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Cotswold Historic Rally

Tavern Motor Club

2nd July 2023

Cotswold Historic 2023
Winners: Leigh Powley/Mark Appleton (Toyota Corolla)
Photograph: M&H Photography

Organiser: Tavern Motor Club

Date: 2nd July 2023

Clerk of the Course: Gavin Rogers

Route: 150 Miles, 7 Tests & 6 Regularities

Base: Cirencester

Starters: 69

Based at Cirencester, the Cotswold Historic Rally, provided its 69 starters with 150 miles of competition. Crews tackled six regularities and seven tests; the fourth reg was entirely within the private tracks of Charlton Park, the home of the WOMAD Festival.

There were 11 competitors in the Club Rally, where crews were provided with easier navigation for the regularities, mostly in the form of tulip diagrams. The Inter Club event was Round Six of the HRCR Clubman Championship.

The first regularity started just outside Cirencester and ran through Ampney Crucis, to finish at Chedworth. There were four timing points.

The best performance on the section was put in by Roger Fildes/Lynsey Procter (Ford Escort), they dropped four seconds, one second less than Ken Binstead/Sarah Binstead (MG B).

There was only a short non-competitive section, taking cars through Withington, before the start of the second regularity. This was ten miles in length and contained three timing points. It led the route to the Morning Coffee Halt, at the Highwayman Inn.

Fildes/Procter had retained their lead to the halt, but still had Binstead/Binstead that single second behind. Russ Smith/Dan Harrison (Peugeot 205 GTi) were making a return to competitive motoring after a break of several years; they held third at Coffee. They fell back to fifteenth place at the Finish, but secured a class win.

The Nissan Cherry of Suzanne Barker/Clare Grove had in the preceding fortnight been driven to and from the Classic Marathon, as well as competing on the HERO-ERA event. This amounted to over 4,000 miles, however, after only a few miles of the Cotswold, a wheel bearing began to fail and they were forced to retire.

The third regularity started within a few hundred yards of the coffee halt, and looped via Brimpsfield to finish near Rodmarton. It was 23 miles long and contained five timing points.

There was a change of leader here as Binstead/Binstead put in the best performance and ended the section with a lead of 13 seconds over Mike Vokes/Graham Raeburn (Ginetta G15). Fildes/Procter had a poor run and dropped to eighth.

Leigh Powley had a busy run up to the Cotswold Historic; his Corolla's engine had blown on the East Anglian Classic two weeks before. Powley had only completed the installation of a new unit in the early hours of Thursday morning preceding the event. Nevertheless, the car ran faultlessly over the entire event.

With regular navigator, Brian Goff, unavailable, Powley had drafted in the highly experiences Mark Appleton to guide him through the event. The pair had spent the first sections getting used to each other, but by the end of Regularity 3 they were in third place.

Cotswold Historic Rally 2023

The first two tests of the rally were tackled at the Kemble Airport, with two runs of the same layout. Darell Staniforth/Henry Carr (Toyota Corolla) and Vokes/Raeburn shared fastest time on both. This put the latter crew into the lead after the tests.

The fourth regularity was the Charlton Park section. It was four miles long and had five timing points. Powley/Appleton were best by six seconds over the run; this put them into a lead that they weren't to lose.

The pair arrived at the Lunch halt with a lead of seven seconds over John King/Martin Pitt (Toyota MR2), who were two seconds ahead of Vokes/Raeburn.

There were two more retirements at this point. Mark Goodwin/Anthony Davies had a clutch fail on their Triumph TR7, while, in Charlton Park, a shock absorber punctured the petrol tank on the Mini of Peter Kettle/Delia Kettle.

The afternoon consisted of two regularities, the second one of which used plot 'n bash navigation, and five tests, these completed the day's competition. The last two tests were at a new venue, the Cotswold Driving Experience.

The pattern of this part of the event was that the leaders pulled away from the field, to finish with a winning margin of one minute nine seconds. Behind them there was a churn of position changes as navigational errors tripped up numerous crews.

As the day progressed, Elliott Dale/Charlotte Ryall (Ford Escort) seemed to have established a secure second place, however, King/Pitt had other ideas and mounted a strong challenge over the last tests. The result was that the two crews finished on exactly the same total. The matter was decided on a tie break in favour of Dale/Ryall.

Angus McQueen/Mike Cochrane (BMW 323i) managed to overhaul Vokes/Raeburn on the final test to take fourth place at the end.

Dan Darkin/Nick Darkin (Mazda MX5) finished in sixth place, the crew having put in the best performance over the six tests.