FUCHS Lubricants RAC Asphalt Championship
2017 Season Archive
16th October 2017: Nutt and McBride confirmed as champions,
Although Nutt and McBride completed a perfect season score on round six on the Isle of Man in September, Roger Moran (BMW M3) could have matched their score. However, when Moran did not contest the Jersey Rally, Nutt and McBride were confirmed as overall champions to add to the MSA British Historic Rally Championship titles they took in 2004 and 2009.
The Fuchs Lubricants RACRMC Historic Asphalt Rally Championship is organised by the Roger Albert Clark Rally Motor Club and is a dedicated asphalt championship for all categories of historic stage rally cars.
New to the schedule for 2018 was the Jersey Rally, which proved to be an outstanding success. A warm welcome and glorious weather awaited the championship in the Channel Islands and the rally fully lived up to expectations. With 120 stage miles across 28 stages, this was a tough event and included six stages in the dark on Friday evening. The organisation kept the event moving very slickly and the stages were a real challenge, with some very tight and technical sections. Road conditions on the island were excellent across the stages.
Unfortunately, an initially strong entry of championship crews dwindled as the rally approached, but those that did travel to the island enjoyed the rally and were rewarded with awards at the end of rally prize-giving.
Lyndon Barton and Simon Hunter turned in a faultless performance in their Ford Escort Mk2 to be clearly the leading Fuchs contender in the final results, with a place in the overall top 20.
Dick Mauger and Gino Gouveia ran Mauger’s freshly-prepared Escort Mk2 and, despite clipping a wall on Friday, kept the immaculate car running to finish second historic crew. This was Mauger’s 35th visit to the event! Finally, Ian Robertson and Andrew Scott did well to keep their Hillman Avenger Tiger running and finished one place behind Mauger.
19th September 2017: Smith heads FUCHS Championship after Isle of Man.
Rounds five and six of the asphalt championship ran to a double-header format over the famous closed roads of the Isle of Man as the event delivered as big a challenge as it has for over half a century. Smith and Cook overcame a series of problems, including the loss of their spotlights after a trip through some posts on Friday evening, but ran at a typically strong pace to take two maximum scores.
However island experts Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911) matched that performance by taking two maximum scores in Category 1 to achieve a perfect score for the season. Neat, tidy and quick throughout, they used good knowledge of the island to record a fine result. They could yet be matched at the top of the final standings by Roger Moran (BMW M3) if he can take a maximum on the Jersey Rally next month. Moran and Paul Morris took one maximum score on the Isle of Man but retired from part two with a broken diff carrier.
Second home among the Fuchs contenders was the Escort Mk2 of Barry Stevenson-Wheeler and John Pickavance who turned in a great performance on only their second visit to the island. Nutt and McBride were third while Lyndon Barton and Simon Hunter were next up after a good run in their Escort Mk2.
The challenging Manx lanes took a heavy toll of retirements and Simon and Alister Crook were eliminated when a kick back through the steering wheel left Simon unable to continue due to a hand injury. Meanwhile, torrential rain on stage two on Thursday afternoon put expected leading contender Neil Williams and Ashley Trimble out when their Escort Mk2 clouted a bank.
Other non-finishers included Paul Smith and Tudor Jenkins, who posted a late retirement with a damaged wheel on their BMW M3, while Nick Pinkett and Hugh Myers retired the Saab 96 after dramas that included losing the electrics in the dark of Thursday evening. Ian Robertson and Andrew Scott (Avenger Tiger) also went out on Friday evening but the new pairing of Bob Seager and Jamie Sparks battled on valiantly to bring their MG Midget to a well deserved finish on their first time on the Isle of Man.
2nd August 2017: Rob Smith wins on Epynt.
There was little to choose between Smith and Williams across five long and fast stages and heading into the final stage Williams had a one-second advantage. However, a big attack by Smith turned the tables and he won by five seconds. "We bent the steering rack on a big jump on stage two, but we changed it at service and it has been a really good day”, said Smith."It has been a fantastic dice and the car has been perfect: I’ve not had a battle like that for a long time”, said Williams after another storming Epynt performance.
There was another big battle for third among the R.A.C. contenders as Roger Moran/Keaton Williams (BMW M3) headed Guy Woodcock/Dave Williams (Escort Mk2) by five seconds. Moran had a trouble-free day in the crowd-pleasing BMW while Woodcock was settling back in to the Escort after a gap of 10 months.
Close behind Moran and Woodcock came one of the drives of the rally from David Kynaston and Jack Bowen in the mighty Triumph TR7 V8. They pushed hard and set some impressive stage times to finish ahead of the BMW M3 of Paul Smith/Tudor Jenkins and the Escort Mk2 of Barry Stevenson-Wheeler/John Pickavance. "I loved it”, said Smith after only his second rally. "It’s all coming together.”
Dick Mauger/Geno Gouveia (Escort Mk2) joined the championship runners for the first time and finished just ahead of another day-long battle as Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911) headed Graham Patten/Pauline Hale (Datsun 240Z) by six seconds. Nutt had a clear run while Patten really enjoyed his first Epynt event. "I love it and will come back”, he said.
6th June 2017: Williams wins on Epynt and leads the table.
On a day when rain made conditions particularly demanding over the Epynt ranges, Williams was always in control with a masterful display and his established pace on Epynt ensured his second R.A.C. championship win from three events. ”We had the wrong tyres for the rain on the first stage and then had a spin and a stall on stage seven” said Williams. In fact, the time lost on the penultimate stage could have cost him overall victory on the event.
