COLE’S RAVE-UP ON THE MEWLA!…
Damian Cole & Paul Morris won the Old Forge Garage Mewla Rally, the latest round of the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship, in their Ford Fiesta WRC, over the August Bank Holiday weekend, but the very fact that the event took place at all was down to some sterling last-minute work by the team from Epynt Motor Club!
For the second time in just over a decade, an illegal ‘rave’ had taken over the Drovers on the Epynt Ranges, rendering it unusable by the rally. Joint Clerk of the Course Brian Jones was not alerted to the problem until 6.00am on the Sunday morning but then, with the efficiency that we’ve come to expect from such an experienced team of organisers, they set about instigating amendments to the route and all the other aspects of ‘Plan A’ that required altering, such that the first car was able to leave the start at the Showground
in Builth Wells just 30 minutes later than originally intended.
Fortunately, the stages were not affected and Cole/Morris were immediately into their stride, setting FTD by four seconds from a returning Rob Tout/Dylan James (Lancer EVO9). David Tinn/Giles Dykes (Proton Satria Neo) were next, just a second up on the leaders’ main rivals for the Championship title, Steve Simpson/Patrick Walsh (Impreza WRC). Cole was fastest on SS2 by one second from Bob Fowden/Paul Wakely (Impreza WRC) while on SS3, the last of the first loop, it was Fowden himself who set FTD. Through the second loop Fowden was Cole’s closest rival but then on SS7, the longest of the day at more than 13 miles, Simpson pulled out all the stops to take five seconds back from Cole and fully 17s from Fowden, in the process elevating himself and Walsh to 2nd overall. The Top Three would then remain static for the final four stages to give Cole his third maximum points score of the season. At the same time, Simpson is keeping up the pressure on the leader and, having missed the Manx National Rally, still has a score in hand.
Richard Clews produced another workmanlike performance in his Impreza to finish 7th and take a class win. With two events to go, he is 3rd in the overall points table and leads Class B13 such that, whatever happens on the Patriot Stages, he would still lead the race for the Kwiktrak awards! However, Richard & Ben Slinger and Stu Bainborough finished less than a minute apart in their respective Lancers and both are handily placed to benefit from any problems that may trouble Clews between now and the end of the season!
We haven’t seen Phil Turner since the Tour of Epynt in March – and that outing ended in tears! Notwithstanding, he and Andy Moss brought their Escort MkII home to a Top Ten finish, taking maximum points in the Millington Rear-Wheel Drive Challenge to boot! However, Geoff Glover/Keith Barker’s fourth finish from four starts keeps their Astra RWD in the pound seats here!
Wynne Watkins/Ashley Trimble won the Group N battle in their Impreza from Oliver Hopkins/Ian Taylor (Lancer EVO9) who, by all accounts, were lucky to survive a ‘moment’ during the afternoon. This result keeps the two drivers just a point apart and we look
forward to this one ‘going the distance’!
William Hill/Richard Crozier (Fiesta R200) had another successful outing to take a class win on Epynt, not to mention maximum AB Motorsport Front-Wheel Drive Challenge points but, nevertheless, Tim Seipel/Val Thompson (MG ZR) were keeping them honest – the final margin being less than 15s. Paul Clackett/David Millard weren’t far behind – an untraceable (at the time!) oil leak was causing smoke to permeate their Suzuki Swift S1600’s cockpit and give them some worrying moments, not to mention warm feet!….
Meanwhile, Ian & Mags Kelly had an untroubled run to a 1400cc class win in their Nissan Micra but, even so, there’s still plenty of mileage in this category before it’s finally sorted!
The ‘mixed-surface’ BTRDA Rally Challenge turned to the Mewla for its final outing on asphalt and it was Steve Simpson/Patrick Walsh who were the major beneficiaries, their runners-up spot on the event giving them maximum points in their respective categories. Leading driver Stephen Petch, with defending Rally Challenge Champion Co-driver Jack Morton alongside for company in his Fiesta R5+ on this occasion, finished 5th overall on Epynt – more than enough for Petch to maintain his position at the top, while Morton leapfrogged erstwhile leader Richard Crozier to put himself in an unassailable position, confirming his back-to-back
Co-driver titles – congratulations!
The Rally Challenge now moves to the North York Moors at the end of September for the Trackrod Forest Stages where Petch could be caught by both current runner-up Julian Barnett (GpN Impreza) and thirdplaced Steve Simpson. However, you can take it as
read that he’ll be doing everything in his power to prevent that happening!…
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS tables following the Old Forge Garage Mewla Rally have already been circulated – if you have any queries, please contact the Championship Coordinator before 12 noon on Tuesday 6th September when they will go FINAL.
Round 6 : The Raintite Coated Metals/Curzon Wealth Management Patriot Stages (25th September). After a gap of a couple of years, the Championship returns to the Caerwent Training Area for the penultimate event in the calendar. 65 miles of stages at this challenging venue are on offer and regulations/entry forms are available from http://www.caerwentrallies.co.uk NB – The entry is full…. but there is a reserve list!
Round 7 : The Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally (9th October). The 2016 season draws to a close on the Otterburn Military Ranges with the Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally. Regulations/entry forms are available at http://cheviotstages.org.uk/ With a recce of the
route on the Saturday, the first car will leave the start at 9.00am on Sunday morning, with 12 stages, totalling 60 miles, on offer before the finish at 4.55pm.
Awards Presentation & Dinner Dance (Saturday 12th November).
The annual MSA Asphalt Rally Championship ‘bash’ is an enjoyable way of rounding off the year. As usual, it will be held at Moor Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield, and we look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible to the evening which begins with a fourcourse meal, prior to the presentation of the awards themselves and a disco into the early hours. We’re in the process of finalising the details and will circulate the necessary forms in the next few weeks.