Pirelli Historic Rally Preview

Kololi Beach Club MSA British Historic Rally ChampionshipRound three of the 2012 Kololi Beach Club MSA British Historic Rally Championship takes crews north to the unique challenge of Kielder forest for the Pirelli Historic Rally on Saturday (28 April).For joint championship leaders Julian Reynolds and Nick Elliott, the vast expanses of the Kielder complex offer the chance to bag another maximum score, but both drivers have suffered mix fortunes in this event in recent seasons.Category OneAnother encouraging entry for Category One will be headed away by Rikki Proffitt and Phill Harrison (Porsche 911) and they will surely set the pace despite the handicap of running first on the road over stages that are notoriously loose.

Proffitt showed again on the Bulldog Rally that he is well on form in the Porsche and with the Volvo Amazon of Graham Waite absent after its roll on the Bulldog, Proffitt looks very strong.

However, local ace Paul Mankin will be a contender in his Lotus Cortina and his win on the Mid Wales showed that when the car is running properly he can be right up there. Peter Scott will co-drive for the North-Eastern driver. Meanwhile, Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911) will want to continue with the good gravel pace they had on the Bulldog and Terry Brown, who is starting to get to grips with his Porsche, has local co-driver John Stanger-Leathes to guide him through Kielder.

All the way from Devon will go Peter Stimson and Mark Butler for a Kielder debut in their Ford Anglia, while Derek Boyd and Stephen McAuley add to the strength of the Porsche 911 entry.

Making a welcome foray into Kielder is a pair of Imps: the Sunbeam Imp Sport of Geoff Taylor/Steve Greenhill and the Singer Chamois of Nigel and Henry Webster.Category TwoThe clear favourite for Category Two is the Escort Mk1 of Julian Reynolds and Patrick Walsh and it will take a problem like a puncture to slow their charge at the head of the category. Although this is far from home ground for Reynolds, he will fly over the flowing Kielder stages as he bids to win the overall BHRC title.Leading the chase of Reynolds will be defending champions David Stokes and Guy Weaver as well as Rupert Lomax/David Alcock and Ernie Graham/Will Graham in their Escort Mk1s. But Reynolds has the upper hand just now and will be determined to bag a third maximum score on the bounce.

Making a welcome return to the BHRC will be Tim Mason and Graham Wild in their Porsche 911 and they have good experience of these stages, while Andrew Siddall and Carl Williamson are getting up to speed well since their move to Class C5 in their Escort Mk1.

Class C3 is currently the preserve of the evergreen Dick Slaughter, who is co-driven by Tim Sayer in his Escort Mk1 and makes the long haul north from Kent. Class rivals for Slaughter include two more Escort Mk1s Mark Holmes/Tony Lindsay and Wayne Bonser/Richard Aston, while class variety is provided by the hard charging Saab 94 of Ceiriog Hughes and Cliffy Simmons.Category ThreeWhile Reynolds chases maximum points in Category Two, Nick Elliott and Dave Price have the same ambition in Category Three with their Escort Mk2. Kielder has not always been kind to Elliott, but he has the pace to take top BHRC points. However, the pursuing pack is strong and two rapid Welsh crews will offer the big threat to the Cheltenham driver.

While top seed and Escort Mk2 legend Steve Bannister is not currently BHRC registered, both Kevin Davies/Dale Furniss and Tomas Davies/Eurig Davies could take points away from Elliott. Neither crew has much experience of Kielder but they do have bags of natural pace. Also making a rare foray to Kielder are Jonathan Brace and Tim Samuel and they have shown strong pace over the opening two BHRC events of the season.Warren Philliskirk and Matt Whattam are going strong in their first BHRC season and will be strong contenders in a Class D5 entry that is packed with quality. More quick Escort Mk2s are entered for Richard Lane/Frank Richer, Matthew Robinson/Nigel Hutchinson, Tim Freeman/Paul Barden and Simon Crook/Alistair Crook.

Another welcome return to the BHRC comes from Steve Magson and Geoff Atkinson who will field Magson’s Vauxhall Chevette HSR for the first time and have the similar car of Tony Thompson/Paul Hudson and the Sunbeam Lotus of James Stait/Marcus Cartwright as Class D4 opposition. Meanwhile, Chris Shooter and Bev LeGood are the top BHRC crew in Class D3 in their Escort Mk2.

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