Petch beats the tough driving conditions for podium place

Darlington and Stockton Times: MOTORING ON: Stephen Petch in action at Sherwood Forest MOTORING ON: Stephen Petch in action at Sherwood Forest

ROUND five of the 2004 REIS BTRDA Rally Series headed for Sherwood Forest last Saturday with locals once again well to the fore in their respective classes.

Maintaining their title push after just missing out last year was Hamsterley driver Stephen Petch and his Northallerton co-driver Ian Windress, who claimed a battling second place overall in the difficult conditions on the Southwell Racecourse-based event.

The pair chased local ace Steve Perez throughout the 10 stages but just couldn’t do enough to beat him and ended up 29 seconds adrift as runners-up. Apart from their opening round retirement, when they slithered out of the Wyedean Rally back in February, the pair have been on the podium in all four rounds since. Continuing his great form in the series was Ripon’s Matthew Robinson and co-driver Sam Collis who, for a third time this season, wrapped up victory in the Silver Star class en route to a superb ninth place overall in the Ford Escort MK2. The pair also took victory in class H3 to hold a virtually unassailable lead in their quest for a third back to back Silver Star crown. It wasn’t quite such good news for Mat Smith, from Thirsk, and Barnard Castle co-driver Giles Dykes, who were hoping for victory in the 1400cc class to bolster their championship aspirations. The Ford Ka pairing got off to a great start but a broken driveshaft hampered their progress and in the end, had to settle for 30th overall and fourth in class, but hold on to fifth place in the standings at the half way point in the season.

Ripon’s Andrew Robinson and co-driver Kevin Wilson had a good run to claim 25th overall and fifth in class.In the battle for B11 honours, Northallerton driver John Tillett and Thirsk co-driver Guy Kirby pipped Graham Haigh from Boroughbridge and Pickhill codriver Kari Bates by just three seconds in 47th and 48th place respectively. Both crews celebrated with second and third in class for good measure.

Redcar driver Christopher Roe and co-driver Bob McKenzie, from Saltburn, brought their Vauxhall Nova home in 54th overall and seventh in class with the Whitby pairing of Alan and Rachel Ward finishing 72nd overall and fifth in class in their 1400cc version.

However, there was disappointment for Thirsk duo Amanda and Derek Cornforth who retired their Ford Ka on the very last stage with mechanical problems.

ROUNDS two and three of the Autosport International BTRDA Clubman’s Rallycross Championship took place last weekend with a number of local drivers making the long trip to South West Wales to compete at Pembrey.

With conditions ranging from torrential rain to hot sunshine, track conditions were changing permanently but in the end, most made it to the finish scoring good championship points in the process.

Northallerton’s Guy Corner emerged battle-scarred but with a fourth place finish in Sunday’s SuperModified A Final in his 2000cc Peugeot 206 whereas Barnard Castle hotelier Brian Jukes had to settle for third place in Sunday’s B Final in his Audi TT, two places ahead of Northallerton driver Larry Carter in his 1600cc Peugeot.

In the production class, Ingleby Barwick’s suffered a mechanical problem on Saturday but managed to get the Citroen sorted in time for Sunday’s action where he clinched a podium in the A Final. Aycliffe’s Chris Harper was also going well to claim a top six finish in his Citroen also. SCOTTON sidecar racer had one of his most successful Isle of Man TT Races in recent times when he posted a pair of top eight finishes at the festival last week.

Along with passenger Kenny Cole, who got married during the TT with Lambert being his best man in a ceremony in the pit lane, the pair followed up their eighth place finish on Saturday with a seventh the following Thursday to round off a memorable two weeks.

Weardale’s Ian Pattinson posted a top 20 place in the Superstock TT but for Rainton sidecar pair Tony Thirkell and Nigel Barlow, they had a spill during sidecar practice which ruled them out .

CROFT’S spectacular Supercar line-up includes such gems as the Lamborghini Aventador Roadster, Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Porsche Cayman and Audi R8 and it’s not too late to secure a Father’s Day gift to remember.

Prices start from less than £100 for a Porsche Cayman. Offer is available until Sunday ,June 15, with use the discount code DAD online at the checkout or quote when calling us on 01325 721815 and book online or over the phone before 23.59 on Father’s Day for a 10 per cent discount.

Discounted advance tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Croft on June 27/28 are available for another week direct from the circuit. Adult advance prices start at £11 for Saturday, £24 for Sunday or a weekend ticket at £33.

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