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Cotswold Historic 2023 Rally Preview

The HRCR Clubmans entourage head to Middle England for Round 6 of the Championship.

The addition of the Cotswold Historic Rally in 2021 to the Championship has rapidly proved to be one of the most popular rounds with yet another full entry.  The idyllic Cotswold countryside and a variety of test sites with a mix of gravel and tarmac, has proved to be a real hit with all competitors, and at midway through the Championship an important round for all contenders.

Tavern Motor Club return to Cirencester again this year as a start and finish location, and all the top runners in all classes will be out to score valuable points in the Championship.  There will be 6-8 Tests at 3 venues, including Charlton Park and Kemble Airfield which is particularly enjoyable passing the array of Jumbo Jets etc. around the site on the way.  There will also be a Clubmans run alongside the Main HRCR event to allow less experienced competitors to compete over the same route.

Last years winner, Leigh Powley, will hope to be out in the Toyota Corolla with Mark Appleton but with engine problems on the East Anglian Classic, will it be ready in time? Photo by M&H Photography

In the Masters category last years winner Leigh Powley will have Mark Appleton in the hot seat this time, his regular navigator Brian Goff being unavailable. Darell Staniforth and Paul Crosby, both in Cooper S’s, are bound to liven up events plus Hughes winner Mike Vokes in the rapid Ginetta will be joining the party, but with a very mixed and extremely strong entry it is a very difficult one to call this time round with so many fast and improving crews.

Last years Expert Champion Les Andrew in his diminutive Peugeot 104ZS with new navigator Peter Blackett is hotly challenged this year in the fast growing Expert category. An increasing variety of cars has opened up the group, but expect an on form Phil Wood/Kelvin Phipps in the rapid Porsche 924S and Hugh Garnish/David Bell in a Fiesta XR2 to be very much in contention following excellent showings on the previous round in East Anglia, and Mark Goodwin, now with his TR7 Sprint running well, also in the chase for the Expert category.

Les Andrew will be with Peter Blackett in 2023  (Peugeot 104 ZS) and will be looking to improve on his 27th overall in 2022. Photo by M&H Photography

In the Novice Category again a very much growing one, a welcome number of new novices are helping to swell the entry to capacity and bring more drivers and navigators to the HRCR Championship. Leading team Nigel and Sally Woof can expect to be hotly challenged this event with a number of returning crews including Lewis Ayris in his mint MGB and Malcolm Dunderdale in a Golf.

Nigel and Sally Woof, 34th overall in 2022, will be giving the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint a rest after the Classic Marathon and have entered the Cotswold in a Golf GTi. Photo by M&H photography

With such an excellent entry list the Cotswold Rally this year is shaping up to be to hot to call in more ways than one and be sure whoever takes away the laurels, will certainly have earned them.


Les Andrew