For the second year running, Cumbrian driver Barry Lindsay will lead the field away on the Darlington and District Motor Club-organised Jack Frost Stages Rally which will take place at Croft Circuit, North Yorkshire next Sunday (February 2nd 2020).
In the absence of last year’s winner Peter Smith, Lindsay, from Carlisle, and co-driver Caroline Lodge aim to win back the title they last won in 2018 in their WD-40 sponsored SGP Motorsport Ford Fiesta S2000, kindly supplied once again by local motor dealer Steve Petch as part of their prize for winning the SG Petch ANECCC Rally Championship again in 2019.
Back then, heavy snow and ice was a major factor but hopefully the 75-strong field will not have such conditions to cope with on the 21st annual running of the event which will again comprise eight stages totalling around 40 stage miles on the asphalt of the North East’s only permanent race track and which is a qualifying round of a number of local championships.
Irrespective of the conditions, there are plenty of crews intent on landing the honours including a strong local contingent with specific agendas. Having missed out on an eighth Christmas Stages victory last month and yet to win the Jack Frost, Leeming driver Kevin Procter arrives back at Croft with last year’s winning co-driver Patrick Walsh in their Procter’s Luxury Coaches-backed Ford Fiesta WRC.
Scotch Corner driver Tony Bardy is a three-times winner of the event and along with Northallerton rallycrosser Dave Bellerby, aims to get his name on the winner’s trophy for a fourth time in the TBM-prepared Ford Focus WRC.
Continuing his rallying comeback is former circuit racer David Henderson from Willington who claimed a top six place on the recent Christmas Stages in his Dent Master-supported Ford Escort Mk2 and for this event has seconded wife Katie into the co-driver’s seat.
Leading National driver Lyndon Barton will be a major threat in his Ford Escort Mk2 also whilst Brompton-on-Swale’s Geoff Wright (Ford Fiesta), Bedale ace Joe Cunningham (Subaru Impreza) and Guisborough taxidermist Dave Hornbrook (Mitsubishi Lancer) will be some of the locals gunning for top ten results.
Local interest is further enhanced with Alistair Hutchinson from Mickleton (Renault Clio), Witton Gilbert drivers Edward Todd (Darrian T9) and Andy Fawcett (Vauxhall Nova), Richmond’s Mark Constantine (Vauxhall Corsa) and Staindrop driver Mark Thompson (Peugeot 206).
An interesting entry has come from the Caribbean whereby Turks and Caicos Islands driver Paul Horton, and part-time World Championship co-driver Darron Garrod, compete in a state-of-the-art Ford Fiesta R5 whilst Scotsman Drew Gallagher brings his unique Subaru-engined Skoda Fabia R5 Proto to Croft for the first time.
The organisers still have a few places available for any competitors still considering putting an entry in. Please contact Secretary of the meeting, Mrs Lesley Starkey, on 07950 248105 or firstname.lastname@example.org for availability.
Gates open at 08.00 with the first car starting at 09.05 and the full entry list can be found at www.darlingtondmc.com. Adult admission costs £9 in advance (available until Wednesday at 10.30am) or £13 on the gate with accompanied children aged 15 and under free, with free car parking on hard standing within the circuit confines. There is free access to the service area and toilet/catering facilities available. Further information is available from Croft Circuit on 01325 721815 or from www.croftcircuit.co.uk.