Blackpool South Shore Motor Club’s annual event at Weeton Army Camp attracted over fifty crews to contest the rally that is named in memory of a long-standing member and past Club Chairman.
The battle for victory went to the wire with Darren Doherty, co-driven by South Shore member Craig Simkiss, taking a dramatic last stage win in his Subaru Impreza. Ian and Stephen Woodhouse had headed the leaderboard for most of the day but eventually had to settle for the runners-up prizes after their Ford Escort Mk2 was slowed by mechanical problems.
Best result from a local crew came from Blackpool duo David Benson and novice co-driver David Easter who won Class 3 and finished seventh overall in the Iain Gorrie/Blackpool Race & Rally Honda Civic.
Pre-rally favourites Graham Butler and Chris O’Connor, who were debuting an ex-works Ford Focus WRC03 formerly driven by Markko Martin, got off to a flying start, leading the rally after two stages. Unfortunately a series of stalls then dropped them down the order and a broken power steering belt forced their eventual retirement.
Mark Roberts and Gareth Twiss survived a pair of SS3 spins to finish third in their Ford Escort Cosworth WRC while Mike Taylor and Ann Forster claimed fourth in their Talbot Sunbeam Lotus having survived an early excursion.
A brace of Fiords followed with Mike Gilman and Iain Douglas finishing a solid fifth in their Escort Cosworth WRC ahead of the Escort Mk2 of Class 4 winners Michael Pickles and James Crosland.
David Benson and debutant co-driver David Easter survived a SS8 overshoot to finish seventh overall and claim the Class 3 Awards in their Honda Civic. Eighth placed Andrew Varley and Gareth Hooper had been chasing a podium finish before breaking a compression strut on SS8 and dropping two minutes in their Escort Cosworth.
Talbot Sunbeam pairing Howard Potter and Martin Haggett finished ninth ahead of Nigel and Tim Hobson who slipped to tenth following a SS12 excursion in their Impreza.
1 Darren Doherty/Craig Simkiss (Subaru Impreza) 1hr00m57s;
2 Ian Woodhouse/Stephen Woodhouse (Ford Escort Mk2) +0m05s;
3 Mark Roberts/Gareth Twiss (Ford Escort Cosworth WRC) +2m06s;
4 Mike Taylor/Ann Forster (Talbot Sunbeam Lotus) +2m40s;
5 Mike Gilman/Iain Douglas (Ford Escort Cosworth WRC) +3m06s;
6 Michael Pickles/James Crosland (Ford Escort Mk2) +3m36s;
7 David Benson/David Easter (Honda Civic) +3m50s;
8 Andrew Varley/Gareth Hooper (Ford Escort Cosworth) +4m14s;
9 Howard Potter/Martin Haggett (Talbot Sunbeam) +4m24s;
10 Nigel Hobson/Tim Hobson (Subaru Impreza) +4m57s.
Class Award Winners
1: Stephen Johnson/David Barratt (Nissan Micra);
2: Andrew Irving/Reg Irving (Peugeot 205);