British Rally Championship Champions Collection

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British Rally Championship Champions Collection

Post  reeft1 on Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:06 pm

Some time ago I started building a collection of cars that had won the British Rally Championship. In a moment of weakness I decided to try and build/collect all the cars going back to the inception of the BRC in 1958. This was a stupid decision. I assumed I would easily find colour pictures, articles and the like clearly providing all the information needed. I don’t know if you realised this, but google and the internet weren’t big in the late 50’s and early 60’s. In fact, photo evidence or written evidence has proven as easy to locate as the City of Atlantis. Also, the British Rally Championship was not the pre-eminent rally competition in the 50’s or 60’s. Indeed, the Motoring News Rally Championship and the British Trial and Rally Drivers Association Championship in particular were more highly thought of. Couple that with the fact that the main motoring news magazine/paper happened to sponsor one of the competing championships, and press coverage of the BRC was, shall we say, very limited.
Nevertheless, the collection from 1958 to 2014 was finished this morning, and so here it is. It’s been a battle, but I hope you like them as much as I have enjoyed bringing this together.

The 50’s
1958
The inaugural winner of the BRC was Ron Gouldbourn with Stuart Turner in the co-driver seat. Ron also won the BTRDA in 1958. Stuart Turner has competed as co-driver on most major international rallies, he became Sports Editor of "Motoring News" then Competition Manager for BMC, managing the rally team when Minis were winning Monte Carlo Rallies. He joined Ford as Competitions Manager, guiding the team to wins on the Safari and London-to-Mexico rallies, European and World Championships. He is a renowned after dinner speaker and I was fortunate to exchange some correspondence with him. Stuart confirmed that the BTRDA was the one to win in the 50’s and they didn’t even realise that they had won the BRC until some time after the season had finished. He recalls Ron being a very good driver, but for some reason he wasn’t trusted by the Triumph Competitions manager, and as such was never allowed to use the competition cars in the British Championship. Ron used his own car in the BRC and other UK events and Stuart recalls that “the TR is every bit as iconic as the Mini, the Escort and the Quattro. You have to remember that in the late ’50s they were everywhere. If you were on a rally with an entry of 100 cars, as many as 50 would be Triumphs. It became the car to have. Of course, it was also very low and I remember losing a minute on one rally just trying to get out of the car – the base of the door kept hitting the kerb! “You didn’t have to do much to make them competitive, that was the key. Back then rally cars really were production cars. On one occasion I borrowed a TR from a dealer in Stoke on Trent and all we did was pump up the tyres a bit, attach some cardboard to the dashboard to stop reflections from the map light and off we went. I drove the car back to the showroom the following Monday.” Stuart can’t recall much about the specifics of Ron’s  personal TR3A, (and the various Triumph car clubs can’t find anything in their archives and the DVLA won’t play ball), but thinks it was dark green with a hardtop, hence car 1 in this picture. Car 2 represents the Triumph Competition car which Ron drove to 10th overall and 1st in class victory in the Tulip Rally in 1958 – why have I modelled an International car not used in the BRC? Read on to 1959….
These are 2 modified/part repainted Corgi models, one with homemade decals.



1959
Stuart was again in the co-driver chair in 1959, but this time supporting John Sprinzel – a legend in the Triumph Sprite community, having developed a number of specials used in motorsports and being highly competitive in his Sprite in the BTCC. Again, I was fortunate enough to track down John to Hawaii of all places! Because rallies were so tough on cars which were to all intents and purposes fresh from the showroom, cars broke regularly. From my investigations I’m pretty confident that John and Stuart rallied 3 (perhaps 4) different cars in 1959. They started off with their pale blue Frogeye Sprite which John drove to 14th overall in the Monte Carlo rallye that year. They also used an Alfa Giulietta. From one black and white picture of the Alfa with its bonnet up, there is a high probability that the Alfa used by John in 1959 corresponds to one in the central records at Alfa Romeo who have recorded the following for a car with the chassis ending 2736 – “According to our documentation files, the chassis number AR 1468.02736 originally corresponds to an Alfa Romeo Giulietta t.i., manufactured on the 24th February 1958. The body colour is “Elvezia” blue (AR 315).” The Giulietta register recorded the car with the prior chassis number (2735) as being brought into this country by Thomson & Taylor the importers. Unfortunately, despite the passing of time, and despite explaining why I was after the information, the DVLA wouldn’t divulge whether they had any information on the car, including the UK registration. I also tried to trace the person who John believes the Alfa was sold to – I think I found her but unfortunately I have not been able to obtain a response to my emails. As the year progressed, John designed a new more aerodynamic front end for his PMO200 Sprite, and this was the forerunner to the development of the Speedwell Sprites. The car in more aerodynamic form finished 9th overall in the Liege-Rome-Liege event. The possible 4th car from 1959 is a banana yellow Austin A35, but I have only found 1 reference and that was a DNF in the Alpine Rally that year although John didn’t personally recall using it in 1959. So again, why build international rally cars? John’s recollection (which for transparency is different to Stuarts) is that “The Monte, in fact, counted towards the Championship, as you scored points for 1,2 & 3 in class on Internationals as well as 1,2 & 3 in the General classification.” I’ve used John’s recollection as the justification for the 1958 Tulip Rally TR3A. John also won the BTRDA in 1959.
The Pale Blue Monte Car is a Spark issue, the Elvezia Blue Alfa is a de-decaled partswork and the Grey Speedwell bonneted Sprite is a modified K&R kit with homemade decals.
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reeft1

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Re: British Rally Championship Champions Collection

Post  reeft1 on Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:06 pm

The 60’s
1960 and 1961
When 12 year old Bill Bengry was fined £25 for driving a car on the highway in the 1930's it looked as though his motoring life had got off to a bad start.  But from this expensive beginning Bill has come a long way in the world and reached heights in motor sport which he never dreamt possible at that tender age,
Bill, who lived in Leominster, is the possessor of over 200 cups and trophies won in local, national and international motoring circles and has the distinction of being the first man to be RAC British Rally Champion for two consecutive years.
Through hard work and an indomitable will he has made his mark in sport and business.  Time and time again he has come through against the odds and is a man to relish a challenge
A sleeping interest in motor sport was first aroused in Bill in 1947 when his brother-in-law was a works driver for Coopers who were dominating their class in races and hill-climbs.
He competed in many hill-climbs and rallies. He says now, "The rallies were longer in those days and relied mainly on good navigation, and I had a job to find a navigator.
"Modern rallies lay greater emphasis on the ability of the driver.  There are so many good navigators that this has to be so.
"Times are now taken down to seconds - not just average speed - and on the special timed stages of a rally you must have a good driver and a car with a good performance."
He began to take up serious rally driving in 1954 when he took on the Volkswagen agency.
Although the Volkswagen was considered by experts to be unsuitable for rally work, within six years Bill was RAC British Rally Champion, Motoring News champion and the BTRDA Gold Star champion.  This was achieved against stiff opposition and he was the first driver to win all three.
It was in 1960 that he took part in his first international - the RAC Rally of Britain - and he considers that it was in this event that he gave his best performance.  Certainly it put him into the "big time" of rallying.
As his navigator he had David Skeffington, who has shared many of his successes, and together they competed against international stars in Bill's privately entered Volkswagen.
From the start the little red car was considered to have no chance and was number 110 form the start.  But after the first night it was one of only three cars not to lose points.
Then ill-fortune struck.  From lying third Bill dropped to eighth due to five tyre bursts on special stages.  They finished the rally in this position and were second in their class.
By Jeremy Finney.  Taken from the Hereford Evening News, Friday September 24, 1965.

Although I can no longer trace the article, I did read at one stage that in one year (1960 or 1961) a river crossing was so flooded that most cars came a cropper trying to ford it – not Bill and the Bettle – they floated across!!
I have exchanged correspondence with Bill’s family as Bill has sadly passed away, but we have been unable to locate pictures of the Beetle from 1961. We know it was the same car used for both years, so the 1961 car is presented here in “base” form – if ever I find any pictures, I will decal it up. Bill won both the Motoring News and BTRDA Championships in 1961 in addition to the BRC. The only BRC event in 1960 which Bill won was, I believe, the season finale, Rally of the Vales.
The cars are modified/resprayed partsworks with homemade decals:

1962 and 1963
Tony Fisher was a Privateer rally driver, with clearly a wealth of talent and someone who knew how to hustle a Mini Cooper. Tony won the BRC, BTRDA and Motoring News Championships in 1962 and followed up with the BRC and BTRDA in 1963. In 1962 he drove a 997cc Mini Cooper, and used the same car again in 1963 but added to it an International Grp 2 spec Cooper 1071cc car which was not eligible for BRC events other than the RAC rally. I don’t believe the 1071cc car finished the RAC in 1963. I haven't been able to trace results from 1962, but in 1963 I believe Tony won the following BRC events - Cat's Eyes, Express and Star
These are modified/resprayed partsworks with homemade decals.

1964
I’d never heard of Eric Jackson until I started work on this collection. The man should be a legend! Used extensively by Fords on the marathon rallies (round the world, London to Cape Town, London to Sydney), the man and his co-driver Ken Chambers set record after record. Some of the stories (nearly eaten by cannibals, nearly dying of thirst in a desert, saved by nuns etc. ) would be unbelievable in todays rallying age – his book Petrol in my Blood is a great read.
The Cortina GT here is his 3rd place Circuit of Ireland car from 1964 (according to his book it would seem he didn’t win any events outright that year, his best finish was 2nd of the Scottish but I couldn’t locate any pictures of that rally, however I have found another record source which suggests the Bournemouth Rally may have been a BRC event in 1964 and it would appear Eric may have won that event). Eric also won the BTRDA in 1964. He did drive another Cortina in 1964 which he managed to set fire too – a replacement car was sourced from Fords competition department manager who thinking it was a wrecked shell sold it to Eric for a small amount of money – it turned out to be a fully works prepared shell – Eric wasn’t embarrassed at the bargain as he felt that as a works team driver, having to pay for your own car was a bit rich in the first place!
This is a modified Vanguards with homemade decals.

