16 Nov Round 2: Cadwell Park Preview
After a thrilling Neil Howard Stages, the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship party slides on full opposite lock into Cadwell Park for its second rally of the season.
The Ford Fiesta had its moment at Oulton Park, but the tight and twisty circuit stages of Cadwell could be a time for the Escort Mk2 brigade to shine, with a familiar face coming back to join the fray.
Ian Woodhouse, a previous MN Rally champion, returns with a rebuilt Mk2 and the same all-out attacking style to boot, so expect himself and Paul Rowland to fight for the top spot alongside D1 honours.
Chasing him hard will be the improving Steve Tilburn, who has consistency on his mind this season. “It’s youth vs the old boys”, he says. “We’ve hopefully got more competition from Escorts, and now you’ve got Ian Woodhouse coming back and he’s even better than he was.”
Giving them some pressure will be the Darrian duo of Joshua Davey and Barry Morris, who fought for a top-five overall finish in the opening rally of the season.
Davey survived damage to his T90 to grab the first class C victory of the season, and was dominant as he looks to add to his points tally in a push for the overall title. Morris meanwhile has another D1 class win on his mind against Escort competition that will be breathing down his neck.
Class C will also have the likes of former title contenders Cathy Sewart (Talbot Sunbeam Lotus) and Mike English (Escort Mk2) for company, while defending class champion Ryan Connolly is touted for a return in his rapid Ford Puma.
Chris Ruck’s unique Vauxhall Corsa – acquired from Greece – will take to the Cadwell Stages looking for a second win in two, but with Ashleigh Morris (Fiesta), Paul Gorge (Mazda MX-5) and the impressing Connor Tolson (Fiesta) all giving chase.
Dale Lawson has always been a fan of Cadwell, and the reigning class A champion is expected to start his defence this weekend with the much-developed MG ZR.
Craig Aston’s trusty Toyota Yaris handles the technical sections well and will aim to keep in top-three contention in class, but you can never count out the likes of Adam Ripper’s Nissan Micra and the Puma of Ron Walker, the latter earning bragging rights at Oulton with maximum MN class points.
Variety is the so-called spice of life, and that is the case when you pan your eyes eagerly down the entry list. Fans should look out for some spectacular classic machinery, including Ashley Davies’ Peugeot 205 GTi, Sir Andrew McAlpine’s Austin Mini and an Alfa Romeo 33 that will most certainly turn heads.