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St Wilfrids Classic 2023 Preview

Sunday 6th August 2023 will see approximately 60 cars and crews from around the country gather in North Yorkshire for the 7th round of the HRCR championship. 

Once again based at Thirsk auction mart, Ripon Motor Club are organising the popular St Wilfreds historic rally that promises a 150 mile route round the vale of York and the Yorkshire moors. They state the navigation will be simple and straightforward, on some of the narrowest roads possible but excitedly they also promise test venues that are brand new to the world of motorsport (never raced or rallied)

2022 winning driver Dan Willan is absent this year however his winning navigator Andy Pullan returns to navigate for Nikki Staniforth in their Peugeot 205GT on only her second HRCR event in the driver’s seat. She won the event as a navigator in 2018 alongside her dad Darell. Two former winning navigators in one car, is this the perfect pairing? With much seat swapping and role changing, it can be hard to keep track of who’s with who. John King seems to have a dilemma having entered twice with two different navigators, but who will he turn up with Martin Pitt or Oli Waldock? Surely it can’t be Oli Waldock, who also seems to be entered with Angus McQueen. I know the boy is talented, but even he can’t be in two cars at the same time. Peter Higton continues his testing of navigators and is joined by number 6, the experienced Ian Canavan, whilst I return to Graeme Cornthwaites yellow mini having enjoyed sitting in a few different cars this season. 

Dan Willan with Andy Pullan (Ovlov PV544) Overall winners in 2022.  This year Dan is not competing but Andy is out with Nicki Staniforth.  Photo by Tony North

Returning to the North after several Southerly rounds sees some local crews entered such as Neil and Claire Raven, Sallyann Hewitt and Mark Lewis and fresh from organising the Yorkshire Wolds Rallye of East Yorkshire, James Greenhaugh. Will local knowledge give these crews an important advantage over their fellow competitors? 

It’s looking tight at the top of the championship for the drivers with only a few points separating Ken Binstead, Leigh Powley and John King with all three present in Yorkshire to continue their battle.

Ken and Sarah Binstead (MGB) 5th overall last year.  Ken is being chased hard by Leigh Powley in the Drivers Championship and Sarah is keeping Iain Tullie honest at the top of the navigators. Photo by Tony North.

Not forgetting the navigators, Iain Tullie leads the championship and returns to sit with Roger Fildes no doubt hoping to do well and keep the lead over Sarah Binstead and Henry Carr. 

In the drivers class battles, Phil Woods is back with regular nav Kelvin Phipps hoping to maintain his 4 point lead in the experts over Les Andrew whilst novice driver Peter Higton is 17 points clear of Phil Cheek. 

The navigational class race is just as tight with expert Peter Blackett only 7 points clear of Mike Cochrane and novice Oli Waldock has a similar lead over Chris Rhodes. Maybe he will pull off the double seat this weekend and score bonus points!

With the event only a few weeks away, I am sure crews are busy preparing their cars (kicking tyres) , preparing their nav bags (rubbing out maps and highlighting) and the organising team are putting the final touches to what promises to be an exciting event. 

Lynsey Procter

All photos above by kind permission of Tony North.

Photos by kind permission of Gary Fothergill.