HRCR Mini Sport Cup 2019: Round 1 – Jasper’s Bakeries AGBO Historic Stages
Sons 3 – Fathers 1
Round 1 of the 2019 HRCR Mini Sport Cup, Jasper’s Bakeries AGBO Historic Stages run by Owen Motor Club got off to an electric start, with 22 minis starting making up half of the 44 starters, including 4 fathers competing against their sons, and 6 crews new to the Championship, making this one of the most anticipated rallies for years!
Ages ranged from 16 years old to well past 70 years young, proving again the appeal of the iconic Classic Mini – who celebrates it’s own 60th Birthday later this year. 4 previous Championship winners were on the entry, with 3 of those competing in the Mini Sport Cup.
With a shake up of the Classes this year, being based on the age of the car, and built to the specification that the cars ran in the day, with a category for Open Class cars – where they run outside the period historic modifications, there was a place for all Classic Minis.
The event included 10 stages across the Weston Park Estate in Staffordshire. John Cressey started first Mini at number 11, in his Open Class Car, followed by Clive King at 12 right behind, in the first of the Historic Class Cars, then followed by Andrew O’Hanlon, Shane Gamble and Peter Ellerby. Peter had damaged his car, whilst out competing on Epynt the weekend before, after skidding on ice into a rock, many late nights and a new front subframe, front panel and repaired gearbox saw him luckily make the start.
A horrendous weather forecast was predicting heavy rain & gale-force winds all day, but fortunately the heavens were kind to us, and rain held off until the finish! The previous days weather had left the stages wet & slippy, with the infamous Water Splash returning for 4 of the Stages, we had crew frantically applying water proofing to their Minis before the start.
Championship newcomers Harvey Stevens & Lawrence Selly were in trouble on the first stage, having caught up to the car in front, the crew aimed to overtake but unfortunately their Mini ended up slipping on to the grass & spinning out into a sturdy tree! Harvey & Lawrence escaped unscathed, however their Mini was ultimately written off… Despite the untimely end to their first event, the duo exclaimed that they really enjoyed the experience & have already been trying to track down another shell on Facebook to use.
In Category 1 Clive King & Anton Bird took the lead from the 1st Stage, much to the delight of Clive & Anton, who’s competitive rivalry with team mates John Cressey & Martin Cressey always has the crews vying to be the quickest, however an unfortunate slide in to a straw bail in Stage 2 damaged the front wing and cost the pair valuable seconds (and their lead on John & Martin)! The trouble didn’t stop there for Clive & Anton, who suffered with a flat Engine for the entirety of 2 Stages, before it was discovered that the Points had completely closed up! Thankfully, Mini Sport’s Michael Anderson was on-hand in the Service Area, and solved the issue. Back out for the final 2 Stages and it was on the road section when the loss of 3rd & 4th Gear struck the pair a final blow, not being stopped that easily, the seasoned rally veterans ploughed on, to finish 1st Category 1, 2nd Mini Sport Cup & 9th overall!
Ken Pryce & Don James have upgraded from their usual 1 litre, to 1300cc, & had a steady run to take 2nd Category 1 & 9th Mini Sport Cup – only 7 seconds ahead of Peter Ellerby & Colin Tombs who finished 3rd Category 1 & 11th Mini Sport Cup. Rounding up the finishers was Shane Gamble & Bob Ward, who had the misfortune to take a Stage maximum on Stage 5, when a wire became detached behind the dash board & it took a lengthy time to repair, resulting in 4th Category 1 & 16th Mini Sport Cup. Having suffered with engine issues last season, Paul Price & Owain Thomas had the expertise of Clive King to their advantage, with Clive having built the engine for Paul, ahead of the 2019 Championship – with Paul under strict instructions from Clive to keep his hands off! Paul added that it was the best engine he’d ever had, unfortunately even this couldn’t help Paul & Owain who were plagued with a broken Drive Shaft, forcing them to retire on Stage 7.
Category 2 saw 2 father & son battles with overall honours going to Mathew Davis & Abi Haycock ahead of Matt’s father Eric Davis & Russell Joseph. It was an absolutely stellar starting event for Mathew & Abi, who having never competed in the Mini before gained a massive 20 places on their 31st seeding. Setting impressive Stage times throughout the rally, resulting in a tie between the pair & Ryan Taylor & Hollie Churchill, with both crews finishing the event with a time of 35:55! Despite Ryan & Hollie cinching 3rd place (by being quicker on Stage 1), Mathew & Abi proved they are the crew to be watched in 2019, finishing 1st Category 2 & 4th Mini Sport Cup!
