New Manx Navigational Rally Champions Matt Bettridge and Ian Postlethwaite (VW Golf) will start the defence of their titles by leading the January Rally into action tonight (Saturday) as the 2014 rally season gets underway.
The pair won three times in 2013, including this event twelve months ago, but there are a further seven experts crews out to stop them this time, and eight non-expert crews too.
Second away from the Braaid start will be Andrew Dudgeon/Adam Yates (BMW 325), who enter only their second full year in the sport as a title contender with a string of consistent results already under their belts.
Behind them are multiple former champions Jess and Graham Collister, the daughter and father pairing looking for a little more luck than they have enjoyed recently despite being pace-setters on just about every event in the Vauxhall Nova.
Neil Dalrymple/Alan Teare (Renault Clio) have also been title contenders in recent times, while Kyle Collister/Daniel Colley take to a Ford Puma and 2013 Non-Experts champions David Cluckie/Luke Tunney make the step up to the main category with their BMW.
Martyn Jones completes the Expert field. ‘Chucker’ is never short of pace, and with Martin Burns on the maps a good clean run could see a headline result a real possibility.
In Class B the non-experts are headed away by Andrew Holmes and Katie Fox (Vauxhall Astra) who finished third in the standings last year, with the latest member of the Tunney family, Ross make his début navigating for father Ian in another BMW.
Good to see Walter Bridson back in the mix with Dean Qauyle on the roamer in a Corsa, and James Hampton returning after seven years out alongside Neil Taggart in a Ford Puma.
Plenty to get our teeth into then, let the action begin!
Chris Boyde, Isle of Man Navigational Championship Co-ordinator