2009 Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship
Round 1, Motoscope Riponian Forest Stages – Sunday 15th March 2009

After the disappointment of the enforced postponement of the Motoscope Riponian Rally last month due to snow and the subsequent cancellation of the Robin Hood Stages Rally due to lack of entries, the opening round of the Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship finally got under way when the rescheduled Riponian took place on Sunday.

In contrasting conditions with sun and dust more of a problem for crews this time, no less than 26 competitors in 14 cars took to the start for the contest in the forests around Thirsk and Helmsley and as it turned out, it couldn’t have been any more dramatic.

As expected, it soon turned into an epic battle between the Ford Escorts of Darren Moon/John McNichol and Charlie Taylor/Steve Bielby as the field battled it out on the fast and rarely used stages.

Trading seconds on the early stages, news filtered in of a one minute road penalty attributed to Taylor for booking early into a time control which the crew queried and it was agreed it would be resolved at the conclusion of the rally.

As a result, Taylor continued his charge and at the finish after nearly 40 miles, it looked like he had beaten his rival by a mere one second but once the time sheets were checked, the one minute penalty was upheld meaning he had to concede victory to Moon.

Despite his frustration, Taylor was magnanimous in defeat and congratulated Moon on the win and as scant consolation, such was the pace of the leading duo, the Northallerton driver held onto second place.

Third place went to Keith Stones and Tom Hughs who were a minute and a half down on Taylor with the Mark 1 Escort of the venerable Bob Bean, Riponian winner in 1980, and co driver Malcolm Smithson claiming fourth.

Robin Shuttleworth and Mark Midgley edged out Chris White and Chris Dewsnap by a mere two seconds for fifth and the only non-Ford Escort inside the top ten saw Paul Drinkall and Roy Brown’s Porsche 911 claim seventh.

In only his fourth event on gravel, Alan Hughes claimed eight with the top ten being completed by the Ford Escorts of David Marshall/Chris Hudson and George/Jacqueline Bryson.

One major retirement saw the Opel Ascona 400 of Steve Magson/Geoff Atkinson retire at the start of SS3 when a clutch cable broke.

With the cancellation of the Robin Hood Stages Rally, the organisers are hoping for permission to run the round at the Tour of Hamsterley which takes place on May 10th.

Assuming the MSA give dispensation, then the Stockton & DMC event will see the return of an iconic venue in northern rallying. The start will be in Barnard Castle followed by three Stages in Hamsterley before service on tarmac back in Barnard Castle. Crews will then tackle Stang Forest before second service and the final three stages in Hamsterley before the finish ramp in Barnard Castle. For further details visit www.tourofhamsterley.co.uk

Results
1 Darren Moon/John McNichol Ford Escort Mk II 41:31
2 Charlie Taylor/Steve Bielby Ford Escort 42:30
3 Keith Stones/Tom Hughs Ford Escort 43:57
4 Bob Bean/Malcolm Smithson Ford Escort RS2000 16v 44:00
5 Robin Shuttleworth/Mark Midgley Ford Escort MK1 RS2000 44:21
6 Chris White/Chris Dewsnap Ford Escort RS 44:23
7 Paul Drinkall/Roy Brown Porsche 911 45:03
8 Alan Hughes/Mike Scrimgour Ford Escort Mk 11 45:11
9 David Marshall/Chris Hudson Ford Escort RS1600 47:10
10 George Bryson/ Jacqueline Bryson Ford Escort Twincam 47:51

The 2009 Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship
Round 1 – 15th February – Motoscope Riponian Forest Stages
Round 2 – 14th/15th March – Robin Hood Historic Rally
Round 3 – 23rd/24th May – Jim Clark Historic Rally
Round 4 – 6th/7th June – Rally Show at Chatsworth
Round 5 – 27th June – RSAC Scottish Historic Rally
Round 6 – 26th September – Trackrod Historic Rally
Round 7 – 1st November – MEM Malton Forest Stages
Round 8 – 21st November – Premier Historic Forest Rally
Round 9 – 5th December – Grizedale Forest Stages

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