Top names absent as drivers gear up for Riponian rally

2:44pm Friday 7th February 2014

DESPITE failing to attract the number of entries of previous years, Ripon Motor Sports Club’s flagship event – the Riponian Stages Rally – gets under way from Thirsk Rural Business Centre on Sunday morning with a new name likely to be added to the winners’ trophy.

Recently rumoured to having sold the ex-Marcus Gronholm Ford Focus WRC in which he has won the past three Riponians, eight times winner Charlie Payne sadly isn’t on the entry list, nor is fellow Thirsk driver Tim Pearcey who is also a previous winner.

Pearcey’s Willowgreen Homes Ford Escort Mk2 is still undergoing work in preparation for the 2014 season, meaning he misses his local event for the first time in many years.

With the Proton Millington of Ollie Mellors being a possible late entry, the anticipated battle is expected to be between the Ford Focus WRC of Teessider Peter Stephenson, Lancastrian Ian Joel in his Ford Escort Cosworth and Boroughbridge driver Miles Johnston’s Mitsubishi Lancer.

Thirsk’s Mat Smith (Ford Ka), the MG Metro 6R4 of Beverley’s Peter Smith and the very sideways Ford Escort Mk 1 of Ripon driver Alex Lund will be an interesting prospect in the forests around Helmsley.

In the historic class, which will run first on the road, there is the exciting probability of a Ford Escort Mk2 battle between Ripon’s Matt Robinson and the very experienced Warren Philliskirk from York. Both drivers know the stages well and will be aiming for not only a class victory, but challenging for the outright win too.

The first of just over 50 cars will leave Thirsk at 08.30 for two loops of five stages and arrive back at the finish at approx 15:00. The service halt at Thirsk Rural Business Centre will be at 11.15.

Because the roads around many of the stages are narrow with limited parking, spectators are advised to only use the two official spectator parking areas provided which have easy access to the Roppa and Waterloo stages.

Roppa is accessed via Carlton village just north of Helmsley off the A170 and access to Waterloo is in Duncombe Park. The first cars will tackle Roppa at 09.27 and 13.12 with Waterloo hosting the cars at 10.26 and 14.11.

Please note there are no College Moor or Pry Rigg stages this year and all other stages will be strictly no parking, enforced by the police.

Car parking is £10 per car for the day for either parking area and should you wish to move to the other area you must show your ticket to get into that car park for a cost of £5. All proceeds are donated to local charities.

THE Legend Fires North West Stages Rally gets under way in Blackpool this evening with a number of local crews heading west in the hope of glory.

Former winners Kevin Procter from Leeming (Subaru) and Scotch Corner’s Tony Bardy (Nissan) will be joined by Darlington driver Paul Swift (Ford Escort), Alistair Hutchinson from Eggleston (Renault) and following a great top ten result on the recent Jack Frost Stages, Staindrop’s Mark Thompson will be out in his Peugeot 206.

Thirkleby driver Jon Trenholme will be hoping to end his run of bad luck in his Subaru whereas Richmond’s Mark Constantine (Corsa) and the Nova of Durham driver Andy Fawcett will be battling for 1400cc honours.

Darlington and Stockton Times:
Matt Robinson, of Ripon, will be battling it out for honours in his Ford Escort MK2

Sinderby driver Bill Bates, Thirkleby’s Rob Herrington and Kev Tennick will also be in action while after a major accident on the event last year, the Pickhill pairing of Geoff Simpson and Mick Johnson return in their Mitsubishi.

THE opening round of the BTRDA Rallycross Championship which was scheduled to take place at Blyton, Lincolnshire this weekend, has had to be postponed and will now form the final round of the series on November 30.

The reason being that the Blyton venue has been severely flooded and a recent track inspection to authorise and licence the new layout could not be undertaken, meaning organisers had no option but to postpone the event. The 50 drivers entered will now commence the championship on March 9, at Blyton.

DARLINGTON and District Motor Club’s popular Northern Sports and Saloon Car Championship (NSSCC) will once again be taking place at some of the country’s top circuits including three rounds at Croft.

The season starts at Oulton Park on April 21, followed by a double header at Croft on May 10-11. The weekend of May 24-25 sees the action head north to Knockhill before another double header takes place at Donington Park on June 7-8. It’s back to Croft for rounds nine and ten on July 19-20 before the penultimate round at Cadwell Park on August 30-31.

The final two rounds take place back at Croft on September 20-21.

More information is available at darlington-motorclub.org

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