This years 54th Rainworth Skoda Dukeries Rally based around Sherwood Forest turned the 44 miles and 10 forest stages into dusty conditions you would see on a World Rally Championship in Greece for the 120 car entry that took part last Saturday, writes Paul Horton.
Credit again goes to organisers Dukeries Motor Club and sponsors for the last 10 years Rainworth Skoda, who made the event a success, and to all the officials and marshals that helped, some wearing dust masks due to the conditions in the forests.
Winners Charlie Payne and Paul Spooner in their Ford Focus WRC, who had sights on the crown before the start of the rally, secured their first win of the year. Top REIS Get Connected BTRDA Rally series co-driver Spooner said before the Rally start from Southwell Racecourse that they had to win to maintain their title challenge, and that what they did.
They set joint fastest time on the first of the 10 special stages and maintained their lead throughout the rest of the day. Spooner also became the first co-driver to have four victories to his credit, the first coming back in 1999.
Title leader Connor McCloskey skipped the rally due to getting married.
Runners-up were Stephen Petch and Ian Windress in another Focus WRC, with the Subaru Impreza S10 of Kevin Rowledge and Andrew Bargery making it to third place on the final stage in a battle with Jamie Anderson/Ella Flynn in their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 by one and a half minutes and winning the Group N category.
Dukeries Motor Club members Andy Fenwick and co-driver Andrew Roughhead in their Hyundai Accent WRC finished seventh overhaul, Fenwick taking the Dukeries Clubman’s Trophy for the best-placed Dukeries MC Driver
Gary Wayne and Andy Smith’s in the Select Cars-sponsored Subaru Impreza finished 15th overall and Andy Smith won the Taylor Salver for Best Dukeries MC Co-driver
The Escort MkII RS1800 of Jason Lepley/Howard Pridmore regulars to local rallying took top honours in 14th place overall and winning the two-wheel drive category.
The first three cars back to Southwell Racecourse in the category were all Ford Escorts, Simon Tysoe and Cliffy Simmons and the Mk I Escorts of Peter Smith and Patrick Walsh in second and third.
Dukeries Motor Club member Peter Beer with co-driver John Pickavance finished fourth in the Historic two-wheel drive category and 22nd overall in the popular red ‘Cossock’ livered Ford Escort RS, bringing back memories of the late Roger Clark days.
Last year’s winners Julian Wilkes and Will Rutherford-Child’s Vauxhall Nova VXR190 dominated the 1400cc category and, with four wins in four rallies, continue to lead the 2013 MSA English Rally Championship and BTRDA 1400 Championship.
They finished a minute ahead of Roger Priestnall and Jamie Forrest in a Proton Satria, third going to the Peugeot 106 of Harry Gardner and Elliot Graham, 20 seconds behind them.
Other Dukeries Motor Club Members that that made it back to the finish at Southwell in the top 50 included the Subaru Impreza of Steve Marriott and Sam Collis (18th), Andrew Mcarthur and Phil Rushton Subaru Impreza (31st), Mark Mazzitelli and Peter Butler Ford Escort MK2 (40th) Chris Skill and Glenn Hall Ford Escort (41st).
See more action photos of the Dukeries Rally at www.chad.co.uk and Paul Horton Motorsport Photography website paulhortonphotography.co.uk.