Rallying: Dursley star Stokes triumphs on Tour of Hamsterley
12:14pm Saturday 10th May 2014 in Gloucestershire Sport
DURSLEY driver David Stokes, with Guy Weaver on the notes, continued his two-pronged attack on both major British Historic series with yet another category two victory and maximum championship points on the SG Petch Tour of Hamsterley Historic Stages.
But the event was not without its share of problems for the crew.
The Stockton and District Motor Club had attracted a high quality entry of over 100 cars for this qualifying round of the West Wales Rally Spares RAC Championship.
Forty-four miles lay ahead, with the bulk of the mileage in the notoriously deceptive and difficult Hamsterley forest, a graveyard for many on the old RAC rallies of years gone by, although the organisers had secured a new three-mile test on the roads of Raby Castle, which was to be used three times during the day.
Heavy overnight rain had left the roads extremely slippery and Stokes and Weaver got off to a bad start, bending the steering rack after a heavy landing on the short opening test.
They then struggled through two long stages in the main complex with a bent rack, before reaching service, surprisingly holding a category two lead.
They changed the track control end and tried to loosen off the rack, which made it slightly better but still not right.
Next up were two short tests in the new Raby Castle test before a return to service and more work on the steering rack.
A repeat of the morning's three Hamsterley tests were next up and on the second of these the duo hit a huge hole over an unseen crest.
Badly bending the bottom arm, the crew thought about retiring to save the car, but struggled through stage eight and into service.
Although they'd dropped well over a minute, they still held a narrow lead with just one short Raby Castle stage left.
More sterling work by the service crew got them back out to complete the event, winning category two by just 11 seconds from the similar Escort RS1600 of Warren Philliskirk and Nigel Hutchinson, also winning class C5 and finishing tenth overall into the bargain after a somewhat tough rally.
"The boys did a fantastic job in keeping us going during the day as the stages cut up badly, which contributed to some of our damage," said Weaver.
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