1965
The great Roger Clark with his first of 4 British Rally Championships. Roger drove 2 types of Cortina in 1965. The first from the Scottish Rally was a Cortina GT. Later in the year, (he used it at the 2nd running of the Welsh in the same year but there is some suggestion that may not have been a BRC event but I have included it here on the offchance), Roger switched to a Lotus Cortina. Roger also won the London Rally in a Cortina GT in 1965.
The former is a Corgi model, the latter a modified Minichamps car with homemade decals.

1966
The origins of the Triumph 2000’s long and honourable career in international rallying came some considerable time before the car was even launched.  Although the Leyland takeover of Triumph had resulted in the total discontinuance of competition activities, some at least of Triumph’s new masters recognised that, for a maker of sports cars to be credible in world markets, a measure of factory-backed competition participation was necessary.  For 1962, therefore, a limited programme of rallying using TR4s was approved, the TRs later being joined by Vitesses in a number of events.  Although the Vitesse never made any significant impact during its short works rallying career, the TR4s were rapid and well-handling cars that enjoyed a certain amount of success during their first season.  Nevertheless, with international rallying increasingly favouring the use of high-speed stages over rough off-road courses, the light and low-built TRs were at a considerable disadvantage against the likes of the works Citroën DS19s, Ford Cortinas and Zodiacs, and Mercedes-Benz 220/300SEs.  Even the works Rover 3-Litres, rather hobbled by the Solihull firm’s insistence on using near-standard cars, were beginning to make their presence felt.  It thus became increasingly clear that, if Triumph was to maintain a worthwhile presence in rallying without resorting to the use of expensive homologation specials, it really had to have a large, strong and rapid saloon of its own.  That the forthcoming 2000 should find itself cast into this role was, therefore, almost inevitable.
The story of just how Triumph’s competitions strategy came to embrace the 2000 has been recounted authoritatively by the then-Competitions Department Manager Graham Robson in his book The Works Triumphs  - suffice it to say that, for 1964, Triumph Spitfires would be used for racing (primarily at Le Mans) and for the remaining high-speed, all-tarmac rallies.  For off-road rallies and endurance events such as the Monte Carlo and Spa-Sofia-Liège, the Triumph 2000 would be the company’s instrument of choice.  In order to maximise the cars’ chances of success, it was decided to prepare them in line with the then-current regulations for Group 3 (‘Grand Touring’) cars which permitted a considerable degree of detail modification to the production design, a tactic also being exploited by BMC with the Austin-Healey 3000 and Mini-Cooper and Ford with the Lotus-Cortina.  Four 2000s were thus laid-down, registered AHP 424-427B.  Externally, the cars looked fairly standard other than for their additional lights, black-painted bonnet panels (to minimise dazzle) and 15-inch TR4 wheels (to maximise ground clearance), but this unassuming appearance was certainly deceptive.  In addition to strengthening of the bodyshell and some other structural members, engines had been extensively modified with higher compression ratios, re-profiled camshafts, triple Weber carburettors and special free-flow exhausts to boost power to a peaky but extremely impressive 150bhp.  Transmission-wise, a shorter final-drive ratio and limited-slip differential were combined with a wide ratio version of the overdrive gearbox, overdrive being available on second, third and top gears to produce what was effectively a seven-speed transmission. Lastly, to ensure that the end result could stop just as well as it could go, larger brakes were fitted, albeit of the established disc/drum configuration. All this, plus homologation of the basic car itself, naturally took some time, and the 2000’s first works appearance in international competition was on the Spa-Sofia-Liège marathon in August 1964.  Although not competitive on times with the very fastest cars, the three Triumphs entered on this fast and extremely punishing event acquitted themselves very well until the return leg through Yugoslavia when they suddenly retired with broken rear suspension mountings.  As already recorded, this weakness was quickly addressed, and all four works 2000s were entered for the RAC Rally, those of Roy Fidler and Terry Hunter taking second and third places in their class, behind Timo Makinen’s Austin-Healey 3000. For 1965, the range of events for which the works 2000s were entered was expanded considerably, though entries had to be chosen carefully to maximise class marking advantages.  An additional car (EHP 78C), largely conforming to the proven specification but of left-hand drive format, was also built for new team member Simo Lampinen, but also used by other works drivers on Continental events.  The sole 2000 entry in the Monte Carlo rally retired with a blown engine, but successes quickly followed in the Circuit of Ireland, Tulip, RAC and Welsh rallies, Jean-Jacques Thuner and Roy Fidler taking well-earned first places in class on the Tulip and the RAC respectively.  Thuner’s Tulip entry, EHP 78C, was subsequently borrowed for test by Motor magazine which evidently enjoyed the experience, pronouncing it to be one of the best five-seater sports cars it had yet tried!  Perhaps even more interesting if less spectacular was Fidler’s RAC rally car (AHP 426B) which, in order to exploit class marking advantages in that event, had been rebuilt to the rather less exotic Group 2 specification with standard carburation, wheels and brakes. About the only consistent weakness on these first works 2000s concerned their transmissions, which were put under a heavy burden not just by the power of the highly-tuned engines, but also the considerable all-up weight of the car.  A technical solution to this could undoubtedly have been devised but, unfortunately, this was not to happen.  Triumph’s competitions activities during this period would be characterised not only by tight budgets but also a considerable degree of organisational and political uncertainty.  It was entirely understandable that competitions spend should be balanced by a certain degree of success and concomitant enhancement of Triumph’s market image, but some of the Leyland management seem to have expected rather better results (i.e. overall victories with near-standard cars) than were reasonable given the circumstances.
For 1966, however, the pressures on the Triumph team would increase yet further, new regulations effectively outlawing the highly-modified Group 3 2000s.  Short of wholesale withdrawal from the sport, Triumph had two choices; either to revert to using near-standard Group 1 machines, or otherwise to build for sale sufficient Group 3 ‘replicas’ to permit such a vehicle to qualify for homologation.  Sadly, but probably realistically, there was never much chance of Triumph approving an ‘homologation special’, even in the rather more civilised form proposed for the 2000TS; hard-pressed production managers were unwilling to accept the inevitable disruption such a model would create (as competition bosses at BMC and Ford were also to find out), whilst the sales function had some understandable concerns as to the potential implications for the image of the ‘normal’ 2000.  In addition, Triumph’s competitions activities were being subject to ever-increasing financial scrutiny by its Leyland masters so, accordingly (and perhaps bouyed by Roy Fidler’s RAC Rally success in a near-standard vehicle), the decision was taken to participate in a reduced 1966 programme using Group 1 cars.  Three such vehicles (FHP 992-994C) were entered in the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally and, despite being pitted against considerably faster and more exotic machinery, Roy Fidler managed to take 14th place overall.  The remaining Triumph entries, however, did not finish and this, coupled with the controversy over the disqualification of many of the winning entries that year, indirectly led to Triumph’s complete withdrawal as a works team, though limited factory support would continue to be given to selected private entries.  Fidler was permitted to buy FHP 993C (slightly uprated with triple Webers and wide-ratio gearbox) as the basis for his own rallying programme and, despite retirements in the Gulf London and RAC rallies, did sufficiently well in a number of other events to secure the 1966 RAC British Rally Championship.
The car here is a repainted Neo model with a corrected number plate – I haven’t been able to locate any pictures from 1966 BRC events, so the car will remain undecaled for the moment.

1967
Jim Bullough with his famous co-driver Don Barrow sewed up the British rally scene in 1967 in their Lotus Cortina Mk1 winning the BRC, BTRDA and Motoring News Championships. This de-decaled Vanguards model (no pictures can be found from 1967 BRC events) represents the winning car with the corrected number plate. Jim won 5 Motoring News Events in 1967, and 2 "may" have been events in the BRC - the Bolton and Vales rallies.

1968
Colin Malkin - 23 August 1942, Coventry - 23 Jan. 2006 (aged 63). Son of Coventry garagist 'Codger' Malkin. His father was a rallyman; his brothers Keith and Barrie used to autocross. Colin did, too, winning awards in a Mini and a Lotus 6.During his lifetime he won two London to Sydney rallies as well as the prestigious Vuelta a la America del Sud. He won not just the international rallies but in 1968 was the winner of all three British Rally Championships at the wheel of a special one-litre Hillman Rallye Imp.
I can't find positive confirmation Colin won any BRC events outright in 1968 (although there is some suggestion that the Bolton, Vales and Express and Star rallies were BRC events and he won those) so the car modelled here is 3rd place overall from the 1968 Scottish Rally.
This is a modified Vanguards model with homemade decals.

1969
John Bloxham won the BRC, Motoring News and BTRDA Championships in 1969. He is a member of the Ecurie Cod Fillet rally group, which in 2008 counted 16 of the 23 BRC rally champions as members. He ran a couple of cars in 1969. He described (via his rally driving son who I exchanged correspondence with) that the Lancia Fulvia was totally unreliable so was ditched part way through the season. The Mk1 Escort Lotus Twin Cam became the car of choice for John although later in the year he changed the “sh!t” (his words again!) rectangular headlamps for round ones again part way through the season.
The Lancia modelled here represents the Welsh Rally car from 1969. The Twin Cam is yet to be decaled as I haven’t been able to find any pictures from 1969 BRC events - there is some suggestion that he won 2 events in the BRC in 1969 - the Vales and Bolton rallies.
The Lancia is a partswork with homemade decals, the Twin Cam is a de-decaled Trofeu model.
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reeft1

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Re: British Rally Championship Champions Collection

Post  reeft1 on Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:07 pm

The 70’s
1970
Will Sparrow used 2 Mk2 Mini Cooper S cars during 1970. Will built his cars from bare shells himself so some officianados won’t call them true Cooper S’.

