Croft Circuit with Swift Signs and Shirts Winter Stages Rally

SOME of the biggest names in British rallying converge on the Croft Circuit for the Swift Signs and Shirts Winter Stages Rally, taking place at the North Yorkshire circuit this Sunday.

Organizers Northallerton Automobile Club Ltd and Darlington and District Motor Club have put together a nearly 90 car entry for the first rally at Croft in almost three years, the last being the Jack Frost Stages Rally in February 2020 ahead of the Covid pandemic.

After winning the equivalent 2019 Christmas Stage Rally, rising star Frank Bird from Penrith and his Hexham co-driver Jack Morton are back to defend their title in the world championship specification Ford Fiesta Rally 2. Bird, whose father Paul won the event twice, has clinched a win in his last two events this year so is a hot favorite for another Croft win as he starts from car number one.

In second place is Willington driver David Henderson, who has enjoyed a successful season in his Ford Fiesta R5 and will have his wife Katie on the cards alongside him as they attempt to repeat his Croft Christmas stage win from 21 years ago add to. Car three is Leeming’s Joe Cunningham and Scruton co-driver Josh Beer, another pair who could be fighting for victory in their Ford Fiesta as they aim for an inaugural win.

Eight-time event winner Kevin Procter is hoping to add to his tally from car four onwards. The local Leeming Bar businessman also won the Jack Frost Rally in 2020 in his Procter’s Luxury Coaches backed Ford Fiesta S2000 and will return to see if he can take ten Croft wins with regular Welsh co-driver Patrick Walsh alongside him.

The rest of the entry list oozes class and includes veteran British Asphalt Championship leader Lyndon Barton (Ford Fiesta R5) seeded fifth, followed by local hero Paul Swift from Great Smeaton to finish the event in his 2.5- Liter Ford Escort will contest Mk2 alongside Ms. Jessica.

Rounding out the top ten are Scottish ace Joe McKeand (Subaru Impreza), the mighty Ford Escorts of Harrogates Dane Walker and Durham driver Barry Renwick and the Lotus Exige of former Scottish Champion Greg Inglis.

Others to watch out for are Northallerton’s Dave Bellerby (Ford Sapphire), who will also be front and center, while Mickleton’s Alistair Hutchinson (Renault Clio), Witton Gilbert drivers Andrew Fawcett (Vauxhall Nova) and Edward Todd (Darrian) Stephen Sawley from Spennymoor (Ford Escort) is one of the favorites for class wins.

They will be challenged by the likes of Scottish marauder Des Campbell (Peugeot 206) and Ben Wilkinson (Peugeot 106 Maxi) and Sunderland ex-British Touring Car Championship driver Harry Vaulkhard will compete in a Suzuki Swift.

The Richmondshire based Constantine family will be attending the event en masse. Mark and brother Andrew will be strong contenders for a class win in their Vauxhall Corsa, while Mark’s two sons, Tom and Luke, will make their rally debuts, each driving a newly built MG3. Andrew’s twin sons, Luke and Oliver, will share a Suzuki Swift at the event, with Mark and Andrew’s sister Nicky being one of the senior officials responsible for running the rally.

Other interesting cars include Bishop Auckland’s Bob Dennis’ Subaru Legacy, John Nicholson and Chris Rock in their historic Austin Minis, Darren Wilson’s Ford Escort Cosworth and Phil Bruce’s Ford Ka.

Entry is £15 per person and accompanied children under 15 are admitted free. Gates open at 8:00am, first car starts at 9:00am with the first leg.

About Veronica Richards

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