The 11th hour cancellation of Rally Isle of Man means Paul Barrett cannot be headed in this year's MSA British Historic Rally Championship
Paul Barrett has won the MSA British Historic Rally Championship after the cancellation of Rally Isle of Man, which was due to form rounds six and seven of the eight-event season.
The late cancellation of the closed road event has had a massive impact on the championship as it formed a double-header round. Instead, competitors will count their best four scores from six rounds and that new calculation leaves the Northern Ireland driver uncatchable. However the co-drivers’ title will only be settled on the final round, the Trackrod Rally at the end of September.
BHRC manager Colin Heppenstall said that the cancellation of Rally Isle of Man was a significant blow to both the BHRC and the RACRMC Historic Asphalt Rally Championship.
'It is disappointing that Rally Isle of Man has been cancelled with the difficulties that the organisers have been encountering with the local government,' said Heppenstall. 'We had nearly 30 crews going over to the island to support the event. I wish the organisers well for the future and hope they can resolve the situation in future years.'
Barrett says that he will still go to the Trackrod Rally with the support of a leading rival. 'I’m going to do the Trackrod because Matthew Robinson has said he’ll pay my entry fee. So that’ll be trees or trophies!'
In the meantime, Barrett admits that securing the BHRC on the island would have been his preference. 'I was born on the Isle of Man and there would have been no better place to win the BHRC.'
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Isle of Man cancellation hits crews
Historic crews are counting the cost of the cancellation of Rally Isle of Man and none are more dramatically impacted than the three Japanese crews who shipped their Mini Coopers by sea freight many weeks ago.
Yoshinao Tsuchiya, Hiroko Kitani and Shinobu Kitani and Osamu Sumida all contested the 2017 rally and they have been regular supporters of the event for several years. The large group of mechanics, friends and family have been popular in the service area for their enthusiasm for the event.
Co-driver Hiroko Kitani summed up their feelings. 'I am a Japanese competitor. I cannot believe that the rally is cancelled. I'm lost for any words.'
Another co-driver facing a wasted trip is Nathan Marriott, who was travelling back to the UK to co-drive in the Ford Escort Mk2 of Lee Ashberry. Marriott has taken two weeks of annual holiday to travel back from his work in Oman, specifically for the rally.
Hopkirk heads Ulster Deja Vu
Paddy Hopkirk headed the star-studded line-up for the Déjà Vu Ulster Rally retro event on Saturday. In homage to his 1964 Monte Carlo Rally win, Hopkirk drove a Mini Cooper over some special stages including the famous Torr Head test.
Cole gets a Cortina
Former TVR Tuscan front-runner Steve Cole has switched to historic racing with a Lotus Cortina and recently had his first proper run in the car at Oulton Park.
'I tried to race it at Donington in April, but we had problems,' said the Liverpool racer. 'So we concentrated on getting it ready for the Gold Cup meeting, which was on home ground.'
The car is prepared to FIA Appendix K regulations, and took a class win first time out.
The car has an interesting history as it was formerly a rally car and was used by Manxman Ian Corkill to win the 1991 Isle of Man Historic Rally.
Dumas to star at Goodwood
Double Le Mans winner and four time winner of the Pikes Peak hillclimb, Roman Dumas will be another of the star drivers at Goodwood Revival this weekend.
Dumas recently won Pikes Peak for the fourth time in five years at the wheel of the record-breaking electric Volkswagen I.D.R. He has also rallied successfully in a Porsche 911 GT3 in the R-GT category.
'I will be there,' said Dumas of his Goodwood plans. 'I will be at the wheel of a Ford Galaxie in the St Mary’s Trophy and an AC Cobra in the RAC TT Celebration. It looks like I will have some fun.' He will share both cars with Bill Shepherd.
Nuthalls face off
Father and son Ian and Will Nuthall will race against each other in the Richmond and Gordon Trophies race at Goodwood, both at the wheel of rear-engined Coopers from the late 1950s. The historic grand prix car preparers will race the Giorgio Marchi low-line T53 (Will) and the T51 of John Saunders (Ian). Both cars are fielded by their INRacing squad.
New Europa for Tooms
Prolific Lotus racer Paul Tooms has added a Europa to his stable having acquired the car most recently raced by Peter Shaw. Tooms previously shared the 70s Road Sports car with Shaw at Cadwell Park last year but has now taken it over will race it alongside his ex-Tony Broom Historic Road Sports specification Turner Mk3.
Get well soon Whizzo
Barrie "Whizzo" Williams was hospitalised recently after a fall and AutoClassics sends best wishes for his recovery. He will not be able to be at Goodwood this weekend, but Mini racer Andy Harrison will carry "Whizzo’s" helmet colours into the St Mary’s Trophy race as he shares his car with Tony Jardine.
Hibberd to make period GT bow
As well as racing his familiar Lotus 22 in the Chichester Cup Formula Junior race at Goodwood, Andrew Hibberd will make his Jaguar E-type debut by sharing the car of Andrew Hayden in the Kinrara Trophy race on Friday evening. It will be Hibberd’s first race in a period GT car, while, his father Michael will race a rare Buckler in the Fordwater Trophy.
International flavour in touring car race
There is a truly international flavour to this weekend’s St Mary’s Trophy touring car race at Goodwood, including Swedish rally ace Stig Blomqvist who will share a Mini Cooper S with Nick Jarvis. Also due on the grid are Frenchmen Nicolas Minassian and Romain Dumas, Andre Lotterer, Jorg Muller, Jochen Mass and Max Werner.
Gardner restores Crossle
Mike Gardner Racing has just completed a total restoration of another Classic Formula Ford 1600 Crossle 30F. The latest immaculate car has gone to Xavier Michel in France and will make its debut at the Le Mans Bugatti circuit this weekend. The Stoke-on-Trent team is now working on the restoration of another 30F.
Almost half of the total production of ERAs will be on the grid for the Goodwood Trophy on Sunday. From the 20 racing cars built by the Lincolnshire company between 1933 and 1938, nine of them will be at Goodwood for the largest assembly of ERAs of several years.
Speed Championship double-header
This weekend’s annual VSCC hillclimb at Loton Park will feature a double-header for the club’s Speed Championship. Each day will form a complete event as rounds seven and eight of the nine-round season, which concludes with a sprint at Snetterton on September 22.
Pictures courtesy of Paul Lawrence