After the last minute cancellation of the event in 2013 due to a military exercise, the anticipation and interest was extremely high with a large and varied entry of 55 crews in 20 different makes of cars set to tackle the stages at Sculthorpe airfield near Fakenham. Escort Mk2’s and Subaru Imprezas were most popular with 6 of each entered.
Colin Shinkins and his team from Kings Lynn and District Motor Club had prepared a challenging days rallying with 8 stages totalling 80 competitive miles. On Saturday the organising team set out the course using over 1000 cones and dozens of straw bales to mark the route. This year we were blessed with dry if cloudy and breezy conditions, making the stages very fast and exciting for the crews and more comfortable for the marshals who are essential for the safe running of the rally, many coming from other clubs to support the event.
Top seeds Simon Mauger with KLDMC member Brian Cammack pointing the way were fastest out the blocks in their Metro 4M4 as first car starting at 09.00 on Sunday morning with David and Alice Tinn only 3 seconds behind in their immaculate Mem Millington Satria. Both crews sadly retired with electrical issues after stage 2 and 3, Mauger/Cammack returning under super rally to entertain with some exceptional driving. This gave the leader board at lunch after 4 stages as:
1.Rob Lowe/ Stephen Shephard (Group A Subaru) 40m 45s
2.Richard Edwards/Andy Hollingham(Escort Mk2) 41m 22s
3.Ross Daniels/Paul Mankin (Subaru) 41m 38s
It was tight for the next places with only 5 seconds separating 3rd to 6th.
Four more stages between 9 and 10 miles each kept the crews busy with 3 times previous winner Rob Lowe’s car control very impressive and he went in to the last stage with a lead of just over a minute. However the crew had to push the car over the finish line and losing 3 minutes but still finished 6th. Local crew of Steve and Jack Tilburn in the Hylton Gott Escort Mk2 made a huge effort with equal fastest times on the last 2 stages but just missed out on a podium by 12 seconds to Richard Edwards( Escort) who finished 3rd overall. Steve described the tight technical stages as very hard work behind the wheel “ my gear change arm was going like a fiddlers elbow and my feet as a tap dancer at one point”.
The overall winners after staying in the top 3 for most of the day were Ross Daniels/Paul Mankin (Subaru Impreza) , finishing 26 seconds clear of the 2004/5 winners Mark Jasper/Don Whyatt in their Mk2 Escort . In the classes Andrew and Dennis Turner won class B and 7th overall in the Citroen C2R2 Max. Class A (up to 1400cc) was won by Kings Lynn father and son crew of David and Paul Smalley in the Vauxhall Corsa after a day long battle with the Micra of Douglas Hall.
All competitors deemed the event superb with spot on organisation and challenging stages and vowed to return next year. The large entry has enabled the club to make a substantial contribution to the East Anglian air Ambulance.
For full results and stage times go to http://www.vola-racing.com/rallypro/nicholls/