After a 10 month hiatus, Matthew Robinson and Sam Collis showed no sign of rust as they stormed to Historic class victory on the North Yorkshire based Malton Forest Rally.
With 6 classic North Yorkshire stages within the Cropton, Gale Rigg and Langdale forests the 2022 Malton Forest Rally had attracted a healthy number of local crews and it was Ford Escort stalwart and rally legend, Steve Bannister who held the historic category lead after the first trip through Langdale.
However, Robinson, possibly making a cautious start in the thick fog, was soon up to speed as he and Sam Collis dominated the time sheets for the remainder of the event; the MK2 Escort pairing claiming fastest historic time on each of the remaining 5 stages to take category victory by 17 seconds with an impressive 5th position overall!
Bannister, yet to show any sign of slowing down at the ripe old age of 71 (per ewrc results), may not have been able to match the pace of the aforementioned Robinson but was more than a match for the rest of the historic field as he and Dave Oldfield claimed the runner up spot in the famous red striped RS1800.
Meanwhile, Richard Jordan had Matt Edwards on the notes for the Malton Forest Rally and the multiple British Rally Champion driver’s experience may well have come in handy as the duo claimed a strong 3rd in category with an excellent 8th position overall, just 21 seconds adrift of the ‘Malton Missile’.
In the class for smaller engined machinery, Robin Shuttleworth and Malcolm Smithson, having already claimed the overall HRCR Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship in their Ford Escort Mexico, continued their strong form to take a dominant class H1 victory with 38th position overall. The podium positions on this occasion being rounded out by the Chrysler Sunbeam crew of David Mcleod and Eamonn Boyle and the Lotus Cortina of Bob Bean and Mike Curry.
Continuing the theme of dominance, Elliot Payne and Tom Woodburn were in a league of their own in the open category as they strolled to overall victory by a mammoth 1 minute 48 seconds aboard their Ford Fiesta Rally 2 machine! Respective class 4,3,2 and 1 victories meanwhile would go the way of Carl & Rob Tuer (Renault Clio R3T), Ash Slights / Dave Robson (Ford Escort), Ben Cree & Robert Wiggins (Opel Corsa) and Dom Mernock and John Quinlan (Vauxhall Nova).
It is also worth mentioning Neil Commons who, with Dukeries MC stalwart Bob Draper alongside, managed to claim a second rally finish of the season in the WB Motorport Mini (after a 40+ year sabbatical). This despite a scare at the treacherous downhill 90 left in Gale Rigg where big thanks are necessary to the masses of spectators (tow rope and all) who were on hand to ensure their day did not end early!
Next up for me after yet another thoroughly enjoyable day on the fabulous North York Moors is the NHMC Stages at Cadwell, the second round of the 2022/23 Circuit Rally Championship, to round out the motorsport year.