For Killinchy’s Stanley Orr, and co-driver Guy Weaver in their MK Transport MK1 Escort, the 2016 MSA British Historic Championship has been one of success punctuated last weekend with drama!
The championship got off to a superb start for the pair in their Pinto engine Escort, claiming victory in their category on round one the Red Kite Rally. “It gelled really well from the start with Guy in the co-driver’s seat for the first time this season, and it was good to be back contesting a championship again after taking a break last year” said Stanley. “On round two- the North Wales Stages we again took the Category Two honours, and were very happy, and then we repeated that on the third round in Carlisle, so it was all good.”
That’s not the whole story as the County Down based team, have been holding off the challenges of their 16 valve BDA powered rivals, the main challenger Simon Tysoe in his MK1 Escort RS1600 BDA. Indeed there has been a lot of hard work from the team including Finn, Cleet and Dom and not just in the weeks before the rallies.
“We have contested two double header weekend’s now. The first involved contesting the gravel Pirelli Rally in Carlisle on Saturday, going to a local garage after the finish and converting the car to tarmac spec and then driving to Epynt in Wales overnight for the nest days event. That first trip went really well on both events, but last weekend wasn’t as straight-forward!”
Indeed the Ashmores Press Brake Tooling backed Escort was pressed into action for two more tough days, the first day- Saturday for the Severn Valley Stages in the dusty Welsh forests. It wasn’t dust that was the issue, but air or indeed lack or it in the rear tyres, as on stage one Stanley suffered the first of no less than three punctures.
“We were only half a mile into stage one when I felt the first one, and the second puncture was very hard to drive out of the stage on. The third one didn’t cost any time, but it was just one of those days. However we had made a step forward in improving the flexibility of the engine and when we did get a clean run, the times were even closer to the overall Historic leaders.”
Despite the deflations Stanley and Guy took the Carryduff Autoparts backed Escort to third in the category, and then made the journey to Epynt once again for Sunday’s action.
“We are contesting these Epynt rallies to gain more experience before the Harry Flatters championship round in July, and from that aspect it’s all good practice. A good result was scuppered though when the car stopped just off the start line of a stage and I had to get out and swop over the ignition pack and coil to get it re-started. It wasn’t our weekend, but in general it’s been a really good start to the year, and we are still leading the important category 2 in the championship.”
Next up is the Harry Flatters Rally on the tarmac military Epynt ranges in Wales on 24th July and Stanley looks like he could repeat his British Historic Championship category victory achieved in 2014, as well as a significant overall position.
The remaining rounds of the 2016 British Historic Rally Championship calendar are:
Sunday 24 July: Harry Flatters Rally
Saturday 20 August: Red Dragon Stages
Thurs-Sat 15-17 Sep: Isle of Man Classic
Fri/Sat 30 Sep/1 Oct: Trackrod Historic Cup