Fuchs Lubricants R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Rally Championship
Season Round Up
Round 1: - Moran takes first Fuchs R.A.C. Historic Asphalt victory
Roger Moran and Ashley Trimble took a classy victory on the opening round of the new Fuchs Lubricants R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Championship on this weekend's Bovington Stages (5/6 March).
A new chapter in British historic rallying started with the first round of the new championship as crews tackled the fast sweeps of Bovington on an event that covered 90 stage miles at the smooth and flowing Dorset venue. As well as the ideal start for the championship, the event offered crews a perfect early-season shakedown.
A very encouraging 14-strong entry was big on quality. However, several cars were not ready and some first day retirements further reduced the field. Out on only the second stage went Grant Shand and Jez Rogers (Ford Escort Mk2) when the fuel injection pump failed. If I’d got a spare pump I could have fixed it, said Shand. The opening day also claimed pacesetters Eian Pritchard and Steven McPhee with a misfire and then end of day one leaders Leigh and Chris Armstrong were sidelined with an engine issue. We think it’s the head gasket and we can’t risk blowing it up, said they said after retiring their Escort Mk2 at the end of the leg.
Meanwhile, Moran had been running consistently strongly and was able to move ahead and take a commanding victory following another six special stages on Sunday. You’ve got to go at a pace you can keep going for two days, said Moran after a first run in his fresh Escort Mk2 which also netted victory in Category 3.
Into second place as winners of Category 2 went Roger Matthews and Tom Marrott who led the chase of Moran in their Escort Mk1. We kept running out of revs so we’ll change the crown wheel and pinion for next year’s event, said Matthews. That shower of rain on stage five made it interesting!
Bob Seager and Simon Hannam won Category 1 in their MG Midget despite finding the car running out of breath on the fast and flowing stages. You need power and brakes here and we haven’t got either, said Seager of his home rally. Credit is also due to Barry Stevenson-Wheeler and John Pickavance who fixed their Escort Mk2 after hitting a chicane on Saturday and rejoined to win Sunday’s Trophy Rally.
Round 2 Rallye Salamandre: - Jacob heads Fuchs R.A.C. Historic contenders in Belgium
Christophe Jacob and Isabelle Regnier were the first championship finishers on round two of the Fuchs Lubricants R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Championship, Rallye Salamandre in Belgium on Sunday (24 April).
The championships first away event was deemed a great success despite challenging conditions as snow and rain left the closed public roads very slippery. The result for Jacob was particularly fitting as he did a great deal of work to bring the championship to the rally and support the British crews before and during the event.
Jacob (Escort Mk2) put a marker down on the first of nine special stages by going fastest and was able to steadily extend his advantage as local knowledge helped him contend with the tough conditions. A tremendous second fastest on the first stage was the similar car of Barry Stevenson-Wheeler and John Pickavance but they then slid off into a ditch on the second stage and were out of the rally.
Conditions did improve a little as the day progressed and the final loop of three stages was less wet and muddy. Jacob continued his excellent pace and finished third overall in the rallys historic section behind Florian Gonon (Ford Escort Mk1) and Stefan Stouf (Porsche 911RSR) who were split by one second.
Tim Pearcey and local co-driver Louis Louka had another strong run in Belgium to finish second among the R.A.C. crews while Roger Moran/Ashley Trimble (Escort Mk2) scooped a second good points score to back up their victory on round one, the Bovington Stages.
Fourth place was a great result for Grant Shand who had his daughter Bonnie co-driving for the first time in his Escort Mk2, while top of Category 2 once again was the Escort Mk1 of Roger Matthews/Tom Marrott. They were chased home by brothers Simon and Alister Crook who struggled with tyre choice on the opening loop and survived a major overshoot into someones drive before setting a cracking pace later in the day.
Two minutes in a ditch cost Steve Perez and Carl Williamson a chance of a top 10 finish in the stunning Lancia Stratos, which ran faultlessly all day. The Stratos finished just ahead of Chris White/Chris Dewsnap who survived four spins in the first two loops of six stages. Brothers Leigh and Chris Armstrong also suffered a lengthy delay in the second stage but then set top six stage times.
Notable retirements included Steve Stringer/Carrol Soanes with a broken throttle cable on their Sunbeam Lotus and Tim Freeman/Paul Wakely who ran their Ford Sierra Cosworth in Category J1/J2 but elected to retire at the end of the first loop of stages after finding the car unsuited to the road conditions.
Round 3 Harry Flatters: Championship resumes
After a break since round two, the Fuchs Lubricants R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Rally Championship, resumed on the Harry Flatters Rally on Epynt (Sunday 31 July).
Along with the early championship contenders, several crews are joining the championship for the challenge of the Epynt ranges and the scene is set for a very competitive event as the championship runs alongside the Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship for the first time.
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. As well as catering for crews who prefer to compete on sealed surfaces, the championship also offers a place for the Category 1 (pre-1968) cars that are moving away from gravel rallying as a result of the changes to event running orders.
Heading the historic field away will be Rob Smith and Alun Cook who are making their debut in the championship in their Ford Escort Mk2 but they will face a tough challenge from early pacesetters Roger Moran and Ashley Trimble in their similar car. Moran has scored two strong results to date and has good experience of Epynt.
Eian Pritchard and Steve McPhee (Ford Escort Mk2) are another crew with major potential on a venue that Pritchard senior knows well, while Tim Freeman and Paul Williams will field either Freemans regular Escort Mk2 or his recently acquired Ford Sierra Cosworth. Brothers Leigh and Chris Armstrong bring more quality to the Escort Mk2 pack, while heading the Category 2 cars will be the immaculate Ford Escort Mk1 of Roger Matthews and Tom Marrott.
