Boom! Another year, another kart racing evening and a cracker it was too with 15 fired up drivers looking for glory and bragging rights. A mixture of members and non members turned up for the evening arranged by Wayne Palmer and Martin Leonard at the Hereford Raceway near Leominster. After some feisty heats there was a B final followed by the A final, basically the B final was for the overweight over fifties topped up with the younger drivers who were dealt bad luck in the heats! Two lady drivers also took to the circuit for the evening, Liz Rich and Julie Lord acquitting themselves well. The B final was eventually won by Martin Leonard who started from pole and fended off a robust challenge from Malcolm Rich to take the chequered flag while in the A final Luke Barnard to the victory much to the disgust of his employer Craig Jones. Luke will pay for the win over the coming weeks as Craig gives him the worst possible jobs in the workshop! After proceedings a fish and chip meal sponsored by Craig at CMJ Motors was consumed before the CMJ Motors trophy was awarded to Luke.
The Red Kite Stages was a mixed bag for our members this year from many different points of view, competing and marshalling. The stages were all new for the Red Kite but the dry weather meant very dusty conditions. Crynant was the first stage and Malcolm Rich with Arwel Blainey put in a great time to lead Category One in the usual Anglia. Bob Gibbons was adapting to another new co-driver, Dave Harris, and wasn't too far behind but his challenge ended after the first stage with clutch issues, another DNF, they must end soon. Malcolm struggled on the next two tests with throttle issues and main rival Ricky Proffitt did profit and surged ahead. However Ricky had extremely bad luck on the final stage retiring with suspension failure. Mike Simpson and Dale Gibbons had a great day in class C3 in their Escort, Mike avenging the memories of Carlisle with a solid drive to 22nd overall. Dai 'Block' Jones and Glyn Price also had an excellent day out recording 8th overall in the National B event in their BMW.
From a marshalling point of view the day was very very long, whoever dreamt up the idea of split fields needs to go marshalling themselves, they are evidently not marshals and just pluck silly ideas out of mid air. It is not acceptable for marshals to be left out on the stages from 7:30 am until 6:30 pm. The orgnanisers, Amman and District Motor Club are not to blame, they have their hands tied so the governing body should address this issue and change the ruling as soon as possible. Anyway, it was a sunny day and the midges weren't out for long in the morning so thanks to Chris Phillips, Austin Brill, Geoff & Gwyneth along with Family Chappelle - Nigel, James, Lisa.
Some of our historic members before the Red Kite Stages!
Not a great weekend for two thirds of the BMC crews out on the stages at the weekend but a good day at the office for Malcolm Rich and Arwel Blainey who kept their championship hopes alive with a first in class and second in Category One on the Carlisle Stages. The Kielder straights don't suit the Anglia but the pair were in striking distance of the category leaders Porsche at all times ready to strike if he suffered a puncture or other problem. It was not to be but the result was a fair one in the circumstances and now they look forward to the Red Kite Stages in two weeks time where the more technical stages should suit them.
Mike Simpson had a weekend to forget, he doesn't seem to have any luck with Ryland James in the car and so it was again, sliding off into a ditch on the final Friday evening stage. The car was repaired overnight but gear selection problems on the run out to the first stage on Saturday morning finally cooked their goose. Hopefully everything can be rectified for the Red Kite.
Elsewhere Jason Pritchard was celebrating his birthday with a run in the S2000 Fiesta on the Rally van Wervik in Belgium. The car looks and sounds great but it doesn't really have the grunt to challenge the R5 and WRC cars. Subsequently he and Phil Clarke struggled for pace but were still in a good points scoring position until they lost drive and headed for the bar. A great shame but with other retirements as well it will be interesting to see how the points table is looking.
An eventful day for many on Hereford Motor Club's Mini Epynt Stages and some interesting stories from our members. The first is not so good as Bob and Dale Gibbons continued their streak of bad luck when the gearbox in thier lovely Mk1 Escort decided it didn't want to play any longer. Better luck hopefully on the Red Kite for Bob in the Cortina.
Top BMC dog at the weekend was Craig Jones accompanied by Jon Hawkins who finished an accomplished 8th overall and 1st in class in the latest Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9. New brakes improved things this time out and they only missed out on a better place by 2 seconds. More time in the car and the times can only get quicker.
Eian Pritchard was out in a very special Escort originally built by MCD and now totally rebuilt at Phil Mills' Viking Motorsport. The car looked immaculate and Eian, partnered with Phil Clarke, took a steady approach to the day eventually finishing in the top twenty. The car was christened by an Epynt sheep in the morning but a bit of T Cut should tidy it up again!
James Chappelle made a return to the driving seat when wife Lisa suffered a bad back. Under strict instructions to get the car back in one piece James promptly pulled the gearstick out! Words must have been had as he behaved for the rest of the day and Lisa still has a car for the Epynt hillclimbs.