The first ever three-time winner of the 726-mile Flying Scotsman Rally has been crowned, despite having never met his co-driver prior to the event
Gareth Burnett and Matthew Vokes took their rare 1939 Alta to victory in the 10th anniversary edition of the Flying Scotsman Rally.
The four-day event, organised by the Endurance Rally Association, covered 726 miles spread across 13 tests, 15 regularities and was entered by 107 crews.
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Driver Burnett is now the first entrant to score a hat-trick of wins having taken top honours in the Flying Scotsman's 2013 and ’16 event with a Talbot 105 Alpine.
It was also the first time he and his co-driver had ever met, albeit Vokes is an experienced classic rally navigator of the highest order.
‘It was probably the toughest event yet with the best competition,’ Burnett said. ‘But the real joy was in bringing this car to this event when no one thought it would even finish it – and that included me!’
Vokes added: ‘It’s been a real experience, great route, fantastic competition and cracking company. You couldn’t ask for more really.’
They held off strong competition from fellow two-time winner and renowned vintage Bentley specialist William Medcalf. He and navigator Andy Pullen ended up just 0.07 seconds behind the leaders in their Super Sports.
Fellow 1925 Bentley drivers Bill Cleyndert and Dan Harrison finished third.
Among the class winners were David Ayre and David Duncan in the newly repaired 1907 Itala, last year’s winners Paul Crosby and Ali Procter in the 1939 MG TB Supercharged, and Peter Lovett and David Richards – chairman of the Motor Sports Association – in the 1937 Frazer Nash BMW 328.
The Spirit of the Rally award went to Jef and Anton Van Hoylandt in the 1934 Lagonda M45 Tourer, while the Concours d’Elegance award went to Rob and Hayley Stoneman in their 1935 Alvis Firebird Special.
Rally director Fred Gallagher said: ‘This event has got better and better year after year. The standard of cars and driving is excellent, but the credit must go to the navigators who face an intense challenge. Our thanks go to every crew and marshal who has contributed to this fantastic event over the past ten years.’
Images courtesy of ERA/Gerard Brown