Click on the Gallery tab for pictures from the dusty stages
Nick Elliott and Dave Price made it four wins from four rallies in the 2017 Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship on Saturday’s Severn Valley Stages (3rd June).
The Ford Escort Mk2 crew finished with a winning margin of just five seconds over defending champions Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke after a fierce battle on dry and fast Welsh forest stages. Once again, other BHRC category wins went to Phil Harris/Richard Suter (Mini Cooper) and Phil Jobson/Arwel Jenkins (Ford Escort Mk1). The event was very well-received by crews with much positive feedback on stage conditions.
Just as on the preceding Pirelli Historic Rally, it was incredibly close between Elliott and Pritchard right from the start. Over the first three stages in Cefn, Crychan and Gwibedog, Pritchard went ahead by just two seconds. Then in Radnor, Elliott made a really big push on the fast and flowing stage to earn an eight-second lead for the second run of Cefn, Crychan and Gwibedog. Pritchard pushed again on the final loop to reduce the gap to only five seconds, but Elliott completed a quartet of 2017 wins.
Steve Bennett and Osian Owen had a good, clear run to take the final step on the podium, while Simon Webster and Jez Rogers scored a fine fourth, but Webster was still gobsmacked by Elliott’s pace in Radnor. Another strong run netted fifth overall for Tim Freeman and Paul Williams, while Ben Friend and Cliffy Simmons were stars with sixth place using only Pinto power as they won Class D3 over an attacking performance by Rex Ireland and Adrian Scadding.
Top points in the Capital Construction Category 2 went to Phil Jobson and Arwel Jenkins but it was a troubled end to the rally for Jobson with a carburettor-induced misfire and a trip into a ditch on the final loop. Class C2 winners were Eliot Retallick and Tim Tugwell with another mighty charge in their Hillman Avenger as Stuart Cariss/Linda Cariss and Mal Bayliss/Siobhan Pugh led the chase. Like several crews, Cariss and Bayliss were held up by an accident in Radnor for one of the modern cars and took a notional time for the stage.
More notable performances inside the overall top 10 included a really good run for Barry Stevenson-Wheeler/John Pickavance, while rallying returnee Roger Chilman showed very good pace on his historic Escort Mk2 debut with Iestyn Williams alongside and but for a one-minute road penalty would have been fifth.
Phil Harris/Richard Suter overcame the loss of first gear and early oil pressure worries to win the Vintage Car Radiator Company Category 1 again in their Mini Cooper, while the unluckiest crew of the day were Aziz Tejpar and Steve Davey who suffered head-gasket failure on their Escort Mk1 on the run out to the first stage.
1 Phil Harris/Richard Suter (Mini Cooper)
1 Phil Jobson/Arwel Jenkins (Ford Escort Mk1)
2 Eliot Retallick/Tim Tugwell (Hillman Avenger)
3 Stuart Cariss/Linda Cariss (Ford Escort Mk1)
4 Mal Bayliss/Siobhan Pugh (Ford Escort Mk1)
Category 3 and Category K
1 Nick Elliott/Dave Price (Ford Escort Mk2)
2 Jason Pritchard/Phil Clarke (Ford Escort Mk2)
3 Steve Bennett/Osian Owen (Ford Escort Mk2)
4 Simon Webster/Jez Rogers (Ford Escort Mk2)
5 Tim Freeman/Paul Williams (Ford Escort Mk2)
Elliott/Price; Pritchard/Clarke; Friend/Simmons; Jobson/Jenkins; Eliot Retallick/Tim Tugwell (Hillman Avenger); Phil Harris/Richard Suter (Mini Cooper).
Elliott (SS2, SS4, SS5, SS6)
Pritchard (SS1, SS3, SS5, SS7)
Provisional championship points after round 4 of 9:
1 Nick Elliott/Dave Price 130
2 Jason Pritchard/Phil Clarke 110
3 Ben Friend/Cliffy Simmons 70