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The deadlock for championship supremacy continued on the Severn Valley National Historic Rally (Saturday 9 June), round four of the 2012 Kololi Beach Club MSA British Historic Rally Championship.

While Julian Reynolds and Patrick Walsh had the lead of Category Two all day in their Ford Escort Mk1, Nick Elliott and Dave Price had a terrific fight with Kevin Davies and Dale Furniss before their Mk2 Escort clinched Category Three on the final stage, after Davies went out with a blown engine.

Rikki Proffitt and Phill Harrison were initially declared the winners in Category One, but a penalty was added for route indiscretions on the Showground Super Special stages, which handed the spoils to Simon Wallis and Graham Wride (Lotus Cortina).

Category One
The days of rain on the Welsh forests had left the stages in prime condition, even if the rivers were alarmingly high. Terry Brown and John Stanger-Leathes were straight into the groove on the opening six-miler through Crychan South, their Porsche 911 stopping the clocks four seconds up on Proffitt’s similar car.

But the glory was short-lived for Brown, as he was soon parked up with a split oil cooler, leaving Proffitt to exit Route 60 with a 12-second lead over Graham Waite/Gill Cotton (Volvo Amazon). The Lotus Cortinas of Paul Mankin/Desmond Bell and Wallis/Wride settled in third and fourth, with Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911) in fifth.

Two more stages followed before service, but the order remained the same, with Proffitt 15 seconds up on Waite. “The stages were fantastic, the best all year,” said Proffitt. “We had the wrong tyres on the back as we thought it would be wetter and a starter wire came off too on the first stage,” Waite added.

Mankin had the edge over Wallis, who had his own problems to cope with. “We had no brakes for most of the morning,” he explained. Derek Boyd and Peter Scott were “just getting used to it,” in their Porsche, on the driver’s first time out on the event, but had managed to edge past Nutt into fifth.

Initially Proffitt had been posted as quickest on both runs on the Showground Super Special, but he was later given two stage maximums for taking an incorrect route, which dropped him out of contention.

Waite therefore had the lead but he was out on the next run, with a combination of transmission problems and overheating. The Cortinas of Mankin and Wallis came to the fore, with Wallis nosing ahead, only for his gear lever to break on Crychan East. “We did five miles in second gear so had to stop,” he said. Boyd went ahead, but Mankin had joined the retirements with an electrical fault, which ended the class B4 duel.

With two stages left it was still far from settled. Proffitt’s penalty left him in fourth, but more importantly only second to Boyd in class B5. Wallis fought back on the last stage to snatch the victory from Boyd, by only four seconds with Nutt taking third from Proffitt and Peel.

BHRC CATEGORY ONE RESULTS:
1 Simon Wallis/Graham Wride (Lotus Cortina) 1h03m41.6s
2 Derek Boyd/Peter Scott (Porsche 911) 1h03m45.8s
3 Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911) 1h06m12.9s
4 Rikki Proffitt/Phil Harrison (Porsche 911) 1h09m56.4s
5 Edmund Peel/Janet Craine (Porsche 911) 1h12m30.7s

Category Two
Reynolds was straight on the pace from the word go, but did have a wake-up call on the opening stage. “I hit a bank and the steering wheel was snatched out of my hand,” he explained.  He was still over 19 seconds ahead of Ernie and Will Graham, who had David Stokes and Guy Weaver hard on their heels.

Stokes was up to second after stage two on Route 60, but Reynolds’ lead grew rapidly. As they returned to service after four stages, Stokes had consolidated second but was nearly 56 seconds down on Reynolds. “We are in our usual place, second. But everything is fine,” said the reigning champion.

Rupert Lomax and David Alcock had got ahead of Graham after Crychan North, but didn’t continue after service. “We slipped back as we should have changed tyres,” Graham admitted. Returnees Richard Hill and Pat Cooper found their ex-Baz Jordan Escort to be lacking pace. “It’s just not fast enough,” said fifth-placed Hill.

Peter Smith and Paul Wakely had been sixth but their Escort had gearbox problems. “Then the alternator went and that stopped us,” said Smith, whose demise brought Dick Slaughter and Tim Sayer into the top six.

Two half-mile runs around the Royal Welsh Showground weren’t to be treated lightly, as Stokes was to find out. “I lost it. I knew there was a rock on my left, so I missed it and hit a bigger one and it pushed the radiator back,” he explained. Graham was therefore back into second, but had Hill starting to edge closer until an oil leak put him out after Crychan East.