2nd in Category 2 & 5th Mini Sport Cup, went to Andrew O’Hanlon & Bill Douglas who were challenging hard by the end of the day, Andrew getting used to the car again after an 18 month layoff. Eric Davis had developed a new start line technique for this event, which involved great clouds of smoke from Tyres, the Engine & anything else that could smoke! Apparently it paid off, the Clutch & Drive Shafts survived for them to finish 3rd in Category 2 & 7th Mini Sport Cup. Next up was 1275GT Clubman of Dave Evans & Tom Aleksandrowicz, who finished just 9 seconds behind Eric & Russell – 4th Category 2 & 8th Mini Sport Cup.
Craig King & his new co-driver Adrian Lloyd got on like a house on fire, having only met the Sunday before the event, it was also a new Mini for Craig & Adrian having acquired this Mini over Winter and prepared for the 2019 season! It was a good run on Stage 1, however Craig decided to take bend flat out in Stage 2, adding that, “I’ve had a theory for a few years now, that it’s possible to take this corner flat if you’re brave enough. Saturday, I discovered that it definitely is not flat out. We ended up going sideways in a field very quick. Luckily we missed all the stage furniture and didn’t actually loose too much time, but at least I know now for future reference!” Finishing 10th Mini Sport Cup, Craig & Adrian really enjoyed the event, and are going to work on the engine & gearbox to unlock it’s full potential – at present it’s more suited to road than rally.
Stuart Hart & Catherine Farrell placed 12th Mini Sport Cup, meaning that another son managed to beat his father, with Nigel Hart & Shaun Lovegrove finished 15th Mini Sport Cup – after their throttle cable snapped on Stage 3 losing Nigel & Shaun nearly 3 minutes! Championship newcomers Callum Powell & Colin Powell pushed their Cooper S to place 14th Mini Sport Cup, with Julian Gore & the experienced John Cadwallader finishing 17th Mini Sport Cup. Returning competitor John Brooks & Phil Harvey were using their newly built 1275 GT replica of Tony Ponds Mini, fitted with 13inch wheels to finish 18th Mini Sport Cup. Undeterred by damp electrics, Andy Jarman & Paul Davies managed to maintain their 100% finishing record, placing 19th Mini Sport Cup.
As a result of Harvey Steven’s unfortunate accident on Stage 1, it was down to young Jack Hartley & Gary Dawes to take the overall honours in Category 3, also setting very impressive Stage times to finish 6th Mini Sport Cup!
The final father & son battle boiled down to Ryan Taylor & Hollie Churchill, taking on Ryan’s dad Paul Taylor & Jemma Taylor in the Open Class, with Ryan & Hollie pipping Paul & Jemma to the post, Paul & Jemma finished 13th Mini Sport Cup. After a hard day’s rallying Ryan & Hollie finished the event on the exact same time as Mathew & Abi, luckily their faster times set in Stage 1 resulted in the 3rd place Mini Sport Cup being awarded to Ryan & Hollie! Much to Ryan’s delight, as Ryan & Mathew were old school chums, who have been competitive with each other for many years now…
However, the open class was completely & utterly dominated by father & son team John Cressey & Martin Cressey. John spoke of Clive & Anton’s early, “it would have helped if I’d of woken up sooner! I think I was a little cautious on Stage 1, but we really emjoyed it, and even played around with the suspension & ride height in the morning – which meant the car did what I wanted it to do!” Leaps & bounds ahead of everyone else, John & Martin finished the rally an entire minute ahead of the next crew – that just so happened to be Clive & Anton… With Anton adding that, “Old Man Cressey needs to slow down and let us past!” showing no signs of stopping, will John & Martin reign victorious at Dixies Historic Challenge on May 5th? Only time will tell!
The final results showed that 3 Sons had managed to beat their fathers, with only Clive King finishing ahead of son Craig King… Perhaps we should take note of the father & son crew – John & Martin, who joined forces to win – is this the way to go or will the fathers seek retribution at the next round?
Well done John & Martin!
The Yokohama prize of two regulation tyres, used throughout the Championship, was awarded to Craig King, Andy Jarman bagged himself the 5L of Penrite Classic Mini Oil, Paul Price won 4 mugs from Snap-On & the Questmead prize for best improvement on seeding went to Matt Davis – who was seeded 31st & finished 11th!
Harvey Stevens / Lawrence Selly – Stage 1
Paul Price / Owain Thomas – Stage 7
1st Category 1 Clive King / Anton Bird
1st Category 2 Mathew Davis / Abi Haycock
1st Category 3 Jack Hartley / Gary Dawes
1st Open Class John Cressey / Martin Cressey
(Report written by Clive King, John Hunt & Cara Jackson)