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Mercian Road Rally 2002

Sponsored by First Choice Flooring

Coventry & Warwickshire Motor Club

21st/22nd September 2002

Clerk of the Course: Bob Budd & Dave Oliver

Route: 130 Miles

Maps: 140 141 & 151

Starters: 29

Winners: Graham Nunn/Paul Nelson (Peugeot 205 GTi)

Twenty-nine crews tackled Coventry & Warwickshire MC’s Mercian Rally. This was the third running of the event but the first time that it had run under a National B license. It was being observed for possible inclusion in both the 2003 North-Eastern and East Midlands Championships and was also hopeful of finding a place in the West Midlands series.

The rally started from the AB Motorsports premises in Leamington Spa and took in 130 miles of lanes and a few farm tracks in the area of Coventry, Kettering and Leicester. Sponsorship for the event came from First Choice Flooring. There was a plot ‘n bash format with straightforward navigation.

Graham Nunn/Paul Nelson made the best use of local knowledge to win the event in their Peugeot 205. They’d had a scare with an oil leak at the Start, but this was resolved so that they could complete their victory. The only crew to get close to matching the winners’ pace were Jamie Gratton-Smith/Richard Hage, who finished second to make it a Peugeot 205 1-2.

Simon Hucknell was taking part in his first road rally, an experience he was writing about for an upcoming article in Autocar. He was competing in a Ford Focus Deisel loaned from Boreham. Pat Gadsby, the reigning Welsh Road Rally Champion, was navigating; Gadsby was making an appearance after more than six months out of the sport. They would have finished third but missed the very first code board of the night, the resulting fail dropped them to tenth at the Finish.

There were five entries in the Historic section of the rally and the first home from these was the Ford Escort Mexico of Ted Manktelow/John Evans, they were sixth overall.

Andy Baker, the proprietor of AB Motorsport, was entered with novice navigator Phil Prossen and they finished eighth in their Peugeot 205. Top road rally driver of the 1970s and 80s, Adrain Ancliffe made his first start in almost twenty years. With John Chadwick in the passenger seat. They finished in ninth place, after having to cope with an Escort that refused to start when warm.

The Novice Class was won by the Ford Sierra of John Bradley/Tony Smith, who finished fourteenth overall. There were eighteen finishers in total.


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Graham Nunn Paul Nelson Peugeot 205 GTi 0m 00s
2 Jamie Gratton-Smith Richard Hage Peugeot 205 GTi 1m 37s
3 John Ross David Galbraith Subaru Impreza 6m 18s
4 Russ Jones David Wilson Mini 7m 13s
5 Adam Gardener Gary Orton Mini 7m 53s
6 Ted Manktelow John Evans Ford Escort Mexico 11m 10s
7 Shirley Hillhouse Rob Granger Vauxhall Nova 13m 35s
8 Andy Baker Phil Prossen Peugeot 205 GTi 17m 18s
9 Adrian Ancliffe John Chadwick Ford Escort 40m 55s
10 Simon Hucknell Pat Gadsby Ford Focus 1F 3m 33s