Unlike the previous event in 2004 which was beset by snow, the rain held off to give the competitors 10 mainly dry stages run on the racing circuit best known for motorcycle racing.
Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages 2012
In memory of Border Motor Club member Alan Healy the club ran their first event to be held at Cadwell Park, the racing circuit near Lincoln, for 8 years.
With three World Rally Cars entered as well as locals with very rapid 2WD machinery the competition was expected to be close from the outset and spectators who had made their way to the mountainous circuit were not disappointed. Roger Duckworth and co-driver Aled Davies in the Intrinsys and Kumho backed Subaru Impreza S6 WRC led the field away as car 1 and found the damp circuit conditions tricky with their worn, hard compound slicks. Local pairing of Graham Coffey and John Vance were quickest out of the box with their Subaru Impreza S12 WRC stopping the clocks three seconds quicker than the brave Escort Mk2 crew of Pete Rayner and Richard Bonner. David Turnbull in his Subaru Impreza S11 WRC was a further 2 seconds back. However with a dry line appearing after all the cars had been through stage 1 Duckworth attacked on the next stage to takes fastest by 4 seconds and the rally lead by 1 second from Coffey who in turn was 1 second up on Turnbull.
The close battle at the front continued into the next pair of stages where Duckworth took another fastest on SS3 but was beaten on stage 4 by Turnbull, leaving Duckworth leading by just 2 seconds from Turnbull and Coffey in third a further 6 seconds back.
SS5 saw a navigation error put David Turnbull out of the running with a mistake at a split junction meaning he would continue to compete for the rest of the day but took a stage maximum and spoiled his chances of victory.
Coffey started to pile on the pressure and took time out of Duckworth on the next two stages to close the gap to 5 seconds with 4 stages to go. On the first of these 4 stages, times were equal and then in an effort to close the gap on stage 8 Coffey made a small mistake, touching the grass and spinning into a tyre wall which although he recovered quickly with no damage done, the 11 seconds lost gave Duckworth space to breathe on the final two stages.
At the awards ceremony Duckworths co-driver Aled Davies thanked and praised the organisers of the rally for putting on an event, enjoyed by all the crews which ran not only smoothly but actually ahead of schedule; a fitting tribute of which Alan Healy would have been proud.
At the finish Duckworth stated “Although I have won a few events in my career, all of them have been on gravel so I am very happy to notch up my first tarmac victory – an excellent way to prepare for our next rally in Barbados in June”.
|1||Roger Duckworth/Aled Davies||Subaru Impreza WRC||0:41:22|
|2||Graham Coffey/John Vance||Subaru Impreza WRC||0:41:35|
|3||Chris Marshall/Simon Hunte||Mitsubishi Evo 5||0:44:10|
|4||Pete Rayner/Richard Bonner||Ford Escort Mk2||0:44:13|
|5||Gawaine Clark/Tom Racey||Subaru Impreza||0:45:16|