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Ilkley Jubilee Historic Rally

Sponsored by Crossley Evans Ltd

Ilkley & District Motor Club

3rd September 2023

Ilkley Jubilee Historic Rally 2023
Historic Winners: Dan Willan/Ryan Pickering (Volvo PV544)
Photograph: © Tony North

Ilkley Jubilee Targa Rally 2023
Targa Winners: Sion Matthews/Winnie Chen (Vauxhall Astra)
Photograph: © Tony North

Organiser: Ilkley & District Motor Club

Date: 3rd September 2023

Clerk of the Course: Ian Mitchell

Route: 130 Miles, 9 Tests & 8 Regularities

Base: Leyburn

Starters: 58

Round Eight of the HRCR Clubman Championship took crews north to the Ilkley Jubilee, which, for the second year in succession, started at Leyburn. A Targa Rally ran alongside the Historic event. Competitors in the Targa were provided with simpler navigation for the regularity sections.

Sixty-two cars completed Scrutineering on Saturday, but, remarkably, four failed to take the start on Sunday morning. These included Championship hopefuls, Roger Fildes/Anji Martin, whose Escort suffered a head gasket failure. Meanwhile, Lee Matthews/Yvonne Matthews found that their Consul Capri wouldn't start after Documentation; a failed coil was suspected.

Therefore, it was 48 Historic and 10 Targa cars that took the flag from Leyburn Auction Mart at 08:45. They were led away by 2022 winners, Darell Staniforth/Nicky Staniforth in their Toyota Corolla, fresh from their success on the St Wilfrids.

The competition started with two tests and a regularity on the Catterick Ranges. Ricky Profitt/Graham Wild (Porsche 911 Carrera RS) were fastest on both tests and held the lead after them.

Ryan Pickering had originally been due to compete on the Ilkley with 2021 winner Steve Head, however Head's Escort was unwell and so Dan Willan stepped in and took over the vacancy in his very successful Volvo PV544. Willan/Pickering were second fastest on Test 1.

The pair moved into the lead after Reg 1, which was entirely within the Ranges and had four timing points. They put up the third best performance, which enough to give them a ten second lead over Dave Alcock/Martyn Taylor (Datsun 280Z). Staniforth/ Staniforth were third, while Mike Vokes/Matthew Vokes (Ginetta G15) moved up to fourth as they picked up the least penalties on the reg.

Test 3 was on the southern edge of the Ranges at Hagworm Hill and used a mix of gravel and tarmac roads, the latter proving to be 'green' and very slippery. As the slime was cleared by preceding cars, the fastest times came from the later runners.

The treacherous conditions caught out Car 8, the Peugeot 205 of Nick Pullan/Ian Canavan; they slid into a tree, thankfully without any harm to the crew. However, their rally was over.

Fastest on the test was Car 43, Neil Raven/Claire Raven (Peugeot 205 GTi); this was no flash in the pan, the crew consistently put in best performances on both tests and regs throughout the day and ended in sixth overall, with a clear class win.

Nigel Woof/Sally Woof were having a character-building day. Their VW Golf was on its last UK outing before being dispatched to the Far East for the Road to Hanoi event early in 2024. On the Ilkley it seemed to have suffered a wheel bearing failure, so the crew cut Reg 2 to have the item checked at the Coffee Halt. Thankfully, the problem was found to be loose wheel nuts and the pair continued.

Also suffering mechanically were Jeff Wincott/Anne Tweedell; their Austin A40 developed a misfire almost from the start. It cleared slightly through the morning, but returned at intervals throughout the day. They survived, narrowly missing out on a class win at the Finish.

Staniforth/ Staniforth displaced Willan/Pickering from the lead on Test 3; the two cars were now separated by five seconds. However, the Volvo pairing were back in front after Reg 2, the first competition on the public roads. Navigation here was via grid lines. It started at the edge of the Ranges and finished in Leyburn. There were three timing points, the second of which was located in a farmyard; this was missed by both Paul Crosby/Oli Waldock (Porsche 911) and Alcock/Taylor.

