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Dixies challenge – Mini cup and cat 1

Pitstop Garage Dixies Challenge Rally

Four crews made the journey to South Wales for the second round of the HRCR Category 1 Championship. These were the Triumph TR4 of Stephen Hall and Aggie Foster, and the three Mini Copper S’ of Ken Pryce and Don James, Clive King and Anton Bird, and Shane Gamble and Julia Perry respectively.
The Dixies Challenge rally uses the western side of the Epynt military ranges, which includes famous sections such as The Steps, Copse, Four Ways and The Burma Road. The Stages were all under 5 miles in length but offer a technically challenging and compact route.
Hall and Foster got off to a flying start, setting the fastest time by 3 seconds (despite the pair being a little apprehensive having not been to Epynt for a few years).

Second Was King and Bird, using all their collective knowledge and experience to push the Mini as hard as possible. Pryce and James put in a good time 5 seconds shy of the leading Mini, and Gamble and Perry were just 2 seconds further back. Stage 2 saw King and Bird equal the time of Hall and Foster, despite having no intercom and suffering with clutch problems.
In service these issues were fixed, but Hall and Foster (presumably now settled down) were too quick on stage 3 pulling out another 4 seconds over their rivals. Shane reported that he was having gearbox issues, but was still pushing on and driving around them. Stage 4 would spell disaster for King and Bird; they broke the rotor arm after a heavy landing over one of Epynt’s many jumps. They lost around 3 minutes which promoted Pryce and James in to second place, and Gamble and Perry to third. With another fastest stage time from the TR4’s pairing though, Hall and Fosters’ lead was all but secure.

With the rotor arm fixed, King and Bird would start a brave fightback throughout the afternoon loop of stages, Setting fastest times on stage’s 5,6,7 and 8. Hall and Foster were secure in first place though. A clean drive saw them claim a well deserved victory and the championship lead, (making their 11.5 hour trip from home worth it). Pryce and James used their local knowledge to secure second place. The hard charging Mini of Clive and Anton would break the hearts of Shane and Julia, stealing third place on the very last stage, finishing 11 seconds ahead.
Next event takes the championship to Scotland for the Dunoon Presents Argyle Rally.

Photos by Andy Crawford