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East Anglian Classic

By Ian Beech

22 June 2024

A field of 31 cars plus 4 in the Clubman’s event assembled for this year’s rally at the Grange, Thurston near Bury st Edmunds.

Simon Malins and Suzanne Barker retired on the way to the event due to brake problems. This unfortunately causing the police to close the A14 to recover them.

Scrutineering and signing on was a leisurely affair at Complete Rally Services. The test diagrams and the road sections were given out. The Regularity sections however would be given out 1 hour before the due time in the morning.

The field was led away by last year’s winning navigator Ryan Pickering driven by Matthew Abrey in an Austin Mini.

Matt Abrey and Ryan Pickering ( 1275GT Mini) led the crews away and seen here going well on the Parks Farm Test. Photo by M&H Photography

It was straight into Regularity A out of the Hotel. The route was defined by a series of Gridlines followed by spot heights and 2 LWR grass triangles. This took us south through Tostock, Gedding and Preston St Mary to finish near Lavenham. Best was David Mann and Ian Doble dropping just 6 secs and were closely followed by Ian Crammond/Matthew Vokes and Angus McQueen/Mike Cochrane on 8 secs.

Next were 3 tests on Lavenham Airfield. The first two using the old perimeter road and the third a tight up and down round cones. Fastest over the 3 tests was Abrey/Pickering on 394 secs.

A run up the A134 followed and into coffee and card collection at the Rushbrooke Arms.

It was then into Regularity B after a run back down the A134 to the start just south of Lawshall. The section was to take the shortest route avoiding the A134, using 1 map reference and a series of Grid squares. The route took us up one side of Harrow Green north and back south the other side then south through Hartest, Stanstead and Glemford to the finish near Belchamp Walter. Abrey/Pickering won the reg on 8 seconds.

Next was test 4 at Belchamp Otten. The test was on narrow concrete farm tracks with plenty of 90 bends in it. Fastest was John Haygarth/Martyn Taylor on 2.51.

John Haygarth and Martyn Taylor (Opel Kadett) going well on the tests despite a misfire.  Photo by M&H Photography.

A short road section took us to the start of Regularity C near Belchamp St Paul. The instructions were to pass 5 spot heights then follow a series of coloured road junctions, 1 grid square to avoid and a LWR triangle. The route took us off Map 155 on to 154 then back to 155 and finished on 154.  Peter Higton/Henry Carr came out on top on 7 seconds.

Peter Higton and Henry Carr (Volvo Amazon) came out on top on Reg C.  Photo by M&H Photography

Test 5 at Primrose Hill was next. 1 mile on concrete tracks with a slalom at the start and a few 180’s round cones at the finish. Fastest again were John Haygarth/Martyn Taylor beating the bogey on 2.11.

Lunch was next at Kennett Village Hall. Sandwiches and a drink and a chance to chat about the morning’s exploits. Leaders at Lunch were Abrey/Pickering followed just 2 seconds behind by Haygarth/Taylor.

Test 6 followed lunch at Bay Farm. A slalom followed by a straight run through a series of chicanes made up this test. Fastest were Abrey/Pickering beating the bogey on 1.38.

A quick visit to petrol then on to Test 7 Park Farm. 2.1 miles of concrete and loose farm tracks with a couple of very very tight tracks between trees made up the test. Just to make it interesting there was a split and merge thrown in. Fastest once again Haygarth/Taylor on 4.22.

Regularity D started at the exit off Park Farm with approach/departs via a series of map References which were in the finals. The route started on map 154 in the top right corner moving on to 155 heading SW finishing near Stanningfield. Abrey/Pickering dropping just 3 seconds.

A return to Lavenham Airfield for a reverse run of the morning tests was next. Haygarth/Taylor winning all 3.

The final Regularity E was next. We had plotted the first half in the morning but the second half would be given at the start of the Regularity. The first half consisted of 4 spot hieghts with approach/departs. The handout at the start was a series of Tulips with depart arrows but no approach dots. The handout caught out a few of the crews but those in the top ten had little trouble.  However Haygarth/Taylor missed a codeboard  that would spoil their day with a 100 second penalty.

At the Finish Ryan Pickering took his second win along side Matthew Abrey.

1             00:22:02           1             M12      1             Matthew Abrey              Chelmsford MC                            Ryan Pickering           HRCR  H            1974    Austin Mini      1275

2             00:23:24           2             M12      5             John Haygarth                HRCR/Ilkley     H            Martyn Taylor                KLMC  H            1973    Opel Kadett Rallye      1900

3             00:23:49           3             M12      4             Peter Higton    HRCR / KDMC               H            Henry Carr                HRCR / Ilkley &DMC  H            1965    Volvo Amazon               1780

In the Experts Alan Pettit and Richard Lambley won their class.

8             00:28:12           1             E4          7             Alan Pettit         HRCR  H            Richard Lambley         HRCR                  1990    Mazda MX5     1600

And in the Novices Lee Davies and Richard White were the winners.

14          00:31:11           1             N12      23          Lee Davies       HRCR  H            Richard White                HRCR  H                1973    Austin Mini 1275GT   1275

The Clubman’s Rally was won by John Peterson and Ian Graham.

1             00:26:46           1             C            19          John Peterson Chelmsford MC / SCCON / ECMC                   Ian Graham             Chelmsford/Hexham/Clitheroe                         1963    Austin Mini Cooper S 1293

A special mention must go to Matthew and Diane Mantle who won the spirit of the rally for stopping with an injured cyclist for over an hour until the ambulance arrived then rejoined the rally at lunch.

A great event from Chelmsford Motor Club deserving of a bigger entry.

All photos by kind courtesy of M&H Photography.