Last Saturday saw more than 70 rally crews and their cars assemble at Skelwith Caravan Park for the start of the annual Grizedale Stages Rally, this year sponsored by the Hippo Motor Group.
Two local crews were Bentham’s Dave Wright/Steve Pugh in the ex-Carlos Sainz Ford Focus WRC, seeded at number two – the crew having missed out on winning last year’s rally by only a couple of seconds, the duo determined to try and win this year in their Grove Hill Garage sponsored car.
Heysham rally driver Mike Wolff had Mark Twiname reading the route from the co-driver’s seat in Mike’s home built BMW 3.0 Ltr.
Mike has had a 22-year absence from the sport and appears to have slotted instantly back into the groove, his success having attracted backing from HG Vehicle Services, BayMix Concrete, CC Fabrications, Builders Supply West Coast and TEG-Sport.
The rally comprised of six special stages around the Coniston area, however the ‘meat’ of the rally was held in the notorious Grizedale Forest complex – scene of much rally action through the decades from world rally stars and UK crews too.
After a heavy overnight frost, competitors were going to need a lot of luck to go alongside their undoubted skills in order to keep their cars on the icy tracks – particularly in the shaded areas where patches covered quite a distance.
Success came for both local entries in the shape of another second overall for the Wright/Pugh Focus WRC, and, despite this being the first time using ‘pace notes’, the Wolff/Twiname BMW claimed the award for first in their class and 30th overall – despite having no rear brakes on the final stage.
There were 49 cars classed as finishers on this popular event.