WATSON POSES FORMIDABLE QUESTION

 

This weekends Black Horse Finance Stages Rally once again poses the question we’ve been asking for the last four years; who can halt Rob Watson’s victory run?

Well, in a superb entry of 53, the biggest in recent years, crews for the two-day Manx Auto Sport event, there are plenty prepared to give it a go.

The Kirk Michael driver has won every ‘club’ closed roads rally for since 2003, including March’s similar Jaks Bar/Porsche Centre Chester Rally. Add to that a dominant victory for him and Bruce Craig on the Star Services Trophy Rally section of Rally Isle of Man and there’s no doubt that the pair are once again the red hot favourites in the familiar Vauxhall Nova kit car.

However the rally once again has the look of last year’s event, when the opening night provided perhaps the closest rallying the island has ever witnessed. On that occasion George Collister and Janet Craine (Mitsubishi Evo 3) led Watson overnight, with Nigel Cannell (Vauxhall Corsa kit car) and Steve Quine (Vauxhall Astra) both within ten seconds.

These four drivers once again head the entry list and tonight’s (Fridays) tests are in similar country so we could once again be in for a thrilling battle.

Immediately behind there is a battalion of other Mitsubishi’s, headed by Mark Cubbon in his Evo 7. He was cruelly denied victory at Jurby in September and hopes to make amends. The first of 10 visiting crews, Dave Pattison and Andy Marchbank (Evo 6) are next and they are known to be an experienced and rapid crew.  

All this heavyweight machinery consigns Eurocars Motorsport Manx Rally Championship leaders Richard Curphey and Andrew Holmes (Vauxhall Nova) to a start number of 14. Securing points will be their main aim. Glenn Leece and Eunice Cubbon start behind as the top rear-wheel drive seed in Eunice’s glorious Mk1 Escort.

Irish legend Dessie McCartney will be one to watch, back in the familiar Porsche 911 similar to those he drove to great success in the 1970’s and 80’s. At the opposite end of the experience scale Steve Colley makes his ‘closed roads’ debut in a Vauxhall Astra.

The rally is underway from the TT Grandstand tonight at 7pm for the opening nine stages, split into three loops of three tests.  The opener crosses the Groudle Road before heading into Baldromma, the next tackles the notorious Glen Roy and finishes at Lonan Church, and the loop is completed over Dog Kennels, 5 mile corner and on to Creg-ny-Baa.

Tomorrow follows a similar pattern from a 10am re-start for the final nine tests. The three stage loop starts on Marine Drive and the Old Castletown Road before heading to Grenaby, Ronague and Round Table for the next. A stage at The Gate, St Marks, Ballacorris and the Clanna Road completes the set.

All servicing on the event is at the TT Grandstand, where the leading crews are due to finish the rally at 2.45pm.

  • Those reading on Thursday are reminded that scrutineering and signing-on for competitors and officials for this weekends’ Black Horse Finance Stages Rally takes place tonight. For competitors it is at Eurocars’ Peel Road premises and for officials it is the TT Grandstand. If you have a few hours to help marshal or timekeep either tomorrow night or on Saturday the organisers would be delighted to hear from you. Please either pop along to the signing-on session or Please contact Mandy Millward (marshals) on 209962 or Aine McLoughlin (timekeepers) on 260260.
     
  • A reminder that any media covering the event should also sign-on at Eurocars or contact Chris Boyde on 476608.
     
  • The presentation of awards for the event will take place at the Union Mills FC clubhouse on Saturday night, from around 8pm. It is free entry to all and the organisers would particularly like to invite everyone involved in organising the event, in whatever capacity.
     
  • Minister of Tourism and Leisure will continue his rallying ‘apprenticeship’ on the event. Following on from a run on the shakedown stage of Rally Isle of Man in July, tomorrow he will co-drive the ‘0’ car on the final loop of three stages, after which he is set to be on hand to congratulate the winners.
     
  • The rally is the penultimate round of the Eurocars Motorsport Manx Rally Championship. Richard Curphey tops the drivers standings going into the event on 98 points, with Kex Walker on 93, Martyn Jones 77, Mark Cubbon 67, George Collister 64 and Matt Bettridge 60 the rest of the top 6.
     
  • Andrew Holmes heads the co-drivers on 98 points, just three ahead of Danni Matthews. Leigh Jones has 79, with Janet Craine 63, Tom Babbs 57 and Nigel Morris and Kris Campbell tied on 48.
     

