Saturday’s annual Malcolm Wilson Rally, co-organised by Morecambe Car Club, Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club and West Cumbria Motorsport Club, received what was probably the highest quality entry of any UK forest rally for many years.
The rally, a qualifying round of the BTRDA/Ravenol Oils REIS Insurance/Mintex and Historic Rally Car Register Championships turned out to be the first round of the Championship due to the first event, the Cambrian, being abandoned due to extreme weather conditions.
The 137-car entry was presented with seven of the Lake District’s best and most popular forest stages – Hobcarton, Comb, Wythop, Grizedale (north and south) and two final stages in Greystoke Forest.
Local interest came in the form of Bentham’s Dave Wright and Steve Pugh, seeded at eight in their Grove Hill GPM Bentham Tyres Ford Focus WRC 01, Wayne Sisson and Neil Shanks (11) in their Arnside Motorsport Mitsubishi Evo X, Crag Bank’s Ian Joel (Crag Bank) and Graeme Wood (21) in Ian’s MRF Tyres/Fuchs Lubricants Escort Cosworth, Graham Coffey and Bare’s Tom Woodburn (34) in Ford Fiesta WRC and Heysham’s Mike Wolff and Mark Twiname (109) in their C&C Fabrications/BayMix Concrete/Builders Supply (west coast)/ HG Vehicle Services/TEG-Sport BMW Compact.
Punctures, mechanical issues and slippery forest tracks kept crews busy throughout.
Wright and Pugh battled hard and narrowly missed a podium place, while Sisson and Shanks collected a xlass win and 10th overall.
Joel and Wood achieved a second in their class award and 13th overall while Woodburn and Coffey finished in 28th overall.
Wolf and Twiname possibly had the highest finish from their 109 seeding – bringing their BMW into 52nd place and fourth in class.
In total 40 cars failed to make the finish of this gruelling rally.