BARRETT BEST ON A DAY OF DRAMAS AND DISASTERS
On a fast and furious event which saw fortunes swing dramatically, top seeds Paul Barrett/ Dai Roberts justified their seeding by taking the honours, overhauling midway leaders Matt Robinson/ Dave Robson to take a narrow 8 second victory, these two crews almost 2 minutes ahead of third placed Iuean Rowlands/ Emyer Hall with Phil Burton/ Mal Capstick, in the Open category, next up just ahead of Stuart Egglestone/ Brian Hodgson.
In dry conditions, the Kielder stages were very fast indeed and initially it was Matt Robinson who set the pace ahead of Barrett and Joe Price, Alan Walker and Simon Webster. The positions changed radically on the long 15 mile Forks Stage however as Price and Walker both stopped, as did Adam Milner and Josh Brown, then Webster went off on the final Whitesike stage.
Further down the field, Mark Holmes/Craig Simkiss took Class C4/C5 from Chris Skill/Tom Murphy and Rob Shuttleworth/ Ronnie Roughead edged out Ken Graham/ Rory McCann to clinch class C1/C2 by just 3 seconds. Other class winners were Malcolm Rich ( B3 ), Bob Bean (B4 ) and Rikki Proffitt ( B5 ). The rate of attrition was, for a Kielder event, remarkably light although, In addition to those already mentioned Darren Grimston/ Richard Ross retired at the Service halt, Eliot Retalick’s Avenger stopped in Stage 3, the similar car of Barry Jordan stopping in the opening stage with mechanical gremlins. Nick Carr/ Jane Nichol found one of Kielder’s many ditches on the 2nd stage, David Hayton/ Derek Adamson going off on this stage also. All in all, the Pirelli International Rally went down extremely well with the crews who enjoyed the fast flowing Kielder stages although perhaps not the numerous chicanes.