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RAC Rally of the Tests 2019
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Riviera Guy



Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:14 pm    Post subject: RAC Rally of the Tests 2019 Reply with quote

Torquay hosted the start of this years RAC Rally of the Tests on the 7th November . The 18th running of this event – and an event which some believe to be the toughest classic rally in the UK. It is the mix of tests and regularity which makes it particularly challenging – relentless for three days, a total of 750 miles.

The Rally of the Tests is the seventh rally of the eight rally HERO Cup Championship – Europe’s premier historic rally series.

Torquay has a long history with British rallying – the very first RAC rally in 1932 ended in Torquay with a Concours d’Elegance.

The Imperial Hotel was the rally base for the start as the cars of the 77 competitors were scrutineered on Wednesday.This ensures that all the cars meet technical regulations and do not exceed noise limits. Fortunately, the weather was kind and the sun shone for them on the English Riviera.

The rally is a mixture of 30 Tests and Regularities – being very exact on timing – penalised if a stage is completed too quickly, or too slowly. It really is about teamwork – the driver has to make sure he keeps the car on the road, but the co-driver has to do all the timing calculations and ensure that the correct route is followed.

The drivers are all amateurs – but many of them have a number of years of experience in historic rallies. The drivers / navigators are competing for HERO Cup awards – the premier classic regularity rallying series in the world. The cars are categorised under Motor Sport Association (MSA) / Motorsport UK rules. Category 1 cars registered before 1st January 1968; Category 2 registered between 1 January 1968 and 31 December 1974; Category 3 registered between 1 January 1975 and 31 December 1981; and Category 4 registered between 1 January 1982 and 31 December 1985.

Cars are further divided into 10 Classes – cars in Classes 7 to 10 are not eligible for classification in the overall results of this series. The majority of the cars competing were from the 60’s and 70’s. Many very desirable cars filled the car parks at the Imperial Hotel – Porsche 356’s and 911’s, Ford Escort’s, Lancia’s and Mini Coopers – there were examples of some of the most significant cars in rally history on show.

Of course, it is a special year for the Mini as it celebrates its 60th Anniversary – it would be fitting if one is first across the line in Chester on Sunday.

One of the Mini Coopers competing – and a strong contender for a win - was a 1965 example owned by Irish rally legend Paddy Hopkirk – the winner of the 1964 Monte Carlo. Paddy is now 86, and although he still does demonstrations, his days of rallying are sadly over. However, he has lent his car – 6 EMO - to Steve Entwistle and Mark Appleton. Paddy expects them to win the rally – Paddy, and co-driver Alec Poole won the 1990 ERA Pirelli Marathon in the same car – not much pressure there then!

The oldest car in the rally was the 1936 open top Bentley Derby of Stuart Anderson and Leigh Powley. This car had no roof – driving was for the hardy in the 1930s! Good waterproofs and warm headgear being essential for this crew.

The Rally of the Tests is part of a series of rallies held both in the UK and Europe and is a qualifying round of the 2019 Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation (HERO) Cup. It is rated as an “Advanced Class” rally. The series has a great reputation and its Communication Director is keen amateur rally driver and ex F1 team manager and now Sky F1 analyst, Tony Jardine.

There was a very international feel to the entry list with a number of drivers from Germany and Italy and many from Holland joining the British contingent.

Bart den Hartog, competing with Peter Naaktgeboren in a Porsche 356B, explained the large Dutch contingent on the fact that they enjoy the routes and tests on private, often MOD, land. The Dutch military do not allow it.

One car that stood out with its very bright blue paintwork was the Hillman Imp of Roger Powley and Brian Goff who have been competing on rallies since 1972. They are well known for their exploits in Porsche 911s, but the Imp is a new project, 12 years in gestation, and out on its first rally. Roger explained that this rally is very much a “shakedown”. He states that the Imp is basically a baby 911 – rear engine, but half the weight and handles like a go-kart! Perhaps the Porsche purists would have a different view.

One of the pre rally favourites were the very experienced crew of Paul Crosby and Andy Pullan in their immaculate Porsche 356B. A California export back in the day, Paul brought it to the UK from France.

