The rally ran entirely within the confines of Greystoke Forest, the main test venue for M-Sport’s Ford World Rally Championship team, and was won by Stephen Petch and Ian Windress in a Hyundail Accent WRC.
The event, organised by West Cumbria Motorsport Club, attracted over fifty entries from as far afield as the South of England and North of Scotland and was a round of the ANECCC; ANWCC; ANCC; Five of Clubs and NHRC championships.
Despite recent rain the forest tracks proved surprisingly dry with dusty conditions, rather than mud, being a prominent feature for the hundreds of spectators who ventured into the woods. They were rewarded with plenty high speed action featuring a range of cars of various marques and models and a rare glimpse of M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson driving a Ford Escort Mk2.
Richard and Edwin Crook were closest to the eventual winners after SS1 with their Subaru Impreza only three seconds in arrears but by the end of SS4 it was a different story. Ian Joel and Graeme Wood had edged ahead of them in their Escort Cosworth and that’s the way it stayed with the Cooks forced to settle for the third tier of the podium come the finish.
A trio of Ford Escort Mk2s filled the following three places headed by Class 4 winners Matthew Robinson and Nigel Hutchinson. Steve Bannister and Louise Sutherland finished fifth with sixth place being taken by Phil Burton and Tom Woodburn.
Graham Gaskell’s rally ended prematurely in dramatic fashion when what he later described as “The biggest rallying accident of my life!” Contesting the 1400cc Class in his familiar Vauxhall Nova he had completed the opening three stages in the class lead. It then all went horribly wrong just after the start of stage four as he explained “We slid wide on to some loose gravel whilst going around 70mph in fourth gear, hit a banking, pirouetted in mid-air and landed upside down in a ditch.” Fortunately both Gaskell and his co-driver, Heather Grisedale, escaped serious injury but the same cannot be said of the car which suffered significant damage.
Top Ten Results:
1. Stephen Petch/Ian Windress (Hyundai Accent WRC) 37m47s;
2. Ian Joel/Graeme Wood (Ford Escort Cosworth) 38m05s;
3. Richard Cook/Edwin Cook (Subaru Impreza) 38m27s;
4. Matthew Robinson/Nigel Hutchinson (Ford Escort Mk2) 39m06s;
5. Steve Bannister/Louise Sutherland (Ford Escort Mk2) 39m31s;
6. Phil Burton/Tom Wooodburn (Ford Escort Mk2) 39m43s;
7. Mark I’Anson/Ron Roughead (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo8) 39m44s;
8. Darren Moon/Mark Fisher (Ford Escort Mk2) 40m09s;
9. Keith Richardson/Jackie Richardson (Ford Escort Cosworth) 40m44s;
10. Marcus Noble/Helen Hall (Ford Escort Mk2) 40m51s.
Class Award Winners:
1: Stuart Cariss/Linda Cariss (Ford Escort Mk1);
2: David Taylor/Lynsey Brench (Ford Escort Mk2);