ACSMC Rally Championship Newsletter – October 2020

When I wrote the last of these reports, I certainly did not envisage that it would be six months until the next one! As many of you already know from our discussions at CAR-nival, I was still hoping to continue with the 2020 Championship. The loss of Wethersfield as a round was going to be difficult, with the final blow being the loss of the Challenger Stages for next month. With only three rounds having run before lockdown, I feel that four rounds were simply not enough to constitute a Regional Championship.

Therefore, the 2020 ACSMC Rally Championship has had to be cancelled. For those of you that have paid a registration fee for this year, this will be ‘rolled over’ into 2021. I am talking to event organisers now and hope to publish a provisional calendar, along with the regulations, in the coming weeks. I will keep you all informed.

On a happier note, after months of no competition, the atmosphere at Abingdon was a great one, with a cold but very sunny and dry day helping the mood. I must congratulate the organisers for meeting all of the challenges of running a motorsport event in this new world that we now live in. From an ACSMC perspective, six competitors were in attendance.

Carrying the Number 12 were Richard Weaver and James Pink in their Mitsubishi Evo VI and James was ‘enjoying getting back into it” although Richard was a bit disappointed with his SS1 time, taking 18 seconds off of it in SS2! Looking at the leader board, this picture was replicated across a good number of Competitors as people took it easy on the first competitive stage for some time. The first stage was not without its dramas though, with Mike Webb and Steve Noble returning to the service area with damage to the offside front wing of their Ford Fiesta ST 150 and James Hardy and Nick Wilkins suffering a roll in their Nissan Micra.

Rob & Ashley Aslett were back in their Peugeot 205 GTi. At the end of SS2, Rob told me that he was enjoying being back, but working hard with no power steering. “You forget how physical it is!”

Dave Hockaday and Steve Frost were feeling the wind in their Volkswagen Golf GTi and Steve was also feeling some motion sickness after so long off. Dave was as happy as ever, but finding it hard work. “I should have spent the lockdown in the gym!”

Pete Wilkins and Caroline Brampton came in to the Service Area in their BMW M3 with a little cosmetic damage and a cheeky grin on Pete’s face. “I turned a couple of pallets into matchsticks! The tyres are at 122˚C and are getting hot out there”

David Fletcher and Harrison Sheppard were in the ‘sister’ car, suffering an electrical problem, possibly with the alternator. Despite replacing it and giving the thumbs up, they were destined for an early end to their day.

Unfortunately, the same was true for John and Sharon Mills in their MG ZR. They were having problems with their brakes and gears, although they seemed OK for the second half of SS2. They called it a day after SS3. They were not alone, in a day that saw a good number of retirements as it went on. Three cars retired at the end of SS1, five after SS2 and the seven after SS3 also included Sean and Colin Quigley, their Subura Impreza leaving the stage slowly and being driven straight on to the trailer.

Rob Aslett was having problems with his brakes, as he had done at Bovington, but told me after SS4 that they were sorted after a repair to the offside front brake pipe.

James Weaver had put some new front tyres on which took a while to come in but then felt great. Dave Hockaday was going OK and enjoying the dry conditions.

Another five cars retired at this point, including Stuart Austin and Edward Gamble with clutch issues.

Incredibly, another seven cars had retired by the end of SS5 and SS6 saw James Weaver enduring difficulties. “The clutch went to the floor and I had to keep pulling it back up with my foot. I then stalled on the finish line!” He was hoping to sort it out for the last stage, but felt that he had been slow in that one.

Dave Hockaday had his own fair share of drama in the penultimate stage too. They had caught up with a little yellow Citroen, hit a couple of cones themselves, then the Citroen locked up and started to spin. “I aimed for where he was and missed him!” They has also enjoyed a “bit of BTCC two-wheeling too”.

Pete Wilkins was really enjoying the event, “I wish there were another five stages!” He went on to joke about driving into darkness and “doing it by Braille”, going on to say that he had done a bit of the first stages that way anyway, but with no harm done.

With a Service Area thinning out rapidly with the retirements, another three reduced the field to 80 for the final stage.

Sadly for them, Dave Hockaday and Steve Frost joined this list on the very last stage, pulling over after hitting a tyre and ripping out one of the drive shafts, although this still saw them classified just one place down on their seeding in the end, in 66th.

Rob and Ashley Aslett were able to finish the event in 58th after their brake difficulties and Pete Wilkins and Caroline Brampton classified a very creditable 47th from their seeding of 78th, so no wonder he wanted to carry on!

Richard Weaver and James Pink were also smiling at the end, with the clutch problem seemingly solved and a 12th place finish that exactly match their seed number for the event.

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">The overall winners were Simon Mauger and Matt Faulkner in their Lotus Exige, by just 17 seconds over Mark Kelly and Neil Colman, in turn just 1 second ahead of Christopher West and Keith Hounslow in an extremely close and tense battle which saw three different stage winners and some extremely close times.The overall winners were Simon Mauger and Matt Faulkner in their Lotus Exige, by just 17 seconds over Mark Kelly and Neil Colman, in turn just 1 second ahead of Christopher West and Keith Hounslow in an extremely close and tense battle which saw three different stage winners and some extremely close times.

I look forward to seeing you all in 2021 and will be in touch soon with regards to the qualifying rounds, which I hope to be similar to this year.

Mark Baulch
Rally Championship Coordinator ACSMC

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