Rally - Trackrod preview

Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally ChampionshipPreview, round eight: Trackrod Historic CupThe final round of the Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship will take crews into the legendary Yorkshire forests for the Trackrod Historic Cup.After three asphalt events, the BHRC returns to gravel stages for the eighth and final round of the season and, heading for Yorkshire, it is Steven Smith and Patrick Watts in the running for the overall title.The size of the BHRC entry has inevitably been hit by the date clash with the McRae Stages, but the rally still promises to be a fitting finale to a fabulous season for historic rallying.Category 1Patrick Watts and Elgan Davies are expected to head the category one entry in their Sunbeam Tiger and know that only victory will keep them in with a chance of the BHRC crown. But the Tiger is well suited to the Yorkshire stages, so they will start favourites to bag category one spoils. Leading the chase of the Tiger will be Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride in their Porsche 911, returning to the faithful yellow 911 after running their later 911 in category two on the recent Tour of Flanders. Joining Nutt in another 911 from the Team Tuthill stable will be Phil and Barbara Smith.Likely to keep Nutt on his toes will be the Lotus Cortina of Bob Bean/Malcolm Smithson, while Neil Calvert/Arlene Cookson should cap a mighty season with another fine run in their Cortina.Terry Cree and Richard Shores will make a welcome championship return in their Mini Cooper and are sure to be pacesetters in class B2, while class B1 will be a battle of the Hillman Imps. Geoff Taylor/Steve Greenhill will pit their Sunbeam Imp Sport against the Stiletto of Mike Barratt and Jody Watson, although if an entry from Gary and Jane Edgington is confirmed, they will start as likely B1 pacesetters.Category 2Category two is for the cars produced from 1968 to 1974 and Steven Smith and John Nichols head the title contest in their Porsche 911RS. Like Watts/Davies, they really need another maximum score to give themselves the best shot of taking the title. Ranged against them in C4 will be the 911RS of Tim Mason/Graham Wild, which will go well on Mason's local event.Missing from the Escort ranks in class C5 will be defending champions David Stokes and Guy Weaver, following their major accident in Flanders. Instead, the Escorts of Rikki Proffitt/John Roberts and Belgian crew Stefaan Stouf/Joris Erard will challenge for C5 victory.A fabulous entry in class C3 should deliver one of the biggest battles of the rally, with at least five potential class winners among the Escort Mk1 pack. Showing great pace over recent rallies have been the three XS Racing cars of Peter Smith/Russ Langthorne, Drew Wylie/Howard Pridmore and Andrew Siddall/Captain Thompson, but the return to the series of Russell Morgan/Martin Kenyon will set the C3 bar very high. Locals Robin Shuttleworth and Mark Midgley should also be in contention in what promises to be a mighty contest, while opposition to the Escorts comes from the Toyota Celica of Robert Close/Mike Reynolds.In C2, the Morgan/Kenyon junior team of Adam Morgan and Chris Kenyon will field their Escort Mk1.Category 3After a tremendous victory on the Tour of Flanders, the Ford Escort Mk2 of Darren Moon/John McNichol should be the car to beat on stages they know very well. However, the BHRC debut of Nick Elliott/Dave Price in their Escort Mk2 could give Moon a major battle on his home event.Adding great quality to the D5 entry will be more Escorts for Simon Tysoe/Rob Dyson, Dick Slaughter/Geoff Dearing and Charlie Taylor/Steve Bielby along with the Vauxhall Chevette HSR of Roger Kilty/Lynette Banks.Local aces Steve Magson/Geoff Atkinson return to contest class D3 in their Opel Ascona, going up against the Escorts of Polly Patti/Chris Dewsnap and Keith Stones/Tom Hughes, while Pat Anderson/Tom Mansfield run their Talbot Sunbeam in class D2.The Trackrod Historic Cup starts at 7.50am on Saturday 27 September from Pickering Showground. For more details about the event, please visit the website at: www.rallyyorkshire.co.uk