The final round of the 2019 Fuchs Lubricants Motorsport UK British Historic Rally Championship took to competitors to the North Yorkshire Forests, for the Trackrod Historic Cup, where Simon Webster and Jez Rogers were crowned champions.
Following its familiar format the action got underway in total darkness on Friday evening with an 11 mile stage over Dalby Forest’s fast and flowing tracks. Despite dropping vital seconds with a slight overshoot at a square left junction where the surface switched from gravel to tarmac Matt Edwards and Hamish Campbell were quickest in the Fiat 131. Eventual rally winners Matthew Robinson and Sam Collis were less than two seconds behind in their Ford Escort Mk2 but having a comfortable 13 second cushion over the similar car of Steve Bennett and Osian Owen.
Stanley Orr and Graham Henderson were the best of the title contenders, lying fourth in their Ford Escort Mk1. Meanwhile the Escort Mk2 of Webster and Rogers was in sixth place, trailing their title chasing rivals by 5.8 seconds at this early juncture. Sandwiched between them in fifth place were Adrian Hetherington and Ronan O’Neill, another Escort Mk2 crew with a mathematical chance of claiming the championship title.
Saturday’s schedule got underway with another 11 miler, this one in Langdale, where Robinson moved to the top of the leader board and would stay there through to the finish. Webster got the better of Orr here edging ahead of the Irishman and retaining his advantage through the following Staindale test to arrive at first service with an 8.5 second advantage.
The field then headed west to tackle the Cropton and Gale Rigg stages where Orr upped his game to arrive back at the second service at Adderstone Field now holding a 2.1 second lead ahead of Webster. Despite this it was still advantage Webster going into the final Dalby stage but just to be sure the Escort Mk2 pilot out paced his rival to finish the rally sixth overall, 4.4 seconds ahead of Orr who ended the day a place behind. Hetherington’s fifth place was not enough for him to claim the championship crown.
In the rally itself Edwards followed Robinson home with Steve Bannister and Callum Atkinson completing the podium in their Escort Mk2. Bennett and Owen were the best of the BHRC registered crews finishing fourth. For another BHRC crew it wasn’t such a good outing as Bob Bean and Malcolm Smithson rolled their Ford Cortina Mk1 in Langdale. The stage had to be stopped in order to extricate the crew but fortunately neither sustained any serious injury, shame the same couldn’t be said for the car!