There was plenty of action, excitement and upsets this weekend for the final stages of the Mini Sport Mini Cup at the Rally Isle of Man. With the two Irish drivers, Ray Cunningham and Colin McDowell, coming over there was expected to be a battle between Ray, Adrian Kermode and Mini Sport sponsored driver Clive King, however it was to be Colin McDowell who appeared to be the early pacesetter.
Unfortunately the battle of the Mini Giants came to a swift end on Friday. Following on from Clive King suffering with a broken gearbox on Thursday, he spent all day Friday repairing his car ready for Leg 2. An early incident for Shane Gamble resulted in Shane leaving the road with a damaged wing and roof, and Adrian Kermode also lost time due to a broken rocker arm. Ray Cunningham was also forced to retire due to a broken final drive.
At the end of the 1st Leg it was Ray Cunningham leading the pack, with Adrian Kermode being the 1st Mini Sport Mini Cup driver, and Colin McDowell the 3rd Mini overall. Although the Mini Sport Mini Cup standings were Adrian Kermode in 1st, Peter Horsburgh 2nd and Peter Ellerby in 3rd.
Succeeding with his repairs, Clive took to the roads for Leg 2 on a mission to close up the time gap lost, only to leave the road with a smashed oil cooler and distributor. The lads worked frantically to get Clive King’s car back out and ultimately Clive managed to finish the final Leg on Saturday with no further problems! Saturday also saw a true Championship team effort, with everyone chipping in to help Shane Gamble get back out in the rally, only to later completely lose 4th gear and finish the rally with only 3 gears. Adrian Kermode’s rocker arm was repaired only for him to then suffer with a snapped fan belt, however this wasn’t the end to Adrian’s problems as in the last stage, Adrian’s co-driver Maurice Beckett was taken ill – however, taking it slower Adrian and Maurice managed to continue and finish unfortunately losing time – wishing you well Maurice!
Peter Ellerby suffered problems with the scrutineer snapping the emergency pull chord, however that was the biggest issue, other than changing the clutch master and slave cylinder on Saturday morning, Peter managed to have a good run without too many problems considering that the event is notorious for being challenging on both drivers and vehicles. The crews joining us from Japan also had a fantastic weekend, only having to change a starter motor on the Saturday morning. Husband and wife crew of Brian and Joanne Watson also didn’t have a problem free run, suffering with electrical issues throughout the weekend.
At the end of the final stage, the 1st Mini overall was Colin McDowell and Camron Rawson, with the Mini Sport Mini Cup competitors as follows, Peter Horsburgh and Graham Carter in 1st, Peter Ellerby and Paul Price in 2nd and finally Shinobu Kitani and Hiroko Kitani in 3rd.
Congratulations to all the teams that entered, the Mini Sport Mini Cup one of the greatest competitions around!