Sunday saw the fourth round of the HRCR Mini Sport Cup kick off with the Solway Coast Historic Rally organised by Solway Car Club, returning to the Solway Ranges, Dundrennan.

The Championship is now at the half-way point and the competition is hotter than ever with unlikely crews topping the Class points each event and putting the pressure on our front runners!

As always the Military Ranges took their first victims early on, with Round 3 champs Ian Clare/Antony Elkes struck down with a broken drive shaft in Stage 3, resulting in a tow back to the service area. Ian & Ant’s team worked frantically to fix the issue in such a tight time slot to get the lads back out ready for Stage 4, but ultimately fate was against them, as the duo then suffered with a failed differential, ending this event for Ian & Ant.

Lying in 2nd from the off, Team Mini Sport’s John Cressey/Martin Cressey were climatically forced in to early retirement from the rally at the end of Stage 3 when plagued with a broken bottom pulley. Despite the team’s best efforts, time between Stages was not on their side and the issue couldn’t be solved. To prevent the risk of any unnecessary (and expensive!) damage to the crank, John & Martin regrettably had to call it a day.

A run in with a wall in Stage 5 ended the Rally – and perhaps the rest of the 2018 Championship for Andy Walkingshaw/Lewis Griffiths, who after picking up the pace and getting caught up on some loose gravel hit the wall resulting in extensively damaging the left side of the Mini with such force that it even dislodged the engine! Andy added that, “it’ll be up to my wife if I’ll be rallying again!”

Shane Gamble/Bob Ward suffered an unfortunate incident in Stage 3, costing them valuable seconds, Shane expressed he felt that, “it just hasn’t gelled for us today, a bit of bad luck really.” Resulting in 7th MC2 & 7th o/a.

It was a successful event for Peter Ellerby/Ben Anderson, who up to Solway had yet to finish a Rally this year, until Peter’s Mini started with electric issues! However with the sheer determination of Peter & Ben they persevered and finished 5th MC2 & 5th o/a.

It was another challenging event for Craig King/Clare Bird who were troubled in Stages 2 & 3 where their exhaust was hanging off! Craig added that, “It was so noisy that I couldn’t hear Clare’s calls! Luckily, we got it fixed back on but it was still noisy as it was blowing.” The excessive noise didn’t stop Craig & Clare (although it did wake up a few spectators!) who finished 8th MC2 & 8th o/a.

The early exits of Ian Clare/Antony Elkes and John Cressey/Martin Cressey blew the Open Class wide open, ready for fellow Mini Sport sponsored crew Louise Thomas/Heidi Woodcock, AKA the Mini Girls Rally Team to take advantage and battle for the top spot against Martin Melling/Alex Holliday. Fuelled on sweets and songs, Louise & Heidi were having a great run despite a slight ‘moment’ on Stage 4 with some loose gravel and overshooting a hairpin, the girls managed to hold on, teaming with their growing confidence which resulted in 1st MC4 & 10th o/a. Louise & Heidi also chose Solway to play their ‘Joker’, meaning that the girls will also get double points for this event and shake up the points table!

After early success in the 2018 Junior Mini Sport Cup with a 998cc engine – often setting times that were quicker than many of the crews in the main Championship, Team Mini Sport’s Jack Hartley/Gary Dawes have had a change of pace… Swapping to 1275cc and moving in to MC2 put Jack & Gary in to the Mini Sport Cup to see what Jack could do with that extra power! Setting tongues wagging in the service area and a few very slight issues with the Mini there was no stopping Jack & Gary who landed a podium finish – 3rd MC2 & 3rd o/a.

A strong finish once again for Jim Brindle/Sam Bould who set quick times throughout the day, even finding themselves in a tie with Jack Hartley/Gary Dawes at the end of stage 8! The final 2 Stages were the decider, with Jim & Sam finishing 4th MC2 & 4th o/a.

David Evans/Tom Aleksanddrowicz also had a great result, David explained “it’s a bit rough out there really, but it’s going alright. We did hit a bank in Stage 2, but luckily we rolled right back off and got going again!” Good news for David & Tom that they carried on, finishing 1st MC3 and 9th o/a – their highest result in the Championship so far!

Mini's line up at Solway Coast Historic Rally | Mini Sport CupRoy Jarvis/Luke Greaves were having a good run, getting quicker and quicker throughout the course of the day, but were unfortunately struck with gear issues which resulted in them loosing around 15 seconds, however Roy & Luke accelerated onwards to finish 6th MC2 & 6th o/a. Barry Stenhouse/Catrin Jones also had a good run with no issues, with Barry joking that, “my lightweight navigator is speeding us up!” Finishing 9th MC2 & 11th o/a.

 

Team Mini Sport’s Clive King/Anton Bird were back fighting fit with their new engine, with Clive going on to add that, “with the slippy conditions we’re just being a little cautious, but the engine’s doing great – I’m just having to drive a little differently and get used to the quicker gear changes. It’s pulling stronger!” Clive & Anton were even having to flag down and re-route Martin Melling/Alex Holliday who managed to take a wrong turn heading to Stage! It wasn’t the only good-deed Clive & Anton had to take on this weekend, they also had to save Shane & Bob from sleeping on sofas at their hotel after a booking mishap meant their room was given away! Clive & Anton to the rescue indeed… All that and the superhero duo still had time to finish 2nd MC2 & 2nd o/a!

Ray Cunningham & Jared Gill | Mini Sport CupCongratulations go to Ray Cunningham/Jared Gill who have grabbed themselves another round win! Ray & Jared were setting the fastest times throughout the Stages and the car ran faultlessly. Ray went on to say that, “we’re having a blast! It’s just pretty slippy under the trees and the hairpins do creep up rather quickly!” Placing 1st MC2 & 1st o/a.

The generous Yokohama prize of two regulation tyres, used throughout the Championship, was won by Jack Hartley.

Post-event Scruitineering:
Ray Cunningham/Jared Gill and Jim Brindle/Sam Bould’s Mini’s were pulled up for post-event scruitineering by the MSA, however as the same with Clive King/Anton Bird at Abingdon, there was nothing to report – all cars complied to Championship regulations.

Mini Sport Cup 4th Round Overall Results:

1st – Ray Cunningham/Jared Gill
2nd – Clive King/Anton Bird
3rd – Jack Hartley/Gary Dawes

Mini Sport Cup 4th Round Class Results:

MC2
1st – Ray Cunningham/Jared Gill
2nd – Clive King/Anton Bird
3rd – Jack Hartley/Gary Dawes

MC3
1st – David Evans/Tom Aleksandrowicz

MC4
1st – Louise Thomas/Heidi Woodcock
2nd – Martin Melling/Alex Holliday

Full results from the Solway Coast Historic Rally can be found on the here.
To catch up with the 2018 Mini Sport Cup so far, please see here.
For more information on the Mini Sport Cup, please see our Facebook page here.
For more information on the ‘oldSTAGER’ please see the HRCR’s website here.