19th September 2016: Onions and Matthews take the major Fuchs spoils
Will Onions and Roger Matthews were the big winners during rounds four and five of the Fuchs Lubricants R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Rally Championship, the Historic Rally Isle of Man (15-17 September).
While Onions and co-driver Jamie Edwards were the leading championship finishers with second overall in the historic section, Matthews and Tom Marrott completed a perfect season score to secure the inaugural championship title with one round remaining.
As ever, the Isle of Man delivered an outstanding event and a massive challenge as crews tackled two and a half days of flat-out asphalt rallying on closed public roads. With a planned 160 miles of competitive motoring the event formed a double-header for the championship.
A strong field of Fuchs R.A.C. contenders lined up in Douglas for the start on Thursday evening and the opening leg of three stages in the dark pointed to fierce competition as Onions headed Guy Woodcock/Richard Skinner by just four seconds in a battle of the Ford Escort Mk2s. Despite a persistent misfire, Rob Smith and Alun Cook showed tremendous pace in the Opel Kadette owned by Peter Smith and slotted into third place overnight.
Sadly, both Woodcock and Smith would drop out of the contest with engine problems but not before showing their pace. When running cleanly, the Opel set fastest historic stage times, such was the speed that Smith extracted on his first run in the car. However, it was Onions who was able to control the pace while dealing with clutch problems on his way to a well deserved success. Even on the final stage of the rally more clutch issues struck, but Onions kept the car running for a great result.
Stanley Orr and Guy Weaver (Ford Escort Mk1) also went out with broken rockers in their Pinto engine and series newcomers Graham Muter/Stewart Powell retired their Escort Mk1 with overheating issues on Saturday morning.
One of the star drives of the rally came from Belgian crew Christophe Jacob and Isabelle Regnier who moved up to second-placed Fuchs contenders as they competed on the island for the first time. We will be back, promised Christophe after a fine performance given their lack of prior knowledge of the challenging stages.
Both Barry Stevenson-Wheeler/John Pickavance and Simon Crook/Alister Crook made their Isle of Man debuts and to their great credit both crews achieved strong finishes as they learnt about this tough rally. Just over a minute down on Crook was the Escort Mk1 of Matthews and Marrott as Matthews made his Isle of Man debut. With title rival Roger Moran missing the event due to family commitments, Matthews knew that a clear run to the finish was all he needed to secure the overall title and he duly delivered to become the inaugural Fuchs R.A.C Historic Asphalt champion.
Rounding out the finishers was the Hillman Avenger Tiger of Ian Robertson and Andrew Scott, making a welcome return to the championship for the first time since the opening round. Just recording a finish with this now rare rally car was a great achievement on such a tough rally.
Final rounds Isle of Man: - Matthews confirmed as Fuchs R.A.C. historic champion
Roger Matthews and Tom Marrott have been confirmed as overall champions in the inaugural Fuchs Lubricants R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Rally Championship.
Following two more maximum scores in the double header round on the Historic Rally Isle of Man (15-17 September), Matthews and Marrott (Ford Escort Mk1) now have a perfect season score and cannot be beaten on the sixth and final round, the Cheviot Stages on Otterburn on 9 October.
The Fuchs Lubricants R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Rally Championship was new for 2016 and is organised by the Roger Albert Clark Rally Motor Club as a dedicated asphalt championship for all categories of historic stage rally cars. As well as catering for crews who prefer to compete on sealed surfaces, the championship also offers a place for the Category 1 (pre-1968) cars that are moving away from gravel rallying as a result of the changes to event running orders.
Matthews and Marrott have enjoyed an exemplary season in their freshly-built Escort Mk1, taking five maximum scores across the first five rounds to make them overall champions. Belgians Christophe Jacob and Isabelle Regnier currently hold second overall but could be edged back to third in the battle of Escort Mk2s if Roger Moran and Ashley Trimble contest the final round.
It was a pity that Roger Moran couldn’t get to the Isle of Man due to family commitments, as that would have made it harder for us, said Matthews after his first experience of competing on the Isle of Man. They were really good roads and a good event.
Its been a very good season with the brand new car and I’ll definitely be back to defend the title, said the Herefordshire driver. It is certainly more asphalt rallying for me for the future.
Championship manager Colin Heppenstall said: We’d like to congratulate Roger Matthews and Tom Marrott for becoming the first champions in the Fuchs Lubricants R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Rally Championship. They have had a perfect season to date and are worthy champions.
1st October 2016: Fuchs Lubricants R.A.C. Asphalt Championship Award winners announced.
The final points table has now been published for the inaugural FUCHS Lubricants R.A.C. Asphalt Championship. As a result of this, the award winners have now been announced and their awards will be presented at the annual end of season award dinner to be held at the CASA Hotel, Chesterfield on Saturday 21st October. the full list of award winners is [published below.
FUCHS Lubricants R.A.C Historic Asphalt Rally Champion
Driver and Co-driver
Roger Matthews / Tom Marrott
1st in Category 1 – Driver & Co-driver
Bob Seager / Simon Hannam
1st in Category 3 – Driver & Co-driver
Roger Moran / Ashley Trimble
1st in Category K – Driver & Co-driver
Christophe Jacob / Isabelle Regnier
1st in Class D5 - Driver & Co-driver
Simon Crook / Alister Crook
1st in Class K – Driver