As the HRCR’s ‘Old Stager‘ incorporating the Mini Sport Mini Challenge faces the finale, we spoke with the organisers of our favourite historic rally to re-cap the previous round at Isle of Man Rally Classic asphalt stages. The three day event which covered two rounds, was held on the 17th-19th July and featured contestants from across the globe with Mini Sport customers Shinobu Kitani, Hiroko Kitani, Yoshinao Tsuchiya and Ristsuro Okano travelling all the way from Japan to compete. The HRCR’s, Kevin Baldwin sent us his full report of the consecutive rounds based in Douglas, Isle of Man.
A beautiful sunny day greeted the Mini crews for the start of leg 1 of the rally Isle of Man. The organisers made a sterling effort to make the HRCR welcome, putting all the Mini’s in a separate service area to have their own gathering – this also included two modern ones brought over by Mini Cup sponsor Mini Sport, with Daniel Harper driving a Mini Cooper ‘S’. The ‘foreign’ Mini crews have ended their journey coming from Japan and America setting up home in the service park for the four days after shipping the Minis for 6 weeks to get to the event. Peter Ellerby elected to do the shake down stage to run in in his new gearbox. Shane Gamble was late entry purchasing a Mini from Jersey, having rebuilt the engine, added new seats, belts and fire extinguishers ready to compete in the event. The car was finally loaded onto the ferry Wednesday night to arrive just in time for scrutineering on Thursday morning. By the time our crews started the now traditional first stage on Douglas Promenade the rain had arrived making for interesting driving conditions. By the end of this leg Clive King/Anton Bird were the first mini home taking the time of 23:11:09 having had a good run over the 11 stages and the Mini not faltering, but Peter Horsburgh/Graham Carter were snapping at their heels, despite having to change some suspension parts on the mini before the end of leg 1. Peter Ellbery/Paul Price had to repair the heater after it fell on Peter’s foot during stage 3, trapping his foot on the clutch. Adding to the drama the car took a detour on to some tram tracks resulting in his steering rack sustaining damage leaving them in 5th place Andrew O’ Hanlon/Brian Hodgson leg 1 was less then perfect, first a time mixed up and then being handed a 2-minute time penalty for booking in early into a time control they also suffered a stall on the first stage. This left them trailing Clive by over four minutes. The first Japanese Mini are Shinobu Kitani/Hiroko Kitani in their Austin Mini Cooper S taking a time of 25:25:0 placing them 3rd mini. Yoshinao Tsuchiya/Ristsuro Okano close behind with only Shane Gamble/Paul Kendrick in their recently purchased Mini between them, all split within a minute. Osamu Sumida/Asska Sumida were the final Mini across the finish line on the first leg.
The weather on this leg improved all the time which was welcome as crews were faced with the prospect of the two final stages being the longest stages of the event at over 11 miles and 18 miles. Peter Horsburgh/Graham Carter using numbered pace notes for the first time to take 1st mini home despite having drive shaft issues on the final two stages. Andrew O’ Hanlon/Brian Hodgson finished the rally 2nd Mini after taking a steady drive to ensure valuable mini cup points and Yoshinao Tsuchiya/Ristsuro Okano came in 3rd place. The long event had taken its toll Peter Ellerby/Paul Price rolled their Mini on SS20 having put in some quick times and Shinobu Kitani/Hiroho Kitani retired with gear box issues. Shame Gamble’s engine cried enough on the Friday night with him saying it went with a bang before the castle town stage. Clive King/Anton Bird had gear issues which put them out of the rally on Friday night, they on the car till two in the morning trying to replace the release bearing but without success. Being first mini home Peter Horsburgh/Graham Carter were awarded a free entry into next year event. Andrew O’Hanlon won a year subscription to Mini World Magazine kindly donated by Mini World for minis running Mini World stickers in their side windows. Our Japanese freinds have promised to bring over 6 mini next year!
Mini Sport Mini Challenge
Clive King/Anton Bird in first Mini home on Day 1 taking the time of 23:11:09. Less then 30 seconds behind is Peter Ellerby/Paul Price in their Mini with Peter Horsburgh/Graham Carter snapping at his heels a second behind Peter Ellerby. The first Japanese Mini are Shinobu Kitani/Hiroko Kitani in their Austin Mini Cooper taking a time of 25:25:0. Yoshinao Tsuchiya/Ristsuro Okano close behind with only Shane Gamble/Paul Kendrick between them, all split within a minute. Andrew O’Hanlon/Brian Hodgson are at 54th overall after their stall with the last Mini being Osamu Sumida/Asska Sumida. Andrew O’Hanlon/Brian Hodgson are at 54th overall after their stall with the last Mini being Osamu Sumida/Asska Sumida.
Andrew O’Hanlon – 137pts Anton Bird – 138 pts
Clive King – 106 pts Graham Carter – 79 pts
Peter Horsburgh – 79 pts Paul Kendrick – 69 pts
The Old Stager Championship incorporating the Mini Sport Mini Cup will be heading to the gravel stages of the Cambrian Rally in Llandudno for the final round on Saturday the 17th October. You can keep updated with all exclusive photos on our Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.