Border Counties Rally joy as Petch clinches second place

3:44pm Friday 28th March 2014

HAMSTERLEY rally driver Stephen Petch took time out of his BTRDA Rally Championship campaign to contest last weekend’s Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally and came away with a superb second place.

Along with Crook co-driver Michael Wilkinson, the County Durham pair were in action in the SGP Motorsport-prepared Ford Focus WRC08 for the Jedburgh-based event which comprised five stages of around nine miles each in the infamous Kielder Forest.

The event comprised the second round of the AAR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship, which meant many of the leading competitors from north of the border were in action again and with icy conditions greeting the crews, Petch did well to record third fastest time on the opening stage in Riccarton, just ten seconds behind multiple Scottish champion David Bogie.

Fourth fastest through Bewshaugh, Petch maintained his third place overall and he closed the gap to the two crews in front with a fine second fastest time through The Dodd, which comprised SS3 meaning he was just 12 seconds behind reigning BTRDA champion and rival Euan Thorburn going into the final two tests.

Third fastest through Burnt Tom, in which Thorburn dropped time, saw Petch move into second place behind Bogie and he rammed home his advantage on the final stage in Buck Fell when he set quickest time to return to the finish ramp four seconds ahead of Thorburn but 47 seconds adrift of winner Bogie.

There were plenty of the region’s competitors who made the trip to Scotland in the Historic class in their various Ford Escorts.

Malton’s Steve Bannister and Scottish co-driver Louise Sutherland brought their vehicle home to victory en route to 19th overall. Dubbed “The Sherriff” by his rivals, Ripon driver Matt Robinson and York co-driver Kim Baker came home second in class and 24th overall, while there was a battle between Tom Hewick from Boroughbridge and his Pickhill co-driver Mick Johnson and Morton-on-Swale’s Charlie Taylor and co-driver Steve Bielby, from Pickering, which saw Hewick claim fourth in class and 30th overall with Taylor one place behind.

Scotland-based brothers Carl and Rob Tuer, originally from Birkby, ended up 42nd overall and fifth in class in their MGZR S1600.

BISHOP Auckland rider Barry Burrell has secured a last- minute deal to race in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship which begins at Brands Hatch over Easter.

Headed by ex-racer Brent Gladwin, Sheffield-based Team WD-40 are making the step up to BSB having being successful in the support classes and which saw them win the Motostar Championship last year.

Burrell returns to the BSB grid with a history of scoring top ten finishes. The 28-yearold is relishing the chance to challenge for his first podium in the championship and also brings to the team his experience in the German IDM series as he prepares for only his second full BSB campaign.

Burrell said: “I am really excited about the chance to work with Team WD-40 as this is a great team with some big aspirations.

“This is only my second full season in BSB and I can’t wait to get out on the grid.

The crew have been working hard behind the scenes ready for this year and I know that together we can push towards achieving our goals as we have a strong base to begin the season in the best possible way.”

THE latest in the I, Superbiker trilogies is scheduled to be shown at Teesside Park Showcase Cinemas on Thursday, April 10, at 8pm.

Now in its fourth season, I, Superbiker – the War for Four follows the lead riders through the intense 2013 British Superbike season over 12 rounds across the UK and in Holland. With the electrifying showdown format, the title couldn’t be decided until the last thrilling race of the year at the famous Brands Hatch circuit.

Narrated by Murray Walker, the voice of British motorsport, I, Superbiker provides a thrilling account of the 2013 season and focuses on the lows and highs of various riders during the season, including Milwaukee Yamaha’s Tommy Bridewell.

Shaun Muir’s Guisboroughbased will attend the screening that evening including Bridewell and his Australian team mate Josh Brookes where fans can meet the team.

For further information, visit isuperbiker.com THE North-East Motor Cycle Racing Club’s annual race meeting at Croft Circuit gets the race season under way this weekend featuring about 30 races for a wide variety of categories ranging from pre- 72 classics to modern day 200mph superbikes.

About 200 competitors will be in action including many top names from the British Championship. Geordie rider Joe Burns will be in action on his JG Speedfit Kawasaki, as will TT star Dan Stewart, while fellow Cumbrians and ten times TT winners Rob Fisher and Rick Long head the sidecar entry.

Darlington brothers Richie and Jonathan Harrison lead the local challenge in the solos with Thirsk’s Tony Thirkell and Nigel Barlow doing likewise in the sidecar entry.

Action starts at 9.30am both days and adult admission costs £13 with accompanied children aged 15 and under. Parking is free.

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