WNX700H. It ran a 1275cc engine and had some form of bonnet "bulge" fitted to accomodate a different carb at some point during 1970. It was 1st overall on the 1970 Welsh Rally which was the last international rally event won by a Mini (excluding the BMW version :-)). It was rolled in Oct 1970 on the Tour of Mull and returned in 1971 with a Clubman front end. Will also won the Vales and Hackle events in 1970 which I believe were BRC events.

VNX700H. Group 2 1275 Mk 2 Cooper S used to win his class and finish 11th overall on 1970 RAC which was a qualifying event in the BRC that year.
These are 2 de-decaled/repainted Vitesse models with homemade decals.


1971
Chris Sclater’s 1971 Escort RS1600 (1.8l) – Partswork plus homemade decals/Rallymodels.co.uk decals to represent the winning Scottish Rally car. and Trofeu British Rally Legends model of his "DNF" RAC car from that year. Chris won the Scottish, Lindisfarne, Burmah and Dukeries BRC rallies in 1971.


1972 and 1973
Back to back BRC wins for Roger Clark - these his 2nd and 3rd wins in the Championship, both times driving Escort RS1600 (now in 2.0l form) cars.
The 1972 Dukeries car is from Trofeu’s British Rally Legends series (Roger also won the Seven Dales, Granite City, Welsh, Burmah, Manx, RAC and Hackle events in 1972), the 1973 Scottish Rally winning car is from IRM (Roger also won the Snowman, Seven Dales, Granite City, Welsh, Jim Clark, Hackle, Dukeries and Lindisfarne events in 1973) - what a couple of years!

1974
Extract from Stephen Mills’s account of the 1974 Championship winning year taken from Michael O'Carrolls Irish Motorsport Annual 96
Billy wanted me to stay to do the RAC Championship for the year, and in his words, "we could win".  What a challenge!
With such an invitation who would argue?  So with the combined efforts of Dan O'Sullivan, Evan Hughes (who had been Brian Cullen's mechanic, transporter driver, pit crew and confidante, all rolled into one from his Formula 2 days of 1970) and Billy, and myself we worked our way through a long list of championship events.  They covered Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England and we ended up as RAC Rally Champion 1974, before the final event of the series, the RAC Rally. A year that saw all kinds of antics and comments from many quarter, not to mention the opposition, which was everywhere.  
Coleman from Millstreet was one of the quickest drivers around and the shy man had the potential to become the best. In 1973 he bought his first ex-works Ford Escort from Chris Sclater, VVX 958L, which proceeded a ‘new’ ex-works Ford France MEV 36J with two litre alloy block BDA, which I took delivery of the day the Welsh Rally started in May 1974. I still have the receipt!  Evan Hughes and I collected the car from the Ford Competition Department at Boreham. It was on a trailer and we were to take it directly to the rally start at Cardiff.  As luck would have it the trailer burst a couple of tyres on the motorway to Cardiff and in order to get to the start before it was too late, I had to take the car off the trailer and drive it to the start. I can’t remember objecting, but I can remember the drive to Cardiff!!  Evan arrived later and, with a brand new car, which he had never seen prior to the start; Billy Coleman came away with a second place to Markku Alen in a works Escort.  That was the class of ‘the Kid’. The entire RAC championship was just that - a full season of events that required consistent application to the task on hand by all concerned.  The objective was to take the title out of England. Travelling through Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Ireland and England honed the four of us into a unique nucleus.  We completed the task as required and competed in a number of other events beside. The car was constantly being re-built after each event, or at least as much as time permitted.  One thing that stands out in my memory from that year is the fact that I was the only one to put a mark on the car. I chipped the paint with the jack handle in Wales on the first event.  Apart from that there was not a scratch put on the car throughout the season. At the end of that year, after the final event the RAC Rally in November, and the coveted title in the bag for Billy and Dan, I got the first available plane out to Australia to get way from the weather. Evan Hughes decided to come out as well, and at the last minute his brother Gordon joined us for the flight.  We are still here!  
Stephen Mills
The models here are the Texaco Rally winning (1.8l) RS1600 VVX958L and the 2nd place Welsh Rally (2.0l) MEV36J car - the former is a parts work with homemade decals, the latter is a Trofeu base with homemade decals. (VVX958L was used on forestry events, MEV36J on tarmac according to the Colemans of Millstreet web site, although that sounds back to front)


1975
Roger Clarks 4th BRC win was delivered in 1975, again using an Escort, but this time the newly released RS1800 (2.0l).
Again, a Trofeu British Rally Legends model of the winning Welsh Rally car from that year (Roger also won the Granite City, Scottish, Burmah, Manx and Lindisfarne events in 1975).

1976
Bizarrely the only BRC win for the “Vat Man” (Ari Vatanen) although he did go on to achieve WRC success is some style (World Champion! – how many of todays BRC can claim this?) – this is a Trofeu British Rally Legends model of his smashed up Burmah rally car (the other side of the car has a taped up front wing). Ari also won the Welsh, Jim Clark, Manx and Lindifarne events in 1976)

1977
The great Russel Brookes drove the iconic Heat for Hire sponsored cars for a number of years, but his first BRC win was in 1977. This is a modified and repainted Trofeu model with bought and homemade decals to reflect his COI winning car from 1977. Russell also won the Granite City, and Jim Clark events that year).

1978
Hannu Mikkola’s only BRC win, but like Vatanen he went on to greater success in the WRC.
For 1978 to 1984 I am going to cut and paste an excellent written summary by Martin Porter of BRC events from those years which I have sourced from this web site (http://hyppyrally.blogspot.co.uk/). If you like the write up, go on the web site as there are some good pictures from those years on the site.
Russell Brookes started the 1978 Mintex International Rally, the opening round of the inaugural Sedan Products Open Championship, as reigning British Champion. Then a young hotshot with a tendency to stuff his car into the scenery, he was the first driver in a generation to be able to match the pace of Roger Clark.

That he was immediately dicing for the lead with Finnish gravel experts Hannu Mikkola and Penti Airikkala shows how fast he really was, but his subsequent career shows the ghetto that British rallying was to get inself stuck in. In Brookes's first full season he had been dicing with Roger Clark, and in his last he was head-to-head with Colin McRae. But whilst Roger and Colin were to claim World Rally victories, Brookes rarely got a drive outside of the UK.

But back to 1978.

As well as Brookes, Clark, Mikkola and Airikkala there was the winner of the previous year's 1000 Lakes, Kyosti Hamalainen in an Escort, Jimmy McRae no longer in a Group 1 Magnum but a Group 4 Chevette, Tony Pond in a TR7 and Markku Alen in a Fiat 131 Abarth. Vauxhall had just had their Lotus designed cylinder head banned, so were down on power this year, whilst Leyland were in the process of shoe-horning a V8 into the TR7, meaning much more power.

Fiats were an unusual sight on British rallies. The previous year the Fiat-Ford battle for the WRC had gone to the wire and Fiat came within an ace of having to take on the Boreham team in their back yard to win. Knowing that the Escort beat the 131s hands down on blind forest stages they sent a car to the Open to get some much needed experience of British forests.

In the end Mikkola expired in the Yorkshire forests and Airikkala overcame the lack of grunt to beat Brookes into second, whilst old Roger Albert managed forth, just behind John Taylor's Haynes of Maidstone sponsored Escort.

The series next moved across the Irish sea for a blast from end-to-end of the Emerald Isle. The Circuit of Ireland was a unique challenge, a long, fast, bumpy and blind tarmac rally. Here the usual Escorts were joined by the Porsche Carreras that Irish privateers knocked together in their sheds whilst local hero Billy Coleman was in the exotic Chequered Flag Stratos.

Once Brookes had got himself sorted out he blew the opposition away, whilst second was Jimmy McRae, who had led for two days. This was not to be the last time these two disputed the top placing. Mikkola disappeared into a field whilst Alen took a podium on a surface the 131 liked, despite at one point getting stuck behind an Irish farmer using a supposedly closed road at night with no lights. Only in Ireland!

The series stayed on tarmac for the opening day of the Welsh, before leaving the Epynt ranges and returning to the forests.

Mikkola dominated whilst Alen looked set to go one better than in Ireland. But our man Clark, fortified no doubt by a few pre-rally pints, showed that he's a fast on day four as day one and overhauled the Finn.

The series stayed on the Celtic fringe for hot and dusty Scottish Rally. It was once again Mikkola in front, but this time it was a young Malcolm Wilson second for most of the event. Unfortunately the now Ford rally boss was a less laid back character then than he is now and he stuffed his Escort into the scenery. Second eventually went to Airikkala's Chevette ahead of Clark's Escort, who'd been off the road and who had fought his way back from sixth. Brookes had got himself stuck in a ditch and only finsihed because Andy Dawson stopped to tow him out.

1978 saw the first and last entry into the series for the other Scottish rally, the Argyll based Burmah International - which was anything but dry and dusty. The likable German Walter Rohrl was driving the Fiat this time, whilst Mikkola debutted the famous Eaton Yale sponsored Escort.

But before the event disappeared into oblivion it earned itself immortality as the only international rally to end in tie. Mikkola appeared to have given best to Brookes and started the last stage thirteen seconds behind the Englishman. But then the Andrews Heat For Hire car hit problems too and the event ended up being halved. Tie breaker rules gave the event to Mikkola for having been faster on the first stage. As modern rallies are timed to a hundredth of a second this record should stand forever.

Next it was back into a boat for the Manx International. Closed public roads and pace notes made this the fastest rally of the year, despite the rain, and with the archetypal seventies moustached man Tony Pond at the wheel, Leyland were finally able to unleash the full power of their V8 TR7. Mikkola managed to keep in front of the red beast until he punctured and crashed, but Pond eventually won by a country mile with part time rallycross man John Taylor second, an Irish Porsche third and Roger Albert Clark fourth. Brookes was excluded for illegal servicing.

