Battling duo take second spot on tricky Isle of Man circuit

Darlington and Stockton Times: SECOND PLACE: Ollie Mellors with Northallerton co-driver Ian Windress who finished as runners up on the Manx National Rally SECOND PLACE: Ollie Mellors with Northallerton co-driver Ian Windress who finished as runners up on the Manx National Rally

NORTHALLERTON co-driver Ian Windress was in action alongside Midland driver Ollie Mellors when they contested last weekend’s Manx National Rally and following a dramatic two-day event around the tricky lanes on the Isle of Man, they emerged in a fantastic second place overall.

In some of the most difficult conditions in recent years which saw heavy rain interspersed with sunny spells, the Millington-powered Proton Satria Neo duo had to be on their game all event long and following Friday evening’s loop around the central and southern roads of the Island, they arrived back at the Douglas in second place behind former triple champion Paul Bird.

Although Windress has won the event previously back in 2009 alongside Bird, it was 18-year-old Mellors’ first time on the Isle of Man meaning his co-drivers’ experience would play a crucial role.

The pair battled with the experienced Welshman Jason Pritchard in his Ford Focus WRC for second place with Bird well in command but when the Cumbrian driver crashed out on SS12, it meant the possibility of a dream victory was on for Mellors and Windress.

Less than 20 seconds separated them going into the last stage but Mellors and Windress couldn’t manage to pull it off and had to settle for runner-up spot taking maximum points in the REIS MSA Asphalt Championship for good measure.

Bishop Auckland’s Tristan Pye and co-driver Andrew The annual visit by the MG Cockshoot Cup provided a large 24 car grid and their usual close racing with MG ZS of Jason Simm controlling race one whilst the Midget of David Morrison taking race two. The Porsche Club Championship featured a number of local drivers with the 2013 champion John McCullough from Guisborough taking two strong thirds whilst Richmond’s Mark McAleer along with sone Jake both featured strongly.

The treaded-tyred classes of the NSSCC always provide close racing and big grids. A fast starting Mike Williamson (Mitsubishi) from Stockton hit the front in both races but the lead was short lived with Scotsman Andrew Morrison pushing the SEAT in front in race one and again in race two along with York’s Mike Cutt (BMW) who then slipped past Morrison. Sadly for Darlington’s David Cox, he retired his Peugeot with engine problems.

The usual eclectic mix meant groups of cars dicing throughout and few new faces including Nick Welch (Opel Kadett), David Rawlings (Porsche 911) and Croft driver Martyn Hauxwell (Escort RS) boosting the Historic class. The next round is at Knockhill next weekend.

The annual John Overend Memorial Stages Rally took place at Melbourne airfield near York last Sunday and saw plenty of local success.

Leading the way with a class victory and ninth overall were Northallerton brothers Andrew and Brian Smith in their Ford Escort Mk2, two places ahead of Thirlby driver Ben Cree and co-driver Richard Shores from Boltby who also claimed a class win in their Peugeot 205.

Falconer battled hard throughout and came away with a fine 12th place overall and sixth in class in their JPM Subaru Impreza whilst the Nissan Almera Kit Car of Brompton on Swale driver Geoff Wright and co-driver Chris Sanderson claimed a very good 29th overall and third in class.

Richmond brothers Mark and Andrew Constantine took the 1400cc class victory in their trusty Vauxhall Corsa en route to 43rd overall whilst the Marton duo of Geoff Glover and Keith Barker brought their rear wheel drive Vauxhall Astra to the finish in 57th overall and 10th in class.

Sunshine and showers, some of them very heavy, produced close racing and a very busy day for the competitors and officials alike at the Darlington and DMC race meeting held at Croft Circuit last Saturday.

Reduced to a one day event this year, ten races for saloon and sports cars were squeezed in with Porsche, MG and Northern Saloon and Sports Car championship rounds having two races each.

A wet track confronted the open-tyred NSSCC classes but local knowledge led Ingleby Barwick driver Porsche David Botterill to choose slicks, a gamble that paid dividends as the circuit dried. It was the BMW M3 of Paul Brydon who leapt in to an early lead from Colin Simpson (Marcos) and Fraser Robertson (Ginetta).

With a drying track the wet tyres of Brydon soon turned to jelly and grip was at a premium for everyone else except Botterill. He was soon in the lead and finished a massive 36 seconds in front from Simpson and Andrew Wareing (Lotus Europa).

A completely dry track meant tyre choice was slicks for race two and it was Brydon who took and held the lead. It was not an easy win as an inspired Botterill kept him honest all the way just missing out on the win at the flag by less than a tenth of a second.

The BRSCC Porsches took to the track next with Boxsters to the fore with the older and smaller engined 924s behind.

The Boxster of Leeds driver Richard Styrin held the similar car of Ed Hayes to take the win in the first encounter and again in race two.

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