PREVIEW | BRITISH HISTORIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIPS 202310/02/2023
The FUCHS Lubricants British Historic Rally Championship returns to the stages this weekend in the forests of North Yorkshire. The Riponian Stages Rally will once again carry the honours for kickstarting the 2023 season off, and just as it did last year, will open up the proceedings on gravel.
However, the quest for the 2023 British Historic Rally Championship honours will begin without all three of its 2022 Champs; there will be no reigning overall and Cat3 Champ Henri Grehan, Cat 2 Champ, Chris Skill nor Cat1 winner Bob Bean making an appearance in Yorkshire.
There is hope that we shall see all three of the 2022 Champs back out in action on the stages again this year, all fingers are crossed for this; also one other noticeable absentee is Matt Edwards, who campaigned the Rally Sport Developments Fiat Abarth 131 last year in a hard-fought battle with Grehen; but let us perhaps focus our attentions to the job in hand which is Round 1.
Approximately 45 competitive stage miles across 3 stages (run twice) will face the crews, which will once again make use of public road closures orders to link smaller sections of forests on two of the stages, as the Riponean Motor Club took advantage of only last year.
Although last year’s Riponian winner, local boy Mathew Robinson was due to lead the crews off (nearly 40 of which are BHRC registered) in his Ford Escort MK2, his MUK license wasn’t approved in time and thus had to pull his entry just days before the event. So this will leave a gaggle of other very capable MK2 Escorts that are being driven by the likes of Robert Gough, Ben Friend, Simon Webster, Rudi Lancaster, Roger Chilman, Andrian Hetherington and 2012 & 2017 RAC winner Marty McCormack (who makes his return) to name but a few; along with the stunning FIAT Abarth 131 of Nick Elliot (last years Riponean runner up) to all fight it out for the opening round glory. Elsewhere in Cat 2, 2022 runners-up Warren Philliskirk and Josh Carr are expected to be the ones to chase down in their MK1 Escorts as they both search for the title this year.
Once the Riponian is done and dusted and we get an idea of the early runners and riders, the series will relocate to Welshpool for the second round at the Rally North Wales on the 25th of March. After taking a month off, the action will remain in North Wales and reconvene on the 20th of May at the Plains Rally. On July 30th the series will make its one and only switch from the loose stuff onto the legendary smooth tarmac roads of Epynt for the Tour of Epynt before returning to gravel on the 9th of September at the Woodpecker Stages around the Anglo-Welsh boarder.
The series will make a return to North Yorkshire in September for the TrackRod Rally, where rallying in the dark is expected to once again feature on the agender (22nd-23rd September) before the Championship reaches it climax in the iconic Kielder Forest region at the Carlises Stages 20-21st October.
Who will your money be on?