Seeded Entry List

 

 

 

 

No

Driver

Co-Driver

Vehicle

 

 

 

 

1

Rob Watson 

Bruce Craig

Vauxhall Nova Kit Car

2

George Collister    

Janet Craine         

Mitsubishi Evo 3           

3

Nigel Cannell

Norman Quayle

Vauxhall Corsa Kit Car 

4

Steve Quine

Richard Skinner

Vauxhall Astra

5

Mark Cubbon

Jonathan Turnbull

Mitsubishi Evo 7

6

Dave Pattison

Andy Marchbank

Mitsubishi Evo 6

7

Noel Kelly

James Kelly

Mitsubishi Evo 6

8

Chris Woodcock

Heidi Woodcock

Mitsubishi Evo 6

9

Michael St Barbe

TBA

Mitsubishi Evo 6

10

Lee Perry

Mike Jones 

Ford Escort Cos

11

Donny Gill

Steve Gurney

Mitsubishi Evo 2

12

Dave WallBank

Thomas Wallbank

Mitsubishi Evo 5

14

Richard Curphey

Andrew Holmes

Vauxhall Nova

15

Glen Leece

Eunice Cubbon

Ford Escort Mk1 

16

Ian Corkill

Howard Allison

Ford Escort Mk1 

17

Cex Walker

Danni Mathews

BMW 

18

Graham Collister

John Tarrant

BMW 

19

David Craine

Simon Trentholme

Ford Escort Cos

20

Malcolm Mawdsley 

Kris Killip

Subaru Impreza

21

Dessie McCartney

Ian Paget

Porsche 911

22

Richard Batey

Mike Batey

Ford Escort Mk2

23

Matt Bettridge

Rob Clague

Peugeot 206

24

Andrew Leece

Graham Farger

Honda Civic

25

Steve Colley

Liz Humphereys

Vauxhall Astra

26

Martin Jones

Leigh Jones

Vauxhall Nova

27

Kevin Vondy

Nick Kaighin

Vauxhall Corsa

28

Peter Harrison

Nigel Morris

Peugeot 106

29

Pat Bettridge     

Paul Gelling         

VW Golf                 

30

Jimmy Howe 

Kris Campbell

VW Polo

31

Dave Coulson

John Coulson

BMW 

32

Steve King

Chris Heyes

Peugeot 306

33

Kevin Jeffray

Joe Parsons

Seat Ibiza

34

Kenny Brown

Alan Brown

Nissan Almera

35

Geoff Birchill

Ian Postlthwaite

Vauxhall Astra 

36

Connor Corkill

Dean Quayle

Ford Escort Mk1 

37

Tim Collins

John Lynch

Vauxhall Corsa

38

Terrence Hough

Andy Baker

Ford Sierra

39

David Jones

TBA

Vauxhall Nova

40

Sean Crellin

Brian Karran

Suzuki Swift

41

Dave Radcliffe

Dave Rawling

Suzuki Swift

42

David Harrison

James Stanfield

Vauxhall Nova

43

Richard Kneen

Tom Babbs

Peugeot 106

44

Steve Higgins

Mel Caple

Mini Cooper S

45

Walter Bridson

Darren Self

Vauxhall Corsa

46

James Pettigrew

Emma Kennaugh

Vauxhall Corsa

47

Curtis Gizzi

Mark Corlett

Vauxhall Corsa

48

Daniel More

Phil Quayle

Vauxhall Nova

49

Peter Eaton

Richard Kearney

Ford Escort

50

Mike Terry

Nigel Cordwell

Vauxhall Nova

51

Sean Kelly

Gemma Harland

Vauxhall Nova

52

Graham Allinson

Paul Curphey

Vauxhall Nova

53

Cathy Craine

Roy Sweetman

Suzuki Swift

54

Chris Reynolds

Glen Butterworth

Ford Escort

 

Time Schedule

 

 

 

First car due times

 

 

 

Friday 9th November

 

 

 

MC1

Grandstand

6.59pm

SS1

Ballamenaugh 1

7.10

SS2

Glen Roy 1

7.30

SS3

Dog Kennels 1

7.43

Service 1

Grandstand

7.56

SS4

Ballamenaugh 2

8.27

SS5

Glen Roy 2

8.47

SS6

Dog Kennels 2

9.00

Service 2

Grandstand

9.13

SS7

Ballamenaugh 3

9.44

SS8

Glen Roy 3

10.04

SS9

Dog Kennels 3

10.17

MC3

Grandstand

10.30

 

 

 

Saturday 10th November

 

 

 

MC4

Grandstand

10.05am

SS10

Keristal 1

10.20

SS11

Grenaby 1

10.39

SS12

St Marks 1

11.03

Service 3

Grandstand

11.24

SS13

Keristal 2

11.59

SS14

Grenaby 2

12.18

SS15

St Marks 2

12.42

Service 4

Grandstand

1.03pm

SS16

Keristal 3

1.38

SS17

Grenaby 3

1.57

SS18

St Marks 3

2.21

MC6

Grandstand

2.42