All of which meant that Clark entered the last round ahead on points despite not having won a single round.


This was to be a perennial problem for the Open. With no 'best of' rule until 1983, consistency often beat pace.

The last round was our own World Rally, the RAC. With Ford officially on strike both Mikkola and Clark would be in private Escorts. This was enough though and Escorts swept the board, despite a valiant fight by Alen in a black and red Stratos.

Mikkola's Eaton Yale Escort comfortably beat Bjorn Waldegard's similar car. Clark's bid for title ended when he approached a gate with a box full of neutrals and flipped his Escort onto its roof.

It was sad to see the old master exit in such an undignified manner, but few could argue that Mikkola, with four wins to his name, was not the worthy winner of the first British Open.

So it was first blood to the Finns. Could the Brits raise their game and get the title back?
This is the winning RAC Rally car from 1978 – the RAC was a qualifying event for the BRC in 1978. This is a Trofeu model.

1979
One of my personal favourite drivers, Pentti Airikkala won his only BRC in 1979 – whilst he had more limited success in the WRC, only winning 1 event, the variety of cars he drove other the years highlights his all round skills.
Battle commenced on the 1979 British Open Rally Championship before the first car had even rolled off the chilly starting ramp in Yorkshire.

The 1978 season had been a success, and as a result ever event larger than a single venue wanted to be part of the action. The manufacturers on the other, who had other series to contend with as well, wanted just a handful of quality events. The compromise ended up as a seven event series, with the Ulster rally in and the Burmah out.

With hindsight it's perhaps hard to see what all the fuss was about - a handful of rallies, mostly in the cold and wet, with small entries and barely a car that could top 300bhp.

But for those of us who remember those days this was the real thing. Rallies that began in the early hours and continued into the night, the crews servicing in laybys, farmers fields or anywhere they could find. In Ulster they somehow crammed 250 stage miles into 24 hours.

Then there were the cars. Hairy chested Escorts and Chevettes, burbling TR7 V8s, the odd exotic Porsche or Saab. Tail out, even on tarmac, and most smelling vaguely of Castrol GTX.

Then there were the drivers. The year would see three future World Champions battling it out on our stages and whilst the home grown talent may not be as famous, they were more than able to hold their own.

The action started with the De Lacy Motor Club's bash around the Yorkshire forests, then going under the name of the Mintex International. What had changed though was the weather.

Snow was the order of the day and the De Lacy's had their work cut out to keep the show on the road. Stig Blomqvist had arrived in the whispering Saab 99 Turbo, fresh from giving the car a maiden victory in the Swedish Rally, although he was forced to leave his studs behind.

The front wheel drive probably helped, the turbo though probably didn't, but ultimately it was Swedish snow experience that gave him victory. How else could you explain a TR7 V8 coming second, other than that it was driven by Blomqvist's former Saab teammate Per Eklund?

The series then crossed what James Joyce used to call "the snot green" sea for the Circuit of Ireland. This time it wasn't an excess of snow that the competitors had to cope with, but a lack of petrol.

The Middle East was in turmoil thanks to Iranian Revolution, and the jungle juice was getting hard to find on the Emerald Isle. With a top flight TR7 doing about 4 mpg at full throttle this was a serious problem. The competitors were often diverted to remote spots in the middle of the night in the hope of finding supplies, and many crews dropped out when they didn't materialise.

One team that didn't have a problem though was Vauxhall. Dealer Team Vauxhall appeared to have finally got the Chevette HS to really fly, at least on tarmac, and Airikkala raced to an easy win, ably supported by McRae until mechanical failure put him out.

Russell Brookes entered one the tarmac special Escorts developed to win the Monte Carlo but crashed it. Eklunds Triumph also expired and so the runner up was Irishman Billy Coleman, who for once was in a conventional car, an Escort.

So far though the reigning champion had not made an appearance. For the Welsh though, Mikkola was back, and in the blue Eaton Yale Escort he swept through the rain to a clear victory.

Three rallies, three different winners, and despite only managing eighth in Wales, Blomqvist led the series.

For the Scottish there were two Eaton Yale Escorts, with Bjorn Waldegarde joining Mikkola. The two were taking a break from their battle to be the first every World Rally Champion, and they soon set the pace, with the Finn heading the Swede.

Both were to leave the road though, which gave the lead to a young Finn called Henri Toivonen in an Escort. Electric problems eventually slowed him down, but we'd be seeing a lot mor eof him in years to come.

This gave the lead to an Englishman; Tony Pond in the new Talbot Sunbeam Lotus. Essentially an old Chrysler Avenger with a hatchback, the addition of a Lotus engineered 2.4 litre four pot turned it into a hot hatch. It was not a happy team, and the Sunbeam expired before the end, but clearly the car had potential.

The beneficiary of all this carnage was Airikkala who took the win and the series lead.

Pond managed to lead again on the Manx, only for the gremlins to again get the car. Mikkola also expired - on the very first stage, and Airikkala was out too.

This left the event as a duel between Russell Brookes and Jimmy McRae, the first of many to come over the next decade. This time though the Englishman's Escort proved to have the legs on the Scot's Chevette.

The Ulster Rally was a high speed blast around the top of Ireland. Mikkola was unable to make it to the event and the result was a Vauxhall one-two. Brookes was again in a shorter, wider tarmac Escort and again found that, whilst it was untouchable on the smooth, flowing tarmac of France, on narrow and bumpy Irish roads it kept trying to tip him into a hedge and eventually succeeded.

Blomqvist peddled the heavy Saab really hard to make third, but only an extremely unlikely Saab win on the RAC could now prevent Airikkala lifting the trophy.

Mikkola once again showed he was the master of British gravel, with Brookes coming a creditable second. Blomqvist staggered round the stages until he eventually hit one tree too many whilst Airikkala nursed a car that looked on the verge of retirement from stage one through to seventh.

The Swede's exit gave him the championship and with three wins to his name he deserved it. So once again the Brits had been beaten by a Finn had won again, but this time one who lived in Berkshire and to be honest, the fans didn't mind at all.

Could the home team do any better next year?
This is a PJ Rallymodels model of his 1979 COI winning car.
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reeft1

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Re: British Rally Championship Champions Collection

Post  reeft1 on Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:10 pm

1980s
1980
So it's out with the seventies and with it went the most important team in British rallying.

Airikkala may have won the championship in a Chevette, but Ford had taken the manufacturers title. what's more Fords had provided the mount for every previous British rally champion since Will Sparrow won it in a Mini Cooper in 1970.

However the end of the decade also marked the end of the Mk II Escort and so Boreham had to go off and develop something else to rally. what that something else turned out to be is another story, but in the meantime their drivers had to find somewhere else to go.

Russell Brookes and Henri Toivonen went to Talbot, Roger Clark went to drive a TR7 V8 where he was joined by Talbot's development driver Tony Pond.
Meanwhile Hannu Mikkola and Ari Vatanen stayed in Escorts but moved to David Sutton's private team, where the former kept him Eaton Yale colours but the latter adopted the swanky new Rothmans look.

Absent from the scene unfortunately was reigning champion Airikkala, who was off to tackle the European Championship for Vauxhall, although the money ran out pretty quickly and he never really had a look in. This promoted Jimmy McRae to Vauxhall numero uno. The other change at Vauxhall was that the Chevette HS became the HSR, growing wings and getting back some of the tweaks that Bill Blydenstein had wanted on the HS but that Vauxhall had forgotten to homologate.

A new team joining the top table was Opel, with their Ascona 400. A big car with squared off arches it resembled the Fiat 131 Abarth, which had never gone well in Britain, so people had their doubts.

Also moving up were Toyota, who had re-homologated the Celica back into Group 4 and given one to Austrailian Alan Carter.

But if Toyota were moving forward, Saab appeared to be going backwards. In 1979 the 99 Turbo had been a rally winner and championship contender. In 1980 though they struggled to finish a rally.

This then was the grid. Seven teams chasing the trophy, a record entry of top level teams. The manufacturers had also won their battle with the organisers and the series was down to a more reasonable five events; three on blind gravel, one on blind tarmac and one on pace noted tarmac.

The series started in Newcastle with the Mintex. Swedish Rally winner and World Championship leader Ander Kullang put the Ascona into the lead on the first stage, but on the second the crank let go on his newly built engine.

The first day was mainly a run around the Otterburn ranges and the surprise leader on these tarmac stages was Willie Rutherford. The stages had been used for a National rally a few days before hand and this clearly benefited the private Escort driver.

Once the rally reached the real forests though it was clear who was boss. In stage after stage it was Mikkola from Vatanen, and the blue Escort eventually came home the winner by over a minute. Neither Talbot finished and McRae came third.

Mikkola though was committed to driving a Mercedes in the Safari so didn't join the rest of the field for the start of the Circuit of Ireland in Belfast. Billy Coleman took an early lead in an Eaton Yale Escort with McRae and Vatanen close behind. McRae was literally flying. Into the lead and then over a hedge and into a field.

The Scot was incredibly lucky. The car was virtually undamaged and because most of the leading crews cleaned the stage he only lost one minute. By the second day's halt he was 32 seconds behind Vatanen, who was leading as Coleman's engine had gone bang.

The last night and day of the morning was probably some of the fastest rallying Ireland had ever seen. Both men drove their hearts out, with the Finn holding a slender lead. At one point McRae closed to within 10 seconds, only for Vatanen to pull 7 seconds back on the next stage.

Then, two stages from the end, Vatanen lost control of his Escort at 100mph and rolled. Like McRae, he was lucky, but he lost a minute and damaged the suspension. he threw in the towel and allowed McRae to take his first Open victory.

Battle resumed on the next round with an uncharacteristically dry and dusty Welsh. Mikkola was back, but they'd fitted a racing engine to his car and Hannu found that only by "revving it to bloody hell" could he make the thing go. Vatanen, who'd just become a dad, took an early lead but Mikkola soon overhauled him. They were both leaving McRae in their dust, and the Scot's car eventually refused to start after a service and the championship leader was out.

