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Dave Leadbetter and Cath Woodman win the East Anglian Classic “Safari”

Dave Leadbetter and Cath Woodman in their BMW 2002, won the 22nd running of the East Anglian Classic Historic Rally, round six of the 2017 HRCR Hagerty Insurance Clubmans Road Rally Championship. So unlike last year, we have five different marques of car and five different crews winning the first six events with only Howard Warren and Iain Tullie winning twice in their Porsche 911.

Both Dave and Cath were extremely happy with their win as Dave, in particular, won his first 12 car on a Chelmsford event in 2001, and to win his first “National B” event back with the same club 16 years later, well he was overjoyed; but what an event. The temperatures soared into the 30s in the afternoon making it more like an East African Safari Rally. One seasoned competitor remarked it was the toughest rally he had ever done as the heat was so overwhelming in the cars. The morning was a mammoth 4 hours comprising two regularities, then six tests, and a third Regularity before lunch. On any normal day this would have been tough enough without a break, but the heat just made it even more so. Leading for much of the event were Paul Bloxidge and John Youd, Porsche 911, but it all fell apart for them on the last plot n’bash Regularity. These are hard enough as the traditional “sting in the tail”, but with the extreme temperatures it just makes it even more difficult, so well done to those crews, especially the Novices, who managed to find their way through this final challenge with only time penalties.

Just about everyone was finding it difficult going. When Keith Davis arrived at our afternoon control, F2, on the final Regularity he asked if we “had a box of brakes” as his were getting decidedly jaded while many were surprised by being given yet another plotting handout and remarked “but I’ve not finished the last one yet!” so you can get a feel for the pressure the competitors were under at the end of the day.

Les Andrew and Nick Middleton had a consistent run and still lead the Novice Class in the championship and the HRCR Amazon Cars CHALLENGE CUP.

Although on the event itself Rob Henchoz, our Challenge Cup sponsor, managed to win his own award, which I think was one of his aims this year!

Matthew Vokes was going to write the report on the event for Old Stager, but as the differential on Ian Crammond’s 280SL seized solid on Test 1, Matthew has very little to report on, so Henry Carr has stepped into the breach, so please send any anecdotes on your day to him. If you do not have his contact details then send them to me and I’ll forward them on.

Paul Brewerton and the Team at Chelmsford Motor Club created yet another demanding event, up to their usual standard, but it was not without some controversy as the “off road Regularity” they planned around the perimeter track at Wethersfield did not quite come up to expectations with many crews getting lost and with delays at some of the IRTCs so they decided to scrub the times from the results, which pleased the many, but upset the few who managed to find their way around error free.

The Hagerty Spirit of the Rally award went to Tim Willcocks and Anji Martin as Tim was really suffering from the heat at lunch time, and was seriously considering giving up, but with a wet towel on his head, plenty of fluids and encouragement from Anji he decided to give it a go and managed to complete the rally.

The top ten were,

1, Dave Leadbetter and Cath Woodman, BMW 2002, M2, 20:35

2, Matt Warren and Ryan Pickering, Escort, M2, 21:37

3, Rob Henchoz and Bob Blows, PV544, M1, 21:41

4, John Abel and Martyn Taylor, Escort Rs2000, M2, 22:02

5, Keith Davis and Henry Carr, MGBGT, M3, 22:10

6, Jim Deacon and David Taylor, Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint, M1, 22:26

7, Thomas Bricknell, and Roger Bricknell, VW Golf, E4, 22:36

8, Stephen Johnson and Richard Dix, Escort RS2000, M2, 23:02

9, John Petersen and Ian Graham, Mini Cooper S, M1, 23:08

10, Dave Smith and Pete Johnson, Maestro, M4, 23:14

Photographs of the top five with thanks to Andy Manston of M and H Photography.

See you in Yorkshire, Cheers, Ian