UK: Rallye Sunseeker summary

Peugeot TOTAL 206 Super Cup Round 1- Rallye Sunseeker 27/28th February MacHale Comes of Age It was a Christmas card scene that greeted competitors when they arrived in Bournemouth for Rallye Sunseeker, the first round of the 2004...

Peugeot TOTAL 206 Super Cup
Round 1- Rallye Sunseeker
27/28th February

MacHale Comes of Age

It was a Christmas card scene that greeted competitors when they arrived in Bournemouth for Rallye Sunseeker, the first round of the 2004 Peugeot TOTAL 206 Super Cup. However bright sunshine had melted some of the heavy overnight snow and the two spectator stages on Friday evening through Bournemouths Winter Gardens and onto the promenade took place in dry but bitterly cold conditions.

Twenty one Peugeot 206s took the start but it was regular competitor Paul Jones who led the field in the overnight results with a flyer on Stage 1 (Chris Moore with new co-driver Hamish Campbell who took fastest time on Stage 1, a feat he claims to have performed on the first stage of every event in the last four years of the Championship). Another regular, Jon Tucker, had a disastrous start when his car cut out on the start line, losing him 40 seconds.

Saturday dawned a little warmer and slightly overcast but the forest stages were treacherous with patches of snow and ice. Paul Jones co-driver Darren Garrod had survived further overnight dramas when his car was broken into and wrecked, but Bournemouth Council stepped in to look after him in a local hotel and provide him with a loan vehicle.

Overnight leader Paul Jones set the pace on the first stage of the day, the 2.8 miler through Hurn, then Stuart Jones took a hat-trick on the following three. At the end of stage 4, Stapehill, Paul Jones was 34 seconds ahead of Chris Moore, who was only 0.2 seconds ahead of Stuart Jones and Gareth MacHale in joint third place. However, everything was to change on Stages 5 and 6, Ashley Heath (4.5 miles) and Mount Ararat (10.6 miles). Rodney Wilton slid off on Stage 5, and was caught by Gareth MacHale who was unable to stop on the ice and damaged both cars in the ensuing collision. Newcomers Simon Taft/Phil Peak retired after hitting a tree and breaking a steering arm. Moore had a frustrating off losing one minute and Mike Faulkner lost two minutes in a ditch. He said I had to use the handbrake at 100 mph to get the car to turn in, but it didnt work and I went off.

Clive Wheeler also lost at least two minutes and most other crews reported big moments. Alastair Moffatt said I ran out of fingers and toes counting the number of times I went off and he subsequently reported a full lock to lock moment at high speed on Stage 7. Newcomer Mike Harris Jnr was in sixth gear on Stage 6 when his brakes failed and he rolled, despite using the handbrake and a snowbank to slow down.

At the following Service, Paul Jones was still in the lead but Stuart Jones had narrowed the gap to 14 seconds with Tom Boardman two seconds behind and Gareth MacHale only one second behind in fourth place. Stage 8 saw Paul Jones lead further eroded until Gareth MacHale took over number one spot on Stage 9 when both Joness had problems.

After a fine start for Tom Boardman, the Lancastrian had a storming rally up until Stage 9 when he goosed the car after hit some deep ruts, pushing the sump guard back and holing the radiator. He commented; I thoroughly enjoyed this rally. Its just a shame that I came off worse. Co-driver Richard Pashley (former co-driver to 2003 206 Super Cup winner, Shaun Gallagher) commented: Im really impressed Shaun would be too, hed want to know who this guy is! Its been an interesting rally getting used to Pattersons notes again Ive used my own notes for the last two years. Tom has been neat, clean and tidy all day.

Into service two and the ruts were the topic of discussion. Alistair Moffatt and Stephen Petch were concerned about the stages breaking up. Ieuan Rowlands who admitted he had been slow and over cautious in the morning planned to avoid the ruts and push on. Jonathan Sparks had a problem, almost used to the tyres he said, Its very rutted in there. We had a few moments bit nothing too drastic. MacHale had extended his lead to 14 seconds over Paul Jones, with Stuart Jones a second behind and Rowlands moving up into fourth.

Stage 11, one of the three runs through Somerley Park stately home was slippery and all the competitors reported lack of grip. Fifth finisher Alister Moffatt completed the stage with no cooling fan, worried that the engine would overheat he commented; I had to drive consistently. Meanwhile Cup newcomer, Steve Petch junior came off best when he hit two pheasants! Staunch Peugeot supporter Trevor Martin called it a day after struggling with exhaust problems retiring his sick car in service.

Into Stage 12 and 13 and MacHale was still leading, Stuart Jones held second place and Rowlands moved into 3rd. Winter Cup winner Rowlands commented; Its very rutted out here, difficult to drive.

The MacHale/Jones battle continued into Stage 14 with Jones managing to take the lead from MacHale but not for long. MacHale was there to defend his position and edged back in the lead once more by 11.3 seconds. This was despite Jones having lights for the dark stages courtesy of newcomer Mike Harris who decided that he would loan his lamp pod to assist Jones bid for a second Rallye Sunseeker win in two years.

After a battle down to the wire for the lead, 2003 Late Challenge Cup winner Gareth MacHale (led for seven Stages) wins the first round of the 2004 Peugeot TOTAL 206 Super Cup.

206 Celebrity Cup car drivers BBC Southampton presenters Roger Johnson and Lucy Jackson had a ball on Rallye Sunseeker, pleasing Peugeot Motorsport Manager, Mick Linford by bringing the car back in one piece. Lucy commented; Its been fantastic and its all down to the team and a super car. Weve had a lot of fun and hope weve done a good job for Children in Need.

Peugeot TOTAL 206 Super Cup Results

1  Gareth MacHale/Clive Jenkins         1:23:22.9
2  Stuart Jones/Richard Edwards         1:23:32.4
3  Ieuan Rowlands/Kelvin Savage         1:23:49.6
4  Paul Jones/Darren Garrod             1.24.11.4
5  Alastair Moffatt/Mathew Pearce       1:25:32.0
6  Chris Moore/Hamish Campbell          1:25:46.7
7  Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy              1:27.09.5
8  Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson      1:27:31.0
9  Rodney Wilton/Derek Coleman          1:27:54.6
10 Clive Wheeler/Ken Bartram            1:28:59.2
11 Jon Tucker/Scott Clevedon            1:29:19.8
12 James Robertson/Mike Rollo           1:30:04.3
13 Michael O'Brien/Simon Coates         1:33:20.9
14 Jonathan Sparks/Tony Bassett         1:36:03.0
15 Mike Harris_Jnr/Josh O'Connor        1:36:23.3
16 Roger Johnson/Lucy Jackson           1:41:22.7

Championship positions

Co-Drivers              Points  Posn
Clive Jenkins           30      1
Richard Edwards         25      2
Kelvin Savage           22      3
Darren Garrod           20      4
Mathew Pearce           18      5
Hamish Campbell         16      6
Peter Foy               14      7
Mike Wilkinson          13      8
Derek Coleman           12      9
Ken Bartram             11      10
Scott Cleverdon         10      11
Mike Rollo               9      12
Simon Coates             8      13
Tony Bassett             7      14
Josh O'Connor            6      15
Phil Peak                0      16
Kenny Hull               0      17
Ray Cleghorn             0      18
Richard Pashley          0      19
Howard Pridmore          0      20

</pre> The next round of the Peugeot TOTAL 206 Super Cup takes us to Wales, for the Astra Stages Rally, April 3rd.

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Tom Boardman , Paul Jones , Stuart Jones , Trevor Martin