Eating Mikkola's dust that he was, Vatanen was not giving up. The two were swapping fastest times, but the Rothman's car was slowly gaining on the Eaton Yale one. Just before half way he was back in front. Mikkola chased hard, but picked up a puncture on Epynt.

Then, four stages from the end, Vatanen hit trouble. A timing belt slipped, a valve dropped and an idler pulley jammed. No spares were carried so this looked fatal. Fortunately the mechanics kept their heads. The engine was allowed to cool which freed up the pulley. Vatanen limped through two stages whilst his mechanics found a retired Escort on a trailer and nicked its idler pulley. A relieved Vatanen then returned to Cardiff to claim his win.

There was more dust on the Scottish, and once again it was the Mikkola and Vatanen show.



This time, with a more manageable engine, Mikkola had the edge and led from stage one. Behind the two David Sutton cars Anders Kullang was holding off variety of challengers. Malcolm Wilson looked set to take the last podium place off him, but went off and hit a bridge. It was a bad accident and he broke both ankles, but for a while it was feared his injuries were much worse.

Pond then had a crack with the big TR7, getting the beast up to 135mph at times. However throttle cable problems kept turning his V8 into a straight four and he had to settle for fourth, three places ahead of McRae who'd had a terrible rally.

And so it all came down to the Manx - or rather it didn't. Mikkola was in New Zealand trying to tackle a blind gravel rally in a big Mercedes, and once he failed to show Vatanen was gifted the championship.

The rally though was great.

Blisteringly fast, with cars 'cleaning' some sections and flat out in fifth for some sections - that's 140mph for a TR7 - it turned into a three way duel between Pond, Vatanen and McRae. Vatanen initially had an off song engine and Pond went into a comfortable lead. A puncture then put McRae ahead, but a broken rotor arm then dropped the Scot to third and gave victory to the red Triumph and its Manx based driver. Andy Dawson drove the Chequered Flag Stratos to fifth - a magnificent car but now apparently from a different era.

Vatanen was a popular champion. Four second places and a win was a fine record and British fans once again had a hero who drank nothing stronger than milk and usually wore sleeveless pullovers.

With a victory on the Acropolis as well it had been a triumphant year for David Sutton, but shortly after Vatanen raised the trophy his world fell apart. He turned out to have lost £100,000 during the year, his two main sponsors pulled out and his leading driver left to move to Audi.

With Roger Clark bowing out after a disappointing season, Triumph going too and Sedan handing over the championship sponsorship it was the passing of an era.

Next year it would be the Rothmans British Open, a slicker operation all together. But what would that mean on the stages?

This is a Trofeu base model modified with Rallymodels.co.uk decals to reflect the Welsh Rally winning car.


1981
1981 and Sedan Products bow out as the event sponsors, handing over to the glitzy Rothmans outfit. Nobody at the time was too bothered about the ethics of taking cash from a company selling addictive drugs that cause cancer - well, it was Thatcher's Britain - but they were worried about overkill as Rothmans now sponsored the series, one of the rounds and one of the leading teams.

This was also the last year in which everyone - except the army guys in their Land Rovers who tagged onto the end of the Welsh rally - was in two wheel drive cars. Abroad the new Audi was setting the stages alight, but back home Ford, Opel, Toyota, Talbot and Vauxhall battled it out in one last glorious year of high revving, multi-valve engines and tail-out opposite lock before the whispering Quattro spoilt the fun of forest rallying.

Escort development had come to an end two years ago, but the others were still trying to make a 'better Escort'. Opel and Vauxhall could make some claim to have managed to build one. The GM teams had amalgamated and their both their very different cars seemed more stable in fast corners than the old Ford.  

With reigning champion Vatanen largely absent as he pursued glory on the world stage, the drivers were mostly UK based, except for Per Eklund in the Toyota Celica. Airikkala was back, driving a Rothmans Escort for David Sutton. Jimmy McRae had left Dealer Team Vauxhall to drive the new Ascona 400 for Opel and in his place was Tony Pond. Brookes was still in the Sunbeam Lotus, still down on power and still waiting for the promised International drives.  

The opening round was the Mintexagain and just like last year there was ice and snow and just like last year it was a Rothmans Escort out in front, although this time it was Airikkala. Last time we'd seen him in a Ford he'd been leading the 1976 RAC rally, and he carried on where he left off.

The initial blast through the Otterburn army ranges saw Tony Pond fit slick tires only to find ice instead of  tarmac. He left the road and went OTL. Everyone else lost time due to the ice and all but one of the stages ended up being cancelled, but Pond was still out. McRae then chased Airikkala's Escort as hard as he could, but the Finn easily held off the Scott for victory.

The Circuit of Ireland was next and Pond was once again on slicks but this time finding grip. He flew into the lead and was leaving the field behind when the Vauxhall drive system let go. He handed in his time card, but then the stage was cancelled. It wasn't turning out to be Pond's lucky year.

McRae inherited the lead, chased by Brookes. However a tightening right hander caught out the Englishman and he thumped a bank. Ever the pro, he made sure it was the co-driver's door which was stoved in and Mike Broad who received the bruised arm. They kept going, but too far back to challenge for victory and McRae took the laurels.

For the Welsh Rally the big news was that Vatanen was back, and soon leading, chased by Pond. He punctured and dropped behind Pond and Brookes, then Pond disappeared up a fire break whilst flat in fifth and lost enough time to give Brookes the lead, a very unfamiliar position for the Andrews Heat for Hire Sunbeam.

It didn't last though, and when an oil pipe let go Vatanen got the lead back again. McRae pulled back time on the Epynt tarmac and he just nosed ahead of the Finn before it was his turn for a puncture. Vatanen then took the lead for the third and final time whilst Pond put on late spurt and also passed McRae to take second whilst Airikkala was fourth.

In the Scottish Rally Pond was again quickest off the mark, leading Airikkala through the forests, the rest of the field in hot pursuit. Both Rothmans Escorts went off on the same stage and the Brookes' Sunbeam was sick for most of the rally, but on home soil McRae gave the Chevette a run for its money. Pond has his measure though and came home a minute clear of the Ascona. Airikkala was fourth behind team mate Malcolm Wilson. The Escort pair had extracted their cars from the trees but Penti's was handling like a dog for the rest of the rally.

McRae then entered the last round with a comfortable lead in the championship. Only Airikkala could beat him, and only by winning outright.

This was the Manx, now well on the way to becoming a true International rally thanks to Rothman's cash. Star entry, and early leader of the Manx, was reigning World Champion Walter Rohrl, driving a private Porsche since Mercedes had cancelled their rally program. A grinning  Rohrl admitted to driving "too quickly" and getting the Porsche up to135mph and frequently airborne, but he still could not shake off McRae and Pond. Airikkala crashed out, leaving the Scotsman with a smug grin. The championship was his, but he wanted the rally as well.

Pond had survived a 100mph spin and when night fell he and McRae found they had the edge over the German in the dark and both Pond and McRae overtook him. Rohrl fought back once the sun rose again but couldn't catch the Brits. The Scott told the cameras he was driving for European Championship points, but Pond didn't believe him, and the stage times suggested otherwise as well. However the Englishman held on and won. Rohrl suffered a broken drive shalf on the last stage, so Wilson came third, but his Escort had been totally outclassed by the GM boys.

Pond had been the fastest man in the series and it seemed unfair that he was not to be champion this or any other year.  A great driver, especially on tarmac, and a ready wit, he was signed up by Datsun and then Rover for International events, but was never given a competitive car. He eventually left rallying to concentrate on circuit racing and cameo appearances, like doing a 100mph lap of the TT motorcycle circuit in a Rover 700 Vitesse.

He died, far too soon, in 2002.

Instead it was McRae, who finished on the podium in every event, who took the title off Ari Vatanen, which must have made his thirteen year old son Colin very proud. Ari, now Private Vatanen of the Finnish Army, can't have minded either as two months later he became World Champion on the RAC Rally.

But Vatanen didn't win the RAC, he only came second. The winner was Hannu Mikkola in the first British appearance of the Audi Quattro. British rallying was never to be the same again.


1982
Fire up the Quattro, it's time for action.

1981 had been fun, but it had all been a bit insular and provincial. True, the World Champion that was (Walter Rohrl) and the World Champion to be (Ari Vatanen) had both popped by, and there were a couple of Belgians on the Manx, but all the drivers battling for the series had been British resident even if, like Pentti Airikkala, they weren't British born.
However for 1982 that all changed. The world and his wife came to battle it out on the Open. The last round of the series, the Manx, featured seven A Priority Drivers, that is, drivers who have won a World Rally or the European rally Championship in the last three years or finished in the top three of a WRC round, or the top five of the ECR, in the last twelve months. Jimmy McRae was British but the other six, Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola, Guy Frequelin, Henri Toivonen, Stig Blomqvist and Per Eklund, weren't. One was the World Champion, two of the other were future champions and another was die whilst the fastest rally driver in the world. It was a stellar cast.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. The series started, as usual, in a chilly Yorkshire with the Mintex and leading the field away from York was Mikkola in the Beast from Stuttgart, run by our own David Sutton. Vorsprung durch Masses-of-Grunt-Grip, the Quattro was like something from a different planet in 1982. In these days of bang-bang devices and clever differentials it's hard to explain just how dull four wheel drive and turbo charging was when it first arrived on the rally scene. The Quattro was quiet and it braked and cornered in a straight line.  Unless you saw the speed at which it could accelerate out of a slow corner, it did not look like a rally winner.
Looking more like the real thing was reigning champion Jimmy McRae, still in an Opel Ascona 400 but now part of the Rothmans team, along with 1980 RAC winner Henri Toivonen. Russell Brookes was still sponsored by Andrews Heat for Hire, but had ditched the unlucky Sunbeam Lotus for a Chevette HSR. Vatanen was in a black MCD Escort and Per Eklund was getting ready to have another go at making the Toyota Celica competitive. The man left standing when the music stopped was 1979 Open Champion Pentti Airikkala. With no works drive, he bought himself an Escort to compete.

