The hotly contested KUMHO Clubmans Championship makes a welcome return to action on May 31st, as the crews tackle the Mutiny Rally, based in Llandrindod Wells. The forestry event looks set to be another classic test of the clubman competitor with...
The hotly contested KUMHO Clubmans Championship makes a welcome return to action on May 31st, as the crews tackle the Mutiny Rally, based in Llandrindod Wells. The forestry event looks set to be another classic test of the clubman competitor with all the main KUMHO championship protagonists taking part.
Testament to the competitive nature of the KUMHO championship, the top five drivers are separated by less than five points after the Astra Stages. Consequently, its anyone's championship after two tough rallies so far this year.
2003 has seen two different winners on the opening two rounds. Kent driver James Potter took the honours on the Kall Kwik Rally in Yorkshire after a very finely judged drive to win by 13 seconds from Hull man Andy Carter.
Round Two, the Astra Stages, was equally close. Alistair and Andrew Adams grabbing the win, just pipping the flying 1600cc Ford Escort of Ieuan Rowlands and Andy Davies after both Potter and Carter had puncture woes.
The Mutiny Clubmans event is likely to be just as fiercely fought. Potter, Carter, Adams and Rowlands will be giving it their all as they look to build on their points tallies so far. One man who has been steady but consistent so far this year is Steve Magson, from Pickering in Yorkshire.
Steve and co-driver Geoff Atkinson would probably get the award for having the most intriguing car in the line up. Their ex-George Hill Vauxhall Astra RWD is something of a unique piece of rallying history. Originally built by Safety Devices for Hill in the early eighties, the car has undergone a few minor changes since then.
Based on a Mk1 Astra shell, the car was converted to rear wheel drive, and is powered by a mighty 2.5 V6 Omega engine. With six throttle bodies included, the engine pumps out just under 300bhp. An Opel Manta 400 gearbox and a Jaguar independent rear axle all contribute towards making one of the most exciting rally cars to drive on the stages.
Last year Magson entered three Welsh events and lasted for one stage on each! Fortunately this season has brought 100% more reliability, and the pairing are aiming for another Top 5 placing in Llandrindod Wells after two strong points scoring finishes so far, leaving them just five points off the championship lead.
Other drivers likely to cause an upset include Craig Dykes, with Donna Harper on the notes. Craig's fearsome Hart engined Ford Escort RS is one of the most powerful rear wheel drive rally cars in the championship, but luck has deserted the Yorkshire duo this year. Dykes however is a determined character and expect them to be on the pace once the rally is underway.
Ieuan and John Rowlands will also be two drivers to watch on home soil. The Welsh brothers from Ffestiniog drive identical Ford Escorts - right down to their patriotic red white and green colour schemes. Ieuan Rowlands is hugely talented and will be right on the pace of the more powerful cars. John tends to be the steadier of the two - but is likely to be knocking on the door of the Top 5 if all goes well.
Allan McDowall is another driver likely to be up there by the end of the day. The Scot drives a RWD Opel Kadett and has featured well on the leaderboard after two rounds, holding an excellent fourth place in the standings ahead of Magson. Just behind Magson is Paul Daniel, the York driver having a tough time of things on the Astra Stages with engine troubles, but will be relishing the chance to visit the forests of Mid Wales.
Two 1600cc cars also feature strongly within the top ten of the series. Ian McCulloch and Rory Oliver Hall bring their Toyota Corolla Twin Cam back to Wales after an enjoyable time on the Astra Stages (despite running without a service crew), whilst Preston driver David Gratrix brings his unusual Fiesta to the event, after two well placed points scoring rallies so far. <pre> KUMHO Clubmans Championship Positions after Round Two - Astra Stages:
1 Alistair Adams 43 points 2 James Potter 39 points Andy Carter 39 points Allan McDowall 39 points 5 Steve Magson 38 points 6 Iain Shirlaw 27 points 7 Paul Daniel 26 points 8 Ian McCulloch 25 points 9 David Gratrix 23 points 10 Ieuan Rowlands 22 points