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Possible hat-trick for Matt and Andy?

This is the seventh running of the demanding Vale of Clwyd Classic Rally the tenth round of the 2017 HRCR Hagerty Insurance Clubmans Road Rally Championship. The winners for the past two years have been Matt Warren and Andy Pullan in Matt’s mk1 Ford Escort and I’m sure they will be aiming for a hat-trick. It won’t be easy though as there are plenty of crews with the potential to end their run, in fact any of the top thirteen I reckon, given a good day and a slice of luck. In fact the only previous winners not entered are Ronnie Griffin and Anthony Preston from 2013.While another crew to watch out for are Thomas and Roger Bricknell who have had some good top ten results in the last couple of events.

I see Simon Mellings has his MR2 up for sale so no doubt he will be hoping for another good result to enhance its credentials.

The top of the championship is still very close between John Abel, 399, and James Griffiths, 385, for the drivers although Keith Davis, 350, and Howard Warren, 349, are not far behind.  James Howell may have an opportunity to open up a gap as Richard Dix will not be contesting any more rounds this year. However some good performances from Ryan Pickering could bring him into contention as he has a couple of rounds in hand as yet, while Henry Carr and Roger Bricknell are not far away either.

Paul Davis and Ken Jones, 284, are tied for the lead of the Expert drivers while Les Andrew, 308, leads the Novices, and also the Amazon Cars Challenge Cup.

For the navigators Roger Bricknell, 341, leads the Experts and Nick Middleton, 308, the Novices.

Ryan Pickering will be hosting the Q and A session and has kindly offered to hold a Novices Briefing in the Druid Inn on Friday evening at 8.30pm and I would thoroughly recommend that you go along and seek his advice having plotted your route handouts.

Matthew Vokes will be writing the report for Old Stager so please make sure you give him plenty of anecdotes to include.

David Walters, our Championship Eligibility Scrutineer, will be present to answer any of your technical questions.

My advice, for what it’s worth is to have plenty of light for the navigator, especially for those of us more mature in years, and make sure your calibration distance is “spot-on” and drive the route “spot-on” too!

So the top 13 seeds are

1, Matt Warren and Andy Pullan, Ford Escort, M2

2, Howard Warren and Iain Tullie, Porsche 911, M1

3, Pete Welch and Les McGuffog, VW Golf GTi. M4

4, Chas Colton and Ryan Pickering, Porsche 911, M1

5, Dermot Carnegie and Paul Bosdet, Ford Escort RS2000, M2

6, Simon Mellings and Mark Appleton, Toyota MR2, M4

7, John Abel and Martyn Taylor, Ford Escort RS2000, M2

8, James Griffiths and James Howell, Austin Mine 1275GT, M2

9, Roger Powley and Leigh Powley, Hillman Imp Sport, M2

10, Steve Entwistle and Ali Procter, Morris Mini Cooper S, M1

11, Richard Isherwood and Ian Canavan, Nissan Stanza, M4

12, Ian Crammond and Matthew Vokes, Mercedes-Benz 280SL, M2

13, John Ruddock and Roger Burkill, Ford Escort Mexico, M2

After last year’s deluge of rain let’s hope this weekend is fine, dry and sunny.

Below is a selection of pictures from 2016 by Tony North.

See you there