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This year the Bulldog rally was all about the Historics for us. We managed to see half of the stages they competed on and once again it was a battle between the Classic Escort MkII’s of Nick Elliott and Julian Reynolds, (co-driven by Dave Price and Ian Oakey respectively). Elliott set fastest time on the first 4 stages to take over a half a minutes advantage into the final two stages. Reynolds was fastest on both but only managed to carve just under ten seconds off Elliott’s lead. The battle for third looked to be going the way Richard Hill & Patrick Cooper (Escort MkII), that was until the final stage when a massive push from Phil Collins & Derek Brannigan (Ascona) saw them take third place by just over 3 seconds.

In the Post Historics it was the Escort MkI of Jeremy Easson & Alun Cook who set the fastest time on all the stages bar one. Their victory margin was just over half a minute from the Escort MkI of Andrew Haddon & Mark Crisp. Third place went to Tim Mason & Graham Wild, who briefly held 2nd place in their Porsche 911. However once Haddon got used to his new car he started to match Easson’s time and eased ahead. David Stokes & Guy Weaver were early casualties retiring on the first stage with mechanical woes.

In the Historics it was a two horse race between the first two cars on the road. Dessie Nutt & Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911) set fastest time on the first two stages and then Jonathan Gale & James Whitaker (Sunbeam Tiger). Then it all went wrong for Nutt on Gartheiniog when he dropped half a minute to Gale and slipped back into 2nd place. Gale then went on to increase his lead over the next two stages to win by almost 40 seconds. Third place went to the Volvo Amazon of Graham Waite & Gill Cotton.

In the National rally Alex Allingham & Mark Glennerster (Impreza) took a slender victory by just over 5 seconds. Initially Paul Davy & Roger Allan (Impreza) led with fastest times on stages 1 & 3, but fastest times on the other stages saw Allingham snatch victory on the final stage. Behind them Paul Walker & Mark Lewis (Impreza WRC) took the final podium place after holding the position through the event.

Next to the Clubmen and it was a case of what if. Ieuan Rowlands & Kelvin Savage (Escort MkII) looked set for a huge victory as they destroyed the opposition going almost 15 seconds and then over 40 seconds faster than anyone on the first two stages. Then the clutch gave way on the third test leaving Phil & Jon Edwards (Impreza) leading by over half a minute. With an almost certain victory in the bag Edwards stopped on the final stage, retiring from the event. Victory went to the Impreza WRC of Mike Tomkinson & Shaun Whitehurst from Paul Lomas & Matthew Nicholas (Impreza). The final podium place went to Neville Jones & Ian Capewell (Impreza) as they just moved ahead of the Manta of Geraint Mills & Johnny Evans on the final stage.

Now onto the fields we didn’t see and the BRC first. Keith Cronin & Barry McNulty (Impreza N15) set fastest time on the first two stages and then the final 4 stages of the event to take a comfortable victory of over two minutes. Craig Breen & Gareth Roberts (Fiesta S2000) were second after two stages but then retired. Gwyndaf Evans & Chris Patterson (Evo X) were initally third and retired at the same point as Breen. This left Alastair Fisher & Rory Kennedy (Evo IX) in second and they set fastest stage times on the 3rd and 4th tests, to close to within half a minute of Cronin at the half way point.  But their gearbox then let go on stage six moving Dave Weston Jnr & Ieuan Thomas (Impreza N16) into second place, with Adam Gould & Craig Drew (Impreza N11) third. The top three remained the same until the finish with the margins growing as Cronin blasted through the final two tests.

Lastly the BRC Challenge and it was Julian Wilkes & Will Rutherford (Nova) who took a twenty second victory margin after they set fastest time on the first two stages, Wilkes took almost 40 seconds out of his nearest rival on the first test! Callum Black & Paul Wakely (MG ZR) set fastest stage times on the final 3 tests but the damage had already been done, as they took 2nd overall. Third from the start to the finish were Jonathan Cunningham & Richard Millener (Fiesta ST), after setting top three times on all 5 of the stages.

Video to follow in the coming weeks…

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