Petch and Windress clinch Wilson Rally podium place

4:41pm Friday 14th March 2014

HAMSTERLEY’S Stephen Petch and his Northallerton co-driver Ian Windress made up for the disappointment of an opening stage retirement on last month’s Wyedean Rally to claim a fighting third place on last Saturday’s Malcolm Wilson Rally to get their REIS BTRDA Rally Championship under way in the Lake District.

Driving the SGP Motorsport Ford Focus WRC08 in which they narrowly missed out on last year’s crown, the pair were handily placed in equal third after the opening loop of early morning stages around Keswick just over half a minute off the leader.

Into the afternoon stages in the Grizedale complex and despite a late scare which required swift action by the team just prior to the final stage, Petch arrived back at the Rheged Discovery Centre finish in a clear third overall meaning his title assault is back on course going into next month’s Somerset Stages Rally.

Ripon driver Matthew Robinson and co-driver Sam Collis continued their great start to 2014 with another class victory in their Robinson Road Planing-sponsored Ford Escort Mk2 in which they took 13th overall and maintained their class lead in the Silver Star category.

Hambleton farmers, Amanda and Derek Cornforth overcame an off in a ditch to bounce back to 64th overall and tenth in class in their Ford Ka but sadly three other local crews didn’t see the finish ramp.

The 1400cc championship contenders Mat Smith, from Thirsk, and Barnard Castle co-driver Giles Dykes looked on course for a second successive class win in their Ford Ka when they retired with engine problems just two stages from home while in command to dent their championship aspirations.

Potto’s Andy Davison and co-driver Tanya Little, from Redcar, retired their Avenger on SS2, while former champions David Wright and his Crook co-driver Michael Wilkinson suffered alternator failure at half distance and retired their Mitsubishi Lancer at service.

Meanwhile, in Wales, on the Tour of Epynt, it wasn’t much better for Marton driver Geoff Glover who was contesting the opening round of the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship.

Along with co-driver Keith Barker, they retired their Vauxhall Astra Mk3 on the very last stage.

THE opening round of the Autosport International BTRDA Rallycross Championship eventually got under way at Blyton, Lincolnshire, last Sunday and following the postponement of the opening round due to flooding a month previous, glorious blue skies greeted the 42 competitors including a number from the region.

And while they couldn’t muster an outright win between them, they packed the places after giving an excellent account of themselves against quality opposition around the new 0.75- mile track.

It was down to Ingleby Barwick’s Martin Peters to record the best result of second place in the Production A final in his Preston Farm MOTs Citroen Saxo where he led home the similar car of Newton Aycliffe driver Chris Harper who claimed third.

The fancied John Gaskin, from Chop Gate, endured a few problems in the heats and only made the Production D final which he duly won but with organisers strictly enforcing penalties for course deviation, he was relegated to second but still made it into the C final.

There he finished second to progress to the B final but alas his luck run out and he went no further. Also in the Production D final was Northallerton’s Colin Ramsey who brought his Peugeot 205 home in third.

The action was just as intense in the SuperModified class where Barnard Castle driver Brian Jukes emerged victorious in his diesel powered Audi TT to claim his place in the C final only to be excluded for yet another course infringement. Borrowby newcomer Nick Thornton also made the C final only to retire the 1400cc BL Metro in which has father Brian enjoyed so much success.

Northallerton driver Guy Corner made his debut in his supercharged two-litre Peugeot 206 and after a few teething problems in his heats, he made it to the C final which he duly won before claiming third in the B final. Fellow Northallerton driver Larry Carter should have joined him on the grid for the B final after a good run through the heats in his 1600cc 206 only for engine problems to deny him in his very last heat race.

AFTER a great 2013 season competing in the televised ThundersportGB Streetfighter series where he grabbed fourth place in the championship, Darlington racer Richie Harrison has made the transition to the Golden Era Supersport Championship where he will be campaigning his trusty 1996 Yamaha FZR600R once again.

After a very busy off-season, the HBR team made the long trip to Brands Hatch last weekend and following practice, Richie qualified 19th overall and third in the Supersport class.

Race one saw him make a poor start before taking 17th overall and third in the Supersport class which he followed up with a fourth place in class in the second outing. Sunday dawned dry and bright and in the day’s first race which was televised, Richie battled hard to take third position in class once more before securing his best result of the weekend with second in class in his final outing at the Kent track.


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