2:43pm Wednesday 20th February 2013
PICKERING co-driver Steve Bielby claimed a podium place in the Ripon Motor Sport Club’s Riponian Stages Rally.
Thirsk Rural Business Centre was again the main start, service and finish venue for the rally, the first round of the Northern Stage Rally Championship, in which many of the competitors had stories of missed corners and incidents with the large straw bales which are used to slow their speeds on some of the long straights.
The 60-car entry had left the start venue in sunshine but dry forest roads changed quickly to sheet ice then snow over the course of the event.
Bielby was navigating for Northallerton’s Charlie Taylor, a past winner of the championship, in a Mk 2 Ford Escort. They were looking to score good points.
After a trouble-free run, they finished joint third, and, having been faster on the first stage, they claimed the podium spot.
Ryedale’s Gareth Thomas, in a Thomas the Bakers-entered Mk 2 Escort, had Jack Cranage reading the notes. This was the first event for Cranage, of Helmsley, who had a shock after three stages when they received a two-minute penalty for clocking in early at a time control – although this turned out to be an error by the organisers.
Thomas also had a small off on stage three which dented the navigator's door, and a flat tyre slowed them down driving to the end of the stage. They finished the event fourth in class – a good result.
After their great class win on the 2012 RAC Rally, Barton Hill farmer Martin Hawkswell and co-driver Nick Welch, in another Escort, were disappointed to lose the class on this event by two seconds.
A coming together with a large straw bale may have cost them the win.
Kirkbymoorside’s Alan Ward, in a Vauxhall Nova, had daughter Rachel in the co-driver’s seat.
They also had a few offs but still managed to get second in the small engine class. Ward has a new name on the car – Alan Seagust’s Malton garage is helping out.
Last of the local drivers, in a Ford Ka, was Amanda Cornforth with dad Derek, of Sutton Bank, on the maps. Their day was not so good. Not helped by the changing road conditions, they had trouble getting it together and finished third in class.
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