THERE were plenty of fireworks of the motorsport variety over the bonfire weekend with competitors from the North East and North Yorkshire contesting a number of major events up and down the country.

Leading the way with a fantastic victory at the annual Malton Forest Rally on Sunday was County Durham pairing Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson, who saw off the opposition in their Ford Fiesta.

After six stages in the North Yorkshire forests of Cropton, Gale Rigg and Langdale, Petch, from Hamsterley, and Crook-based Wilkinson, emerged victorious by 33 seconds ahead of Ripon teenager Elliot Payne and Welsh co-driver Patrick Walsh in their Ford Fiesta.

Third placed, but over a minute and a half behind his son was local dairy farmer Charles Payne with co-driver Jamie Edwards in their Ford Fiesta WRC. Sixth overall and taking a class win was Ripon’s Matthew Robinson and co-driver Dave Robson in their Ford Escort Mk2 with Bedale falconer Tommy Graham and co-driver Mark Pickering claiming 16th overall in their Fiesta R5 Proto.

Twentieth overall and third in class went the way of Thirlby’s Ben Cree and co-driver Shaun Watson in their 1600cc Vauxhall Corsa, three places ahead of Birkby brothers, Carl and Rob Tuer, who took fourth in class in their 1600cc Suzuki Swift. Pickhill’s Bruce Lindsay guided Jan Budge to 25th overall in their Subaru whilst fellow Pickhill co-driver Kari Bates did likewise in Graham Haigh’s Ford Escort as they claimed 35th overall and seventh in class.

Castleton legend Ryan Champion was unlucky to get a 15-minute penalty in the Porsche 911 he was sharing with Craig Thorley for an alleged course infringement which dropped them out of the top ten and down to 58th overall whilst Sutton Bank farmer Mat Smith had a technical problem on SS3 which relegated the 1400cc Proton Satria he was sharing with Neil Colls to an unusual 65th overall but still managed third in class.

Sadly a few crews didn’t see the finish with Mickleton driver Alistair Hutchinson and Staindrop co-driver St. John Dykes retiring their Renault Clio with mechanical issues on SS3, the same stage that accounted for South Kilvington’s Nick Kitching and co-driver Andrew Trollope’s Ford Escort with a gearbox problem. Faceby driver Alun Pearson and co-driver Simon Brook also stopped on SS3 with mechanical issues in their Peugeot 205.

Scorton’s Steve Petch and Exelby co-driver John Richardson retired their Ford Fiesta R5 on SS4 whilst Scruton driver Kevin Procter and co-driver Nigel Hutchinson from Easingwold went out on the final stage in their Ford Fiesta.

It proved to be a frustrating weekend for Procter as the day before, he was contesting the opening round of the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship which comprised the Neil Howard Memorial Rally at Oulton Park in Cheshire. Along with Witton Gilbert co-driver Derrick Fawcett, the veteran coach proprietor suffered a penalty for an alleged course infringement before retiring later in the day.

Kevin Procter was unlucky to retire from both events he contested Picture: ANDY ELLIS PHOTOGRAPHY

Kevin Procter was unlucky to retire from both events he contested Picture: ANDY ELLIS PHOTOGRAPHY

That meant it was left to Procter’s nephew, Joe Cunningham from Aiskew and Bedale co-driver Josh Beer to uphold honours and that they most certainly did when they brought their Ford Fiesta home to second place overall. Thirsk’s Charlotte Wainwright guided Kay Thompson to 50th overall and fifth in class in their Nissan Micra but previous winners, Mark Kelly and Saltburn co-driver Neil Colman were out of luck also and retired their Ford Escort on only the second stage.

Huge crowds, fantastic racing and drama across the board was the order of the day for the final round of the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations which took place at Lydden Hill in Kent at the weekend.

Northallerton’s Paige Bellerby had to relinquish her Motorsport UK Supernational Championship title to rival Simon Bleasdale after her Lotus Exige was in collision with another driver in the semi-final, but still managed second place in the final.

Richmond brothers Tom and Luke Constantine had contrasting weekends in the Swift Sport Championship whereby Tom suffered from mechanical issues, but Luke managed a pair of wins before claiming second place in the final.

In the hotly-contested BMW Mini RX Championship, Northallerton driver Dave Bellerby was victorious having topped the intermediate standings and winning his semi-final, before going on to win a fraught final. Fellow Northallerton driver Ben Sayer came home in second place. Reigning Mini champion David Bell from Ferryhill was sidelined with gearbox issues in the All4 Mini class as Stockton’s Martin Hawkes finished second.