Julian Reynolds and Ian Oakey took maximum points on round six of the 2009 Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship, the Harry Flatters Historic Rally last weekend.
While Epynt ace Mark Solloway (non-BHRC registered) won the historic rally, title contender Gwyndaf Evans retired on the penultimate stage on his first rally over the ranges for 24 years.
In category two, David Stokes and Guy Weaver proved unbeatable in their Escort Mk1, while Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911) performed a similar feat in category one.
With only four starters in category one Nutt/McBride were expected to cruise to another win. “We had problems - mainly with sheep, on the first stage we braked and then braked again as I was sure I was going to hit one. Then it moved to the right and we just missed it,” said Nutt. “We then had three more near misses with them on stage five too!” he added.
The winning margin was almost two minutes, as Paul Mankin/Desmond Bell (Lotus Cortina) took a clear second as the only starter in class B4. “Apart from a near off on stage three on cold tyres, we didn't have any problems,” said Mankin.
Rikki Proffitt and Phil Harrison were still getting used to their Porsche 911, but also had a trouble free run to third overall and second place in B5.
Mike Bartlett/David Leslie (Austin Mini Cooper S) made it home fourth, running solo in class B2.
Stokes and Weaver started off in determined fashion, pulling out a 16-second lead over their rivals on the opening stage. Non-BHRC registered Toby Adam and Neil Cook (Escort Mk1) were eight seconds up on Ernie Graham/Andy Morgan after the two Saturday evening stages, but on Sunday morning Graham immediately closed the gap again to four second. Graham was poised to ease ahead when the gap became one second on stage four, only for Adam to respond and consolidate his place once more. But Graham kept up his challenge and only lost out by three seconds in the end.
It wasn't all plain sailing for Stokes however. “We were in fifth at the end of the New Road, started to brake but kept going as the throttle had stuck wide open. It had gone beyond the stop and I lost 17 seconds,” he explained.
Peter Smith/Russ Langthorne (Porsche 911) ran a strong fourth for the first six stages, before Neal James and Kevin Jones came charging through to claim the place from stage eight, on their debut run in the ex-Jeff Churchill Escort Mk1 BDA. “We were struggling to get used to our new car and a ZF gearbox, so there were quite a few screams and crunches. It started to get better, so we were pleased as the first stage was really the shakedown for the car,” said James.