The 52nd Rainworth Skoda Dukeries rally on Saturday looks set to attract a considerable amount of interest in terms of ‘record-breakers’ as, since it first ran in 1960, no one has won it on more than three occasions.
Four drivers - the late Roger Clark (1962/1972/1973), Brian Bell (1992/1999/2002), Andy Burton (1995/1996/2003) and Steve Perez (2006/2009/2010) – have achieved this feat.
But, aiming to take it one stage further, Burton and Perez will be lining up for the start at Southwell Racecourse as they try to make the record fourth victory theirs alone as the cars thunder through the local forests.
Chesterfield’s Perez, who is not contesting any particular championship this year, returns in his Ford Focus WRC not only to defend his title, but also in an attempt to become the first driver to win three consecutive Dukeries Rallies.
Burton, meanwhile, is chasing the Silverstone Tyres BTRDA Gold Star Championship title vacated by Perez and arrives in the East Midlands having taken outright victory on three of the four rounds of this year’s series that have taken place so far.
In terms of Dukeries successes, one must also not forget Perez’ co-driver Paul Spooner, who has won the rally three times in his own right.
He guided Brian Bell to the winning post in 1999 and 2002 and then took his third alongside Perez last year.
So, there is everything to play for and, of course, there will be any number of others who, while mindful of what is going on around them, will be concentrating first and foremost on trying to put their own names on the 2011 Rainworth Skoda Dukeries Rally trophy.
The event is the fifth round of the Silverstone Tyres BTRDA Rally Series and, having won the Somerset Stages in April outright, North Walians Hugh Hunter/Andy Marchbank (Ford Focus WRC) have the proven speed at this level to cause an upset.
For the latest spectactor information, including stage venues and times, get your copy of this week’s Chad.