Monday, 2 October 2017

Currie claims victory in Trackrod Fiesta finale

The DMACK ST Trophy championship reached it’s finale last weekend on Trackrod Rally Yorkshire and it was Tobermory’s Alasdair Currie who ended the season with a win after tying on time with Richard Wells.

Currie and co-driver Steven Brown got their event off to a great start, setting fastest time in the long Langdale stage ahead of 2017 title winner Sam Bilham.

Bilham’s hopes of rounding off his year with another win were dashed in stage two, Staindale, when a misfire caused him to stop for over five minutes: “We had to pull over but we got going again eventually, albeit at reduced pace. We rectified the problem in service but we’d lost too much time so just went out to enjoy ourselves. It’s a slightly disappointing way to end the season but we achieved what we wanted to this year with the championship win, that’s the main thing.”

Currie maintained his leading position in Staindale but it was Richard Wells and Calvin Houldsworth who were quickest in the stage, moving up to second on the Fiesta leaderboard.

Stages in Gale Rigg and Cropton were up next. Currie was fastest in Gale Rigg but only by 0.8 seconds from Wells. With his car back in good health it was Bilham who was quickest in Cropton.

Going into the last stage, in the notoriously tough Dalby forest, it was all to play for as Currie led Wells by just 5.2 seconds. In a very dramatic finish Wells beat Currie by exactly 5.2 seconds which meant that the two crews ended on the same time, Currie being classed as the victor on a tie-break ruling which gave him second overall in the championship and the prize of using a Castrol-backed Fiesta R2 on Wales Rally GB.

“It was a great end to my first year in the woods,” said Currie. “We have chased this result through the season. We struggled a bit early on as we were catching cars and losing time behind them. I’m delighted to get the win and the Rally GB prize drive.”

Despite losing out on the tie-break Wells was pleased with his result: “I really enjoyed the day. We had a steady start in Langdale which meant we had a big challenge to try and overhaul Ally for the rest of the event. We almost got there. The car ran faultlessly all day and I’m pleased I was able to bring the battle right down to the wire.”

Finishing third of the DMACK ST Trophy crews was Jon Ambler and Simon Jones who were challenging for third place on the end of season leaderboard.

“We didn’t push too hard as we were focussed on the championship,” commented Ambler. “In a rough and muddy rally it was nice not to have to take risks. We brought the car home with no issues or moments and it was very satisfying to get third after our retirement on the Nicky Grist Stages. Thanks to the organisers for a really enjoyable championship.”

Tom Easson and Abi Haycock were fourth: “We had a good run, we started strong but the second stage was a bit messy. I built confidence throughout the event and the times were improving. I made a couple of mistakes in Dalby which cost us some time but I still finished well which I’m happy with.”

After his problems in stage two Bilham finished in fifth place with the other Fiesta entrant, Martin Laverty, having to retire following a troublesome day which included power steering issues and an overheating engine.

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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Finlay takes top honours

Finlay Retson & Tom Hynd take their first DMack ST Trophy win, the former Scottish Junior Champion pace has been improving with each round. Aly Currie and Steven Brown felt a little off the pace in the morning but set fastest time on the final stage to finish second in their bid to win the R2 subsidised Drive and a free entry on WRGB National. Richard Wells and Calvin Houldsworth enjoyed a finish after a run of bad luck to finish third.

Report to follow...

Monday, 10 July 2017

Bilham takes 5th victory and ST Trophy title

The DMACK ST Trophy headed to Wales for the Nicky Grist Stages. Seven crews arrived in Builth Wells to tackle the tough gravel roads over the Epynt Military Ranges.
Sam Bilham and Cameron Fair just had to finish on the podium to clinch the 2017 ST Trophy title so they were under pressure to drive a calculated rally. Alasdair Currie and Steven Brown were unsure if they would make the event but eventually managed to secure the funding to continue their championship campaign. Fellow Scotts Finlay Retson and Tom Hynd had decided to continue their learning curve within the championship after their podium success on the Carlisle Stages. Jon Ambler returned to the championship after missing the last round and was teamed up again with Doug Chivers, the pair were hoping to take back the 2nd place position they had previously held in the championship. Rhydian Price and Peredur Davies made a welcome return and were looking forward to the event on local turf. Guy Butler and Jamie Mactavish were planning on building up their pace, as on the last round their confidence had been knocked following their roll on the Plains Rally. Martin Laverty had again made the trip over from Ireland and with Phil Kenny on the notes, the pair were keen to score points here in Wales.

Alasdair Currie and Steven Brown set the initial pace over the first three stages. Sam and Cameron had been pushing them hard but with Sam mindful of the championship, he was happy to hold 2nd place at this point. Disaster then struck for Currie in Stage 4 when a stub axle failed resulting in them losing a rear wheel and the car ground to a halt.

