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Matt Ritson Memorial Westmorland Rally 2003

Sponsored by RMT Slating & Tiling

Eden Valley Motor Club

19th/20th July 2003

Clerk of the Course: Tom Wilcox

Route: 148 Miles

Maps: 91 97 & 98

Starters: 32

Winners: Jon Lawson/Chris Pringle (Subaru Legacy)

Due to being a late entry, Jon Lawson/Chris Pringle (Subaru Legacy) were seeded at Number 30, but despite this low start number they drove to a convincing win on the Westmorland Rally; giving the driver a perfect birthday present.

The 148 mile Eden Valley MC event was based at the Tebay Services on the M6 and saw thirty-two crews take the start. Navigation was plot 'n bash throughout, although competitors in the Newcomers Class were given simplier hand outs; they weren't therefore eligible for overall positions.

The first sections used roads previously utilised in the opposite direction on the Witch Way in May. These included Fox's Pulpit, Killington, Barbondale and Dentdale. All the top crews cleaned this part. The route that led to Petrol, around Ravenstonedale, should have seen most competitors dropped time, but the marshal at the vital control gave navigators what ever time they requested, even if it had passed. THis meant that there were 11 cars still clear of penalties at that stage.

Everyone lost their clean sheets immediately after the restart, which were in the lanes east of Orton, where two controls were timed to the second. Further time was lost as the route went via Greenholme, the very muddy Hardendale Quarry, and Reagill. Despite the navigator suffering from mal-de-nav, Lawson/Pringle emerged as leaders, 22 seconds ahead of John Haden/Iain Tullie (Subaru Impreza Estate).

The last part of the route was the hardest of the night, including a section near Kirkby Stephens where the instructions required the navigator to find two spot heights that totalled 396. Visits to Waitby, Soulby, Leases Ford and Smardale brought crews to the Finish back at Tebay.

Lawson/Pringle had stormed through these sections to finish 51 seconds ahead of Haden/Tullie, who were 1m 01s in front of the local crew and 1997 winners, Les Percival/Richard Todd (Ford Escort), who took third.

Andy Beaumont/Mike Petch took their very standard Proton Satria - no spotlights - to fourth. Malcolm Grizedale/Bob Hargreaves (Subaru RX Turbo) completed the top five.

Malcolm Holdsworth/Richard Holdsworth should have taken fourth but they booked into a time control a minute early and the resultant fail dropped them to twelfth. That was one place in front of Clive Sisson/Kevin Savage who missed a route check.

Despite missing a code board that was obscured by a police patrol car that was parked up, Nichola Hillier/Dave Broadley managed to win the Non-Expert, while Craig Whitehead/Lee Hudson won the Newcomers class.

His win moved Lawson to the top of the ANCC Drivers Championship. The previous leader, Dave Chapham, finished ninth. Meanwhile Tullie maintained a healthy lead in the navigators’ series.


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Jon Lawson Chris Pringle Subaru Legacy 5m 15s
2 John Haden Iain Tullie Subaru Impreza 6m 06s
3 Les Percival Richard Todd Ford Escort 7m 07s
4 Andy Beaumont Mike Petch Proton Satria 8m 52s
5 Malcolm Grisdale Bob Hargreaves Subaru RX Turbo 9m 23s
6 Sandie Taylor Paul Taylor Peugeot 205 GTi 9m 53s
7 Pete Tyson Neil Harrison Mini Cooper S 11m 48s
8 Terry Martin Simon Bentley Peugeot 205 GTi 14m 08s
9 David Chapman David Taylor Peugeot 205 GTi 15m 02s
10 Mark Shaw Ken Willan Talbot Sunbeam 16m 02s
11 Stephen Coombes Paul Coombes Peugeot 309 18m 59s
12 Danny Robinson Ian Gibbins Peugeot 205 GTi 19m 35s
13 Malcolm Holdsworth Richard Holdsworth Toyota Corolla 1F 7m 35s
14 Clive Sissons Kevin Savage Opel Kadett 1F 12m 26s
15 Nichola Hillier Dave Broadley Rover Metro 1F 33m 11s
16 Bill Chadwick Alan Edwards Peugeot 205 1F 42m 32s
17 Ian Guthrie Charlie Tynan Mini 1F 43m 11s
18 David Howell Stephen Taylor Opel Manta 3F 42m 03s
19 Steve Kenyon Chris Edwards Ford Sierra 4x4 5F 44m 38s
20 Frank Evans Dan Spittlehouse Toyota Corolla 6F 14m 38s
21 Ian Rooke Katy Mashiter Ford Sierra 6F 28m 20s
New Comers Class
1 Craig Whitehead Lee Hudson Ford Fiesta XR2 21m 36s
2 Ed Dentice Jonny Brass Toyota Corolla 1F 13m 41s
3 Tony Simis Gavin Ford Ford Sierra 1F 23m 48s
4 Mark Binney Colin Lawson Peugeot 309 1F 34m 23s