Swann and Garrod retain Premier Rally crown at Sherwood Pines

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MOTORSPORT and rally fans turned out in their hundreds to see Robert Swann and Darren Garrod retain their crown as the SA Gas Premier Rally and Premier Historic Rally returned to Sherwood Pines, writes Paul Horton.

Dukeries Motor Club members Swann andn Garrod were first off the in their Subaru Impreza N15 and were consistent throughout the event and never headed.

The event for its second year was run entirely within Sherwood Pines Forestry Complex near Kings Clipstone, Nottinghamshire as a single venue rally with six rally stages with a mixture of modern rally cars supported by the historic rally cars of the 70s and 80s in their own rally.

Second place went to the Hyundai Accent WRC of Andy Fenwick and Andy Roughead.

By the end of stage one they were 10 seconds behind the winners, but maintained second position for the whole of the rally, Fenwick being a master of asphalt rallying and this being his first forest rally in five years

Swann and Garrod were fastest on five out of the six stages with the other fastest time going to the overall third-placed car of John Lloyd/Adrian Cavenaugh in their Subaru Impreza S11.

Event sponsors Karl and Guy Simmons, in an immaculate Subaru Impreza N15 in black SA Gas colours, held onto fourth place overhaul comfortably with 1 minute 42 seconds separating then from the leading car.

Other Dukeries members in the top 10 included Gary Wayne/Andy Smith, in the Select Cars sponsored Subaru Impreza N15, and Shelly Taunt and Julie Murphy, in another Impreza, who finished seventh and eighth respectively.

Stage four was halted and red flagged for the Talbot Sunbeam of David Welch and Stuart Proctor. Near the end he felt unwell, stopping the car and was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. He was released later in the evening.

The Premier Historic Rally was won by leading entry Jason Lepley and Howard Pridmore in a Ford Escort RS2000, who was 22 seconds ahead of Dukeries members Chris Langthorne and Brian Spademan in another Escort RS2000 in second place overall.

Spademan, who now lives in Cyprus, was co-driving while over here on holiday.

Lepley held onto the lead from start to finish with fastest times on all six stages, closely followed by Langthorne, again finishing second fastest on all the stages.

Third place went to John Baker/Seyyan John in an Escort Mark 2, who were 3 minutes 26 seconds behind Lepley.

Other finishers included Charlie and David Blaney, from Mansfield, and of Clowne and District Motor Clu,b in an Escort MK2 in sixth, and also Dukeries members Jim Hinchliff / Stephen Mazzitelli in a MG Midget 1275, the oldest car in the rally, finishing eighth spot and taking the Historic Category 1 Trophy.

Car 206, the Datsun 240Z of Nick Jarvis and Alan Carfrae, retired on Stage five with mechanical problems.

The format for the Premier Rally, which used a compact route entirely within Sherwood Pines, received praise for the second year running from crews that took part, and many are already looking forward to the event in 2013.

There was also praise for the marshals and officials for the event that was organised by Dukeries Motor Club.Dukeries Motor Club.

Anyone interested in becoming a member can get more information on the club’s website www.dukeries-motorclub.co.uk.

The meets on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at Mansfield Rugby Club, Eakring Road, Mansfield.