The 2012 Kololi Beach Club MSA British Historic Rally Championship started in fine style on the Rally Marketing Mid Wales Historic Stages on Sunday (4 March).
The big winners were Nick Elliott/Dave Price (Ford Escort Mk2), Julian Reynolds/Patrick Walsh (Ford Escort Mk1) and Paul Mankin/Desmond Bell (Lotus Cortina), but just about every crew finished the rally raving about the classic stages of Myherin and Hafren as fine competition raged through the categories and classes.
An encouraging entry, great competition and a new winner made it a fine start to 2012 for category one and victory for Mankin and Bell after a truly torrid season last year was a popular result.
Straight out of the blocks and up Pike’s Peak went Rikki Proffitt and Phill Harrison in their Porsche 911, but then Graham Waite and Gill Cotton went quickest on the second stage in the Volvo Amazon. Sadly, the flying Volvo broke in Myherin and their rally was over, while Terry Brown and Michael Gilbey (Porsche 911) lost a lot of time changing a puncture.
Meanwhile, Mankin and Bell had been buzzing along in their Lotus Cortina and were ideally placed when Proffitt’s rally went wrong in Hafren South. A front brake calliper failed and he did three miles with a locked front wheel before completing the final stage with only front brakes on one side. Mankin swept ahead, but was under pressure from Simon Wallis and Graham Wride, once they had fixed a carburettor problem with their Lotus Cortina.
By the end of the concluding Hafren North stage, Mankin was 27s clear of Wallis to score his first category one victory. Proffitt struggled home third to salvage good points and arrived at the finish with a brake calliper in his hand.
Class B3 was taken by the Ford Anglia of Peter Stimson and Mark Butler after a good event, while Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911) were next up, admitting that they still have work to do on gravel.
CATEGORY ONE RESULTS:
1 Paul Mankin/Desmond Bell (Lotus Cortina) 57m42s
2 Simon Wallis/Graham Wride (Lotus Cortina) 58m09s
3 Rikki Proffitt/Phill Harrison (Porsche 911) 58m37s
4 Pete Stimson/Mark Butler (Ford Anglia) 58m47s
5 Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911) 60m26s
6 Derek Boyd/Stephen McAuley (Porsche 911) 60m29s
The week leading up to the rally had been pretty stressful for Reynolds with a rush to get his Escort Mk1 ready.
But the hard work paid off as Julian and Patrick Walsh won category two in style despite only driving the car in anger for the first time as they headed into the opening stage. Their biggest concerns were a high-speed spin in Sweet Lamb and a puncture in Hafren North that cost some time, but they still arrived back in Newtown with 49s in hand over David Stokes and Guy Weaver. It had been just the start to his title bid that Reynolds had wanted and all the work by the Melvyn Evans team had been repaid.
Stokes accepted that he needed to be quicker after a clear run, and was under attack early on from Rupert Lomax and Dave Alcock. However, they beached the Escort Mk1 in Hafren and, though the car was undamaged, their rally was over.
Into third in category two came Ernie and Will Graham as teenage Will did a good job on his first gravel event on notes, while Dick Slaughter and Tim Sayer blitzed class C3 with fourth overall after a late rush to get the car ready. Andrew Siddall and Carl Williamson were learning about BDA power and were fifth of the BHRC crews, while Mark Holmes/Tony Lindsay and Neal James/Kevin Jones ran strongly despite problems to take the next places in class C3.
Class C4 spoils went to the Porsche 911 of Peter McDowell and Derek Davies, while Matt Fowle and Jane Edgington took C2 from the similar Escort Mk1 of Nick Danks and Martin Corbett.
CATEGORY TWO RESULTS:
1 Julian Reynolds/Patrick Walsh (Ford Escort Mk1) 52m53s
2 David Stokes/Guy Weaver (Ford Escort Mk1) 53m42s
3 Ernie Graham/Will Graham (Ford Escort Mk1) 55m25s
4 Dick Slaughter/Tim Sayer (Ford Escort Mk1) 55m34s
5 Andrew Siddall/Carl Williamson (Ford Escort Mk1) 56m37s
6 Mark Holmes/Tony Lindsay (Ford Escort Mk1) 56m50s
Elliott was wide awake when the rally started and flew the opening Pike’s Peak stage to go fastest. However, this was no easy cruise to victory as a puncture on the long Pike’s Peak stage and resulting spin cost them time. At the main service halt, Elliott was only seven seconds up on Will Onions and Dave Williams, but was able to really attack the two Hafren stages and extend his winning margin.
Fastest of all on the second stage was a mighty achievement for Alan Walker and Andrew Sankey. Unfortunately a spark plug failed and put them out of the rally, but they had shown their pace.
For Onions, second overall was a good result first time out in his fresh car, although he had a scare with a high-speed spin in Sweet Lamb. They dropped around 20s to Tim Pearcey and Neil Shanks with that moment and the margin between the two Escorts was just three seconds at the finish after Pearcey attacked.
Tomas Davies and Eurig Davies moved up to fourth from Tim Freeman and Paul Barden as welcome championship newcomers Warren Philliskirk and Matt Whattam wrapped up the top six.
Maximum points in class D3 went to Richard Lane and Ben Friend, with Richard back in his Pinto-powered car after a nine-month absence. However, Shawn Rayner and Declan Dear had the pace to win the class, but lost out big time with a puncture in Myherin that cost them over a minute.
CATEGORY THREE RESULTS:
1 Nick Elliott/Dave Price (Ford Escort Mk2) 51m06s
2 Will Onions/Dave Williams (Ford Escort Mk2) 52m21s
3 Tim Pearcey/Neil Shanks (Ford Escort Mk2) 52m24s
4 Tomas Davies/Eurig Davies (Ford Escort Mk2) 53m18s
5 Tim Freeman/Paul Barden (Ford Escort Mk2) 54m11s
6 Warren Philliskirk/Matt Whattam (Ford Escort Mk2) 54m18s
Watch the British Historic Rally Championship on Motors TV