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Round four of the 2012 Kololi Beach Club MSA British Historic Rally Championship will pit the crews against some of the superb gravel stages used on Wales Rally GB during the Severn Valley Historic Rally on Saturday (9 June).

For joint championship leaders Julian Reynolds and Nick Elliott, this will be another crucial event as they both strive to make it four maximum scores from four events.

Category One
Category One is open to the earliest cars from up to 1968 and it is a case of Porsches versus Lotus Cortinas and a Volvo, with Rikki Proffitt and Phill Harrison setting the mark after an exemplary start to their campaign. Only a major brake drama stopped them taking a maximum score on the opening round, the Mid Wales. Since then, wins on the Bulldog and Pirelli events have put them firmly back on track.

Taking the fight to Proffitt will be more 911s from Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride and Terry Brown/John Stanger-Leathes. Nutt has run very strongly on the last two events in a return to top form on gravel, while Brown is steadily getting to grips with his Porsche after nearly four decades in Escorts. He knows these stages well, so should fly.

Great news for the category is that the charging Volvo Amazon of Graham Waite and Gill Cotton is back on the entry list, now returned to pristine condition after its roll on the Bulldog Rally.

Meanwhile, the strong Lotus Cortina challenge is headed by Simon Wallis/Graham Wride and Paul Mankin/Desmond Bell. Neither has enjoyed the best of fortune this season despite tremendous pace, although Mankin scored a deserved victory on the Mid Wales Stages before an accident on the Bulldog.

Category Two
Category Two moves the story on to 1974 and brings in all the Ford Escort Mk1s, where Reynolds and Patrick Walsh are clearly the pacesetters. Providing he doesn’t hit any car trouble today, Reynolds is likely to bag another win, which would really set up his title bid heading towards the second half of the season.

The closest rival to Reynolds is the Escort Mk1 of defending champions David Stokes and Guy Weaver. They went out of the Pirelli with major engine dramas, but will surely bounce back strong on the Severn Valley. Other leading runners include Rupert Lomax/David Alcock and father and son crew Ernie and Will Graham. However, the welcome return to the BHRC of Richard Hill and Pat Cooper in an Escort Mk1 could shake up the current order and give Reynolds another driver to watch. Adding to the mix is the Porsche 911 of Tim Mason and Graham Wild, which has the pace to challenge the leading Escorts.

In Class C3 for the Pinto-powered Escorts, Dick Slaughter and Tim Sayer are top dogs with Mark Holmes/Tony Lindsay leading the chase, while Wayne Bonser/Richard Aston chase and the splendid Porsche 914 of Richard Morgan and Keith Fellowes offers variety to the Escort ranks.

In class C2 for the 1600cc Escorts, Matt Fowle and Jane Edgington will surely set the standard, but will be chased by David Kirby and Rob Cook

Category Three
Category Three is for cars from 1975-81 and Elliott, like Reynolds, has a perfect score from the opening three rounds. Elliott and co-driver Dave Price start as favourites once more this time around and could go into the mid-season break still tied with Reynolds at the top of the championship.

However, Elliott will not have things all his own way in Category Three, with two rising Welsh crews in particular more than capable of keeping the Gloucestershire driver honest. Tomas Davies/Eurig Davies and Kevin Davies/Dale Furniss are getting quicker and quicker and will surely push Elliott hard on their home ground. Other leading contenders in the incredibly competitive category include Warren Philliskirk/Matt Whattam, Phil Squires/Kevin Owens, Richard Lane/Frank Richer, Tim Freeman/Paul Barden and Jonathan Brace/Tim Samuel in the squadron of rapid Escort Mk2s.

In class D3, Rex Ireland and Adrian Scadding head the field, but will have the challenge of Irish crew Ken Graham and Barry Ferris to contend with.

The Severn Valley Historic Rally is organised by Midland Manor Motor Club Ltd. For more details about the event, please visit the website at: http://www.severnvalleynational.co.uk

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