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The biannual epic Roger Albert Clark was the longest, in terms of stage mileage, for its 13th edition. It’s overall stage mileage was just shy of 300 miles and was longer than Wales Rally GB. The opening pair of stages in Radnor were extreme due to fog and the 2nd stage was cancelled early on. The stage was then stopped after just over 20 cars in the main field following a fire and incident involving Alan Walker & John Connor, (Escort MkII). Whilst attending to the fire a following car unfortunately ran over Walker’s foot, requiring the paramedics to attend the scene.

For the record Jason Pritchard & Phil Clarke (Escort MkII) were 4s faster than Marty McCormack & Barney Mitchell, (Escort MkII). Day 2 saw the crews complete 8 stages in Wales and McCormack took 6 stage victories, taking the rallt lead on the opening stage, ending the day with a 13s lead over Pritchard. Roger Chilman Jr & Patrick Walsh (Escort MkII) took 1 stage victory and maintained 3rd place from Radnor, just over half a minute behind McCormack.

By the end of day 3 in Northern England McCormack increased his lead to just over half a minute, courtesy of 5 fastest stage times, as the top two were head and shoulders faster than everyone else. The evening stages were blighted by fog but not quite on the Radnor scale. Chilman Jr remained 3rd over 5 minutes behind McCormack. The gap to 4th was over 4 minutes with Stuart Egglestone & Brian Hodgson (Escort MkII) leading the D3 class, in the process. Completing the top 5 were Wayne Sisson & Neil Shanks in their Galant VR-4.

The Scottish leg on day 4 saw another 9 stages and McCormack extended his lead to almost two minutes, going fastest or joint fastest on all but 1 of the stages. Pritchard remained 2nd with over 5 minutes advantage over Chilman Jr. Egglestone held on 4th place ahead of Sisson, but the gap was only 36s going in to the final day.

The final day, back in Kielder, saw Pritchard go fastest on 4 of the 5 stages, cutting almost a minute off McCormack’s lead. The Northern Irishman still had enough in hand though to take RAC win number 3. Chilman Jr completed the podium 10 minutes behind Pritchard, in a lonely 3rd place. The battle for 4th was the tight one though and it was settled on the final stage in the favour of Sisson who finished just 1s ahead of Egglestone.

Proving its epic nature 6th overall and almost half an hour off the lead were Barry McKenna & Arthur Kierans (Escort MkII). Henri Grehan & Jack Bowen (Escort MkII) were 7th, Geoff Bell & Tim Challen (Escort MkII) took 8th place and in 9th were Rudi Lancaster & Dave Price (Escort MkII). Completing the top ten were David Bennett & Alastair McNeil (Escort MkI) who were the first post historic crew home. The evergreen Bob Bean & Captain Thompson were the first historic crew home in their Lotus Cortina. Winners of the open rally were Barry Jordan & Arwel Jenkins (Chrysler Avenger) by just over 2 minutes from James Nicholls & David Allman (205 GTi).

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