Four Seasons In One Day – Crosby and Pullan scale the Wuthering Heights of Yorkshire.
Ilkley and District Motor Club hosted the second round of the 2018 HRCR Hagerty Insurance Clubmans Road Rally Championship which was also a round of the HRCR Amazon Cars Challenge Cup. The Ilkley Jubilee Historic Rally and Run encompassed two sections, the Rally utilising more challenging traditional styles of navigation whilst the Run used a very similar route with simple tulip-style instructions for the crews taking part in this section.
As one of the longest established events in the calendar, The Jubilee always attracts a quality entry and this year’s version was no exception, 78 starters made the Millstones which nestles on the side of the trans-pennine A59 in the shadow of RAF Menwith Hill, prominent by the 30 or so Radomes or ‘Golf Balls’ as they are known locally. The Millstones provided the central point for the Jubilee, as well being the start and finish venue it was also used as a data collect enabling the final results to be produced in an incredibly rapid fashion for a regularity event.
First car away was the familiar Porsche 911 of Paul Crosby and Andy Pullan, this was Crosby’s first taste of the Jubilee and having last-year’s winning navigator with him added to the pressure of running number one on the road – traditionally, a position which many crews see as a curse. Behind them were a very strong contingent of competitors, Ian Crammond/Matthew Vokes were sporting number two with the slightly mis-firing Sunbeam Tiger of John Abel/Mark Appleton behind them. Father and daughter team, Darell and Nicky Staniforth started fourth, this year has seen Nicky rise to prominence with some stunning performances, the last round at the North Yorks Classic being the crews first National win, a tribute to the commitment and training they have put in together in the closed season. Rounding off the top five was a familiar name to many in Ron Beecroft who was partnered by another name of stature – Kevin savage. The ‘Brow Hopper’ as Ron was known in the 1970’s and 80’s was one of the key figures in the Motoring News Championships of the day and was known to be lightning quick in any number of car/navigator combinations. The most famous of these being a distinctive white and green flat-front RS2000 named Virginia and to again see the famous Deerstalker hat in a Ford brought memories flooding back.
Leaving Millstones and head a short distance along the A59 towards Harrogate, the first regularity was an innocuous looking section that was handed out just before crews left the start and with 17 instructions over 7.66 miles it seemed Clerk Of The Course Henry Carr had reverted to easing crews into the event once again. Using the roads to their best effect, a series of triangles in the first section signalled Carr’s intent, this was going to be a wake-up call for those who hadn’t slept or had stayed up a little too long. Following the principal road through Kettlesing Bottom, a right turn into White Wall Lane was the second instruction, this was followed by two instructions to go short way round a triangle on the entrance to Barse Back Lane. This section narrowed up considerably from the opening part and keeping the required average speed proved tricky as corners were masked by the hedges and stone walls here. The first timing point came up just after an 80 right under trees, just after the two-miles traversed mark this was a perfect location to catch those who had made navigational mistakes early on, as predicted by Kevin Savage, Ron Beecroft was a little over-enthusiastic here and the pair recorded 13 early whilst only Martin Neal/Richard Dix in their MG Midget and David Barker/David Kileen were perfect at this point. The second timing point was the one to claim the majority of penalties with many mis-reading the mileages and instructions together and slotting down at yellow at Swincliffe. A couple of crews were on the ball though, with John Dunning/Suzanne Barker and Paul Hernaman/Ray ‘Crow’ Crowther dropping a single second here to be the cream of the crop. The final part of this section took crews past Levens hall and through Ron Beecroft’s farmyard before end of regularity at Crag Hill. Hernaman/Crow set the best score here with just nine-seconds lost in total with the next best being Russell Smith/Dan Harrison on 15. In the run section, Chris Naylor/Tim Tennant set best time on 15 seconds lost.
A short run north through the villages of Killinghall and Ripley took competitors to regularity two which was presented prior to the event in the Roadbook and was on Gridline numbers, this was a slightly longer section at just over 12.45 miles and was an easier section as the best scores went to Crammond/Vokes in their Mercedes-Benz SL with just five seconds lost over the three timing points, the section wasn’t without incident though as the experienced crew of Pete Tyson/Neil harrison dropped a minute at the first timing point along with Martyn Taylor/Amy Henchoz, Taylor was Poacher turned Gamekeeper for the first time and driving in his recently acquired Vauxhall Astra, but couldn’t keep the crew from wrong-slotting and scoring a one-minute penalty like Tyson/Harrison.