Second among the championship contenders was the BMW M3 of Roger Moran/Keaton Williams, just over a minute down on the Ford Escort Mk2 of Williams. “We had the same problem as everyone else on the first stage”, said Moran after leaving service on dry weather tyres only to have heavy rain fall before the start of the opening stage. That aside, the glorious M3 ran strongly all day.
A second M3 made a welcome debut in the hands of Super Touring racer Paul Smith and co-driver Tudor Jenkins. Smith had a rallying baptism of fire when caught on the wrong tyres on the very wet opening stage. He slid off for over two minutes but later set some very encouraging stage times. “Once it dried out it was amazing”, said Smith, who will return to Epynt for the Harry Flatters in late July and then complete the R.A.C. season on the Isle of Man and Jersey in the autumn.
David Kynaston and Greg Evans turned in a great performance in the Triumph TR7 V8 to be third R.A.C. crew ahead of Lyndon Barton/Simon Hunter (Ford Escort Mk2). The Vintage Car Radiator Company Category 1 was again dominated by the Porsche 911 of Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride, after what Nutt described as a difficult day due to ever-changing weather conditions.
Despite exhaust dramas Ian Robertson and Andrew Scott won the Capital Construction Category 2 in their Hillman Avenger Tiger and finished just ahead of the Category 1 MG Midget of Bob Seager/Simon Hannam.
The Fuchs Lubricants R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Rally Championship continues with round four, the Harry Flatters Rally, on Sunday 30 July.
29th April 2017 Crooks take Belgium honours.
After a tremendous day's sport in spring sunshine, the top three R.A.C. crews were covered by just over a minute and a half after a first class event on closed public roads around the town of Beaumont in the south of Belgium. Barry Stevenson-Wheeler/John Pickavance and Chris White/Chris Dewsnap kept the pressure on the Crooks right to the end of the rally.
The Fuchs Lubricants R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Rally Championship is organised by the Roger Albert Clark Rally Motor Club and is a dedicated asphalt championship for all categories of historic stage rally cars. The Salamandre event marked the championship's annual foray to Belgium and the event drew widespread acclaim from the UK crews.
Maximum points for the Crooks was a popular result after major engine dramas put them out on the opening stage of the first round. However, it all came good in Belgium and a championship win was well deserved. Equally, after finishing the 2016 event in water-filled ditch, Barry Stevenson-Wheeler/Pickavance had a cracking run to second while White/Dewsnap had a first class championship debut to finish third.
It was not an entirely trouble-free rally for Stevenson-Wheeler, however, as a rapid starter motor change at service was followed by a trip through a fence and into a garden, fortunately without major damage.
Less lucky in the Capital Construction Category 2 was the Escort Mk1 of Graham Muter/Colin Watson which went out with a sizeable accident on the second stage, while clutch failure sidelined the BMW M3 of Roger Moran and Keaton Williams.
The Vintage Car Radiator Company Category 1 was dominated by the Porsche 911 of Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride, who had a strong and clear run on their first foray to the event. Second in the category was the Mini Cooper of Trevor Hancock and Joanne Watson, which had to tackle the final stage without a clutch.
Splitting the Category 1 cars in the overall result was the Ford Escort Mk2 of Lyndon Barton and Simon Hunter, which struggled with a misfire all day.
More details on Rallye Salamandre are available at www.salamandre-rally.be
The Fuchs Lubricants R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Rally Championship continues with round three, the Mini Epynt Stages, on Sunday 4 June.
6th March 2017: Bailey and Lacey take opening round.
After 12 fast and flowing stages at the Dorset venue, Bailey/Lacey ended the weekend with just 19s in hand over the similar Ford Escort Mk2 of Neil Williams and John Morgan while third R.A.C. contender was the stunning BMW M3 of Roger Moran/Paul Morris.
A high-quality historic entry tackled 80 stage miles over six stages each day, and even though a couple of late non-starters reduced the 17-strong entry, the slickly-run event was a fitting start to the second year of the Fuchs Lubricants R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Rally Championship.
At his local venue, Bailey set a cracking pace from the start and ended the opening day with a 40s lead over Williams. Despite a late scare on Saturday when he had to change a gearbox after the day's final stage, Williams set a scorching pace in the rain of Sunday morning and clawed the margin back to 19s after a compelling pursuit. "That's alright for an old farmer," said Bailey after ending a run of bad luck since switching to historics.
Out of luck in Category 3 at Bovington were brothers Simon and Alister Crook with an early engine failure and Barry Stevenson-Wheeler/John Pickavance with a fuel leak and small fire. Instead, third in Category 3 was the mighty Triumph TR7 V8 of David Kynaston/Andy Russell.
Moran was a strong third historic overall and won Category F while the Capital Construction Category 2 delivered a well-deserved victory for the Escort Mk1 of Graham Muter/Colin Watson after a very strong performance. Another star of Category 2 was the immaculate Datsun 240Z of Graham Patten/Pauline Hale, which retired late on day one with a broken rocker. Jim Valentine and Jonathan Lodge were next up in Category 2 on the first rally for their Saab 99 since 2013.
The Category 1 entry was topped by the Porsche 911 of championship newcomers Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride and they had a fine weekend as they got used to a rather different style of event. Second in the Vintage Car Radiator Company Category 1 was the Saab 96 of Nick Pinkett/Hugh Myers as Pinkett rallied for the first time in 18 months. Sadly out with gearbox failure went the MG Midget of Bob Seager/Simon Hannam.