TO TC2-Punchbowl Inn, Barrows Green
A very good afternoon from the 2017 running of the Devils Own Rally – the deciding round of the HRCR Clubmans Championship in Association with Hagerty Classic Car Insurance and Amazon Cars.
A full to capacity entry of 65 cars left Greenlands Farm near Carnforth, but only for the first 300 metres as Mike Kirk / Graham Parker’s Ford Escort RS 2000 fan belt parted company with the engine pulleys shortly after departing MTC1. We have a quality entry with any one of the top 20 crews capable of winning an event, last year’s winning Driver, Guy Woodcock lead crews away at 12:31 with son-in-law Ryan Pickering on the maps, one minute behind them were Matt Warren and Andy Pullan in their Ford Escort Mk I, Andy keen to emulate last year’s win with a different driver.
The first action of the day was at the old Graveson’s Demolition yard where a mixed-surface test of loose gravel, broken tarmac and slippery concrete made for interesting going for the first crews. Geoff Hall / Paul Bosdet fell foul early on in the test with a slippery concrete pad sending their Mini (which was under full power at the time) skidding into cone E and costing the pair ten seconds in penalties. Nick Bloxham / Richard Crozier had a spin/stall in between cone D and E. It wasn’t just this concrete pad that caused problems, later in the test a section of loose around Cone I caused many crews to ‘almost’ go the wrong side - Navigators having to resort to a lot of arm waving to reign in their errant drivers.
The first regularities took place in the hills to the south east of Caton, starting at Tarn Brook and heading along the Crossgill Road to the first timing point at the summit of Caton Moor, the hairpin left not causing many issues but the following section was to take time off the majority of crews. Haylots Farm is a familiar name to local crews, it has had the ‘white’ road that used to be its notable feature resurfaced in the last five years but was still incredibly slippy with a mix of mud, gravel and farm-related detritus making the hairpins down to the farm difficult to traverse. This was the home of the second timing point and a run out through the ford at Winder Wood took crews to the third, two passage checks adding time to proceedings and pressing the crews into action as the third timing point came up at the top of the climb out of Winder Wood. Woodcock / Pickering were the class of the section with Warren / Pullan hot on their heels. Regularity two took crews through the infamous Gunnerthwaite white, Sean Bramhall / Mike Ashcroft wrong slotted here and missed the first timing point, for the first time in many a year, the route took in Keer Side and Wash Dub Wood before athird timing point at Crow Trees brough End of Regularity. Warren / Pullan were on a charge and took two seconds from Woodcock / Pickering.
Four tests took place in quick succession with a blast round Elm Tree Farm followed by three tests in Old Park, Paul Crosby / Matt Fowle had an excursion into a culvert, dropping them down the leaderboard, apparently, the crew kept their Porsche 911 going despite being in the ditch, their skill even allowing them to record the code board whilst off the road….
PROVISIONAL Top Five to Afternoon coffee
1 Guy Woodcock / Ryan Pickering 08:01
2 Matt Warren / Andy Pullan 08:08
3 John Ruddock / Nick Cooper 08:43
4 Nick Bloxham / Richard Crozier 08:45
5 James Griffiths / James Howell 09:02
More info and gossip from Holker Hall where we will be stopping for Dinner.
Thanks to all Crews, Marshals, and Officials.
From all the organising team at the Devils Own Rally, we are (honestly) very humbled at the response the event has received from when we opened the entry back in 2016. The HRCR Clubman Championship has some truly outstanding events in its calendar, to be here for the second time is a great honour, we have tried our very best this year to make the event as enjoyable and challenging for everyone - we hope that you do enjoy it.
It was a bit of a surprise to read the following article earlier today https://www.hrcr.co.uk/deciding-event-sting-tail/ and note that this year's championship is going down to the wire, as Ian says in this article, we are now becoming aware that several crews, some of them front-runners, may not make the start of the event. The first competitor to officially 'pull' their entry today was James Calvert in his (we believe) Uncle's Lancia, some unforeseen circumstances stopping James competing this year, unfortunately. It may well be that the full reserve list gets a run, we have personal experience of seeing a reserve list of twenty or more crews get a run on some events.
Just how close competitively the events are can be a real headache for organisers, where say, five years ago crews were fighting over five and six seconds per control, we are now looking at seconds in the top crews. On the recent HERO Challenge round, it was noted that the last eleven timing points accrued eleven or twelve seconds penalties in total from the winning crew, some going.
The HRCR is a great platform and does wonders in promoting historic Motor Sport throughout the UK, even if you don't compete, please consider joining the movement to keep our sport alive.
The next few days will be very busy for us all, hopefully, we will be keeping you all up to date with the live streaming, results updates, some blog posts etc.. but please be aware the event is held in very rural areas where sometimes there is little or no coverage at all.
From all of us here at The Devils Own Rally, a huge THANK YOU for your entries, for marshaling and officiating on the event, without you there would be no Devils Own..