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East Anglian Classic Preview

By Iain Tullie

One of the HRCR Championship’s oldest rallys, this year’s Chelmsford event is again well-supported with 55 HRCR championship contenders listed among the 38 crews entered so far. Unfortunately, there are a few crews missing this one with the Cotswolds only a week after, hopefully there will be a few more entries before the closing date on 15th June.

Last month’s Gremlin victor John Haygarth, has Martyn Taylor back on the maps this time in the Kadett and will be hoping to repeat his 2018 win, when he had a different Taylor on the maps, David.

John Haygarth and Martyn Taylor (Opel Kadett Rallye) will be looking for a strong finish this year after a DNF in 2023.  Photo By M&H Photography.

Hughes winners Ian Crammond and Matthew Vokes will also be there; indeed Matt Fowle is the only leading Master driver missing from the entry list. While Ian has a small lead at the top of the drivers’ standings, Matthew is just behind Ryan Pickering, looks like it could be a close battle this year.

Mr Pickering is alongside very capable local driver Matt Abrey in his Mini this time as he hopes to repeat his 2023 win, but last year’s runner up John King will be hoping to go one better this time, with Oli Waldock directing him in the MR2 again. Henry Carr is another navigator swapping seats, this time alongside Peter Higton in the Amazon.

John King with Oli Waldock (Toyota MR2) hoping to go one better this year.  Photo by M&H Photography.

Peter Engel is the only regular missing in the Experts, David Mann & Ian Doble (MG) will be looking to extend their lead over Andrew Parr & Bob Duck (Mini) and Paul & Sandra Heaney (TR6).

It’s a similar situation in the Novices, with just one of the top four not entered so far, Martyn Craske. There are only a few points covering David Morris & Jac Wales (MG), Phil Cheek & Graeme Presswell (Avenger), Jeff Wincott & Anne Tweddell (A40) and Lee Davies & Richard White (Mini), hopefully the close competition will continue right through the season.

Phil Cheek will be out with Graeme Presswell (Hillman Avenger) this time around after beating their seeding by 1 in 2023.  Photo by M&H Photography.

The event once again starts and finishes in Bury St Edmunds, while last year’s winning driver Owen Turner is not entered, but his Complete Rally Services premises will host scrutineering on Friday evening. Then it’s off around the Suffolk and Cambridgeshire lanes on Saturday, with Clerk of Course Paul Brewerton and his team promising some new test venues and some different parts of maps 154 and 155.

Entries are still open and offers to marshal also welcomed, visit for more details.