Dalby Gravel Sprint event report

Malton Motor Club attracted just under 30 enthusiastic entrants for the fifth annual Dalby Gravel Sprint held on Sunday 3rd November. Supported by MEM and Rolltek, the event lived up to its reputation for providing split second finishes and this...

Malton Motor Club attracted just under 30 enthusiastic entrants for the fifth annual Dalby Gravel Sprint held on Sunday 3rd November. Supported by MEM and Rolltek, the event lived up to its reputation for providing split second finishes and this year was no exception, with Kevin Proctor winning the battle of the Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworths from Matt Yeadon by just three seconds.

With heavy rain the day before the event, the roads remained in remarkably good condition as competitors had two practice runs and six competitive timed runs, utilising the famous Dalby woodyard complex as the main spectator area. Fortunately, the crews contested the event under blue skies, making for a constantly changing surface to test their skills on in the three mile loop of stage.

Proctor overcame a broken driveshaft to record a super fast time on the morning loop of stage, just fractions ahead of Yeadon and the Mitsubishi Lancer of Chris Smith. The much fancied Richard Watts was having a tougher time of things. His Escort Cosworth was struggling with an engine misfire that the team were not able to fix completely. Watts to his credit never gave up the fight, and a better time in the afternoon would net fourth overall. Proctor was equally as fast in the afternoon, holding off both Yeadon and Smith in the process to take a well deserved win after a spirited drive.

The battle for two wheel drive honours was always likely to be a tight one, with a multitude of the venerable Ford Escort RS's being wheeled out to do battle. Pick of the bunch was Tim Pearcy, who finished an excellent fifth overall in conditions not best suited to two wheel drive. Event sponsor and supporter Craig Dykes was in impressive 8th, despite clobbering a straw bale and having to wear a back support to combat some severe back pain.

Strangest incident of the day involved popular local driver Mark Simpson in his rapid Nissan Micra. Simpson joined the organising team the day before the rally to help mark out the stage, but unfortunately rolled the Micra on the afternoon practice run - ironically in the same spot that he had helped mark out.

Although the event didn't get as many entries as it would have liked, the organisers put on an excellent and well run rally sprint, with no delays for the competitors. That, combined with the good weather and an excellent close finish in nearly all the classes made for an enjoyable day for competitors, marshals, spectators and organisers alike.

Top Ten Finishers - Dalby Gravel Sprint - Aggregate Times:
1st Kevin Proctor / Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth / 6.17.4
2nd Matt Yeadon / Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth / 6.20.0
3rd Chris Lewis / Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 / 6.23.0
4th Richard Watts / Ford Escort Cosworth / 6.28.2
5th Tim Pearcy / Ford Escort RS / 6.35.2
6th Craig McIntosh / Ford Escort Cosworth / 6.37.7
7th Dave Bellerby / Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth / 6.41.2
8th Craig Dykes / Ford Escort RS / 6.43.6
9th Tony Arnsby / Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7 / 6.47.3
10th Steve Magson / Opel Kadett RWD / 6.53.6

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Mark Simpson , Chris Smith