rally next weekend followed by the fifth round which comprises the SG PetchTour of Hamsterley Rally on April 28, which will be based in Bishop Auckland followed by seven special stages on the gravel roads of Hamsterley Forest.
Steve Waggett,tour of Hamsterley clerk of the course, said: “We are delighted to visit Bishop Auckland town centre this year and have worked very closely with the Bishop Auckland and Shildon Area Action Partnership to make it happen.
“The enthusiasm for the event by the AAP team has been tremendous. The rally is for both modern rally cars as wellas this wearealsohosting the new National RAC Rally Championship forhistoric cars also so there will be a huge variation of cars.”
While there will be several local competitors on the rally, many will be travelling from various parts of the UK and the event is estimating it will contribute about £400,000 to the local economy withaccommodation bookings, food, fuel and other purchases.
During the day, the town centre shops will be open and the Market Place will have several other motoring-related activities going on throughout the day including the Grainger Games Hummer and a driving simulator.
“Promotion of this wonderful area we have in County Durham has always been on our mind when organising the event and support from local business and the ‘Discover Teesdale’ brand is also welcomed,” added Waggett who lives in Stockton and is an active member of organisers Stockton and District Motor Club.
The action in the forest will run from about 9am through to 4pm with cars returning to Bishop Auckland from 3.30pm. Admission at Bishop Auckland is free but there is pay-and-display in the forest.
Interest is expected to be high and the organisers are urging people to arrive in plenty of time and park as directed following marshals instructions. More information is available at tourofhamster ley.co.uk.
Meanwhile, other competitors were in action at various events across the country including Catterick Village transmission specialist Martyn Tinker who travelled to the Three Sisters circuit, near Wigan, and came away victorious from the Roskirk Stages Rally.
Along with co-driver Jacqueline Jones, the pair finished just two seconds in front of their nearest rivals but it was enoughto give themvictory in their LotusExige. Stanley co-driver Jack Morton guided the Ford Fiesta of Alex Laffey to fourth overall with the Pickhill pairing of Bruce Lindsay and Grant Williams taking 19th overall and fourth in class in their Peugeot.
There wasn’t much joy for the Gateshead pairing of Andy Fenwick and Andrew Roughead who retired their Hyundai Accent WRC from the opening round of the REIS Get Connected MSA National Asphalt Rally Championship in Wales with clutch problems.
On the Jack Neal Memorial Stages held at Blyton in Lincolnshire, the Whitby crews of Neil Marshall and Alan Hick finished 14th and 15th respectively in their Peugeot 205s.