Mini Sport Mini Cup Review: Rally Isle of Man Stages

Mini Sport Mini Cup rounds 5 and 6 winners, Ray Cunningham & Jared Gill. (Photo courtesy of Martyns Fotos)

Mini Sport Mini Cup rounds 5 and 6 winners, Ray Cunningham & Jared Gill. (Photo courtesy of Martyns Fotos)

The 2017 Rally Isle of Man certainly proved itself to be a challenging and traitorous event for our 15 Mini crews competing in rounds 5 and 6 of the Mini Sport Mini Cup!

Being both wet and windy, the conditions were at times like driving on ice, certainly not helped by the gravel being washed over the roads from the heavy rain and World Rally Cars also competing. Mini Sport’s Diddy Dave went on to add that, ‘ this event is a very big, tough rally. The surfaces and conditions change dramatically over the 3 day leg and we were extremely lucky to get so many Minis to the finish!”

But finish they did… Firstly, massive congratulations are in order to Ray Cunningham & Jared Gill on placing 1st overall, following an absolutely stellar performance over the weekend! After a slight scare on Friday, where a broken fan led to a damaged radiator, Ray & Jared persevered and had a brilliant run, right to the top of the Championship leaderboard!

Mini Girls Rally Team  won the  N1 class, with Louise Thomas also bagging 'Best Lady Driver' at the Rally Isle of Man, for rounds 5 and 6 of the 2017 Mini Sport Mini Cup. (Photo courtesy of Martyns Fotos)

Mini Girls Rally Team won the N1 class for rounds 5 and 6 of the 2017 Mini Sport Mini Cup. (Photo courtesy of Martyns Fotos)

Team Mini Sport’s Mini Girls Rally Team – Louise Thomas & Heidi Woodcock, were also winners on the Isle of Man, winning the N1 class, and with Louise ‘Best Lady Driver’ along the way too… Well done girls, in the words of Lou’s dad ‘Diddy Dave’ it was a real ‘splash and dash’! Louise has added that it was, “the best rally I’ve ever done, the car was awesome, it couldn’t have gone any better and I couldn’t have done it without Heidi!”. The girls also left their service crew of ‘Diddy Dave’ & Mini Sport’s workshop technician Stephen scratching heads, after they turned up to the grandstand for prep one morning, only to find they were faced with no Mini! Lou and Heidi had just popped off to do a morning shop!

Ian Clare & Antony Elkes also had a storming run, winning the H1 open class following on from a little advice about running too low and some new cones from Mini Sport’s Rob Eastwood. Peter Ellerby & Ben Anderson were also running too low, however again with new cones from Rob, they were back to it, despite bending a steering rack on a banking… It was an on-stage repair, with a little help from Rhodri Owen Roberts & Alun Hayward dropping off tools for Peter & Ben that allowed them to finish the stage! Unfortunately for Rhodri & Alun, they then went on to brake a fan belt only moments after leaving their tools behind, a temporary fix got them back to service. Back in service themselves, Peter & Ben re-tracked and re-aligned their Mini, assisted by the other Mini crews and service teams, once again showing the great camaraderie felt throughout this Championship. Another certainly massive kindness was on behalf of Ian Clare, who leant Rhodri & Alun – who had been suffering with no oil pressure, an engine, allowing Rhodri & Alun to compete in the rally. Husband and Wife crew, Brian and Joanne Watson were also suffering with no oil pressure due to a crank float, forcing them to retire.

A heartbreaking result for Mini Sport's Clive King & Anton Bird.

It was a heartbreaking retire on the Isle of Man for Mini Sport’s Clive King & Anton Bird.


Team Mini Sport’s Clive King & Anton Bird enjoyed a good, strong recce – looking forward to the event and challenging conditions, unfortunately this didn’t last long with the abrasive surfaces resulting in Clive & Anton suffering with transmission failure on the 1st stage.

Mini crews Peter Horsburgh & Graham Carter and Shane Gamble & Bob Ward both had relatively good runs, with very minor issues. Andrew O’Hanlon & Ryan Taylor, had a faultless run, following on from a new slave cylinder from Mini Sport, with Eric Davis & Russel Joseph also had a good run, having changed the track rod ends as a precaution after one went.


The Saturday night saw 50 teams – crews and service crews, of the HRCR come together for an evening meal organised by Kevin Baldwin, this was a fantastic evening where Simon Malins, the Championship co-ordinator, took the opportunity to thank the sponsors – Mini Sport, Mintex, Millers and Yokohama. Louise was also finally presented with her Snap-On handbag for her Mini… Or to shop with!

A fantastic effort was put in by both organisers, marshals, competitors and service crews, and Mini Sport would like to thank you all for yet another brilliant historic rally!

The Rally Isle of Man has a notorious reputation for pushing Minis and their crews to their limits, and this year’s event was certainly full of ups and downs! Will Clive & Anton’s early exit affect the overall standings of the Championship? We’ll find out with the final round of the Mini Sport Mini Cup with Cheviot Stages Rally at the Otterburn Military Ranges, 22nd October.

Rally Isle of Man Results:

1st – Ray Cunningham/Jared Gill

2nd – Colin McDowell/Michael Spence

3rd – Peter Horsburgh/Graham Carter

Full results can be found on the site here.

Overall Mini Sport Mini Cup Positions After Round 6:

1st – Ray Cunningham/Jared Gill

2nd – Clive King/Anton Bird

3rd – Colin McDowell/Michael Spence

Historic Rally Car Register – HRCR Yokohama UK Millers Oils Ltd Mintex Classic Pacenotes Rally Magazine MiniWorld Magazine Mini Magazine







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