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By jove they’ve done it!

Ian Crammond and Matthew Vokes, Mercedes Benz 280SL won the fifth round of the HRCR Hagerty Insurance Clubmans Road Rally Championship, The Ross Traders Historic Rally, after a string of second places. They beat Darell and Nicky Staniforth, Mini Cooper S, by 33 seconds  but they picked up the best Master award, with Paul Crosby and Andy Pullan , Porsche 911, a further nine seconds adrift.

A superb performance by the Novice crew of Ken and Sarah Binstead, MGB, netted them 1st Novice and 11th overall while the first Expert crew of Rod Hanson and Clare Grove were 19th overall.

The HRCR Amazon Cars Challenge Cup was won by David Smith in his BMW 2002, navigated by Norden Lester to 2nd Novice and 22nd overall.

Notable non-starters were Darren Everitt and Susan Dixon as their Triumph 2000 sprung an engine oil leak which stubbornly refused to be cured in time for them to leave home. Phil Cheek and Chris Rhodes also did not make it for rumoured car troubles

It was great to see Andrew Buzzard and Robb Lyne making their first appearance of the year now in a Mk1 Escort and having a top ten finish to boot!

This has re-arranged the championship positions so Ian Crammond and Matthew Vokes lead the championship table ahead of John Haygarth and Thomas Bricknell for the drivers and Henry Carr and Roger Bricknell for the navigators.

Henry’s chances took a turn for the worst when Simon Mellings and he were too optimistic on Test 2 and damaged the front suspension of the Nissan on an unforgiving kerb causing an early retirement. Henry was last seen directing traffic with an orange arrow at lunch, was he after marshalling points I wonder!!

The attrition rate amongst the top crews  was  quite  high with Stephen Johnson/Les McGuffog, Escort, disappearing quite early followed by Dave Leadbetter/Cath Woodman, BMW, and the Escort crew of Nick Bloxham/Richard Crozier. While several top crews suffered from baulking by various local contingences!

Further down the field the Novices struggled with a Regularity D which was a long list of map features given out as they left lunch being particularly difficult through the Forest of Dean where finding the various features needs excellent light and eyesight against the generally green forest background. Then as if this was not enough, the second half of the last regularity, Reg F, was a plot and bash herringbone which was the final nail in the coffin for a number of crews.  Those with experience of night time 12 car rallies came off best, especially Elliot Dale and Charlotte Ryall in their 1937 Bentley Derby, being best in class N1 and 28th overall on their first HRCR championship event.

The top ten were

1, Ian Crammond and Matthew Vokes, M1, Mercedes Benz 280SL, 11:53s

2, Darell Staniforth and Nicky Staniforth, M1, Morris Mini Cooper S, 12:26s

3, Paul Crosby and Andy Pullan, M2, Porsche 911, 12:35s

4, Thomas Bricknell and Roger Bricknell, M4, VW Golf GT1, 12:37s

5, John Ruddock and Nick Cooper, M2, Ford Escort Mexico, 13:08s

6, Howard Warren and Iain Tullie, M2, Porsche 911 Coupe, 13:11s

7, Gavin Rogers and Carrie Rogers, M2, Reliant Scimitar, 13:45s

8, Martin Neal and Richard Dix, M2, Ford Escort Mexico, 13:46s

9, Pete Johnson and Andy Berry, M4, VW Golf GTi, 13:50s

10, Andrew Buzzard and Robb Lyne, M2, Ford Escort mk1, 14:28s

With thanks to Julie Johnson of Daisyroots photography for the photographs accompanying this article.

See you on the St Wilfrids in sunny Yorkshire