Rallying: Steve Bannister woe as rival steals in for first place

AFTER three days of fog, rain and mud, the Roger Albert Clark Rally which started at the Pickering Showground had a dramatic ending.

Local farmer and rally legend Steve Bannister, with Kevin Rae reading the notes, headed the event from stage one in Dalby Forest, but by stage 22 at Wauchope, he only had a five-second advantage, and on the next, Florida 2, he lost first place to Irish charger and fellow Ford Escort man Martin McCormack.

Increasing his lead on the last long stage at Kirshope, McCormack won the event by 17 seconds.

In third place, also in an Escort, was Will Onions with last year’s winning navigator, John Millington, alongside.

The 2011 Northern Rally champion Charlie Taylor, in a Ford Escort, and Pickering’s Steve Bielby were not too happy about their low seeding, but after four stages were up to fourth overall.

After good stage times, always in the top 10, they finished eighth overall.

At the start of the rally, Bob Adamson and Pickering-based codriver Dick Wardle were looking for a top 20 finish.

A problem with a half shaft after stage two was soon repaired and they went on to finish 15th overall in their well-turned-out Ford Escort.

Pickering garage owner Steve Magson and Geoff Atkinson, in a Vauxhall Chevette HSR, dropped a lot of time on stage four due to an electrical fault. When it was fully repaired, they went on to set some fast stage times, but their rally ended two miles from the end when they rolled off the road.

Magson says they will repair the damage and return next year.

In the Open Rally, last year’s winners, Barton Hill farmer Martyn Hawkswell and Nick Welch, in a Ford Escort, made it two triumphs on the trot – with a bit of luck.

The Opel Kadett of Allen McDowall was heading for victory but tried too hard to go clear and went off the road, giving Hawkswell the win.

The Friday night rally run over four stages was won by Mat Smith and Giles Dykes in a Ford Ka, with Amanda and Derek Cornforth losing second place by four seconds.

After two stages, Smith was having a small problem with a rear wheel but this did not slow down his pace and he went on to win the event by over two minutes.

Full results can be found at www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org

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