The third regularity was the longest of the morning with A visit to the Millstones for a data collect before heading south of the A59 for the first time, the majority of this section would take place around three moors, Sandwith, Lindley and Stainburn, the twist here being the route was offered in spot heights to run on a one-inch map reproduced from Ordnance Survey Sheet 96, first printed in 1954. Crosby/Pullan started to claw back previously lost time here with a stunning eleven-seconds lost over a regularity that would span an hour or more, the depth of concentration needed from the navigators was tremendous. The first timing points were relatively simple with roads that were quite straight with good visibility, a right turn in Beckwithshaw saw things tighten up a little and the terrain become increasingly vertical as the third timing point came up at Leathley, Brian and Janette Dwelly were going well on this section, but a tricky last timing point saw them drop a minute here and spoil what could well have been a best time of the day in their diminutive Morris 1000. Climbing steeply up Lindley Moor before cresting at the woods and descending past Prospect House, the rout twisted and turned along the valleys that hold in the River Washburn which feeds four main reservoirs in the area. The fifth timing point was on a sinewy section of road that clung to the side of Norwood Bottom and came up on crews after a steep climb up towards Folly Hall. Crammond/Vokes and Smith/Harrison cleaned this, using the power of their respective vehicles to climb the steep lanes, John and Alastair Woolstenhulme also putting in a great time here to keep their chances of a class placing alive in their immaculate Porsche 911. The final part would climb Paddock Hill re-joining the B6451 for the final time on this regularity and diving down towards Swinsty and Fewston Reservoirs where the final timing point took time off not only the Dwelly’s, but Richard Harrison/Peter Boyce and the Welsh pairing of Gareth Hockridge/Andy Darlington. Dominic Hodge/Peter Raine were just one of two crews to clean this section, with Crosby/Pullan being the other. In the Run, John Dignan/Zoe Gibbons were establishing a commanding lead from Jon Amery/Tom Van der Gucht in their Renault 5 Gordini Turbo, in turn, they had distanced themselves from the ever-improving Adam and David Barker in their MG B whilst Graham and Marina Goodwin had swapped their usual Bentley for a stunning Porsche 911 and were holding a strong fourth position.
This section heralded the end of the morning’s regularities and led to the first tests of the day in Coldstone’s Quarry, living up to its name a stiff breeze couldn’t move the dense mist that was shrouding the tops of Flat Moor – even the nesting Grouse were calling their displeasure at what the weather was handing out, it was so much removed from the balmier conditions that had been apparent in the regularities of the morning. The first test was familiar to many crews, using the tarmac road that takes hauliers into the main sump, this was a long and intense run that needed commitment from the driver and sharp eyes from the navigator. Straight out of the blocks, Crosby and Pullan were flying, even the thick mist couldn’t slow them down and they set a benchmark 57 seconds time, this was equalled by the upcoming pair of Chris Haygarth/Si Gleich in their Toyota MR2 and Nick Bloxham/Richard Crozier who put in one of the tidiest and neatest runs of the morning through the cones. Despite an overshoot (one of many crews to do so here), John Haygarth/David Taylor posted 1:08 whilst Sue Shoosmith/Trina Harley stopped the clocks at 1:12.
Four more tests ensued and the recent wet weather had left a series of standing water in the sump, several cars, including the Mercedes-Benz of Crammond/Vokes emerged looking like they had been covered in whitewash and the short run to lunch in Pateley Bridge was welcomed as crews refuelled themselves and their cars in the village.
