Matthew Robinson and Sam Collis scored a popular home victory on the Trackrod Historic Cup (28th/29th September) during the sixth and final round of the FUCHS LUBRICANTS MSA British Historic Rally Championship.
Meanwhile, Brian Hodgson was confirmed as champion co-driver in this year’s MSA BHRC. With champion driver Paul Barrett using several co-drivers through the season, Hodgson became the top co-driver after a superb campaign alongside Stuart Egglestone in their Ford Escort Mk2. Chris Skill was crowned as Category 2 champion in his Ford Escort Mk2.
Bob Bean and Miles Cartwright claimed the Category 1 title and the inaugural BHRC2 crown after coming out on top of the division for Category 1 and 1600cc cars in their Lotus Cortina.
Robinson put down a marker by being fastest through a dark and dusty Dalby stage on Friday evening over the non-BHRC registered Fiat 131 of Matt Edwards. Steve Bennett and Osian Owen were right in contention, while Ieuan Rowlands, on his first sight of a Yorkshire forest, was quick in the BRM-powered Avenger with Emyr Hall alongside. However, Yorkshire had bitten 2018 BHRC champion Paul Barrett and Gordon Noble, who were on their roof within a handful of junctions after an overshoot ended in a gentle roll. Damage was light and Robinson soon found them a replacement screen for a re-start the next morning.
Saturday dawned bright and dry for early stages in Cropton and Gale Rigg and Barrett flew through the pair of stages to take a second a mile out of everyone. Things were not so good for the leaders, however, as both rear springs had snapped and there wasn’t much service time to replace them. Robinson was well into his lateness allowance getting one side fixed but, fortunately, there was only a 10-mile stage in Dalby before a second service when the other side was replaced.
Sadly, the Dalby stage ended the tremendous battle for the BHRC co-driver’s title as Bennett/Owen went out with a broken halfshaft and Simon Webster/Jez Rogers had a suspension breakage. Bennett had been just 10s up at that point. Also out from the battle with gearbox problems went Rowlands and the Avenger. The final stage was nearly 14 miles in Langdale and Robinson set the pace to secure a well-deserved victory and win the Rally and Competition Equipment Category 3.
Second in the BHRC ranks was more than enough to make Chris Skill the Skipton Ford BHRC Category 2 champion in his Escort Mk1 after a great performance with Graham Wild on the notes. They had a fine battle with Warren Philliskirk/Garry Green and ended the rally unable to turn the engine off due a snapped starter lead. Eventually, Philliskirk finished just 17s behind the flying Skill, while a D3 class-winning fourth among the BHRC contenders for Egglestone/Hodgson secured the BHRC co-driver’s crown for Hodgson.
BHRC2 supported by Sherwood Engines
The new BHRC2, supported by Sherwood Engines, was created for 2018 to turn the spotlight on the Category 1 (pre-1968) and up to 1600cc cars in the championship. The division featured a winner-takes-all scenario on the Trackrod between the Lotus Cortina of Bob Bean/Miles Cartwright and the flying Ford Anglia of Welshmen Malcolm Rich/Arwel Blainey.
Both crews were running in the REIS Category 1 and it was Bean/Cartwright who emerged with both the Category 1 title and the BHRC2 crown. Bean went half a minute clear in the darkness of Friday night and the matter was finally settled when the hard-working Anglia’s engine went poorly on Saturday.
Eliot Retallick and Tim Tugwell (Hillman Avenger) dropped some time in the dark against their class C2 rivals, but set about clawing it back on Saturday. They finally took the class lead against strong opposition in the second Dalby as Ken Graham’s Avenger went out.
Terry Cree and Richard Shores were the pacesetters in class C3 in their BMW 2002Ti but this was no easy cruise to victory. The BMW was consuming water at an alarming rate and Cree had to nurse the car through Saturday at lower revs than normal. Finally, the seven-hour trek from North Devon for Freddy Camp and Gareth Drayton (Peugeot 205GTi) was rewarded with class F2 spoils.