by Geoff Mayes
Chester based Paul Griffiths is eagerly looking forward to returning to the forests of North England for the mammoth four day long Roger Albert Clark Rally a year on from creating quite a stir by running inside the top five overall for most of the event, at his first attempt.
Paul, who has been competing on and off for the past 20 years, only made the transition to historic rallying in 2007 and surprised even himself by the rapid pace he showed. With only a limited amount of seat time in the car before the 2007 Roger Albert Clark, Paul had no idea what to expect.
However there was never any doubt that Paul would not use the car to its full capability and for the next 24 stages consistently ran inside the top ten in stage times, including equalling the time set by former British Champion Jimmy McRae on the second run through the famous Castle O'er Stage.
Stage 25 was to be the only blemish on Paul's otherwise trouble free run when he slid off on ice and dropped over six minutes stuck in a ditch. Such was the competitive nature of this rally that this one error dropped him down to ninth overall with only three stages left. To prove that he wasn't afraid of the ice Paul then flew through the second run of the stage third fastest to end his first ever Roger Albert Clark Rally an impressive ninth overall and sixth in class.
“2007 was a bit of a bitter sweet rally for me. I had no clue whether I would be on the pace or not so to run so well and then slide off was a little frustrating. The car is great and although I haven't done much testing recently I'm confident that Sam (Collis, Paul's co-driver) and I will be laughing the whole way.”
The Dunlop shod Ford Escort Mk II, again run by Geoff Jones Motorsport, is seeded at Car 15 for this years running of the historic event. The rally begins from Leeds on Friday 14th November and 4 days and 204 competitive stage miles later the survivors will end the rally in Carlisle on Monday afternoon.