Stephenson and Windress capture Riponian crown

Riponian Rally winner Craig Stephenson and Ian Windress - pic by Jamie Grubb. (S)
Riponian Rally winner Craig Stephenson and Ian Windress - pic by Jamie Grubb. (S)

The Ford Focus WRC crew of Peter Stephenson from Kepwick and Ian Windress from Northallerton emerged victorious by 27 seconds on Sunday’s Riponian Stages Rally.

This was after early leaders Ben Mellors and Alex Lee of Chesterfield and their Proton Satria slid off into a ditch, during the second run through the Boltby Forest stage.

This initially handed the lead to Riponian regulars, Ian Joeland Graham Wood from Carnforth in a Ford Escort Cosworth, only for them to slide off and end up precariously balanced on the edge of a drop a couple of stages later.

Challenging these more sophisticated four wheel drive crews all day was Ripon’s Matthew Robinson with Sam Collis on the maps, in a ‘historic’ specification Ford Escort, eventually finishing second overall, 33 seconds behind the victors, on the muddy surface.

An excellent third place went to the Thirsk/Pickering pairing of Matt and Darren Smith in a 1400cc Ford KA.

Winners of the Best Ripon Motorsport Club crew went to brother and sister pairing of Gary and Kirsty Beckwith in their Ford Escort RS, whilst the Best Mixed Crew award went to the Thirsk team of Amanda Cornforth with father Derek in the co-driver’s seat in another Ford KA.

A number of crews had major incidents and most were forced into retirement.

However David Walbank and Ben Welch who rolled their Ford Escort heavily in the Waterloo stage, made it back to service at Thirsk minus their windscreen, where the event Scrutineer allowed them to continue, only for the crew to be classified as a non-finisher having missed the short Wass stage.