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Whickham and District Motor Club Limited

Northern Dales Classic Trophy Rally

Hexham Motor Club’s annual, tests only event was held at a very hot and dusty Eastgate in Weardale on the 15th July. Ed Graham and his team had laid out a loop of 4 tests on the former cement works site, to be driven 3 times in the morning and a further 2 loops after lunch with minor modifications.

An excellent entry of 46 cars had been received with 11 historics and 35 modern cars lining up and a good entry from WDMC.

The event was generally seeded in car age order, so first WDMC crew were Peter Metcalfe/Guy Wickham in Peter’s 1966 Mini. Their plan was to go as fast as possible on the first lap and then consolidate their position while everyone else went faster on the repeated tests. This worked well and after the first lap they were 1st Historic and 5th Overall, helped by an uncharacteristic wrong test from top seed Tom Hall.

They still lead the Historics at lunchtime but reckoned with Tom’s rate of recovery from his Test 2 time penalty, he’d overtake them on the 18th test. Unfortunately, as is often the case with Peter and Guy, things go wrong on the first test or section after lunch and this was no exception! A cone penalty on Test 13 and a wrong call from Guy on Test 16 dropped them 30 seconds over the loop and Tom was back in front. The final loop was trouble free and they were delighted to finish 2nd Historic, 1st in class and 11th overall.

Next seeded WDMC crew were Joe Harwood/David Lumsden at 13 in the unusual and now rare Reliant Scimitar SS1. A trouble free day, with only a minor blip on the final loop saw them finish just outside the top 20 in 21st overall.


Starting just behind Joe and David at 14, Colin Fish was navigating for Simon Jennings in Simon’s Peugeot 106, this only the second event for the pair after their debut together on the Shaw Trophy. An excellent start saw them trading seconds with Peter and Guy in the morning before pulling away after the latter’s post lunch problems to finish an excellent 5th overall and 2nd in class, with Colin the highest placed WDMC finisher.

Next WDMC starters were Jordan English/Ben Day-Preston at 30 in the Clio. The additional plastic body kit was not best suited to some of the rougher parts of the tests and the sound of plastic on rock could be heard around the venue! This was not an issue later on as a lot of it was worn away! Despite a few wrong tests they finished 36th overall.

John Marshall/Chris Pattison started at 36 in the very yellow MG ZR. After a wrong test on Test 3, they settled down on only their second tests event and finished just behind Joe and David in 22nd overall.

Final WDMC crew were the father and son team of Jimmy and Alastair Knox at 45 in the BMW 316. A mixed opening lap included 4th best time overall on Test 2 and a maximum on Test 4. The 2nd lap saw 4 clean tests but overheating problems were already apparent and unfortunately the radiator failed on the 3rd loop, leaving them as 1 of only 5 retirements – quite a low number given the heat and non-stop action on the tests.

All in all a good event and thanks to the marshals who braved the dust and sunburn so we could all have our fun.

Guy Wickham

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