The final two rounds of the HRCR Mini Sport Mini Cup took place over three days in September on the superb roads of the Isle of Man. Famous for its TT Races the event covered 167 miles of competition over 20 closed road stages.
For the championship contenders the rally counts as 2 rounds, the first round starting on the Thursday night and running through to Friday afternoon consisting of nine stages. Round 2 started Friday evening and finished Saturday afternoon with a further 11 Stages. The weather forecast was predicting rain earlier in the week however this was not to be, and glorious sun welcomed the competitors to the Island and over the three days of motorsport.
19 Minis finally entered the event with 12 being championship contenders. This included what is now a regular contingent of Japanese crews making their annual pilgrimage to the island. This year they bought 4 minis over from Japan to take part in the rally. It was an impressive sight to see 18 minis lined up in front of the TT Grandstand with only Daniel Harper’s Mini Sport modern Mini missing as he was busy working on his car before the event started.
In category one the mini of Shane Gamble / Bob Ward had an eventful start to the event with them going off and hitting a rather stout tree causing significant damage to the rear of the Mini. Adrian Kermode / Maurice Beckett had a good run actually beating a Mitsubishi Evo on the first stage in a head to head fight along Douglas promenade. The second round wasn’t so lucky for them, having to stop on the last stage but eventually crossing the finishing line. Peter Ellerby / Paul Price had a good run only needing to change a brake cylinder and clutch cylinder during the event. They were first home in the Mini Cup in round two of the event, a great end to their season. Peter Horsburgh / Graham Carter who had good results on both rounds were first Mini home in the Mini Sport Mini Cup.
In category two Clive King / Anton Bird had an early bath in the first round with terminal gearbox problems. Clive stayed late into the evening to help Shane Gamble get his car ready for the second round on Friday. Adrian Kermode kindly sorted out a garage for Clive to change his gearbox which enabled him to start the second round on Friday evening and have a run through the now famous Castle Town stage. However Clive put his Mini off the road damaging the oil cooler in the process. He managed to nurse the car back to service and finished the second round under super rally to get to the finish and take the Mini Sport Mini Cup win and the overall Category 2 win in the championship. Rhodri Owen Roberts / Alun Hayward’s event unfortunately came to an early end on stage 9 with the car being seen taken home on a trailer.
All four Japanese Mini crews completed the event which is a first for the Japanese contingent with all the cars in pristine condition at the finish. They were welcomed back at the finish with open arms by the fellow HRCR and Mini Sport Mini Cup crews, and were like a slick machine when it comes to changing brake pads and general checking of the minis as they came into service. In all twenty-two Japanese family members attended the event, quite a family gathering so far from home.
In the open Mini class Martin Melling / Carmel Venables had a good run with the car not faltering all event taking the open class win on the first round. It was the Mini of Brain and Joanne Watson who took the open class win in the second round overcoming problems in round one when they went super rally.
At the end of the event only the mini of Rhodri Owen Roberts failed to make it across the finishing line out of all the HRCR Mini Sport Cup crews which is shear testament to the helpfulness and comradery between the Mini Teams.
We must also mention a fantastic result for Daniel Harper and Chris Campbell in their Mini Sport prepared modern MINI. Once they had sorted some early fuel pump issues before shakedown they eventually finished 11th overall and first 2 wheel drive car home. They now lead the Manx Rally Championship so are looking to return to the Island in November for the last round.
11th overall Daniel Harper / Chris Campbell
71st overall Peter Horsburgh / Graham Carter – First mini home and Cat 1 winner
74th overall Peter Ellerby / Paul Price
86th overall Shinobu Kitani / Hiroko Kitani
90th overall Yoshinao Tsuchiya . Ritsuro Okano
94th overall Adrian Kermode / Maurice Beckett
101st overall Osamu Sumida / Asako Sumida
104th overall Koji Yabe / Yasuhiro Maeda
105th overall Brian and Joanne Watson
107th overall Martin Melling / Carmel Venables
108th overall Shane Gamble / Bob Ward
110th overall Clive King / Anton Bird
PRESS RELEASE 2016/028
Sent on Behalf of HRCR