Collister and Colley out to extend advantage
Surprise first round winners Kyle Collister and Daniel Colley (Ford Puma) will aim to extend their early
advantage in the Isle of Man Navigational Rally Championship on Saturday night’s second qualifier,
Manx Auto Sport’s 87 Rally.
The pair will start at number six up against the usual strong cast of experts class contenders.
Reigning Manx Champions Matt Bettridge and Ian Postlethwaite (VW Golf) will lead the event into action from Braaid Hall, looking to put points on the board to get their defence underway after driveshaft failure deprived them of a possible win in the final mile of last months January Rally opener.
Stephen Luton and Janet Craine, who oragnised that event are back in the fray this time around in their BMW 316 and start at two, and with Championship rules requiring all crews to drop a round to organise, they now potentially have an uninterrupted run throughout the rest of the year.
Third placed last time out was a solid points haul for multiple former champions Jess and Graham Collister (Vauxhall Nova), but the event tally since a victory is starting to mount up now, a sequence they are keen to end.
Fourth on the road will be Neil Dalrymple/Alan Teare (Renault Clio), who claimed second spot on the opener despite struggling throughout with broken suspension, now sorted.
It’s all about clocking up points in this early part of the campaign, and Martyn Jones/Martin Burns (Vauuxhall Corsa), fourth placed in the standings have the pace no matter what the terrain to keep doing just that, Martyn one of the islands top stage drivers. They start at 5 ahead of Collister/Colley.
The final experts entries are newcomer Will Heavey, substituting for an absent Andrew Dudgeon as driver for Adam Yates (BMW 325), and 2013 Non-Experts champions David Cluckie/Luke Tunney (BMW 325) who impressed on their debut in the main category before losing time over the closing sections.
In Class B the non-experts are headed away by the January runners-up, Neil Taggart and James Hampton (Ford Puma), with then third placed 14 year-old Ross Tunney on the maps for father Ian (BMW 325) next away.
The undoubted favourites however are runaway first round winners Walter Bridson and Dean Quayle who move from a Vuxhall Corsa to an Astra this time, a similar car to Andrew Holmes and another young teenage navigator, Katie Fox.
Another newcomer pairing, making their debut in fact, are Stephen Bettridge/Andrew Cowley (Vauxhall Corsa). Andrew is a top flight stage co-driver, so it’ll be interesting to see how the pair fare on the maps!
All set then – with all the recent rains any off road sections are bound to be slippery at best, and new organisers Keith Masson and Colin Whitelegg have put together a testing route for the event named after the original map number that the Isle of Man appeared on.
Chris Boyde – Isle of Man Navigational Road Rally Championship Secretary