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tourofepynt14 (11)Once the cloud burnt off the weather was glorious up on Epynt and a fierce battle between the top 3 ensued. Damian Cole & Elliot Edmondson (Focus) set a blistering pace through the first stage to lead by 7 seconds but after that Peter Lloyd & Neil James (Impreza WRC) started the fight back on stage 2. Initially in 3rd after stage 1 Stephen Simpson & Patrick Walsh (Impreza) were on a charge and fastest time on stage 3 saw them leap ahead of Lloyd. With stage 4 cancelled stage 5 was the first long stage of the event and Simpson went fastest to close to just a second of Cole, who was also beaten by Lloyd. Stage 6 saw Simpson take the lead by a single second but it was Lloyd who went fastest to be joint 2nd. Cole went fastest on the final stage to book end the rally and take victory by 1 second from Lloyd with Simpson slipping back to 3rd overall.

In the 2WD battle most people would have thought that Simon Mauger & Brian Cammack (Escort MkII) were cast iron favourites and whilst they did win the margin was considerably smaller than expected. Darren Atkinson & Phil Sandham (Escort MkII) were only 5 seconds behind at the end of the rally, thankfully they had been re-seeded after being issued number 72. Roger Moran & Joy Hoyle (Escort MkII) completed the 2WD top three.

It really had been a spectacular event and a superb finish but we must pass on our best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery to Colin Price & Phil Cook (Darrian T9) who suffered a huge incident on the 2nd stage requiring emergency assistance, after hitting a large tree head on. This wasn’t the only incident of the day requiring the air ambulance but thankfully there were no other big accidents during the event.

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