On the opening round though, it was the Quattro that was the car to have, and Mikkola lead from the off and started taking ten seconds a stage off everyone else. Behind him the others were struggling for grip. The Finns though seemed to be having the better of it. Vatanen and Airikkala battled it out through Yorkshire, with Pentti getting his private Escort ahead of the David Sutton machine only for steering failure to end an inspired drive. Toivonen took over the chase and closed the gap Vatanen's engine went off song in Dalby forest.  Seconds separated the Finns as they went into the final sprint around Oliver's Mount, but on the Scarborough tarmac Toivonen's Opel was quicker and he snatched second place.

Leader of the home drivers for most of the rally is National Champion Terry Kaby. McRae has a slow start but gradually rose up the field to finish fourth. It had been a poor showing for the home team though and the Scandinavians had totally outclassed them.

Fortunately the next round was rather better suited to home grown talent and two wheel drive machinery. The Circuit of Ireland was five days of blind tarmac rallying round Ireland. There is nothing like it today. The Rothmans Asconas shot into the lead, but Mikkola was floundering in the big Audi. They weren't totally invincible it seemed.

McRae led, then Toivonen, then McRae again. Then Toivonen left the road and climbed a bank. Damage to the car was minimal but he's broken a bone in his wrist.Carrying on would be painful, but carry on he did. Vatanen then took up the chase, the World Champion pedalling the Escort as hard as he could, but not making much progress against McRae. Mikkola's Quattro was snapping driveshafts and David Sutton was reduced to pouring Coca Cola and then flour into the gearbox to prevent clutch slip. Brookes had been delayed early on by electrical problems but was now charging up the field.

Vatanen looked like he might just steal a win until he took a yump too fast and damaged the Escort, dropping him right down. Brookes had fought his way up to second, but a brave Toivonen held on for third but Mikkola was down in sixth, behind a pair of Irishmen. It was Jimmy McRae though who won, making it a hat trick of Irish wins for him.

For the Welsh though Mikkola was absent as Audi had sent him to the Tour de Corse, a decision they probably regretted as Mikkola steering failure retired the car before the first stage. The real world threatened to interrupt the rally, as it was feared that the army would want the Epynt ranges, which made up half of the rally, to train for the Falklands War.

In the end the rally went ahead without trouble, Walter Rohrl had said an "educated monkey" could win in a Quattro, but in the end Audi chose a different sort of primate for the event, the 1979 World Champion and 1977 RAC Rally winner Bjorn Waldegard. He vaguely remembered Epynt from an RAC a few years back, and was soon proving that Quattros could go well on tarmac. The Swede, who in his time had rallied everything from a Lancia Stratos to a Mercedes 450SLC, led from the off and took a comfortable victory.

Behind him there was chaos. Vatanen took a wrong turn on Epynt and was excluded whilst on the last blast through the tarmac McRae tool a "95mph corner at 100" and totalled the Ascona. Team mate Toivonen took second and the series lead whilst Stig Blomqvist, in a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, was third.

It was back to the forests again for theScottish Rally, and with Mikkola returning another Audi walkover was expected. But that wasn't what happened.

Instead the Quattro broke its steering arm - again - on the first corner of the first stage. Mikkola managed to get the car off the stage in reverse, but he'd lost nearly eight minutes and was dead last. Vatanen was leading, chased by Blomqvist and the two Rothmans Asconas, but Mikkola was after them. The Quattro overtook Malcolm Wilson to lie fifth by half time at Aviemore.

As they raced through the northern forests Vatanen retired with a broken driveshaft handing the lead to Blomqvist, who then retires with head gasket failure. Mikkola overhauled Russell Brookes, then Toivonen and then finally leader McRae. Mikkola won in the end by a massive ten minutes, but he'd done it the hard way.

So it was all to play for on the Manx, three days of pace noted tarmac stages with an A lost cast. McRae needed to win the rally to retain his Open title, with Toivonen, Mikkola and Brookes all in with a chance if he didn't.

On the first day though, it is the Finns Vatanen and Toivonen who were dicing for the lead whilst Terry Kaby led the home challenge. Mikkola was again struggling and didn't make the finish, and both Talbots expired with engine trouble on the same stage.
Toivonen lost the lead when he punctured, but regained it when Vatanen crashed after a yump. Toivonen then has electrical problems, allowing McRae into the lead. With the car fixed he took off in pursuit of his team mate, only to crash out of the rally. This left McRae with a comfortable lead over Brookes, which he held to the end.

So it was the part time heating and plumbing engineer from Lanarkshire who was champion. The best drivers in the world had come to the British Isles to try to take the title off him, but had failed. The Scot had had a good year, also winning rallies in Belgium and Ireland and coming second in the European Rally Championship.

But whilst a Brit may have won the Drivers award, every round had been won by a German car, With a series that featured two tarmac, two mostly gravel and one 50/50 rally, the battle between two wheel drive and four wheel drive had been fascinating. Had Mikkola skipped Corsica and gone to Wales he may have won both the rally and the championship, but that wouldn't have stopped Opel taking the manufacturers prize. The Ascona 400 had shown it was the perfect car for the series; a reliable all rounder. The Quattro had proved unbeatable on gravel, but too complicated and unreliable for a series where every score counts.

Audi would be back though, and next time the British boys wouldn't find it so easy.
The 1981 and 1982 championship winning Opel Asconas are modified Vitesses models with homemade decals.

1983
British fans had two questions at the start of the 1983 British Open: could anything beat a Quattro in the forests, and could anyone take the title from McRae? The answer to one of these questions was yes and the other no.

There were a few changes to the field for '83.

Mikkola was absent, off to become World Champion. Instead the Quattros were to be driven by Swede Stig Blomqvist and Finn Lasse Lampi. The Stig was a rallying exile. Sweden had got so fed up of Quattros winning all their snow and gravel rallies they'd banned them, so he he'd come over here instead. The clever men in Stuttgart had also been fettling their machines, and the Quattro was no longer such a dog on tarmac.
Opel had been busy too, although problems had delayed the homologation of the Manta 400 and they'd have to start the season with the old Ascona. The new car, when it arrived, promised more power - but less driveability - and a better weight distribution thanks to an engine pushed as far back in the bonnet as it would go.

Vauxhall though were still where they were three years ago, and still using thirteen inch wheels, but at least the old Chevette HSR was reliable.

Once again it was two wheel drive versus four wheel drive. The Ulster had been added to the series, to make six rounds and the extra tarmac would help the two wheel drive cars, but a 'best five' rule would allow the temperamental Quattro a free breakdown, which could even things up.

That was about it for the top line entries, but Group A was now an interesting class. Per Eklund was now in a Group A Corolla 1600GT , and the rear wheel drive car would face opposition from Fords Escort RS1600i driven by Malcolm Wilson and Louise Aitkin. Harold Demuth's Audi 80 Quattro would eventually be homologated into Group A too, but had to start the year as a Group B car. Privateer Chris Lord in the Mazda RX7 would also be contesting this Group.
 
The opening round was once again theMintex. It started on the Otterburn tarmac and for two stages Russell Brookes's Chevette was the leader in the fog. However once the rally hit the fast Yorkshire forests Blomqvist took the lead in the Quattro. The weather perplexed the organisers, but when the chaos was sorted out Blomqvist won comfortably from Jimmy McRae's Opel, and Eklund was a surprise third ahead of Brookes and Demuth's 80 Quattro.

A Quattro winning on gravel though was not news, however a Quattro leading on tarmac was, and that's what happened on the next round, the Circuit of Ireland. In fact Blomqvist wasn't just leading, he was walking away with the event. Nearest rival was Pentti Airikkala, who was driving by far the most interesting car to appear in the series, at least in my opinion, the Lancia 037 Rally. British fans had seen the car in the previous year's RAC - or at least most of them had, I'd been in bed with a bad cold - but this was its first appearance in Ireland.

The Easter traffic was as bad as ever, and when Blomqvists gearbox broke his service crew were stuck in it and he had to retire. This gave Airikkala the lead in the Italian supercar, but he was finding the mid-engined car tricky to handle. His first encounter with the scenery dropped him him to third, but his second put him out.
The man who inherited the lead was Russell Brookes. Three times winner McRae had had a troubled run, but he still had to hold off Irishman Bertie Fisher in another Ascona before he could claim the win. The Scot's hold on the rally had been broken and it was starting to look like it might be Russell's year.

In Group A Eklund and Wilson retired and Chris Lord managed to hold off Louise Aitkin to claim the win.

The Welsh was next, and finally Opel had the Manta 400. in due course this would become one of the best rear wheel drive rally cars ever, but on debut it understeered terribly and McRae struggled, eventually only managing sixth. This left Brookes to take on the Audis. he beat Lampi, but Blomqvist had disappeared into the distance and won by nearly eight minutes.

In Group A Eklund and Wilson battled it out, with the Toyota a comfortable winner.

The action then moved north of the border for theScottish which, rather than being hot and dusty, was cold and wet in '83. Blomqvist cruised to an easy win, but behind him Brookes and McRae tussled for the runner up spot. The Manta was starting to work properly now and in the end it all came down to punctures. The Chevette and the Manta both punctured on stage 28. Brookes had to stop and change the wheel whilst the Opel was able to struggle to the end of the stage, which gave the Scot second.

Eklund, meanwhile, won Group A by twenty minutes as the opposition fell apart.

It was back to the black stuff again for theUlster Rally, but any hope that this would allow the two wheel drive cars to head Blomqvist were soon dashed. The Swede was again unbeatable. McRae had a troubled rally with the Manta. At one point the heater caught fire, and on another stage he had to stop to let petrol fumes out of the car. He must have wished for his old Ascona back.

