IN addition to a top ten which wouldn’t look out of place on a British Championship event, Northallerton Automobile’s Christmas Stages Rally, which takes place at Croft Circuit tomorrow, features a host of local drivers hoping to perform well in front of an expected bumper crowd at the North Yorkshire venue.

Hutton Rudby pair Ian and Stephen Woodhouse will fancy their chances in Class 4 in their Ford Escort Mk2 while Mickleton garage proprietor Alistair Hutchinson and Barnard Castle co-driver St John Dykes will prove a major threat in Class 3 in their LPGpowered Renault Clio.

Geoff Wright, from Richmond, has repaired his Nissan Almera Kit Car since a heavy accident in the Isle of Man earlier in the season and is back in action while the battle for Class 1 honours is expected to be fought out between Witton Gilbert’s Andrew Fawcett and Durham co-driver Chris Purvis (Vauxhall Nova) and the Richmondshire Constantine brothers, Mark and Andrew, in their Vauxhall Corsa.

Aiskew’s Joe Cunningham and co-driver Glen Coates will be hoping for another good showing, while the Durham pairing of Ed Todd and Andy Brown traditionally go well in their GTM Coupe. Northallerton duo Graeme Bell and Russ Radford had a recent fourth place overall at Blyton in their Ford Escort Mk2 so will be hoping to continue that good form and the four-wheel drive battle will continue with Guisborough taxidermist Dave Hornbrook (Mitsubishi) and Stokesley’s Darren Wilcox in his Subaru.

Whashton brothers Paul and Chris Alsop usually go well in their venerable Talbot Sunbeam while Citroen Saxo rallycross aces John Gaskin from Chop Gate and Ingleby Barwick’s Martin Peters are sure to figure also. Also in recent rallycross action was the Northallerton duo of Darren Grimston and Larry Carter (Peugeot 206) and the pair will again be in action although Grimston was still determining his choice of car right up to the event, Thirkleby is well represented with Rob Herrington (Ford Escort) and Jon Trenholme (Subaru) as is the Whitby region with Alan Hick (Peugeot 206), Ian Horn (Vauxhall Nova) and Neil Marshall (Peugeot 205). Darlington drivers Kev Tennick (Peugeot 205) and Craig Hesse (Subaru) will also be in action, so too will Bill Bates from Sinderby (Lotus Exige), Bedale’s Ben Farrow (Peugeot 205), Hutton Rudby driver Kevin Liddle (Citroen Saxo) and Thirsk’s Andrew Chandler (Ford Escort).

The action starts at 9am with gates opening at 8am.

Adult admission is £10 each with accompanied children aged 15 and under admitted free. More details at WITH still over a month to go until Darlington and District Motor Club’s annual Autogas 2000 Jack Frost Stages Rally in association with Cartersport at Croft Circuit on Sunday, January 19, entries are steadily arriving on a daily basis.

So far, more than 30 crews have so far committed to the event and with plenty of interest for the eight stages totalling about 40 stage miles on the tarmac of the North East’s only permanent race track being shown, the organisers are confident of a top quality entry which usually attracts some of the UK’s leading drivers, including one of Britain’s rising stars, Arron Newby, who plans to be in action in his TEG Sport Subaru Impreza.