On Thursday morning, there was scrutineering for the late comers, and then, late afternoon, the cars headed off to Exeter Racecourse for the start of the Prologue. This comprised the official start to the rally and the first Tests. From this, the teams were then seeded for their starting positions for the first full day on Friday. The crews only received their instructions for the first test half an hour before the start.
The first car over the start line and waived off with a Union Jack was Paddy Hopkirk’s Mini in the hands of Steve Entwistle and Mark Appleton. The rest of the field set off at one minute intervals.

At the end of the test, it was Mini’s occupying first, fifth and sixth places. Entwistle / Appleton from Kevin Haselden / Gary Evans and Bill Cleyndert / Tony Brooks. The Crosby / Pullan Porsche 356B was tenth, just ahead of one of the more unusual cars in the rally – the Ginetta G15 of father and son team of Mike Vokes and Matthew Vokes (2019 HRCR Champion navigator). They could be dark horses for a win.

Exeter Racecourse saw the first retirement after just one test – the 1965 Peugeot 404 of Sybren van der Goot / Maiko Wellink. The car was producing a lot of strange noises and smoke and just about crossed the line...into retirement.

After an overnight stop at the Imperial Hotel, on Friday the crews headed back to Exeter Racecourse for further Tests and then on to North Devon for the remainder of the day. On Saturday the rally takes in a special indoor stage at Hall 6 of the NEC Classic Motor Show, before taking on the sprint course at Curborough. The rally reaches its conclusion on Sunday afternoon in Chester. The crews will have completed 750 very gruelling miles by then.

Rally Update:
The rally did not disappoint those expecting a tough time.....and it sure lived up to its reputation with many crews confirming that it was the toughest Rally of the Tests yet! The competitors experienced all conditions......heavy rain and even snow added to the challenges that they faced over the 3 days driving on a variety of surfaces. A testament though to the build quality of the cars – there were only 13 retirements.

However, it was the Paddy Hopkirk Mini Cooper of Steve Entwistle and Mark Appleton that had led flag to flag and crossed the line first in Chester chalking up another rally win for this incredible car celebrating its 60th Anniversary and it was 54 years since a Mini won the RAC rally!

It was Steve Entwistle’s first major win in thirty years of rallying – he had taken a third and a second in previous Rally of the Tests. Navigator Mark Appleton was runner up last year with five time winner Paul Wignall in an Alfa Romeo. This was Mark’s sixth win – a record!

The incredible history of this Mini – 6 EMO – continues to grow. It has won the Rally of the Tests three times now - previously in the hands of Rauno Aaltonen and Roger Clark.

Second place was taken by Porsche racer Phil Hindley (only his second rally – his first six years ago) and Martyn Taylor in their Porsche 911 - 3 minute 48 seconds behind - and the final podium place went to Paul Dyas and Martin Pitt in a Volvo Amazon – 2 minutes 33 seconds adrift of the Porsche. It was a great climb up the leader board for the Volvo – it was 40th in the earlier stages of the rally.

To view a selection of pics from Torquay and the start at Exeter Racecourse, please visit my Flickr album:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/riviera_guy/albums/72157711890159112

Overall Classification for the Prologue – Torquay
7th November
Pos No Crew Car O'all Total O'all pos. Pos/ Class
1 1 Steve Entwistle / Mark Appleton MorrisMini Cooper S 00:00:46 1 1 C2
2 77 Alexander Leurs / Bas de Rijk Opel Ascona 00:00:54 ~ 1 C8
3 17 Phil Hindley / Martyn Taylor Porsche 911 00:00:59 2 1 C6
4 56 Kevin Haselden / Gary Evans AustinMini Cooper S 00:01:05 3 2 C2
5 2 Stuart Anderson / Leigh Powley Bentley Derby 00:01:07 4 1 C1
6 36 Bill Cleyndert / Tony Brooks MorrisMini Cooper S 00:01:09 5 3 C2
7 15 Jonathan Hancox / Richard Lambley Triumph TR4 00:01:12 6= 1 C5
8 38 Noel Kelly / Pete Johnson Volvo 122S 00:01:12 6= 1 C4
9 74 Clive Martin / Anji Martin Ford Escort 00:01:16 ~ 1 C7
10 19 Paul Crosby / Andy Pullan Porsche 356B 00:01:22 8 1 C3