Sam and Cameron's hopes of taking the championship title then took a blow when they started struggling with gears on a road section and then the car finally sticking in one gear for the whole of the final stage of the morning. The crew managed to nurse the car back to the mid point service at the Builth Wells Showground where the team worked against the clock to repair the problem.

Jon and Doug's day didn't start too well either having a bottom ball joint shear off less than a mile into Stage 2. Jon managed to repair the problem and continued but sadly was OTL so were out of the event.

Finlay and Tom were having a clean run and using the event to gain experience of both the car and the stages, Tom still under instructions from the team to rein Finlay in to make sure they got the full mileage under their belts and gain as much experience as possible.

Rhydian and Peredur were also out to learn the car and gain experience, the all-welsh crew having not yet made it to a finish line this year due to mechanical woes so had admitted the plan was to just enjoy the rally and get to the finish.

Both of these young crews had a clean run through the morning stages.

Martin and Phil's engine unfortunately cut out mid way through Stage 4 and despite their best efforts were not able to find the problem so they became the 4th car to retire from the event during the morning.

Guy and Jamie had a steady start but were getting quicker each stage and the memory of that roll becoming more and more distant with every mile covered and by service had decided they were going to attack in the afternoon and try for a podium finish.

The afternoon stages were a repeat of the morning loop. All of the crews were aware of the now deteriorating condition of the stages so would be looking for clean lines to avoid the large rocks pulled out by the more powerful British Championship cars running ahead.

With the orange Fiesta ST back on form after its gear selection issues of the morning, Sam and Cameron had a faultless afternoon, conserving their tyres through the final stage they arrived back at Builth Wells with a convincing 5th consecutive victory. This also sealed their overall victory in the ST Trophy and so becoming 2017 DMACK ST Trophy Champions.

Finlay and Tom had opted for soft tyres on this event so with tyre wear an issue, they were pleased to make it home safely in an excellent 2nd place - a great resulting considering this is only the 17 year old's 2nd forest event.

Rhydian and Peredur, the coolest looking team in the ST Trophy were really pleased to get to the finish with miles under their belt that they so desperately needed.  Not only that, they were also over the moon to have taken the 3rd place on the podium.

Guy and Jamie had upped their pace to such an extent that they clawed back 17 seconds in the final stage to finish just 1.8 seconds behind the cool welsh crew, narrowly missing out on a podium position.

The champagne tasted that extra bit sweeter for Sam and Cameron on the podium with both event and championship victories to celebrate. Congratulations go to Sam & Cameron from the ST Trophy Team.

The crews now have a short summer break before the penultimate round of the championship which takes place at the Woodpecker Stages on 2nd September in Ludlow.


Monday, 12 June 2017

Bilham takes another victory

Sam Bilham and Cameron Fair take another win, whilst Alasdair Currie and Steven Brown finish runner setting fastest times in pursuit of the top spot. Finlay Retson and Tom Hynd finish an excellent third on Finlay's first forest event. More details later

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Currie dominates Plains Rally but Bilham wins again

Nine crews entered the DMack ST Trophy with new entrants Martin Laverty co driven by Phil Kenny and Matt Tordoff co driven by his father Tim Tordoff in the Rallyme clubman spec Fiesta ST taking the series registrations to 16 crews.
Alasdair Currie and Steven Brown set a stunning pace and fastest times on the three stages prior to service to hold a healthy lead of 15 seconds from Richard Wells and Calvin Houldsworth. Next up was Jon Ambler and Arwel Jenkins proving his third place on the previous round was no fluke. Sam Bilham and Cameron Fair were fourth not on his usual pace at this point.
Rhydian Price and Peredur Wyn Davies broke a drive shaft on stage 1 and Guy Butler and Jamie Mactavish rolled, carrying on to the end of the stage, but the belt driving the power steering and alternator had snapped, so they retired. Tom Easson and ABI Haycock were in fifth place. Martin Laverty and Matt Tordoff sixth and seventh.
The afternoon stages saw a complete change in the leader board as Alasdair Currie went out after breaking a drive shaft and Sam Bilham set some stunning times to overtake Richard Wells and Jon Ambler to take the lead going into the final stages.
Tom Easson's luck ran out after going off and the time it took to extract the car took them OTL. Richard Wells luck ran out for the second round breaking a driveshaft after proving again he can run at the front. Richard looks forward to the future rounds which he likes and hopes his luck improves.
The top three finishers were Sam Bilham and Cameron Fair, second Jon Ambler and Arwel Jenkins, followed by DMact ST Trophy debutantes Martin Laverty and Phil Kenny, all winning DMack tyre vouchers.
Thanks to all DMack ST Trophy Sponsors DMack Tyres, Zenith Racewear from Vital Equipment, Mintex, Philips Legal Solicitors

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