The afternoon would see a further three regularities and five tests, moving off map 104 and north to map 99, any post-prandial snoozes would have to be put aside as the regularity started immediately as crews returned to the road. Some intricate navigation was passed to the crews in the form of tulip diagrams with speed changes given at specific points depicted by diagrams or places on the map. Darell and Nicky Staniforth dropped struggled with the first timing point recording 21 late whilst the only crew to clean this point were Harvey Steele/Martin Pitt in their Volvo, these are a crew to watch as they improve with every event and are sure to be future challengers. Crosby/Pullan were imperious here but were pushed hard by David Leadbetter/Cath Woodman who were not only posting stunning times on the tests, but their regularity scores were keeping them in the hunt for awards also. Heading out of Pateley Bridge via Glasshouses and Bishopside the afternoon brought a pleasant warm breeze from the south and some mottled sunshine, displaying the moorland at its finest, the descent down Cast Hills brought an easy to miss slot left towards Belford where the road tightened up considerably. These were real classic Yorkshire lanes, tight and nadgery with crests and brows there to take time from the crews. Bramley Grange and Warthermarske followed to bring up the final timing point to the east of Fearby, John Abel/Mark Appleton were trying their utmost to reel in Crosby/Pullan and despite their Sunbeam Tiger sounding a little off form, they were constantly pushing the Porsche pair meaning just one slip could change the lead.
Regularity five was provided on a version of a herringbone set in a semi-square, additional clues were spot heights both on and off the route, as well as changes in the colour of the roads as they appeared on the map. Darell and Nicky were the class of the field dropping a superb two-seconds only over the section, Leadbetter/Woodman posted four whilst Stephen Johnson/Ian Mitchell posted six, a great attempt at this tricky section.
The final regularity would start at Dacre and loop round the lanes to the north-west of Menwith Hill, with five timing points and Deeliarity style instructions, this was a fitting test to end the clockwatcher’s part of the event. Climbing Heyshaw Moor before a hairpin left back towards the Thruscross yellow, the first timing point took a few seconds off the majority of the field, only seven crews cleaned this with great performances coming from Kelvin Bromley/Alan Pettit and Simon Harris/Dan Middle amongst those on zero. The last four timing points were crammed into a compact an area as possible to heap the pressure on the field, Padside saw ITC 6-2 situated after a tricky triangle and caught Neal/Dix, Bernard Watkins/Adam Roper and Martin Oglesby/John Parker amongst others. The last three points were south east of Thruscross and took in Garlow Ridge, Volta Farm and a loop round Hardgroves Hill before finishing just outside Menwith Hill. Abel/Appleton and Crosby/Pullan tied the section on 10 with Crammond/Vokes posting 12, however, performance of the day went to Roger Powley/Brian Goff who used their years of rallying experience to post the only single-digit score of nine-seconds.
Four tests ensued at Hildebrand Barracks with some stunning performances from Haygarth/Taylor meaning they took bragging rights for being quickest on the tests, it was a sad end to the event for Nick Bloxham/Richard Crozier who went well all day only to retire at the very last minute with a fire in the engine bay, heart-breaking for Nick due to the amount of time he has spent on the car – as well as the fine performances from the crew throughout the day.
Paul Crosby/Andy Pullan hung on to take first overall from John Abel/Mark Appleton with Darell and Nicky Staniforth in third just five seconds behind, fourth went to John Haygarth/David Taylor who were pipped by the Staniforths by just one second. Fifth went to David Leadbetter/Cath Woodman in their BMW who only just held off the ever-improving Clive and Anji Martin who took top novice crew.
In the Run section, John Dignan/Zoe Gibbons had a strong win from Jon Amery/Tom Van der Gucht – the margin being 1:53. In turn, Amery/Van der Gucht took 3:04 out of Adam and David Barker in their MG B.
The atmosphere of the event was nothing short of superb and was summed up by Ron Beecroft who finished 14th with Kevin Savage: “I’m smiling so hard it hurts, that has been an absolutely first class day and the camaraderie and banter nothing short of exceptional”. Ilkley and District Motor Club President, Nick Pullan Presented the awards with Iain Tullie giving a poignant speech about the loss of his Brother, Alastair to Multiple Sclerosis recently, it is something that resonated with the Club, as they have successfully raised over £1000 for the MS Society charity.
Kev Haworth, Racing Ahead Media – racingahead.co.uk
Thanks to Kev Haworth (racingahead.co.uk), MJ Peakman Photography (www.facebook.com/MJPeakmanPhotography) & Tony Large (www.tonylarge.net) for all of the photos. Make sure you check out their pages for more examples and for details on how to purchase yourself a copy!