FRESH from his success on the RAC Rally of The Tests, Steve Entwistle made it a month to remember with an outright win on the Northumberland Borders Rally.
The Rishton driver maintained the rich vein of form that netted him second place on the four-day classic to see off his Mini rivals by two minutes, again driving Paddy Hopkirk’s famous Cooper S, 6 EMO.
“It’s been a good couple of weeks, and after just missing out on the Rally of the Tests, I really wanted to win this, “ explained Entwistle.
“I won it in 2010 and 2012 with Orangebox, my own ex-Roy Mapple Mini, so it’s nice to get the hat trick.”
Seeded at car two for the Mini-only event, Entwistle and navigator Andy Pullan were one of the pre-event favourites, alongside former winners Graeme Cornthwaite and Ali Procter, and Pete Tyson and Neil Harrison.
But the Northumberland Borders has an enviable reputation as a tough, but very well organised event with eight special tests following a lunchtime start from Cramlington and then a 115-mile ‘plot and bash’ road rally.
And the highly-rated Entwistle, the 2015 HRCR Clubmans champion, had a bit of a shock at the tea halt, finding himself down in an uncharacteristic sixth place.
He said: “It was nothing to do with Andy, I was just out of sorts and couldn’t get any sort of rhythm going in the car, maybe it was fatigue from doing the Rally of The Tests the week before. Anyway, I had a nice cup of tea and gave myself a good talking too, and that seemed to do the trick.”
“Niall Cook, who does a great job organising the Borders, had found some excellent lanes in the Cramlington area, and everything seemed to gell, although we had to push really hard to claw back the lost time.”
And Entwistle paid tribute to his navigator Andy Pullan, who was faultless in the left-hand seat.
“Andy was brilliant, and anyway, he owed me as he was navigating for Paul Crosby when they beat us on the Rally of the Tests!.
“Once again, 6 EMO ran like clockwork, despite having a very hard couple of weeks, and I’d like to thank Paddy and Chris Harper at Mini Sport of Padiham for letting me use the car again.”
1: Steve Entwistle/Andy Pullan 16m 15s.
2: Jonathan Swales/Sam Spencer 18m 17s.
3: Graeme Cornthwaite/Ali Procter 26m 37s.
Blog & photos courtesy of Neil Johnson