On Saturday the 7th March 2015, the HRCR, along with a whole host of historic contenders, embarked on another season of the exciting Clubman Rally Championship. The first stage, ‘The Tour Of Cheshire‘ saw drivers line up to face nine challenging rounds across the course of the year with hopes of taking the winning title in the ultimate stage at the ‘Vale of Clwyd Classic‘ nine months later on Saturday the 5th September.
The HRCR welcomes a multitude of historic vehicles to the Clubman Rally Championships with models including MG, Austin-Healey, Ford, Volvo, Saab, Porsche and of course, Mini Coopers which date back to the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. All drivers and navigators manifested a fierce enthusiasm to demonstrate their motoring potential and power, ensuring a endlessly exciting road rally championship for everyone involved.
Throughout the season our blog has followed the progress of Mini Sport sponsored driver, Steve Entwistle and his acclaimed Mini Cooper S, the ‘Orangebox’. Steve and his navigators Andy Pullan, Bob Hargreaves, Ali Proctor, Mark Appleton, Andy Ballantyne and Matt Fowle who accompanied Steve on three of the events; battled it out in nine stages across England and Wales with single-day historic road rallies, a combination of regularity sections and timed special tests covering between 120 and 150 miles at each round.
Steve and his BMC Marigold, 970 Cooper S, prepared with the Mini Sport ‘works’ historic road rally spec engine and backed by our other performance parts, excelled with each round and overcame 106 other contenders in the demanding asphalt and gravel stages; with the Mini Sport 1293 engine pulling 7000rpm in top gear on the last gravel section on the 4th round as part of the ‘Ecurie Cymraegs Leaukemia Rally‘ based at Chepstow racecourse. Class wins across most of the stages were followed by some excellent performances, which determined Steve in consecutive top three positions despite a series of navigators. Steve said that the ‘Mini Sport engine hadn’t missed a beat and the car was ‘flying’’ throughout the series with steady progress which would put Steve in good stead for the final.
By the time round 8 had come around Steve and the ‘Orangebox’ were well on track to take the winning title at the ‘Vale of Clywd Classic‘ as organised by the Clwyd Vale MC team with another new navigator and co-driver the experienced Mark Appleton. The final round in the HRCR‘s Clubman Championship, took us to Wales for the ‘Vale of Clywd Classic‘ which promised to test the experts. Steve, Mark and the Orangebox faced 10 special tests with 6 regularity sections to really challenge the classics from the Mini Cooper to the Porsche 911. Entering the finale Steve Entwistle stated that:
“With just one rally left in the championship, the Vale of Clywd on the 5th September, myself and my famous ex Roy Mapple ‘Orangebox’ Mini with its Mini Sport Padiham ‘works’ engine and backing from the well known Mini specialist, we lead the championship from reigning champion Howard Warren and his Orange (!) Porsche 911.’
The final round brought everything we love from a traditional, historic road rally with competitive driving and impressive performances from all historic vehicles, yet ended up as the thrilling decider between Steve Entwistle, the ‘Orangebox’ and Howard Warren and his Porsche 911. With exhilarating motoring skills displayed by all drivers, resulting in a fantastic win for Steve Entwistle beating Howard Warren by a single point.
Steve has shown progression throughout the entire season with his championship win, reinforcing the motoring sentiment of the ‘Orangebox’ and it’s impressive back catalogue of achievements. Mini Sport are proud and privileged to have prepped the ‘Orangebox’ with a Mini Sport engine & gearbox which worked faultlessly across two seasons of rallying, advising Steve throughout this challenging road rally and applauding his great successes in the company of other talent drivers, navigators and crew.
Perhaps Steve’s success was a little sweeter after receiving some recognition from a true Rally Legend and HRCR President, Paddy Hopkirk, who got in touch following this win to send appraisal ‘Please pass on my very sincere congratulations to Steve Entwistle and Matt for winning this year’s HRCR Driver’s Championship in a Mini. This is great news and I will look forward to seeing them at the HRCR awards dinner on February 13th next year.’
You can re-cap Steve Entwistle’s entire season with the HRCR Clubman Rally Championship on our blog post here: We look forward to another exciting championship from the HRCR and will continue to work with Steve and his infamous ‘Orangebox’ in the future. If you fancy giving it a go yourself, take a look at the HRCR Clubman Rally Championship registrations here! For drivers of all ability.