Reynolds cruised through the remaining stages to keep his unbeaten record intact and clinch victory by well over two minutes. “We just looked after the tyres and were careful. It was so much drier in the afternoon,” he explained.

Although Graham retained second, he had a last stage drama. “The steering nearly came off the rack,” he said. He still had over a minute in hand over Tim Mason and Graham Wild in their Class C4 winning Porsche 911 on probably its last outing. “We started for a drive around to finish and I even turned left when Graham said right, but then pushed a bit in the afternoon and was back in the groove,” said Mason.

Slaughter came home fourth and topped class C3 again. “We had a huge moment on stage seven I got it completely wrong and was left facing backwards uphill,” he explained. Mark Holmes and Tony Lindsay followed all day in both class and overall. “We went up a bank on stage three and damaged the steering and took a battering in the afternoon, but still can’t beat Dick,” said Holmes.

Wayne Bonser and Richard Aston completed the top six and were third in C3, while C2 was a comfortable win for Matthew Fowle and Jane Edgington.  “I could have gone quicker, but had a half spin on stage four,” said Fowle. David Kirby and Rob Cook were second in class: “We had the wrong diff. It was too slow up the hills, but we could have done 120mph on the straights, but I didn’t want to,” said Kirby

BHRC CATEGORY TWO RESULTS:
1 Julian Reynolds/Patrick Walsh (Ford Escort Mk1) 55m20.5s
2 Ernie Graham/Will Graham (Ford Escort Mk1) 58m02.1s
3 Tim Mason/Graham Wild (Porsche 911) 58m48.2s
4 Dick Slaughter/Tim Sayer (Ford Escort Mk1) 59m40.4s
5 Mark Holmes/Tony Lindsay (Ford Escort Mk1) 1h00m11.0s
6 Wayne Bonser/Richard Aston (Ford Escort Mk1) 1h01m11.5s

Category Three
Elliott brought the MSD Escort out for the first time in the BHRC after a successful outing on the Plains Rally. But he finished the opening stage down in eighth place. “I clipped a rock and got a front puncture halfway in the stage. Our spares were both rears so we put the new pair on the front and then got a rear puncture on stage two and had to use the surviving front on the rear,” he explained.

Tomas and Eurig Davies emerged from the opener just ahead of Kevin Davies and Dale Furniss, but Jonathan Brace and Tim Samuel and Warren Philliskirk and Matt Whattam were only fractionally behind too. “We had a puncture on SS1 too but it was only two miles from the end, but we were taking risks,” admitted Kevin.

The Davies’ exchanged places on stage two, but Elliott stuck to his task and split them after the third stage. Remarkably Elliott still reached service with nearly four seconds in hand over Kevin Davies, despite his early traumas.

Tomas Davies settled into third, “we don’t have a problem, we are just too slow,” he reckoned. Apart from a half spin in stage three Philliskirk had become established in fourth, with Tim Freeman/Paul Barden moving into fifth after stage four, having demoted Richard Lane/Frank Richer and Phil Squires/Kevin Owens.

Brace had dropped down to eighth after his flying start. “I went off in Halfway and lost a minute, then spun in front of my friends on the super special,” he explained. Although the super specials were only half a mile, Elliott and Kevin Davies traded places and Davies returned to the forests 2.6 seconds up on his rival.

But after building a four second advantage Davies was sidelined on the final stage with a blown engine.  “I believe were dead level with one to go,” said Elliott.

But Davies was out and Elliott kept his perfect 2012 record. “That was a hard day after the morning traumas, but we pushed hard and gave it maximum and there was nothing in it with Kevin,” said Elliott.

With Tomas Davies out in stage six, a delighted Philliskirk took second. “I just kept my nose clean and pressed on,” he said.  Freeman admitted to being “slow out of the blocks,” but still managed to hold off Lane and Squires for third. Brace completed the top six and Nick Painter/Tom Marrott kept D3 rivals Rex Ireland/Adrian Scadding at bay throughout, aided by Ireland visiting a ditch on stage four.

BHRC CATEGORY THREE RESULTS:
1 Nick Elliott/Dave Price (Ford Escort Mk2) 55m20.0s
2 Warren Philliskirk/Matt Whattam (Ford Escort Mk2) 57m34.3s
3 Tim Freeman/Paul Barden (Ford Escort Mk2) 58m10.8s
4 Richard Lane/Frank Richer (Ford Escort Mk2) 58m32.9s
5 Phil Squires/Kevin Owens (Ford Escort Mk2) 58m36.8s
6 Jonathan Brace/Tim Samuel (Ford Escort Mk2) 59m05.0s

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