Bulletin 10 - 20th August 2016

Alistair Hutchinson in his Renault Clio
Alistair Hutchinson in his Renault Clio
Barry Renwick and Paul Hughes, Proton MillingtonNeil Thompson in his Vauxhall CorsaLee Hastings and Julie McGuire, Subaru Impreza

Barry Renwick and Paul Hughes, Proton MillingtonNeil Thompson in his Vauxhall CorsaLee Hastings and Julie McGuire, Subaru Impreza

                                                  

Tight at the top.

 

With only 2 qualifying rounds remaining, our championship is taking much more shape now.  The driver’s crown looks very much like it will go to one of four contenders while the co-drivers section is a lot more open.  Returning to the driver’s title, we see that it’s quite possible for any one from Alistair Hutchinson, Barry Renwick, Neil Thompson or Lee Hastings to come out on top. All have played there Jokers to good effect and the Maths tell us that if results go their way, the Scotsmen Neil or Lee can win.  However, it’s much more likely that one of the Englishmen - Alistair or Barry – will take the title as they already have points in the bag.

 

At the moment Alistair has 5 double-digit scores on the board but as the championship is decided on each contender’s top 5 scores, he will now have to ‘drop’ his lowest scores after the remaining 2 events.  It will be tough on the garage owner from Mickleton for these rallies he needs to score 12 or more points to add to his current total of 80 points.  Should he manage to score 12 points, he will only add 1 more to his tally.  If he scores the maximum 16 points, he’ll only be able to add 5.

 

Tynemouth Motor Club’s Barry Renwick is in a slightly worse and yet slightly better situation that Alistair.  As Barry has contested every rally this year, he has already ‘dropped’ a score of 1 point after the Tyneside Stages and should he score well on either of the last 2 events, he can drop his lowest points of 1 and 7 respectively.  But as he’s currently 11 points adrift, he needs to find points quickly.  Hopefully the intermittent electrical woes he’s suffered of late with his Proton Millington have been put to bed and reliability is back on board.  The permutations are many until we get to the end of the Pendragon Stages when a touch more clarity will enlighten us just a tad.

 

As mentioned earlier the co-drivers options are much more varied with Ann Forster currently out front by 7 points from Grangemouth’s Julie McGuire.  Ann who is a member of West Cumbria Motor Club has contested all 6 rallies so far so she will hopefully be dropping either the 5 or 6 points scores already picked up should she do well on the last 2 events.  Julie’s plans are a bit sketchy as the Rally Isle of Man takes place just a few days after the Pendragon and she and Lee Hastings already have an eye on that one.  Let’s not forget that Lee owns a couple of Subarus too so we’ll just have to wait and see if she makes the remaining events.  Steve Dargan and Jessica Swift haven’t scored since Croft and the arithmetic tells us that the likes of Ken Bills down in 18th place could yet make their move.  In reality, it’s the likes of Andrew Roughead, Jack Morton and Michael Lindsay who could pick up top scores on the last events and move up the leaderboard.

 

It’s worth noting that the up to 1400cc class has already been ‘won’ by Stephen Bethwaite and Ann Forster with their little Vauxhall Nova and no-one can catch the Ford Escort Mk2 of John Nicholson and Peter Littlefield for the Historic class.  The 8 other class titles are all very open.

 

The next qualifying round, and our penultimate championship event, is the Pendragon Stages.  This will take place on Sunday 11th September and similar to previous years, the event will utilise the military roads on Warcop Ranges near Brough where 72 competitive miles are being laid on.  The Regulations were published recently and the organisers already have their 80 guaranteed entries with a reserve list for the remaining 10 that they will choose. The closing date for entries is the 31st August so we expect to know the starting line up sometime in early September.  The rally website is http://www.pendragonstages.co.uk/ where you’ll find more information.

 

And finally for now, a quick mention of our final rally of the ‘year’ – the Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally run in memory of Keith Knox.  Once again Whickham and Hadrian Motor Clubs are co-promoting the rally that is scheduled for Sunday 9th October.  Similar to the recent Tyneside Stages run over the same military ranges of Otterburn, crews can expect to tackle 12 stages covering about 60 competitive miles. Entries are now being taken and the link to the online system is http://www.cheviotstages.org.uk/