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Dansport Historic Rally 2023 Preview

By Paul Crosby

The penultimate round of the HRCR championship is nearly upon us and has a star studded entry list. As in previous years it’s a night/day event running 3 night regularities on Saturday night then a further 5 regs and 8 tests on Sunday if you’ve managed to digest your ‘Pie, chips and peas’ at the 3 merry lads on Saturday night.

The competition for masters class promises to be very close. Last year’s winners John (hop along) Haygarth and Martyn Taylor in the rapidly driven Opel Kadett will start at No1 with every intention of a repeat win but Dan Willan and Niall Frost in the ‘shouldn’t be that quick’ Ovlov PV544 are bound to be at the sharp end of the fight along with the flamboyantly driven Toyota Corolla of Leigh Powley and Brian Goff. Other masters to watch out for are Paul Crosby and Ali Procter in the Austin mini Cooper S, Steve Head and Graham Raeburn Mk2 RS2000, John Able making a welcome return to the HRCR with Ian Tullie in his Mk1 RS2000 and Paul Bloxidge and Ian Canavan or ‘Tent’ as we now call him after the sale of his beloved Camper van, in a VW Golf Mk2. Other Masters worthy of mention in a truly competitive entry are Roger Fildes Ford Escort Mk2 who has changed his navigator yet again this time Pete Johnson will be giving him instructions, John King and Martin Pitt in the MR2 are another very competitive combination as are Ken and Sarah Binstead in their MGB and Mick Valentine/John Thornley in a very quick MK2 Escort.

John Haygarth and  Martin Taylor defying the elements in 2022. Could be on for another win this time around. Photo by Ben Lawrence.

In the Experts class expect to see a good battle between Angus McQueen/Mike Cochrane, Mike has confiscated his Cortina GT after the headlight bezel got scratched on the Ilkley so they are back in their familiar BMW. Leslie Andrew and Peter Blackett, Peugeot 104 and Andrew Parr with Oli Waldock, Mini Cooper S, should also be in the mix with the returning Tim Sawyer and Suzanne (the cake) Barker disappointingly in the usual MK1 Ford Mexico not a Safari spec 911. John and Alistair Woolstenhulme will also be vying for class honours.

Angus McQueen and Mike Cochrane back in the BMW 323i this time.  Maybe they expect it to be wet. 15th overall in 2022.  Photo by Ben Lawrence.

The Novice class is a bit more difficult for me to predict but I’ve done my research and it looks like with David Mann and Ian Doble in the MGC having moved up to the Expert class the Husband/Wife team Woof/Woof are very strong contenders along with David Morris/Jacolyn Wales in an MGB GT.

Dave Morris and Jac Wales (MGB GT) will be looking to improve on their 37th overall last year. Photo by Ben Lawrence.

I have picked a wild card entry. A novice driver with virtually no experience paired with a winning Master navigator. Jack Willan (son of Dan)/Gary Evans in the mighty Talbot Samba. A surprise result isn’t out of the question.

The championship is still very much alive and with 2 rounds remaining the results of the Dansport will shape the final championship table.

Apologies if I haven’t name checked someone who feels they should have got a mention. It’s not because I don’t like you, I just forgot!

Good luck to all competitors.


Top line photos by Ben Lawrence bottom line photos by M&H Photography.