“As the saying goes, March blows in like a Lion and out like a Lamb, however, on the Rally scene this past weekend March 3/4th has been a fairly eventful affair with more of a Lion’s roar.
On the British scene, the second round of the BTRDA and English Rally championship was in focus in the form of the Malcolm Wilson Rally based in Cockermouth Cumbria.
The forestry staged rally hosts fantastic access for public spectatorship, with Rally scrutineering and Pairc Feirme was held in M-Sport headquarters in Cockermouth itself.
Malcolm Wilson stages usually attracts a large host of talent, this year the Irish scene was quieter than normal with British drivers/co-drivers holding their own for top seeds and overall wins.
Hugh Hunter and co-driver Andy Marchbank clenched the coveted first place just 3 seconds faster than Scottish Penrith based driver Paul Bird with infamous Scottish female co-driver Kirsty Riddick.
Bird having won the rally previously in 2004, 2005 & 2007 was disappointed to have missed out on the first place by the narrowest of margins, but the battle was well and truly deserved to Hunter/Marchbank performance.
Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton took third position and Michael O’Brien/Patrick Walsh following closely behind for fourth. The next round of the REIS Get Connected BTRDA forest stages will take place in Somerset 21st April.
The Irish Woods were also a good playground for Rally fans this weekend with Carrick-on-Suir Motor Club hosting the second round of the Irish Forestry Rally Championship for 2012. Rally superstar driver, Waterford based Craig Breen, topped the entry list going into the rally.
Breen was using the Willie Loughman Forest Rally as a practice run ahead of Rally Portugal at the end of March.
Breen with regular British co-driver Gareth Roberts, dominated throughout the one day event with Fermanagh based Garry Jennings with co-driver David Moynihan took second place behind Breen/Roberts. Vincent McAree with co-driver J P McAree held third position, Colin Briton and co-driver Arthur Kierans taking fourth overall. Jennings maximised his points to take a good lead in the forestry championship having one the opening round in the Donegal Forest Stages Rally back in January.
We look forward to the next round of the Irish Forestry Rally Championship, Moonraker Stages hosted by the Munster Car Club on April 15th 2012.”