Well what a good weekend for BMC crews, Malcolm Rich, Arwel Blainey and Mike Simpson, Dale Gibbons towed the red Anglia and white Escort up to the Pirelli Rally in Kielder in search of points in the Fuchs Lubricants British Historic Rally Championship. They were not to be dissapointed as they both returned home with maximum class points. Mike was not looking forward to the infamous ditches on his first visit to these forests but he prevailed where others didn't and guided by Dale built even more confidence in the car. Malcolm and Arwel had a good run, they knew keeping up with a Porsche and Lotus Cortina would be unlikely in a pre crossflow Anglia but they weren't too far behind them at the end. In fact initially they had beaten them but a two minute flyer which gave them second fastest on the final stage was soon corrected! The only problem they encountered all day was catching a Mk2 Escort in stage which did not pull over quickly enough which in turn meant a Manta caught them. The up shot was a broken windscreen amongst other things as firstly the Escort showered them with stones and then the Manta did the same as they left the faster part of the stage for a more technical section. Arwel was only competing on his second ever event but is now getting well and truly into the swing of things.
The Dixies Challenge Rally organised by Forresters Car Club and Forest of Dean Motor Club was held on the southern side of the Epynt ranges using the shorter stages, Four club members, Craig Jones, Lisa Chappelle, Ken Owen and Abi Haycock were out and about in very different cars. Craig Jones was debuting his latest purchase, a Mitsubishi EVO9 and partnered by Dr Mike Bartlett they embarked on a learning curve. Things were tight at the top and Craig was running in fifth place overall at one time. A few problems ensued, a competitor with a broken drive shaft delayed them unintentionally and a self induced spin meant another loss of time leaving them in 8th place overall at the finish. Craig was pleased, he said 'I couldn't get used to the handbrake to start with and then we lost all the brakes completely. Add to that used hard compound tyres and I think the result was good, I'm pleased with how it went'.
Lisa Chappelle, with Mike Jode on the notes had a great confidence boosting day in the little Citroen Saxo. The car was really good all day and she had great fun trying to catch the Lancia Delta in front of her eventually making a pass on the final stage!
Kenny Owen was drafted into the co-driver's seat with Paul Robins in his ex-Terry Brown Mk2 Escort and made a big improvement on seeding finishing 17th overall.
Abi Haycock had the pleasure of sitting in Tony Stiling's Lancia Delta and took a serene run around to finish 52nd overall.
Craig & MikeLisa & MikePaul & Kenny
Not to be ignored by any means was the efforts of other club members who stood out in the bone chilling wind. I saw Austin Brill, Darren Brill, Dave McIntyre, Dave Thomas, Geoff Lyons, Gwyneth Tyler-Lyons, Gethin Phillips and Mark Weller all working to keep the rally running. Martin Leonard was a club steward. Volunteer marshals are the backbone of the sport and it was a good showing.