Armstrong Massey Rally 2004 - Press Report
Kevin Procter and Mike Gilby took their Ford Puma to a lights to flag victory on Beverley & District Motor Club's Armstrong Massey Rally held at the new venue of Melbourne Airfield near York. Leading from stage 1 Procter was never seriously challenged, but the real battle was being fought behind by the MG Metro 6R4's of Phil and Mick Gallagher and winner in 2000 Andy Elliott/John Heppell. After 8 stages these two were separated by a mere 7 seconds, finishing 2nd and 3rd overall respectively.
After a year out running as a road event, the Armstrong Massey Rally returned to its usual stage format, crews were generally happier with the loose surface stages compared to the all tarmac of previous events at RAF Leconfield.
In the classes Robert Barrett/Gavin Wright were throwing their Nissan Micra into every corner on stage plus a number of oil drum markers! They took a comfortable Class A win from Adam Ellerker/Andrew Welbourne in their Daihatsu Cuore who inherited second in class following the early demise of Penrose/Taylor's Mini.
Another retirement, following a strong showing was the rear wheel drive Ford Fiesta of Hopewell/Johnson, two prop shaft failures sending them for an early bath. Never far behind and benefiting from the retirement was David Duff/Stephen Jennings taking the Class B award in their Talbot Sunbeam. Second in class and just over a minute behind was the Ford Escort of Barmby/Woodcock. Beverley crew Neil Holland/Andy Rowe had been running as high as 3rd in class until an engine misfire dropped them down the order to an eventual 5th. Class B also saw a very unusual entry of Chris and Lorraine Leeming in a Peugeot 205, Chris forgoing his usual Ford Escort.
Some early problems saw Nick Dobson/Jamie Forrest well down the Class C order, but consistently good stage times in their Ford Escort eventually got them past the similar machine of Martin Kilburn/Tim Buckley to claim the class win.
Beverley crews had a mixed day. Keith Turner/Steve Ward rounding off the top ten with an excellent run in their Subaru. Pete Barnett/Mark Hoggard were not so fortunate. They retired late in the day after a strong run in their Vauxhall Astra.
Eight stages ran with few problems on the day thanks to the efforts of an experienced organising team, the only glitches were initially with the new stage timing lights system. The day ran mostly in good weather save for a deluge of rain just prior to stage 3, which made for some very interesting lines through the corners. Traction was at a premium and much bodywork was being reshaped until the stiff breeze dried everything out again. 57 cars made the start, with 37 of them completing all 8 stages. Notable retirements were James and Robert Sparrow who managed to complete one or two rolls in mid air before destroying their Escort Cosworth on stage 5. The Subaru Impreza of Taylor/Thompson was running high in Class D until a loose oil pipe created a small under bonnet fire on stage 6. Efficient marshalling soon put it out, but retirement was inevitable.
Final placings were available only minutes after the last car finished thanks to Clerk of the Course Matthew Atkinson's excellent results system. Competitors declared the event a success and generally had a good days motorsport.