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SONY DSCOur first trip to Hamsterley and apart from being liberally sprayed by showers throughout the day, the Tour of Hamsterley provided a full days motorsport action. The overall winner came from the modern field but as this was round 2 of the West Wales RAC Championship our initial focus will be there. Martin McCormack & Phil Clarke (Escort MkII) stamped their authority on the event from stage 1, setting fastest stage times on 5 of the 7 stages. Ultimately they won by 45 seconds from Steve Bannister & Louise Sutherland (Escort MkII). What perhaps was the larger shock was that Bannister only clinched 2nd place on the final stage when a puncture for Ryan Barrett & Barry Ferris (Escort MkII) saw them slip down to 5th Historic crew.

The puncture happened at our location as coming in to view Barrett was on it, clearly in a tight battle, and as the car slewed to the left under power as it exited the left hander Barrett still was 2 seconds faster out of view. Sadly for the Irish crew they had 3 miles left to complete and the tyre sounded like it was coming off the wheel rim. Barrett was 30 seconds slower than Bannister through the final stage, after being 5 seconds ahead of Bannister going into it. Tim Pearcey & Neil Shanks (Escort MkII) had actually been 3rd after 5 stages but slipped behind Bannister on stage 6 by just 3 seconds. As a result of the last stage drama for Barrett Pearcey got 3rd place back but he in turn only held off Will Onions & Dave Williams (Escort MkII) by just 3 seconds, after a final stage push by Onions.

In the moderns it was Ford domination too but this time by Focus WR cars. After disappointment on the Somerset Stages Stepehen Petch & John Richardson took a comfortable win after going fastest on the first 6 stages. Paul Bird & Carl Williamson almost halved the lead with fastest time on the final stage but Petch had too much in hand. Completing the podium were Peter Stephenson & Ian Windress, 40 seconds ahead of Historics winner McCormack who was 4th overall.

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