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Local drivers set for Roger Albert Clark Rally
11:48am Wednesday 21st November 2012 in Sport
HOME drivers will be chasing glory when the Roger Albert Clark Rally gets under way in Ryedale on Friday.
The event, which recreates the classic RAC Rallies of the 1960s and 1970s, starts at Pickering’s Ryedale Exhibition and Leisure Village and takes in classic gravel stages in Yorkshire, Kielder, Hamsterley, Scotland and Cumbria.
There will be four stages on Friday night, with the first car due on stage in Dalby Forest at about 6pm.
After the night stages a testing 11-stage leg on Saturday includes two fast blasts around the Croft Circuit, near Darlington.
From the Scottish borders on Sunday, the rally has a sting in the tail through Kershope Forest before an evening finish in Brampton town centre.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Roger Clark and Tony Mason winning the RAC Rally of Great Britain in their Ford Escort.
To mark the milestone date, organisers have asked Mason to “flag away” the starters in this year’s rally.
Among them, and seeded number two in a Ford Escort Mk 2, is Malton potato farmer Steve Bannister, with Kevin Rae alongside.
He triumphed in the RAC in 2007 and many experts are tipping him to win this year’s event.
On the recent Malton Forest Rally, Bannister finished fourth overall to clinch the Northern Historic Rally Championship.
Starting at number 17 is Northallerton’s Charlie Taylor, who will have Pickering’s Steve Bielby reading the notes in their well prepared Ford Escort.
Pickering garage owner Steve Magson is hoping for a good run in his Vauxhall Chevette.
Reading the maps for him is long-time navigator Geoff Atkinson.
Pickering’s Dick Wardle will be co-driving for Bob Anderson in a Ford Escort RS1800.
Sutton-on-Derwent driver Ashley Slights, partnered by Selby’s Matthew Whattam, are also in the field in a Ford Escort RS Mk 1, while Beverley’s former Le Mans 24-hour race winner Guy Smith lines up in a Ford Escort.
Barton Hill farmer Martyn Hawkswell, with Nick Welch, is seeded number one in the open rally after winning last year.
They are joined by York’s John Sutton and co-driver Paul Osmond in their Nissan Micra.
In the De Lacy Night Rally section, York’s Amanda Cornforth will put her Ford Ka up against that of York’s Mat Smith.
Spectator and entry information is available by visiting the website www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org