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East Anglian Classic 2023 Preview

As we approach midsummers day, the HRCR Clubmans Championship approaches the mid-way point with a run out to the wonderful East Anglian Classic Historic Rally.  There are still entries available for the rally on Saturday 17th June 2023 with Start/Finish at The Grange Hotel, Bury St. Edmunds.

As always, we can expect a mix of challenging smooth(ish) tests at a variety of venues, some new to the event this year.  The route will cover around 150 miles around the picturesque lanes of Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, many of which have not seen a classic rally car for several years. For returning competitors the type and format of regularities will be familiar with at least one section of traditional plot’n’bash.  However, navigation will be straightforward, and the types of navigation used will be defined in the final instructions.  Of course, it is important to remember that bacon rolls, lunch and dinner are included but pork and pickle pies, wine gums and Tunnock bars will need to be purchased beforehand.

Last years winners Dan Willan and Niall Frost are absent from this year’s entry but sure to be pushing for top spot overall and in the masters class are the formidable partnership of Andy Lane and Iain Tullie (last weekend’s winning co-driver on the Hughes) back together again in the wonderful red BMW 2002Tii.  Local hero Owen Turner (3rd overall last year) will certainly be challenging the masters as he teams up with Ryan Pickering in the Mitsubishi Lancer and who would discount Ken and Sarah Binstead in their MGB in this class.  After four rounds of the championship, Leigh Powley holds the front spot in the drivers table and he returns to the EAC in his Corolla with Brian Goff (currently 2nd in Navi’s table) beside him.  There are others to look out for such as John Haygarth and Martyn Taylor returning in the subtle orange Kadette and the James’s Griffiths and Howell in the green 1275GT.

John Haygarth returns to the fray with Martyn Taylor (Opel Kadett).

In the expert class John King pairing up with the prodigious Oli Waldock have got to be fancied runners along with Dan and Nick Darkin in the MX5 (1st in their class last year).  After a less than glorious Hughes, Angus McQueen and Mike Cochrane (Black BMW 323i) will be looking to bury the memory of long grass at Manston Airport and push the leaders in this class.  Phil B Wood and Kelvin Phipps have swapped out The Saint’s P1800 for a red Porsche 924s and must be in with a shout as too must be local route master, Ed Abbott in the diminutive Jaguar XJ-S V12 as he teams up with Cath Woodman in the comfy seat.  The green TR7 duo of Mark Goodwin and Anthony Davies are back together again this time out and will be hoping for another trouble-free run to keep the pressure on the leaders.

John King (Toyota MR2) will be hoping to emulate his 6th place on the Hughes but this time with Oli Waldock on the EAC this year. Photo by M&H Photography. 

In the novice class there are some excellent challengers including Nigel and Sally Woof who are having a good campaign so far although they will be missing from this event but David Morris and Jacolyn Wales in their MGBGT will be trying hard to beat their 22nd place on the Hughes recently.  Phil Cheek and Chris Rhodes had an excellent finish recently in Kent and will be looking to repeat or better this performance here in East Anglia. (23rd in 2022 )

Phil Cheek and Chris Rhodes (Hillman Avenger) will be looking to improve on their sound performance on the Hughes. Photo by John Waide