AFTER losing its traditional slot in between Christmas and New Year, the ever-popular Christmas Stages Rally will take place at Croft Circuit on bank holiday Tuesday, December 28.

Once again sponsored by the Middlesbrough branch of Specsavers, Northallerton Automobile Club’s flagship event had to move into January earlier this year as a result of the noise restrictions imposed on Croft.

But the organisers have had the date confirmed, meaning not only will a quality entry be assembled, but one of the biggest crowds of the year is expected.

Entries are now open and steadily filtering in, with the first of 80 guaranteed places being snapped up by the winners of the past two Christmas Stages events, Leeming’s Kevin Procter and Northallerton co-driver Dave Bellerby.

The pair are expected to start as favourites to land the trophy for a third successive year in their Subaru Impreza WRC but will face stiff opposition from a number of the country’s leading drivers who traditionally enter the 40 stage-mile event.

Also already on the entry list is Catterick autograss racer Martyn Tinker, who will be in his rapid Lotus Exige and is expected to go well.

And with the likes of the MG Metro 6R4 of Pickhill driver Chris Wise set for action, there will be no shortage of quality, although whether there is a repeat of the heavy snow and sheet ice of last year remains to be seen.

Incorporating rounds of the AS Performance North of England Tarmac Championship 2011 and the Just Ferries Yorkshire Winter Rally Challenge, regulations, entry form and further information are available at www.northallertonac.

TWO and a half weeks after the Specsavers Christmas Stages Rally, there is more rally action at Croft when Darlington & District Motor Club will run the annual Cartersport Christmas Stages Rally on Sunday, January 16.

While around a third of crews will enter both Croft events, because the Jack Frost Stages traditionally runs a more technical route, there will be a wide variation of cars and drivers over and above those contesting the Christmas Stages.

HOT on the heels of his father, Johnny, clinching the BTRDA SuperModified Rallycross Championship last month, Morton on Swale driver Charlie Bean won his first grass track final last weekend at York.

Charlie had a third and fourth place in the heats, followed by a win in the B final and a fourth in the A final, to round off a successful first year in autograss.