All News

Manx report

The Manx Rally provided the West Wales Rally Spares Stage Masters contenders with an extremely stiff challenge this year with some fabulous stages. Before the rally the island was fogbound to the extent that planes had to return to the UK as they were unable to land and a number of crews had to make alternative travel plans at very short notice. Thankfully the fog cleared for the rally and the event took place in some very pleasant weather indeed. There were 15 special stages on offer but a couple were lost due to an incident not associated with the rally.

The rally started on the Friday afternoon and it was immediately clear that a couple of crews who had registered in readiness for the Manx were going to be hard to beat in the D5 class for 2 litre twin cam Escort RS1800s. Gareth James and Steffan Evans were on a mission and finished the first leg over 2 minutes ahead of nearest challenger Rob Smith with Alun Cook churning out the notes. Rudi Lancaster and Guy Weaver were also giving a good account of themselves and were just 4.2 seconds in arrears in the Woolacombe Bay Escort. Baz Wheeler and John Pickavance were next a little way back but suffered over the weekend with fuel starvation and a few stages with extremely heavy steering after a hard landing bent the steering. John Morgan and Llinos Jones-Edwards were next up in the Fairfied Motor Company RS1800 and enjoying themselves greatly despite a soft front end which was causing some consternation.

Just behind Morgan a battle was raging in class C5 with Toby Adam and Ian Meakin holding the advantage over Ben and Steven Smith in their respective Escort RS1600s until the final stage of the leg when the Smith’s set a stunning time to take maximum points for the first day. Further back The Squires brothers held sway over Lee Ashberry and Ian Jones and Rex Ireland and Dan Morefield, also in Mk2 Escorts with Ireland losing out to Ashberry by less than 2 seconds. The Ashberry car was a joy to behold as he turned out in an ex-Russell Brookes Monte Carlo Escort with huge wheel arches, despite it being another Mk2 Escort this was something special!

Bob Gibbons and Jon Harris were further back but still scoring good points as there are less contenders in the class. The Japanese crew of Shinobu Kitani and Hiroko Kitani rounded off the leg as finishers in their fabulous little Mini. Unfortunately the Challenge lost Stuart Anderson and Adam Houston in their Vauxhall Chevette after a closer than required look at the local scenery.

Saturday dawned bright enough and it was business as usual for James and Evans but they disappeared from the results after the second stage of the day after an excursion. This left the way open for everyone to move up and Smith and Cook eventually took the Day 2 honours with Lancaster and Weaver in very close attendance taking second. Wheeler and Pickavance prevailed to take third. Morgan and Jones-Edwards enjoyed themselves further and pulled away a little from the battling Adam and Smith. The Day 2 initiative was again taken by Adam and Meakin who pulled away from the Smith’s only for the Smith’s to set stunning times on the final 2 tests to bring them to the finish less than 3 second ahead of a disappointed Adam, it was however one of the battles of the rally. Ashberry and Jones turned up the wick and pulled ahead of the Squires brothers with Ireland and Morefield just behind. Gibbons held station and bagged more valuable points and the intrepid Japanese Kitani pairing recorded yet another finish on the island and won their class in the little Mini.

credit Mark Corlett

Photo Ben Lawerence