Alan Cookson and co-driver Julian Wilkinson survived an encounter with a cavernous Kielder Forest ditch to reach the finish of the Pirelli Tour of Cumbria in a battling sixteenth place.

Things went wrong for the pair when they went off on one of the day's early stages, where they remained in the ditch for over twenty minutes.

Thinking their rally was over, they were surprised when one of the competitors on the Land Rover Rally, which followed the main event, kindly stopped and towed the Subaru out of the ditch, allowing the pair to continue albeit well down the order and within a minute of going OTL.

Intent on scoring points in his bid for class honours in the 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship, Cookson nursed his battle-scarred car to the finish and in doing so claimed valuable points for the eleventh placed registered competitor.

"God save the Army and all who sail in her!" Cookson quipped. "We used up all our luck so it was just a case of bringing the car home and salvaging as many points as possible. We have to say a massive thank you to Steve Partridge and Adam Entwhistle for stopping and pulling us out. It's free beer for them tonight!"