Last weekend saw the HRCR Mintex ‘Old Stager’ Championship 2015 commenced, this year incorporating the Mini Sport Mini Challenge Cup for the first time.
The first round was based at Rally North Wales and saw 24 Championship Competitors set off from the Rally North Wales start venue of the Ford and Suzuki dealership of Gywndaff Evans, where the Rally HQ was situated throughout the day.
The entries proved eclectic for the day with a wide and interesting field with a good variety of cars, proving to be the biggest turn out of Mini’s exhibited on a gravel stage event for a very long time. We at Mini Sport, we’re proud to see such a notable revival in Mini’s as the round marked the initial debut of the Mini Sport Mini Cup for this season.
Unfortunately, the weather for the weekend was notorious across the Mini community with the Mini Sport Cooper event, hosted in Padiham also rocked by rains. However, over at Rally North Wales torrential rains, gusty winds and mountain fog up to the stages and on the stages themselves, ensured that the first round was nothing less than challenging; putting both the cars and drivers through their paces with all the elements against them – fortunately all stages remained in good condition.
The day consisted of two loops of three stages Gartheniniog, Big Ray and Dyfi Main with an hour service in-between the loops letting the crews and their mechanics replenish their cars.
The HRCR reflect on the performances from each category for the day with statements from the drivers and some notable talent:
Cat 1: The pairing of Gwilywn Roberts and Jane Edgington had a good start to the season opener setting some competitive time through the stages. This charge came to an end on SS5 Big Ray meaning no one qualified for a Cat 1 finish. The pairing of Geoff Taylor and Steve Green Hill rally’s came to an early end in SS1 Gartheniniog, Graham Waite’s Volvo suffering a broken distributor drive and Geoff Taylor suffering a Dougnut failure in the off side drive shaft 1.5 miles into the stage on a Hairpin right. Geoff Taylor’s reaction to his retirement “Gutted after loads of work over past 4 months with a new engine, electrics and several mods to car to make it stronger/better. Never had this happen before with the Imp so big investigation!”
Cat 2: David Stokes and Guy Weaver put an outstanding performance in over the day leading the Cat 2 cars from start to finish. Ian Barnes and Robert Gilham chased the leading crew with 48 sec between them on stage 2 and ending the event with 6:17 between the crews.
Cat 3: Stuart Anderson and son Jack made their impressive start on contesting this category on the Rally North Wales with the car only 27 seconds off the first stage and then 2 seconds off the leading crew of Stephen and Andrew Richards on stage 2 until the Anderson pairing slid off stage 3 Dyfi Main and could not get back on it in time so had to unfortunately retire from the event. Lee Sellars and co driver Paul Alldread debuted their immaculate Triumph MK2 PI on this first round of the championship. The crew crossing the finish arch with big smiles on their faces. They finished the event 65th overall. Stephen and Andrew Richards were clearly unstoppable all day and took the Cat 3 Honours, but Stephen reported an engine issue after the second stage. “It wont rev above 5000 rpm then it will carry on it should, after a day full of teething problems, we have finished rally North Wales 3rd in D3 and 5th in category 3 but by far and away the most surprising point of the weekend was to find out we won our category in the HRCR championship which was the last thing we expected” Stephen explained at the finish.”
The Mini Sport Mini Challenge: Clive King and Anton Bird took victory in the Mini Challenge being the first mini home. 5 mini crews entered the event with two of them retiring. Eric Davis and Russell Joseph holed their gearbox. However Clive’s day got better as his name was pulled out of a hat and won the Road to Wales entry on the Wales Rally GB. A full report on mini sport mini challenge to follow.
A few members from our team went down to the event to show support and offer advice for entries. We’re very proud to support the HRCR and now have the opportunity to offer a Mini Sport cup for the Classic Mini Class. Rob Eastwood of Mini Sport who was present at the Rally North Wales said that: ‘Well done to all the crews who took part in the first Mini Sport Mini Cup – a very wet and challenging day with the exciting addition of reverting back to conventional seeding.’
We were all grateful for the appreciation we received from the crews there and eagerly await the coming rounds.
The results below are as follows:
Clive King / Anton Bird 1st in class / 7th cat2 Historic
Andrew O’Hanlon / James Crook 2nd in class/ 8th cat 2 Historic
Bruce Mills / Paul Kendrick 3rd class / 9th cat 2 Historic
Shane Gamble / Jonny Evans 4th in class / 10th cat 2 Historic
Ian Barnes / Robert Gilham 1st in class / 6th Cat 2 Historic
David Stokes / Guy Weaver 1st in class / 1st overall cat 2 historic
Stephen Richards / Andrew Richards 3rd in class / 5th Cat 3 Historic
Lee Sellars / Peter Alldread 6th in class / 11th Cat 3 historic
Above: Overall Winner Clive King.