A full entry of 80 crews arrived at Brands Hatch last Sunday, for the latest round of the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship (MNCRC), writes Arthur Debenham.
The MGJ Engineering Stages was in the capable hands of Chelmsford Motor Club, as their event returned to the Kent circuit following a one-year break.
Local interest centred on the Thetford International crew of Johniie Ellis/Josh Clark in their Subaru Impreza, and the Mitsubishi Evo 6 of David Daniel/Dennis Suttenwood.
They were up against an entry that contained the two top points scorers in the MNCRC – James Sharrock/Stuart Folds, in an Escort MK2, and Ashley Field/Ryan Vickers in a Darrian T90.
For our local crews, it was really all about the first special stage.
Daniel/Suttenwood completed it as the 32nd fastest crew, but retired before the start of the second stage.
For Ellis/Clark it was to see them complete the opening stage in 73rd position, all down to something as simple as a puncture.
From then on, it was all about obtaining competitive stage times, and this they did.
The Impreza was never out of the top four on the remaining stages, and on SS2 they were second fastest, just one second from the top spot.
As the day progressed, so did their overall position, but time lost on that opening stage could never be recovered, it ended in 31st position overall, sixth in class.
Looking at their times following SS1, they would surely have made it a top-three finish and victory in Class E.
The rally itself ended with the completion of seven stages, stage eight being cancelled due to time lost when a barrier was damaged on the seventh stage.
Overall winners were Chris West/Steve McNulty in a Peugeot 306 Maxi, Field/Vickers took second and narrowed the points gap to Sharrock/Folds, who completed the top three positions.
For Johnnie Ellis, the next event will be round two of the Jelf Motorsport/AEMC Championship.
This is the South Downs Rally, to be held at Goodwood, on February 13.
ANGEL HILL DISPLAY
I have been contacted by Jackie Regan, events manager for BIDforBury, regarding a display of cars on the Angel Hill during the Whitsun Fayre over the bank holiday weekend of May 29-30.
Jackie mentioned classic cars, but while I love them, I am more connected with the competition side of motoring.
So, I am looking at a mix of current competing cars, alongside those with a history in motor sport.
BID are looking for approximately 20 vehicles to be displayed over the two days on the northern half (war memorial side) of Angel Hill.
There will be no charge for this and they have promised me £500 to a charity of our choice.
I personally would like this to be the East Anglian Air Ambulance, in line with our policy at previous motor shows.
It would be a great opportunity to display your car at an event that will attract thousands of visitors to Bury.
And if you are still using it for competition, a chance to provide any sponsor with some valuable publicity.
I already have some promised, but if you want to avail yourself of the display, contact me on 01284 766508.
I will pass on your details to BID, who will then provide you with further information.
Short Circuit. Wimbledon, Sunday, 5.30pm. Bangers.
Short Circuit. Wimbledon, February 14.
Car Trial. Holbecks Park, February 21.
Rallying. Goodwood, February 13.