Willan/Pickering and Vokes/Vokes shared the best performance on the reg, with Graeme Cornthwaite/Lynsey Procter (Morris Mini) a second behind them.

This meant that at the Morning Coffee halt, Willan/Pickering were in first place on 2m18s, while HRCR Championship front runners, Leigh Powley/Brian Goff (Toyota Corolla), were in second on 2m36s. Raven/Raven were tied for third place with John King/Martin Pitt (Toyota MR2).

Ilkley Jubilee Historic Rally 2023

The third reg was on private land near Bellerby, with four timing points in close proximity. Ken Binstead/Sarah Binstead (MG B) were best here, just in front of Willan/Pickering, who thus extended their advantage.

Reg 4 was on public roads; it was 15 miles in length and had three timing points. It started to the north-west of Leyburn and ran via Wensley and Carlton to finish at East Witton. The honours for the best performance here was a three-way split, with Willan/Pickering and Vokes/Vokes sharing the honours with Andy Harrison/Henry Carr (Austin Mini).

This was to be a last hurrah from Harrison/Carr; on the next regularity their Mini's gearbox took a knock on a rough white and the car got stuck in fourth gear. They withdrew. They had been in seventh place.

Another public road regularity followed after a short neutral section. The three timing point reg, also included two route checks on triangles.

Stephen Owens/Nick Bloxham (Porsche 911SWB) were best here, dropping just seven seconds, three seconds better than Les Andrew/Peter Blackett (Peugeot 104 ZS).

At the lunch break, Willan/Pickering led Powley/Goff by 43 seconds, with Vokes/Vokes 1m07s off the lead in third.

Four tests followed the lunch halt, all at the Catterick Ranges. They were followed by a regularity, which was also on the military ground.

All this activity made little difference to the lead battle; Powley/Goff had reduced their deficit to Willan/Pickering by just three seconds by the end of Reg 6. One crew on the move were Staniforth/Staniforth; they took fastest on two of the tests and share best on another. They moved up to third place as a result.

Both the MG of Binstead/Binstead and the TR7 V8 of Rod Hanson/Clare Grove were forced out by clutch failure on Reg 6. Meanwhile failed fuel pumps caused the retirements of both David Crooks/Richard Lumbs (Proton Satria) and the glorious Saab 96 of Phil Jeffery/Caroline Stevens.

Gareth Hockeridge/Andy Darlington withdrew as too many punctures had left them without any more spares for their Golf.

The final two tests of the event were a repeat of the first two, at the northern end of the Ranges. Willan/Pickering maintained their advantage over the tests, although Staniforth/Staniforth were closing in on second placed Powley/Goff; the father/daughter pairing were now 18 seconds off the runner up spot.

The seventh regularity was a plot 'n bash section and ran roughly parallel to the A1(M), starting at Colburn and finishing at Bedale.

It might have had a crucial affect on the results. Willan/Pickering had missed to plot a via; they cut straight across a loop and arrived at the first timing point over two minutes early. With no maximum penalty cap for early arrivals, this would have lost them the lead. However, a lack of clarity in the navigation instructions, caused other crews to head off in several directions. At the finish, the organisers reluctantly cancelled penalties for both of the first two timing points, leaving just the third to count.

There now remained just the final regularity, which was the longest of the day; it was 21 miles long and had five timing points.

Noel Kelly/Pete Johnson were debuting their new Peugeot 205 and having got used to the car, put in the best performance on the reg. This moved them to tenth place and a class win at the Finish. King/ Pitt were second best and secured their fourth placed finish.

Third best on the final reg were Willan/Pickering and this meant that they finished 59s ahead of Staniforth/Staniforth, who had overtaken Powley/Goff for second place on the final test.

There had also been a change of the lead in the Targa Rally on Test 10. Nigel Bennett/Jonathan Bennett (Mini Cooper) had led for most of the day, but fell back after Reg 6. Robert Robinson/Peter Mellor (Audi Coupe GT) had taken over at the front briefly, before Sion Matthew/Winnie Chen (Vauxhall Astra), who had been quick on all the tests, came through and took the win, on what was the navigator's first rally.