WITH just a week to go to Darlington and District Motor Club’s annual Jack Frost Stages Rally in association with Cartersport which takes place at Croft Circuit, North Yorkshire next Sunday (21st January 2018), the organisers have already received entries from a host of top drivers in state-of-the-art machinery.

Over 100 crews have entered the 19th annual running of the event which will again comprise up to eight stages totalling around 40 stage miles on the asphalt of the North East’s only permanent race track and is a qualifying round of three major local championships including the 2018 SG Petch ANECCC, the 2018 AS Performance North of England Tarmac and the 2018 ANCC Championships.

Included in the entry list so far are last year’s winners, Graeme Bell and Russ Radford (Millington Proton Satria Neo) from nearby Northallerton but they will face stiff competition from the likes of Le Mans 24 Hours winner Guy Smith, who along with co-driver Patrick Walsh, won the Jack Frost Stages Rally in 2016. Four-times Jack Frost champion from 2009 to 2012, Paul Bird returns after an absence of four years whereby the Cumbrian British Superbike team boss will have County Durham’s Jack Morton on the maps in his Ford Focus WRC. Another four-times winner, Tony Bardy from Scotch Corner, is hoping for a run in his Ford Focus WRC which he’ll share with Tony Walker from Mickleton.

Multiple Christmas Stages winners, Kevin Procter from Scruton and Little Langton co-driver Dave Bellerby, make a rare appearance on the Jack Frost Stages in their Procter’s Luxury Coaches-backed Ford Fiesta WRC in which they finished runners-up on the 2017 Christmas Stages Rally over the festive period, whilst the crew that beat them in the wintry conditions, Midlander Simon de Banke and experienced World Championship co-driver Phil Mills, are late entries in their Ford Fiesta R5, and hoping to secure one of the 90 starting places.

Other leading drivers include Darlington’s Paul Swift (Ford Escort), Teesside businessman Peter Stephenson (Subaru WRC), Mark Jasper (Ford Escort), Alan Kirkcaldy (Ford Fiesta), Peter Smith (Ford Fiesta), Alex Taylor (Subaru Forester) and Northallerton’s Charlie Taylor (Ford Escort). The first car starts at 08:57 with classes for cars up to 1400cc, up to 1600cc, up to 2000cc, over 2000cc and all four wheel-drive cars as well as Historic rally cars. For further information, please visit www.darlington-motor-club.org.uk.

• Following parking problems for spectators at the recent Swift Signs Christmas Stages Rally, which led to a number being turned away, D&DMC have addressed the matter with Croft Circuit and wish to advise that sufficient provision is being made to park spectator’s vehicles on hard standing within the circuit. Under no circumstances should spectators park on the verges, in local villages or approach roads to the circuit. Further information is available from Croft Circuit on 01325 721815 or from www.croftcircuit.co.uk.

Picture attached (courtesy of Tony Todd): Kevin Procter and Dave Bellerby (Ford Fiesta WRC) in action on the recent Swift Signs Christmas Stages Rally at Croft.

16-TIMES TT winner Ian Hutchinson will be the guest in Richmond next Friday evening (19th January) when he visits the Comrades Club in Newbiggin to take part in a charity chat show in aid of the Great North Air Ambulance.

Currently recovering from another serious leg injury after an accident at last year’s TT Races, the Yorkshireman, who has recently signed for the factory Honda team for 2018, returns to tell the latest chapter in his incredible story and also during the evening, there will be a raffle and auction of memorabilia as well as the opportunity for photos and autographs.

Starting at 7.30pm, there are a few tickets remaining costing £12.50 per person from the Comrades Club and further information is available from Barry Watson on 07966 006198.