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Taylor edges out Mellors in tight battle on Army ranges
3:53pm Friday 27th September 2013 in Sport
LAST Sunday saw some of the UK’s top crews contest the 2013 Stobart Rail Pendragon Stages Rally, which took place on the North Yorkshire and Cumbrian border, and as usual saw plenty of drama among the 100 crews.
Using the roads around the Warcop Army ranges, just off the A66, the excitement started very early on when a number of the leading contenders either slid off the road or encountered problems on the opening Pinsent Way stage, one of which eventually blocked the route. That meant that the opening stage and the second test over the same route had to be cancelled, which automatically put a few competitors at a disadvantage as notional times had to be awarded.
By the time crews had emerged from the pair of Toddygill stages, which comprised SS3and SS4, it was the British Championship crew of Cumbrian driver Peter Taylor and his Newcastle co-driver Andrew Roughead who were in command, just four seconds ahead of the Proton Millington of Ben Mellors who had Richmond co-driver Reg Smith on the notes.
Taylor edged out a further six seconds over the two Bale Hill stages and after the final two tests over Haybergill, the Ford Focus WRC crew arrived back at the Penrith finish some 35 seconds to the good over Mellors and Smith with the Ford Escort Mk2 of Lancastrian Darren Atkinson and Phil Sandham in third.
While locals didn’t figure as high up the leaderboard as they would have wished, a number gave a good account of themselves, although for many, the day ended in disappointment.
Welbury’s Tim Johnson and Barnard Castle co-driver Tony Walker brought their Subaru home in 14th place and seventh in class, just one place ahead of Richmondshire brothers Mark and Andrew Constantine who took a class win in their 1400cc Vauxhall Corsa.
Exelby’s John Richardson was co-driving for Mike Williams who had hired one of the SGP Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo cars. The pair had a great event in the good weather and finished 32nd overall and 12th in class despite being seeded at 66. Pickhill’s Kari Bosworth guided Daniel Thompson to 39th overall and eighth in class in their Peugeot 205.
For Butterknowle’s Chris Anderson and Bishop Auckland co-driver Chris Thirling, their bad luck on the event continued when they retired for a fourth successive year, this time within sight of the finish. The pair had climbed from 20th on SS1 to ninth but retired their Ford Fiesta on the very last stage.
Middlesbrough driver Darren Wilcox and co-driver Terry Martin retired their Subaru Impreza after SS3, while the Eggleton crew of Mark Thompson and Phil Kenny did likewise in their Peugeot 206.
Also failing to finish were the Bedale pairing of Tommi Graham and Mike Bailey who were testing their Mitsubishi Lancer in readiness for next month’s Tour of Mull and once the various parts were tested, they withdrew.
THE opening round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship Showdown at Assen, in Holland, resulted in mixed fortunes for the Guisborough-based Milwaukee Yamaha team, but the team were still able to celebrate two podium finishes from both sides of the garage with new signing Tommy Bridewell joining James Ellison.
In the opening race, Ellison had been fighting in the lead pack for the race victory until he lost oil pressure which disappointingly forced him out of contention. Bridewell though had fought his way up the order to move third on his debut with the Milwaukee Yamaha team.
Race two was as dramatic as the first and Ellison and Bridewell were both in the hunt for a podium finish in the early stages of the race, however on the fourth lap Bridewell slid out of the race ending his hopes of another strong finish.
Ellison continued to battle on and he held the lead until the closing stages, when Alex Lowes made a move, and despite trying to fight back he finished second on the track.
Lowes was later excluded from the race for an incident with Shane Byrne which promoted Ellison to the win.
Also in action was Bishop Auckland’s Barry Burrell, who celebrated his best results of the season with a pair of tenth-place finishes aboard the Quattro Plant Kawasaki to move up to joint 20th in the championship.
The Milwaukee Yamaha team will be visiting the North Yorkshire Road Racing Supporters Club on Tuesday evening for a chat show, which will be held at the Golden Lion, in Northallerton.
As well as Ellison and Bridewell, TT hero Ian Hutchinson will be attending for what is bound to be a memorable night. The event gets under way at 7.30pm and for more information, visit nyrrsc.net
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