The 2017 Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship will continue with round two, Rally North Wales (Saturday 1st April) with the historics tackling 45-miles of classic Welsh stages in some of rallying’s best-known forests.
The season started in mid-February on a damp and foggy Red Kite Stages when three crews marked themselves as the early season pace-setters in Ford Escort Mk2s. Nick Elliott and Dave Price emerged victorious that day over reigning champions Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke while Joe Price and Chris Brooks showed typically strong pace before being sidelined with a failed diff.
Elliott/Price won Category 3 on the season opener while Pritchard/Clarke headed Category K at the start of what is likely to a fierce championship battle. Other Category 3 class winners were Ben Friend/Cliffy Simmons (Ford Escort Mk2) in D3 and David Hopkins/Tony Vart (Sunbeam Talbot) in D2.
Stanley Orr/Stephen McAuley set the early pace in the Capital Construction Category 2 as Orr stepped up to BDA power in his Escort Mk1, but rear suspension problems that had dogged their progress finally put them out in the second Crychan stage. Instead, the category was a battle of the Hillman Avengers as Elliot Retallick/Tim Tugwell headed Andrew Stokes/Adrian McNally after a day-long contest. Simon Pickering and Paul Barbet (Ford Escort Mk1) were third and claimed class C3.
In the Vintage Car Radiator Company Category 1, the Mini Cooper of Phil Harris/Richard Suter saw off the Ford Cortina GT of Mike Barratt/Emily Retallick.
The quality at the head of the historic field is very strong and a gaggle of quick cars will chase Elliott, Pritchard and Price on Rally North Wales. Devon-based Rudi Lancaster and Guy Weaver, chairman of the organising Wolverhampton and South Staffs Car Club, will be pushing hard, as will Orr/McAuley, Tim Freeman/Paul Williams and Friend/Simmons, who will again get their Pinto-powered Escort right up among the BDG machinery.
More strong Escort Mk2s are entered for Barry Stevenson-Wheeler/John Pickavance, James Potter/Bob Duck and Phil and Mick Squires along with the rapid Mk1 of Phil Jobson/Arwel Jenkins, a car once rallied by Noel Edmonds and famously rolled on Epynt.
Chasing the flying Friend in class D3 will be the Escort Mk2 Pinto of Rex Ireland/Adrian Scadding, while Category 2 variety comes from the Datsun 240Z of the hard-charging Jeremy Easson and Mike Reynolds.
The 1600cc class C2 in Category 2 will feature a three-way contest among the Escort Mk1s of Aziz Tejpar/Steve Davey, husband and wife Stuart and Linda Cariss and local crew Mal Bayliss/Siobhan Pugh. Offering welcome variety to the Escort pack is the Toyota Corolla of Jake Scannell/Adrian Stevens and the earlier Corolla model TE27 of Ian Beveridge/Paul Price.