2024 CompBrake Motorsport Stages Rally Report

The Three Sisters Race Circuit was bathed in glorious sunshine for Wigan & District Motor Club’s CompBrake Motorsport Stages but it shone brightest on Kiaran Hankin and Ben Butterworth who claimed their first outright rally win.

Indeed, there were more firsts for the winning Citroen C3 crew to celebrate as for Butterworth it was his first ever rally while Hankin set his first ever fastest stage time, adding four more before the finish.

Once the rally got underway, despite what seemed to be perfect conditions, some crews questioned the level of grip as they suffered a stream of unplanned spins and slides. As has become the norm with Wigan rallies the morning’s stages ran in a clockwise direction with a split on Coward’s Summit taking stage finishers onto the track exit leading to the scrutineering bay. Many of those proceeding to a further lap found the hairpin right at Joey Dunlop Corner a little trickier than expected as a multitude of spins and overshoots kept the spectators, and marshals, alert.

Mark Jasper and Don Whyatt were the first to spin, dropping close to 10 seconds, in their newly acquired and immaculate Ford Escort Mk2. Fortunately that was to be a ‘one off’ as their subsequent stage times and ultimate fourth place finish proved. Paul Sheard and Colin Stephens incurred a greater time loss when they overshot and took their Mazda MX5 onto the grass in a bid to regain the stage.


Bruce Lindsay and Ant Ayton suffered a greater penalty in being forced to take a stage maximum after exiting the stage a lap too early. It later showed to be a seriously costly error as the Ford Fiesta crew were to be denied a class win as a consequence.

Leading the way by the opening stage finish were Jonathan Mounsey and Richard Wardle in their Ford Fiesta R5, a second better than Hankin/Butterworth who were tied with the Fiesta Rally2 of Ryan Burns and Steve Hallmark. Irish duo Sean Cassidy and Sean Devine were two seconds further back in fourth, their Fiesta R5 holding a similar advantage over the fifth placed Peugeot 208 T16 of Kevin Furber and Cat Lund.

Burns’ fastest time on SS2 put him on equal standing with Mounsey, albeit the R5 pilot retained the rally lead thanks to his faster opening stage. Third placed Hankin was two seconds in arrears while Cassidy and Furber retained their top five places.

A change of layout for the next pair of stages saw Burns grab the outright lead after setting fastest time on the first and doing enough on the second to stay in pole position. Mounsey remained his closest challenger while Furber moved to fourth and Mike Gilman/Jonathan Needham claimed fifth place in their Darrian T9. Upstaging all that went before at the Joey Dunlop Corner were Mike Riley and Phil Gough who performed what appeared to be more of a ‘doughnut’ than a spin. When asked later the Escort Mk2 pilot was quick to refute any suggestions he was showboating to please his fans having performed a similar stunt here on last year’s Adgespeed Stages!


The final pair of tests preceding the lunch halt, the shortest of the day, hit Burns hardest as a slipping clutch concern slowed his Fiesta leaving the way for Mounsey to take the lead and Hankin to claim second place. Only a single second separated the pair with Burns a further three seconds behind but having an eight second advantage on Furber who in turn had double that margin over Gilman.

It was during the mid-rally break that a decision was taken in the Burns camp to turn down the boost in a bid to help preserve the clutch and get the car to the finish. A tough call but probably a sensible one.

The first of the afternoons stages, now run in an anti-clockwise direction starting from the track exit lane, climbing Coward’s and dropping down Pentith Climb towards Conrod Straight, could hardly have begun in more dramatic fashion. Running first on the road, as he neared the end of the tyre line that had defined the earlier split, Mounsey’s Fiesta started to slide going onto the grass and beaching on the tyre line that defined the off-road bike track. Despite the best efforts of a posse of marshals, more than a minute was lost as he dropped to eighth place in the stage finish standings.

That incident handed Hankin a lead he would keep a tight grip on through to the finish while Burns now faced a battle with Furber for the runners-up spot. They were on matching times by the end of SS8 after Furber set fastest stage time and a stage later the Peugeot pilot moved three seconds ahead of his rival. Burns hit back starting the final stage with a five second cushion but it was academic as Furber failed to finish with the 208 having developed a gear linkage issue. That left the way open for Gilman to claim the final podium placing.


