Sixty crews gear up for 2013 Riponian Rally

Picture  courtesy of  Kevin Procter and Dave Bellerby in Specsavers Christmas Stages Rally action. (s)
Picture courtesy of Kevin Procter and Dave Bellerby in Specsavers Christmas Stages Rally action. (s)

Ripon Motor Sports Club has attracted over 60 crews to its major event of the year, the Riponian Rally, which begins at Thirsk Business Park this Sunday.

Top seeded competitor is Ripon’s own dairy businessman Charlie Payne, with co-driver Craig Thorley of York’s Just Ferries business in their ‘World Rally Car’ specification Ford Focus.

This pair hold the record for the most number of wins on this event, six so far, and will be hoping to make it lucky number seven this year. They come match fit and prepared for the forests, following a strong fifth place on last weekend’s Wyedean Rally in the Forest of Dean. Close behind comes Able UK proprietor Peter Stephenson with Northallerton’s Ian Windress alongside reading the route, in Peter’s similar specification Ford Focus WRC. Hoping to knock Payne of the top spot.

Not to be outdone by the lead pair is number 3 seed and event sponsor Kevin Procter, himself a two-time previous winner of this rally and successful rallycross competitor. Kevin will have the equally experienced Dave Bellerby as co-driver on Sunday, in the pair’s Subaru Impreza World Rally Car.

Event regulars off at number 4 are Carnforth’s Ian Joel and Graeme Wood in their slightly older specification Ford Escort Cosworth, upholding west Pennine honour.

Leading two-wheel-drive competitor is Martyn Hawkswell at 6 in his Ford Escort Mk2. Ripon MSC driver Matt Robinson appears at number 7, fresh from winning the club’s own internal championship in 2012, closely followed by fellow Ripon driver Jonathan Kitchen at 8. Both drive modern specification Ford Escort Mk2 cars, not to be confused with the similar shaped entries in the Historic section, along with fellow Ripon crew Rob Herrington / Charlotte Banner at 16. Leading the field away from the start at Thirsk Rural Business Centre on Sunday morning will be another previous Riponian winner, Tim Pearcey, driving his Willogreen Homes Ford Escort.There will be a few “Historic category crews then who are younger than their cars. Perfectly placed to spring a surprise on the lead historic pair come another Ripon MSC crew , Charlie Taylor and Steve Bielby in their equally successful Ford Escort at 102.The event’s oldest competitor, Bob Bean, will also be running in his Historic Lotus Cortina at 110.

Bob is a former winner of the Riponian in 1980, when the rally was still a night-time event on tarmac. The first car is away at 8.30am.

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