Steve Entwistle and the ‘Orangebox’ are regulars on the Mini Sport blog; gaining a great reputation as significant competitors in the notable HRCR Clubman Rally Championship. Last Saturday on the 16th May, Steve competed in the 4th round of the championship and we, at Mini Sport could not be happier with the results. The ‘Orangebox’ visited our garages in the run-up to the round for some prep & priming in anticipation of this challenging round at Chepstow racecourse.
Above: Steve & the ‘Orangebox’ at the ‘Tour of Cheshire’ in March ’15.
With a new co-driver and an eclectic range of competition cars in the running, we spoke with Steve who reflects on the performances of that day…
‘’The 4th round of the 2015 HRCR Clubman’s Rally Championship was the ‘Ecurie Cymraegs Leaukemia Rally’, now in its 23rd year. Based at Chepstow racecourse it followed the normal procedure of six road regularities and fifteen special tests during the day. This was my second attempt at this event; we were sixth overall last year, with us seeded at car 6 this time.
This year I had a different navigator, the experienced Matt Fowle from Hove sat alongside me in the well known (and well used) ex Roy Mapple Orangebox Mini, backed by Mini Sport and with their ‘works’ historic road rally spec engine. A delay the night before meant Matt only arriving in Wales at the hotel before the start at 1am, which meant the first time we sat in the car together was an hour before the start on Saturday morning!
Above: The ‘Orangebox’ stopped in for a little preparation last week.
From the start there were three tests at the racecourse, two short-ish ones on tarmac then a long one that started on tarmac went to loose, back to tarmac and back to the loose again, and very quick. From here was the first regularity which went smoothly to a batch of three tests through the woods and lanes at Coomb Farm, all on gravel, we were at this point seven seconds ahead of the Howard Warren/Ian Tullie 911 on test times, but although we beat them on the first test they beat us on the next two, the Porsche 911 having much better traction leaving uphill corners on gravel.
Then two more long regularities were we dropped just seven second over both of them to the first halt, main control 2, where we were lying 2nd overall behind Warren/Tullie. Another regularity and two short twisty tarmac tests either side of the lunch halt were we set fastest time on both runs lead into the afternoon and two long 40 minute each regularity’s which went well followed by a return to Coombe farm for a re run of the morning tests, a spin on one cost us maybe 10 seconds. From here it was to Caerwnt for a test and then back to Chepstow for a re-run of the first tests, fastest on the first, just one second quicker than Warren/Tullie on the second, and then we both beat the bogey time on the last one, with the Mini Sport 1293 engine pulling 7000rpm in top gear on the last gravel section!
At the finish we had not been able to overhaul the 911, but second overall and first in class for the second time in the space of 4 weeks was just what we needed. Next round of championship is the Hughes Rally in Kent, which I am going to miss, with the East Anglian on the 20th June my next event.’’
Mini Sport prep the Orangebox with a performance engine and parts. Follow our Facebook and Twitter for more news following the Orangebox.