Following his mishap Mounsey was making up ground and a brace of fastest stage times saw him end the day only a second behind fourth placed Jasper. Next up came a trio of Peugeots with the Class C winning 106 Maxi of Ben and Andrew Wilkinson sandwiched between the leading Class D 205s of Jamie McBain/Jordine Crooks and Josh Jones/Kelan Watkins. Kim and Yvonne Mather finished fourth in their Chrysler Sunbeam Lotus while completing the top ten were Jake Smith and Robbie Sandford who had recovered from an early spin in their Escort Mk2. Cassidy/Devlin were denied a top ten finish when a turbo issue forced their retirement at the start of the penultimate stage.

The Class B victory went to Geraint Williams and Liam Jones. They brought their Vauxhall Nova home 15 seconds clear of the Nissan Micra of Owain Hughes and Chris Phillips with the Peugeot 205 of Chris and Rob Johnson a further 20 seconds adrift. Those final margins may appear decisive but in reality the contest was more closely fought for much of the day. Williams and Hughes swapped pole position while Johnson doggedly kept hold of second place before a loss of power steering forced a third place finish having earlier been only a second off the lead.

With that first stage maximum hanging over him Lindsay’s string of fastest in class stage times counted for little and he finished fifth behind Damian Harvey and Paul Brown’s Ford Puma. It was Harvey’s first event in the drivers seat for 20 years, that last outing being at the Wigan track. Since then his only competition experience has been on Targa rallies in the navigators seat and for co-driver Brown it was a rally debut and not one without incident. His intercom failed on the first stage startline forcing him to shout and point directions to his driver. Then at the end of SS6 the exhaust manifold snapped but fortunately the lunch break provided time to effect a weld repair.

Completing the Class B order was the rally debutant son and father team of Ryan and John Evans. The Bala Motor Club duo’s Vauxhall Corsa was fraught with problems but friends and marshals rallied round and with the occasional bump start they made the finish.


The day’s biggest winning margin came in Class C where Ben and Andrew Wilkinson brought their Peugeot 106 Maxi home 1m42s ahead of Richard Kay and Ian McLean’s Vauxhall Corsa. Ben Bloor and Jack Morris secured the third in class prizes with a steady run in their Ford Fiesta R2. Being seeded at car 13 proved unlucky for Mike and Ellis King who had been closest to the Wilkinsons before sliding off on SS5 and regaining the track in the wrong direction. That misdemeanour brought about a premature rally end for the Citroen Saxo crew who were given a disqualification.

In Class D Gilman/Needham’s third place overall finish enabled McBain/Crooks collect the top award after finishing almost a minute ahead of Jones/Watkins, who survived a SS5 excursion, with Sheard/Stephens picking up the third in class prizes. Joe Merrills, co-driven by his mum Pauline, finished fourth in his Honda Civic while one place behind was his dad Phil and co-driver Jason McTear in the immaculate Vauxhall Chevette HSR bearing the iconic Andrews Heat for Hire livery.

Elsewhere Rob Jones and Johnny Knight scored a best ever result for the Blackpool & Fylde College MINI Cooper S finishing 13th overall. Lee Thomas and Ben Forrester’s second outing in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo4 was hampered by a boost pipe issue and they finished 25th, the number they were seeded at.

Thankfully the recovery crews had a quiet day and the event ran seamlessly as is the norm with Wigan & District Motor Club organised events.

View a gallery of photos from the 2024 CompBrake Motorsport Stages, here.

Results (Top 10)

  1. Kiaran Hankin/Ben Butterworth (Citroen C3) 27m28s;
  2. Ryan Burns/Steve Hallmark (Ford Fiesta Rally2) 28m14s;
  3. Mike Gilman/Jonathan Needham (Darrian T9) 28m25s;
  4. Mark Jasper/Don Whyatt (Ford Escort Mk2) 28m32s;
  5. Jonathan Mounsey/Richard Wardle (Ford Fiesta R5) 28m33s;
  6. Jamie McBain/Jordine Crooks (Peugeot 205GTi) 28m39s;
  7. Ben Wilkinson/Andrew Wilkinson (Peugeot 106 Maxi) 29m01s;
  8. osh Jones/Kelan Watkins (Peugeot 205) 29m20s;
  9. Kim Mather/Yvonne Mather (Chrysler Sunbeam Lotus) 29m32s;
  10. Jake Smith/Robbie Sandford (Ford Escort Mk2) 29m40s.

Class Award Winners

  • B: Geraint Williams/Liam Jones (Vauxhall Nova);
  • C: Wilkinson/Wilkinson;
  • D: McBain/Crooks;
  • E: Jasper/Whyatt.
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