CURPHEY WINS BATTLE OF ATTRITION

 

25-year old Richard Curphey scored a first rally victory on Saturday's Black Horse Forest Stages Rally, taking advantage in his Vauxhall Nova when the main four-wheel drive crews hit problems on the Conrhenny Plantation event. 

Reigning Manx champion Noel Kelly, with son James on the pacenotes, was joint leader after the opening stage with Andy Glaister (both drivers in Evo 6’s). Glaister, driving an ex-Richard Hill car for the first time, and co-driven by Chris Boyde, was fastest on the next two stages to move into a four second lead, with Donny Gill and Rob Clague (Evo 3) joint fastest on the last of those to move up to third.

However all three crews retired their various Mitsubishi's in the space of two stages, leaving Curphey and co-driver Andrew Holmes in charge.

Kelly set about a charge on the first double-lap test, but it came to nothing when he rolled out at three-quarter distance. That extended Glaister’s lead to 17 seconds, but driveshaft failure sidelined him on stage 5, and Gill only briefly inherited the advantage, retiring with head-gasket failure after the stage.

Curphey, with Andrew Holmes co-driving, assumed the lead but had to overcome a fight back from Matt Bettridge (Toyota Celica) over the final three stages. However, when Bettridge also ground to a halt with gearbox problems on the last stage of the event, victory for one of the up and coming stars of manx rallying was assured, the eventual margin 47 seconds.

‘It’s brilliant’, exclaied a delighted Richard at the finish. ‘We’ve driven hard, but only really had one scary moment on the very last stage. This is the longest established club rally on the island (It was formerly the Easter Stages), and it means a lot to get your name on a trophy alongside some of the best drivers we’ve ever had’.

Liverpool crew Malcolm and Richard Mawdsley (Subaru Impreza) set the fastest time on the final stage to snatch second place by virtue of count-back after tying with Mark Cubbon/Jonathan Turnbull (Ford Escort MkI).

A late puncture dropped the BMW of Kex Walker and Danni Matthews out of the top three, though fourth was still one of their best ever results.

Fifth place went to Steve Hayward and Dave Ford, who put in an error free drive first time out in a Peugeot 306, while Peter Harrison and Nigel Morris claimed the 1400cc class honours in their Peugeot 106, finishing sixth.

Trials star Steve Colley once again proved his pace in a rally car, spending much of the day in the top 6 in his self-prepared Vauxhall Astra, before late suspension problems saw him drop to seventh with Elizabeth Humphreys.

Among the main other retirements, Shaun Fox/Anton Cashen (Vauxhall Nova) went OTL just two corners into the first stage with a broken driveshaft. They did however tackle the remaining tests, in full Foxy crowd-pleasing style, setting fastest time on stage 5, but then lost a wheel on the final run of the day. 

Former champion Jimmy Howe (VW Polo) was another driveshaft victim, while gearbox problems ended Nigel Cannell’s day (Vauxhall Astra).

Just 12 of the 24 starters made the finish of the 33 mile event.

Final results

Pos

Crew

Vehicle

Total

 

 

 

mm:ss

1

Richard Curphey/Andrew Holmes

(Vauxhall Nova )

40.39

2

Malcolm Mawdsley/Richard Mawdsley

(Subaru Impreza )

41.26

3

Mark Cubbon/Jonathan Turnbull

(Ford Escort)

41.26

4

Kex Walker/Danni Matthews

(BMW 325)

43.49

5

Steve Hayward/Dave Ford

(Peugeot 306)

44.10

6

Peter Harrison/Nigel Morris

(Peugeot 106)

45.28

7

Steve Colley/Elizabeth Humphreys

(Vauxhall Astra)

46.09

8

Connor Corkill/Dean Quayle

(Ford Escort)

47.18

9

Peter Eaton/Tony Mitchell

(Ford Escort)

48.37

10

Richard Kneen/Tom Babbs

(Peugeot 106)

50.43

11

Martyn Jones/Leigh Jones

(Vauxhall Nova)

51.18

12

Walter Bridson/Darren Self

(Vauxhall Corsa)

52.08

 Class winners:

                 1400cc:         Peter Harrison / Nigel Morris      (Peugeot 106)
                 1600cc:         Martyn Jones / Leigh Jones       (Vauxhall Nova)
                 2500cc RWD:  Kex Walker / Danni Matthews    (BMW 325)
                 2500cc FWD:  Steve Hayward / Dave Ford      (Peugeot 306)

  • Round 2 of the Eurocars Motorsport Manx Rally Championship takes place on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March 2006. The Manx Auto Sport event will feature closed public roads and regulations and entries will be available later this week.