Manx Rally Championship
DANIEL Harper and Chris Campbell have been crowned winners of the 2016 Manx Rally Championship.
Harper, Engineering Director at Mini Sport, Padiham, produced a storming drive on the final round, the Pokerstars Rally, winning the two-day event outright to claim the title.
And the result made it four in a row for the pair, who scored maximum points on all the championship rounds in their Mini Sport-prepared BMW Mini Cooper S.
“A great result and just reward for all the work put in by the Mini Sport team,” said Harper.
“But we had to fight hard on every round, and the Pokerstars was the hardest of all.”
Harper and Campbell were leading the rally by over a minute when their Mini broke a driveshaft on stage 10.
With no service for three stages, the pair were forced to nurse their car along, surrendering the lead to the chasing Will Heavey and Barrie Ford in a Mitsubishi Evo.
But with the driveshaft replaced, Harper had just two stages left to claw back the advantage and finish the season in style.
A brilliant run on the penultimate stage 13 reduced the deficit by 27 seconds, and a final, last-gasp surge saw them home with a 13 second advantage over Heavey.
Harper’s rival for the title, George Collister, could only manage fourth overall in his BMW 325 and had to be content with the runner-up spot in the final drivers standings.
Harper and Campbell have also written themselves into the history books of Manx motorsport.
It was the first time the Manx Rally Championship has been won in a BMW Mini, the first time by a non-Manx co-driver, and only the second time by a non-Manx team.
Originally scheduled for six rounds, the series was condensed into four rounds and three events – the Rally Isle of Man counting as two rounds.
1: Daniel Harper/Chris Campell (BMW Mini Cooper S) 1hr 31m 09s.
2: Will Heavey/Barrie Ford (Mitsubish Lancer E4) +16s.
3: Kex Walker/Danni Matthews (BMW 325).
Daniel Harper 128
George Collister 105
Kex Walker 96.
Words by Neil Johnson and images by Martyn’s Fotos.