The Mintex ‘old Stager’ Stage Rally Championship incorporating the Mini Sport Cup get underway this weekend on the Jasper’s Bakeries AGBO Stages at Weston Park. The event is Owen Motor Club’s first Historic only event and has attracted 60 cars to this stately home venue with its 1000 acre park. The venue will provide 10 stages totalling over 30 miles of action.
2017 Mini Sport Cup Champions Ray Cunningham & Jared Gill.
The Championship will see a record number of Minis starting the event with thirty three cars entered. Last year’s champions Ray Cunningham and Jared Gill will try to take a second title but can be assured of a tough battle from previous winners Clive King and Anton Bird. They can both expect a serious challenge from other quick Mini Crews, including Jim Brindle and Sam Bould in their Clubman, the vastly experienced crew of Eric Davis and Russell Joseph and ever improving Peter Ellerby and Ben Anderson. A couple of new crews to watch out for will be John Cressey and Michael Anderson in the Mini Sport Mini and Jeff Robinson and Richard MacDonald in their 1275GT who is making the trip from Northern Ireland.
Keeping it in the family will be Clive’s son Craig King and Shane Gamble’s son Mark both experienced competitors in more modern machinery who will be making their Mini debuts.
The Junior Mini Sport Cup for drivers under 25 years of age, will have its first competitors Jack Hartley and Gary Dawes running in the entry level 1000cc Mini which will have limited modifications to help keep the costs down.
The Mini Sport Cup is now probably the largest single make rally championship in the world and it is expected that nearly forty of these legendary rally cars will join the championship during the season.
But it’s not just about Mini’s the all asphalt serious has attracted a variety of other rally cars including Escorts for former Mini man Paul Kendrick, Eifion Thomas and Julian Burch, a Hillman Avenger for Stephen Powell, and a Sunbeam Imp for John Hallam. Expected to return to the fray is Lee Sellars in the big Triumph 2.5PI who had a difficult season in 2017 due to mechanical gremlins. Other cars to look out for include a Renault 5 Turbo and a couple of the fantastic Ferrari 208s entered and with Lee Jones and Daniel Bosher recently having won the South Down Stages at Goodwood in theirs we should be in for a treat as these cars are always spectacular!
For full details on how to see all the action please see here.
Blog courtesy of the HRCR.