Brookes's Chevette was running fine though, although the driver had 'flu. He spun on stage 5 but only lost thirty seconds, and was hanging on in third, unable to match the pace of Irishman Bertie Fisher in his Manta. Blomqvist had transmission problems, which briefly put Fisher in the lead. Brookes's co-driver Mike Broad put in a complaint that Audi had serviced the car illegally, but it was rejected. Instead Blomqvist soon regained the lost time won the rally by over a minute.

This left Blomqvist on 60 points to 53 for Brookes. Due to the 'best five' rule, to be champion, Brookes had to win the last round outright and Blomqvist not score at all. So it was all to play for on the Rothmans Manx.

As Rothmans also sponsored the series and the Opel team, they sent along a brigade strength squad for the event, consisting of Ari Vatanen, Henri Toivonen and Jimmy McRae. These three were soon leading, with the young Finn just ahead of his older countryman. Brookes was fourth until a puncture on day two cost him two and a half minutes, and dropped him to seventh, just behind Blomqvist.

McRae ended an unhappy year when the Manta's axle gave out, elevating everyone a place. The Audi engineers then turned the Quattro's boost up to eleven and Blomqvist started moving up the field with Brookes right behind. The Quattro was third behind the Opel pair, when it started stage 44 out of 49. Brookes was following and could see the Audi across Druidale when "Suddenly there was a mushroom cloud of oil smoke - it was like an atomic explosion." With a piston sticking out of the side of the engine block Blomqvists championship was over.

There was now the possibility of GM giving the Opels team orders to let the Chevette past. Brookes had asked before the rally what would happen in this situation, but he denied actually asking for the Mantas to be slowed. "I would not have wanted to win the rally that way," he said in 1983, although he'd clearly changed his view by 1989......

Eklund won Group A from Lord's RX7. He'd wrapped up  the championship in Ulster but his seventh overall put him fourth in the overall championsip. This was a nice result for the Swede after two years of driving unreliable and slow Celicas.

Russell Brookes though was disappointed to be runner up. He had scored in every round and said "I have driven harder, faster and better in 1983 than I have ever driven before." He had beaten McRea for the first time since the Scot had moved up to driving top level cars. After two disastrous years with Talbot and a troubled debut with Vauxhall, he was now back at the front of the field and would challenge for the title in every year for the rest of the decade.

But for Vauxhall Chevette this was the end, at least as a Works car. Conceived, rather optimistically, to win the 1976 RAC Rally, the Chevette had indeed been a 'better Escort' but had now run out of development. Airikkala had driven one to win the 1979 Open, but every other year had been a disappointment. We fans, though, loved the tail-out Chevette and its disappearance from rallying was another nail in the coffin of the ailing British car industry.

So it was a Swede who was British Open Champion. Not that we minded too much. We knew Stig, you see, and had been following his exploits since he'd won a particularly snowy RAC Rally in 1972. Besides, Stig could make the Quattro dance, he was the only one who could. Years of chucking overweight Saabs around the forests and rallycross tracks had given him car control second to none and for the first time we could see an Audi sideways.

He was far and away the quickest Quattro driver of them all, and Audi were starting to realise this as well. Two months after his engine blew in the Isle of Man he won the RAC Rally, and for the next year Audi gave him a shot at the world title. He took the opportunity and ran with it, and became the 1984 World Rally Champion. Like Vatanen three years before, the Open had been the springboard to the top of the tree.

This just showed what an important series the British Open was.

This is a modified Trofeu base with homemade decals.

1984
Blomqvist had beaten the Brits handsomely in 1983, but for 1984 he was away on a campaign that would see him become World Champion in the Ivory Coast in October.

Instead, Audi sent the reigning World Champion, Hannu Mikkola, to contest the series. Also in a Quattro was Malcolm Wilson.

Wilson had been developing a new car for Ford, a rear wheel drive turbo charged Group B car using an Escort Mark Three bodyshell. Ford though had realised that you could win now without drive to all the wheels and had abandoned the project and gone back to the drawing board.

This left Wilson without a team, so he bought Stig Blomqvist's 1983 series winning machine and formed his own, learning the skills that he would use fifteen years later to run the official Ford team.

Up against Audi was the works Opel team of Jimmy McRae and Russell Brookes, using the two wheel drive Manta.

With the demise of Vauxhall that, unfortunately, was that in terms of  Works teams. Quality not quantity. Group A was also looking fairly quiet, with Per Eklund in the Toyota Corolla the only factory driver starting the series.
The series started, as usual, in a chilly Yorkshire with the event formerly known as the Mintex, but now called the National Breakdown. On the icy stages Mikkola's Quattro walked the event, but behind him in the fog McRae, Brookes and Wilson had a good tussle. McRae caught a glove in his harness on the first stage and spun, punctured in Wykham and needed an axle change, but still managed to finish ahead of Brookes. Wilson couldn't keep up with the Mantas on his Quattro debut and retired whilst lying fourth.
Group A meanwhile was not the expected walkover for Toyota. Eklund's Corolla was headed for most of the rally by Mikail Sundstrom's Sunbeam Ti. The Talbot left the road once and broke three gearboxes, the last one failing mid-stage and stranding the Finn.

However the event was overshadowed by the death of Escort driver Hafsteinn Hauksson in Dalby. Treeless Iceland's leading rally driver, he had had to overcome a phobia of driving in forests to compete in Britain, so his death was both tragic and ironic.
The rally circus next grouped at Easter for the traditional blast around the Emerald Isle, the Circuit of Ireland. Mikkola and Eklund were tacking the Safari, so German Harold Demuth took over for Audi and Juha Kankkunen - another future World Champion - sat in for Eklund. Up against the Toyota was the new Rover 3500 Group A car driven by veteran Mini and Imp man Colin Malkin. The Rover was far too big for the narrow lanes, but it offered oodles of tail out grunt and was an instant hit with the fans. The Irish petrolheads also got to gawp at Henri Toivonen in the Rothmans Porsche. The Finn was desperately unhappy in the team, but you couldn't tell from his pace.

The opening stages provided drama a plenty. Brookes suffered prop shaft failure on the first stage, McRae suffered brake problems and went into a field on stage two, Toivonen left the road on the third stage and Malkin retired on the fifth stage. The Rover had more power than the Group B Mantas and its back axle couldn't cope. By the end of the season the Rover engineers were reduced to a device to spray washing up liquid on the tires to reduce mechanical strain.

All this left McRae the surprise leader, but his car was only running on three cylinders and steaming like the Flying Scotsman and he was soon out. Demuth also suffered engine failure which left the local boys Billy Coleman and Austin McHale battling it out in their Mantas. McHale took the lead on the last day only fir his engine to go bang, leaving Coleman as the sole surviving works driver and winner by a country mile. Second was privateer Ernest Kidney and third Hot Rod World Champion Davy Evans in his first ever rally.
Normality was resumed on the Welsh. Brookes took the lead on the Epynt tarmac, but once the rally reached the forests Mikkola's Quattro took over. McRae's Manta was still causing him problems. It overheated, then wouldn't stay in gear. Trying to make up time he crashed and squashed the exhaust. He then did it again and injured his hand. He dropped to sixth but managed to climb back to fourth, behind Malcolm Wilson, helped in part by Anterio Laine's sick Quattro holding up the rest of the field.

It was the dust and midges of the Scottish next. Mikkola and the Quattro led from start to finish again, but behind him the three Brits battled it out. Wilson's Quattro was fastest, but he suffered suspension failure. Brookes then took over second, but he left the road for twelve minutes handing the runner up spot to McRae, who for once had a trouble free rally.

It was back across the Irish Sea for the Ulster Rally next. Mikkola was away in Argentina, so double World Champion Walter Rohrl drove the works Quattro, which appeared to have shrunk in the wash. This was the debut of the Audi Sport Quattro, and it blew the opposition into the weeds. Austin McHale had a major accident on the third stage, so second place ended up being contested between Brookes, McRae and Irishman Bertie Fisher.

An spot of Irish rain put Fisher off the road, and so it was Brookes and McRae scrapping for second place. Seconds separated the two Manta, but in the end McRae overshot a junction and had to concede the position to the Englishman. Just fourteen seconds separated the two Opels in the end.
The crews went into the Manx then with Mikkola on 45 points, Brookes on 44 and McRae on 42. It was all to play for.

Rothmans had intended to send Toivonen in one of their Porsches to contend the event they sponsored, but he had injured his back in the 1000 Lakes and so Kankkunen once more made an appearance in the series.  Eklund, who had walked the last three rounds in Group A now again faced opposition from the Rover Vitesse, this time driven by Tony Pond.

Brookes took an early lead and after stage four was looking reasonably comfortable. The Porsche's engine had failed and Mikkola's gearbox had jammed, leaving only McRae to beat. The Andrews Heat for Hire Manta then punctured on the next stage costing Brookes three minutes. McRae took the lead and decided attack was the best means of defence. The Scot set a series of fastest times. Brookes put his foot down to reel in the lost time, but overcooked it at the Tholt-y-will bridge and crashed out of the event.

McRae led Bertie Fisher home by more than ten minutes to take both the rally and his third championship. Third place was Tony Pond in the wheel spinning, tail out Rover.

Brookes was once again the bridesmaid, but he'd enjoyed his first year with the Opel Manta. Next year he'd be back.
This is a Schucho model of the Manx Rally winning Opel Manta.


1985
Russell Brookes 2nd BRC, again in a Heat for Hire sponsored car, this time however it was an Opel Manta. This is the PJ Rallymodels version of the Manx winning car. Russell also won the Ulster event in 1985.

