The 2018 FUCHS LUBRICANTS MSA British Historic Rally Championship reaches its season finale in the Yorkshire forests during the Trackrod Historic Cup on 28th/29th September.
As well as being the sixth and final BHRC round, the Trackrod Historic Cup is also the final round of the BHRC Forest Challenge, supported by Rally and Competition Equipment, and the new BHRC2, supported by Sherwood Engines. The Filey-based Trackrod Rally is organised by the Trackrod Motor Club.
The BHRC contenders will have a rare opportunity to tackle a gravel rally covering more than the normal 45-stage miles, with a total route of 57-miles of good quality single-use stages in a compact route with central servicing within the forest complex. The action starts with a challenging stage in Dalby forest in the darkness of Friday evening.
The recent late cancellation of Rally Isle of Man has rather changed the situation in the BHRC as there was due to be a double-header round on the island’s closed pubic roads earlier in September. Instead, the Trackrod becomes the sixth and final round and competitors will count their best four results towards the end of season awards.
The loss of Rally Isle of Man means that Northern Irishman Paul Barrett is now unbeatable at the head of the drivers’ championship. Barrett has enjoyed a superb season and is a worthy champion after some tremendous battles with rivals like Matthew Robinson and Nick Elliott. He’s heading for Yorkshire for another shot at the overall victory.
After missing several events this season Nick Elliott and Dave Price return to Yorkshire aiming at another victory from the Rally and Competition Equipment Category 3. The Cheltenham crew came here a year ago with a shot at the BHRC title but this time around there is no such consideration and they may make a late switch to a Fiat 131 for the event. Local aces Matthew Robinson and Sam Collis will also be key contenders in their Escort Mk2 and are lining up to show Barrett how to do it over their home stages.
While Barrett is secure as overall drivers’ champion, the BHRC champion co-driver award is still very much up for grabs and at least three co-drivers are in the reckoning. Jez Rogers, Brian Hodgson and Osian Owen are the prime contenders and each of them will be pushing their drivers on even more than usual with a coveted British title at stake!
Rogers partners Simon Webster and Owen is with Steve Bennett in two of the consistently quickest Escorts Mk2s in the championship this season, while Hodgson co-drives for Stuart Egglestone in their incredibly quick Pinto-powered Mk2, which has already claimed some outstanding overall results this season.
More very quick Ford Escort Mk2s pack out the top 10 including those of Barry Stevenson-Wheeler/John Pickavance, James Slaughter/James Whitaker and Paul Street/Ian Jones. Offering major opposition to Egglestone in class D3 for the Pinto cars will be Ben Friend/Cliffy Simmons and Josh Browne/Max Freeman.
A good Skipton Ford Category 2 entry is topped by the BDA-powered Escort Mk1s of Chris Skill/Tom Jordan and Andrew Stokes/Adrian McNally, while class C3 features the quick Escort Mk1 of local crew Josh Carr/Ben Hall and the BMW 2002 of Terry Cree/Richard Shores.
BHRC2 supported by Sherwood Engines
The new BHRC2, supported by Sherwood Engines, has been created to turn the spotlight on the Category 1 (pre-1968) and up to 1600cc cars in the championship. The division is set for a dramatic conclusion in a winner-takes-all scenario between the Lotus Cortina of 80-year-old legend Bob Bean and his local co-driver Miles Cartwright and the flying Ford Anglia of Welshmen Malcolm Rich/Arwel Blainey.
Both crews compete in the REIS Category 1 and it is all to play for in BHRC2. Both crews are likely to win their classes, so the category points will be critical and if Bean beats Rich in Category 1, he will snatch the crown by a single point. However, if Rich wins, he will be champion. If neither crew finishes, Rich and Blainey will be BHRC2 champions.
In class C2, the 1600cc Ford Escort Mk1s should set the pace in the hands of Robin Shuttleworth and Ronnie Roughead and husband and wife crew Stuart and Linda Cariss. Lining up against the Escorts will be the rapid Hillman Avenger of Eliot Retallick and Tim Tugwell. In class D2, for the later 1600cc cars, brothers Malcolm and Ronald Mounsey will field their Sunbeam Talbot.