More than 100 of the UK’s top rally crews took part in the annual Malcolm Wilson Rally – jointly organised by Morecambe Car Club, Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club and West Cumbria Motorsport Club.
The ceremonial start was in the main street of Cockermouth, the crews then heading into the classic Lakeland Forests of Coombe, Wythop, Grizedale and Greystoke – the final two hosting two stages each.
Local crews competing were David Wright and Steve Pugh, Grove Hill Garage Bentham Ford Focus WC 01, seeded at five, Wayne Sisson and Neil Shanks, Arnside Motorsport Mitsubishi EVO X, at number eight and Phil Burton and Mal Capstick, Millington, Westgate Tyres, Loss Insurance Escort 2, at number 24.
With the rally finish at mid-afternoon, the crews had a 7am start and within a few minutes were queueing for the stage start in Coombe.
Overnight rain was now a fine ‘mizzle’ making the loose surfaces treacherous with incidents and ‘moments’ aplenty. Crews had travelled from as far as Ireland, northern Scotland and Wales.
Burton’s successes have attracted several sponsors which include 1Media, BDS BioFuels, Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery, Lune Valley Car Sales and more recently Jon Wright and sons (builders).
It was a day of mixed fortunes for many crews – including Bare’s Burton – who admitted he was off his normal pace for the first few stages.
The first crews headed into the Grizedale complex – the forest was shrouded in mist, making competitive progress ‘interesting’.
This popular rally always attracts hordes of spectators, and this year wasn’t any different with Grizedale’s rallying heritage seeing many hundreds of people enjoying the spectacle.
It was here that Burton turned up the proverbial wick and found he was leading his class. However, on SS7, a blind crest and sharp corner caught the car, nose-diving it into a ditch.
Thankfully people were nearby and helped extricate the car with a resulting time loss. The last special stage of the day, Greystoke 2, saw the flying Burton record a time 10 seconds faster than his earlier visit which elevated the crew to 17th overall and a class win.
Day-long rally leaders Wright and Pugh were pipped at the post by Charles Payne and Carl Williamson in their Ford Fiesta. Arnside’s Wayne Sisson and Neil Shanks took third place on the podium.