1986
Mark Lovell (27 March 1960 – 12 July 2003) won the 1986 British Rally Championship in a Ford RS200 Group B, the 1987 and 1988 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the 1988 International Dutch Rally Drivers' Championship and the 2001 SCCA ProRally Drivers' Championship in the United States. He also won the 2003 Pikes Peak International Hillclimb only two weeks before his death. Mark and his co-driver Roger Freeman were both tragically killed in July 2003 during the Oregon Trail Rally when their Works ProRallySubaru Impreza WRX left the road and struck a tree at high speed shortly after the start of the first stage.
This is a modified IXO RS200 which finished 3rd in the 1986 Manx Rally. The car was produced by either PJ Rallymodels or Rallymodels.co.uk (I can’t remember which) - Mark didn't win any BRC events outright in 1986.

1987 and 1988
Jimmy Mcrae’s 4th and 5th BRC wins. By now, Jimmy had moved on to the Sierra Cosworth, one of which he subsequently passed to his son Colin. I believe Jimmy still owns this car today.
The 1987 Manx winning car is from the Trofeu British Rally Legends series (jimmy also won the COI in 1987), the 1988 Ulster rally winning car is a modified Trofeu model with homemade decals (Jimmy also won the COI and Scottish this year).

1989 and 1990
Back to back wins in the BRC in 1989 and 1990 for David “Dai” Llewellin in his Securicor sponsored Celica GT’s.
Both models have been built on Altaya base’s, the 1989 Cartel winner with homemade decals (David also won the Welsh, Scottish and Audit Sport this year) , the 1990 Circuit of Ireland winning car with a combination of bought and homemade decals (David also won the Welsh, Scottish and Ulster events in 1990).
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Re: British Rally Championship Champions Collection

Post  reeft1 on Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:10 pm

The 90’s
1991 and 1992
Colin Steele McRae, MBE (5 August 1968 – 15 September 2007)
A young Scot called Colin McRae secured a drive with Prodrive sponsored by Rothmans for the 1991 British rally championship in a works specification GpA Legacy RS. This season was also the one that earned McRae his nickname of ‘McCrash’ as he frequently redesigned the car on events. No matter how many times he put his car off the road he could drag it out of the ditches or trees and still go on to win the rally anyway - he won, the Talkland, COI, Scottish and Manx events in 1991)


The 1992 season saw Colin win every stage bar two on every rally in the British championship in his Rothmans backed Legacy securing his second British Championship title (Vauxhall Sport, Pirelli, Scottish, Ulster, Manx and Elonex).
The 1991 Manx model is from IXO, the 1992 Scottish Rally car was produced using a Vanguards base plus assistance from a member of the Diecastrallymodels.com forum.

1993
Richard Alexander Burns (17 January 1971 – 25 November 2005)
Another rally star who is sadly no longer with us.  Richard won the BRC in 1993 at the wheel of a Subaru Legacy. This model by StartUp Models is of his 1993 Manx Rally winning car and Richard also won 3 of the other 4 1993 events - Welsh, Pirelli and Scottish).

1994
Malcolm Irving Wilson, OBE (born 17 February 1956) is a British former rally driver and current owner of team and constructor M-Sport. He has over 20 years experience of rallying at world championship level, much of it with Ford. He drove for three factory teams in the world championship, including MG, in whose Group B Metro 6R4, he shared driving duties with fellow Briton, Tony Pond. He spent several years as Ford's chief test driver, developing new rally cars, including the short lived RS1700T and RS200 models.
As a driver, he won two British national titles in the late 1970s and achieved a long-held ambition by winning the British Rally Championship in 1994.
This is the IXO model of his 1994 Manx Rally winning Escort Cosworth - Malcolm also won he Pirelli, Scottish and Ulster, leaving only the Welsh to be won by someone else)


1995
The 3rd member of the Mcrae family to win the BRC – This is a Realcarmodels model of the Nissan Sunny Gti which Alistair drove to championship (although not outright) victory in the 1995 Ulster rally - Alister also won the Welsh outright.

1996
I can’t write a better summary of the 1996 BRC season than can be found on this web site: http://www.rs2000kitcar.com/Rally/1996.html
To build this car I had to take a mk5 escort kit, take a resin cast, reshape in to mk6 form, cannibalise an interior and wheels from a mk6 Escort Cosworth and produce my own decals. I am glad this one is finished…….

1997
The first of Manx rally legend, Mark Higgins 3 BRC wins. This is a Rosso & Fly model with home made decals to represent the Ulster Rally winning car from that year which was the only event Mark won outright in 1997.

1998
Martin Rowe won the BRC in 1998 in a Renault Megane Maxi. This is a Vitesse model with homemade decals to represent the Pirelli Leg 1 winning car (Martin also won the Welsh and Manx events in 1998).

1999
As the 1990’s drew to an end, it saw the 2nd successive BRC win for the Renault Megane Maxi, although this time it was Tapio Laukkanen behind the wheel. This is a Vitesse model with homemade decals to represent the Jim Clark winning car - Tapio also won the Pirelli and Scottish in 1999.
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Re: British Rally Championship Champions Collection

Post  reeft1 on Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:10 pm

The 2000’s
2000
Marko Ipatti won the first BRC of the new decade in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI N4. This is a Realcarmodels model of his Pirelli Rally winning car (the only event Marko won in 2000) – the decals on this car were way beyond my capability! -

2001
Not held due to Foot and Mouth disease.

2002 and 2003
Jonny Milner won back to back British Rally Championships in his Team Dynamics sponsored Corolla WRC. Both these models are Skid models with a combination of bought and home made decals. 2002 is the Trackrod winning car (Jonny also won the Welsh, and Scottish), 2003 the Manx rally winner (Jonny also won the Scottish).

2004
The only BRC win for David Higgins, brother of Mark Higgins. David was in a Hyundai Accent WRC for this years event. This is a Realcarmodels model of the Pirelli Rally winning car from that year (his brother Mark won 3 events compared to David's one but David still took the title).

2005 and 2006
Clearly not someone to take such an insult lying down, Mark “retaliated” to his brothers BRC win in 2004 with back to back championship wins in 2005 and 2006. In 2005 Mark won with his Vodka Kick sponsored Focus WRC and in 2006 it was won with the same sponsor, but this time in an Impreza N4.
The 2005 Manx winning Focus WRC is a Corgi base with homemade decals (Mark won the Pirelli, Scottish and Jim Clark as well) , the 2006 Jim Clark winning Impreza is by StartUp Models.

2007 and 2008
Clearly, when you get a feel for the car or conditions, multiple championships are possible, as Guy Wilks found out by taking his Ralliart sponsored Mitsubishi Evo 9 R4 to wins in 2007 and 2008. The 2007 RAC car (the RAC was a 2 part BRC qualifying event in 2007 and Guy won both parts) is a Vitesse model (Guy also won the Pirelli and Rally Yorkshire). The 2008 Pirelli rally winning car is a redecaled version of that car (Guy also won Rally Yorkshire and part 1 of the 2 part Rally GB event).

2009 and 2010
Time for Wilks to step down and for someone else to pick up the double bubble crown. This time, Keith Cronin, the eldest of ten children – was picked out as a potential star of the future on a children’s rally track in nearby Killarney, Ireland when he was just ten years old. They start them drifting early in the Emerald Isles…..
The Trackrod Rally winning Evo 9 R4 was produced by JFE models, (Keith also won the Bulldog and Pirelli in 2009) whereas the Impreza N15 reflecting the Manx winning 2010 car was produced by Realcarmodels (Keith also won the Bulldog in 2010).
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Re: British Rally Championship Champions Collection

Post  reeft1 on Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:11 pm

The 10’s
2011
The Evo 9 R4 was proving stiff competition in the BRC. In 2011 Scotsman David Brogie piloted his car to his first and only BRC win. This is a Realcarmodels model of his Sunseeker Rally car – an event I am fond of but which is sadly no more as a result of last years MSA decision to suspend the championship for 2015. David also won the Pirelli and Jim Clark in 2011.

2012
In an effort to reduce costs and to increase competition, the eligibility rules changed again for 2012, and small front wheel drive hatchbacks became the order of the day. You can understand the intent, but the change wasn’t to prove entirely successful. Again, Irishman, Keith Cronin was back at the top of the table come the end of the season in his M O’brien sponsored Citroen DS3 R3T to take his 3rd BRC win.
This is an IXO base with homemade decals decals representing the Todds Leap winning car from 2012 (Keith also won the Pirelli and Jim Clark events).

2013
Keith moved on to a fresh challenge for 2012 so the new champion was Finnish rally driver, Jukka Korhonen. DS3’s ruled the roost again.
This is an IXO base with homemade decals representing the Jim Clark winning car from 2013 although Jukka also won the season opening Pirelli.

2014
The final season before suspension for 2015 saw another Irishman (must be something in the water – they get lots of it) take the championship. Daniel Mckenna won at the end of the season after a see-saw battle with Osian Pryce from Wales.
This is an IXO base with homemade decals representing the Manx winning car (and regrettably, before you ask guys, I have been asked not to share the decals with others by the person outside the forum who provided the lion share of help in enabling me to produce these. Sorry :-( )
Daniel also won he Jim Clark and Scotland events.

2015
No British Rally Championship for 2015, the first time in its history dating all the way back to 1958 that it has not taken place for reasons within its own control. Let’s hope the people at the MSA come up with a format that will bring this Championship back to its former glory and justify its suspension this year and the loss of the Sunseeker.
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Re: British Rally Championship Champions Collection

Post  newt5550 on Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:15 pm

Fantastic collection of models and some great reading. Credit to you Paul. Excellent work. My favourite thread.
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Re: British Rally Championship Champions Collection

Post  reeft1 on Sun Jan 29, 2017 1:23 pm

2016
The return of the BRC after the years sabattical and to be fair, my expectations were exceeded with lots of cars entering and lots of fab machinery, including the return of 4 wheel drive in the form of R5 machines.

Elfyn Evans (after losing his WRC seat) was the runaway winner, winning the Mid Wales, Scottish, Nicky Grist, Ulster and IOM events in his Dmack sponsored car.

This is a redecaled IXO model, using Rally Decals Shop and home made decals.

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