Overall Classification for Day 1 - Torquay to Bristol
8th November
Pos No Crew Car O'all Total O'all pos. Pos/ Class
1 1 Steve Entwistle/Mark Appleton MorrisMini Cooper S 00:03:36 1 1 C2
2 65 Mike Vokes/Matthew Vokes Ginetta G15 00:03:55 ~ 1 C7
3 77 Alexander Leurs/Bas de Rijk Opel Ascona 00:03:57 ~ 1 C8
4 17 Phil Hindley/Martyn Taylor Porsche 911 00:03:59 2 1 C6
5 2 Stuart Anderson / Leigh Powley Bentley Derby 00:04:05 3 1 C1
6 57 Harm Lamberigts/Arjan van der Palen Ford Escort Mexico 00:04:47 ~ 2 C7
7 82 Thomas Bricknell/Roger Bricknell Volkswagen Golf GTi 00:05:06 ~ 1 C10
8 71 Matthew Abrey/Owen Turner Austin Mini 00:05:24 4 2 C2
9 26 Howard Warren/Iain Tullie Porsche 911 Coupe 00:05:40 5 2 C6
10 36 Bill Cleyndert/Tony Brooks MorrisMini Cooper S 00:05:43 6 3 C2

Overall Classification for Day 2 - Bristol to Yarnfield
9th November
Pos No Crew Car O'all Total O'all pos. Pos/ Class
1 1 Steve Entwistle / Mark Appleton MorrisMini Cooper S 00:09:29 1 1 C2
2 57 Harm Lamberigts/Arjan van der Palen Ford Escort Mexico 00:11:26 ~ 1 C7
3 17 Phil Hindley / Martyn Taylor Porsche 911 00:11:43 2 1 C6
4 65 Mike Vokes/Matthew Vokes Ginetta G15 00:11:47 ~ 2 C7
5 77 Alexander Leurs/Bas de Rijk Opel Ascona 00:12:01 ~ 1 C8
6 82 Thomas Bricknell/Roger Bricknell Volkswagen Golf GTi 00:13:58 ~ 1 C10
7 2 Stuart Anderson / Leigh Powley Bentley Derby 00:14:12 3 1 C1
8 59 Tim Sawyer/Andrew Duerden Ford Escort Mexico 00:15:07 ~ 3 C7
9 36 Bill Cleyndert/Tony Brooks MorrisMini Cooper S 00:15:27 4 2 C2
10 3 Seren Whyte/Elise Whyte Standard 10 00:16:22 5 2 C1

Overall Classification for Day 3 - Yarnfield to Chester
10th November
Pos No Crew Car O'all Total O'all pos. Pos/ Class
1 1 Steve Entwistle / Mark Appleton MorrisMini Cooper S 00:11:49 1 1 C2
2 57 Harm Lamberigts/Arjan van der Palen Ford Escort Mexico 00:13:47 ~ 1 C7
3 65 Mike Vokes/Matthew Vokes Ginetta G15 00:14:01 ~ 2 C7
4 17 Phil Hindley / Martyn Taylor Porsche 911 00:15:37 2 1 C6
5 82 Thomas Bricknell/Roger Bricknell Volkswagen Golf GTi 00:16:56 ~ 1 C10
6 27 Paul Dyas/Martin Pitt Volvo Amazon 00:18:10 3 1 C4
7 77 Alexander Leurs/Bas de Rijk Opel Ascona 00:18:26 ~ 1 C8
8 63 John Ruddock/Nick Cooper Ford Escort Mexico 00:18:52 ~ 2 C8
9 2 Stuart Anderson / Leigh Powley Bentley Derby 00:19:00 4 1 C1
10 59 Tim Sawyer/Andrew Duerden Ford Escort Mexico 00:19:30 ~ 3 C7
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Rick
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Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 21776
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the update, I put a few photos from the Rednal stages here the other day:
http://www.oldclassiccar.co.uk/forum/phpbb/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=21309

RJ
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Various 1920s-1960s - Austin, Morris, Commer, Dodge etc.
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