Differing fortunes for Lancaster and Morecambe crews on Malcolm Wilson Rally

Morecambe Car Club's Ashley Hodge and Steve Pugh in their York Brewery, Ford Escort Mk2.
Morecambe Car Club's Ashley Hodge and Steve Pugh in their York Brewery, Ford Escort Mk2.

Saturday saw a motor-sporting battle royal taking place in the Lakeland forests during the annual Malcolm Wilson Rally – co-organised between Morecambe Car Club, Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club and West Cumbria Motorsport Club.

The event is a round of the BTRDA Championships and uses the forests of Comb, Wythop, Grizedale and Greystoke for eight special stages held over the forest tracks.

The quality 96-car entry from all over the UK assembled at the premises of M-Sport at Dovenby Hall – owned by Malcolm Wilson – who has sponsored the rally for 39 years.

Bentham’s David Wright and Michael Wilkinson in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9 were seeded at number four with Ashley Hodge and Steve Pugh in a Ford Escort Mk2 seeded at 112.

Sadly the Wright and Wilkinson challenge ended at the service area – a failed alternator being diagnosed as the offending item.

However, the Hodge/Pugh Escort survived the gruelling route and took the crew to second in Class B11. They also picked up the Best Morecambe Car Club entered crew trophy.

Morecambe CC’s Aaron McClure and Tom Woodburn were driving one of M-Sport’s new breed of Fiesta rally cars running a few minutes ahead of the rally.

With fine weather predicted, the forest routes were lined with hundreds of spectators - enjoying high-speed competition and later in the day some glorious sunshine.

The rally was won in fine style by Paul Bird and Aled Davies in a Ford Focus WRC – the crew having a 13-second lead over Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton.

Arnside’s Wayne Sisson and Neil Shanks took ninth in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9.

Elsewhere, Morecambe Car Club’s Phil Sandham, from Bolton-le-Sands, and his driver, Lancaster’s Darren Atkinson, took their Atkinsons Sandblasting Ford Escort Mk2 down to mid-Wales on Sunday to compete on the Tour of Epynt.

They finished a superb ninth overall and second in the two-wheel drive class.

Report: GMS