Hillrally 1998

THE HILLRALLY 1998 supported by GOODYEAR

A Premier event in the off road calendar, the Hillrally 1998 has attracted probably the most competitive field to date. Britain’s top vehicles and crews will be on view thundering around the Welsh hills confronting mile after onerous mile of the toughest 3 day rally in Britain.

Speed isn’t all. Kick in on too high a pace and there is little chance of the vehicle lasting the course, too slow and it would be incredibly hard to make up time if the front runners make the break. Master of the art of pacing an event is the current BORC and Hillrally Champion, Gordon Monaghan. ‘Steady away’ is one of his favourite sayings, taking the 3.9 ltr Rover to its optimum range and holding it there is one of his talents. Technique is all important when you’re up against the might of the 5ltr Simmbugghinis and Warriors, but the Champion has plenty of it. Watch out for him on the Forest stages, his spot for closing down on any other front running drivers. Paul will be right on top of the navigating. Years of experience and well earned familiarity with the winner’s podium will ensure precision place and timings, whilst all girl service crew, Fiona and Elizabeth will be ready with the safety net for any problems. Backed by Treble B Tyres, in ’97, Gordon won one of the hardest Hillrallies to date. Torrential rain, nightmare driving conditions and a fair share of breakages were successfully negotiated culminating in a dazzling triumph, gathering in the event and over all Championship titles before going on to take the British Off Road Championship, fulfilling every drivers dream year. The first car away, new stages, new challenges, it’s all how Gordon likes it. Two in a row? The crew are definitely up for it.

There is hot competition every rutted, wet, stony, steep and exhausting mile of the way. Drivers to watch for are Dave ‘Fearless’ Fielding settling into his brand new 4.2 Mattserati, the pilot is well proven in safaris but the vehicle has only had a couple of runs. Very fast, but Hillrallying is a whole new ball game for Dave. Also flying a brand new Mattserati ( i ) is top mod. trialler and team recovery expert, Tim Phelps. A good season in the BORC has got Tim stretching for that 1st big title win. These two could be close.

Dave Bakewell at just 23 years old, is one of the top young guns out for some glory. Already with 5 years experience, and skills way beyond his years, Dave has all the requirements to be the youngest ever hillrally winner. It will be his faithful old TMC, the first built, that will be struggling to stay with it. It’s just a matter of time before he’s snapped up for major sponsorship.

A favourite for spectators will be Somerset’s Pete Rowe. The Land Rover shape of the vehicle belies the extraordinary power unit rumbling under the bonnet. 8.2 ltrs of pure Chevrolet magic, torque tension straining at every joint. It cruises hill climbs that leave others struggling for breath but so much power is difficult to contain with out taking a toll on other component parts. Dare Pete release the beast and go for the kill?

Peter Brown in his own build Mungrel Proto, got a huge boost at the first Scottish round. As other drivers were beginning to flag, he started to put in some of his own, and stage top runs. Scottish TV Presenter, John Cockburn, again, Chevrolet power and top off road skills his strengths, also has an incredible finish. Don’t take your eyes off him, he will not let go of any chance right to the line. Around 400 Bhp will definitely help on those climbs.

Graham Clark, experienced Snowman Rally competitor, has one of the neatest Defenders around. It’s also gaining ground with every rally. The other white Defender 90″ Land Rover of Tout Terrain, BORC and stage rally driver, Dan Evans, will not fail to impress. A class win here in ’97, 12th overall, has been followed by some spectacular results in all 3, including 9th overall in the Des Cimes rally in September.

Pennine LRC’s Kevin Baldwin, ARC and Bowler Class winner, could make the grade as could Lincs LRC and East Midlands ORC perennial Safari Champion, Chris Spalding, both entering their first ever Hillrally.

One of the most well known ARC competitors, Harold Carman, has entered his 2.7 Honda powered Series 1 88″. 25 years of ARC internationals with overall and class wins and a spot of French rallying, he will be out for a minimum top 10 finish and a repeat of his class win in ’96.

With so much talent it is impossible to forecast the overall winner, a lot won’t make the finish, for some, a finish is the sole aim. Michael Bruce brings his blue and white 86″ Series 1 from Hawick to Builth every year and still the little Land Rover in original 1957 leaf sprung form is making the distance. Michael has vast competitive experience and uses it all to get the very best performance from his L.R. passing newer, super chic vehicles as they fall by the wayside. This year will be extra special. With the Scottish LROC celebrating 40 years, Michael, as Chairman, will be looking to take home some souvenirs, we’ll be cheering him all the way.

Commentary at both the Showground and Sweet Lamb will keep you up with the joys and turmoils of your favourite teams, right through to the final Showground stage where so much can be won or lost in the 11th hour. It’s a long, hard drive to the top.

We’ve highlighted some past winners and current front runners as a guide to help identify some of the vehicle types entered and the classes and trophies they will be aiming for. The Team Trophy for instance is one of the most hard won. To get one good result is a major achievement, to get three through is a bit special.

Clubmans (running 45 minutes ahead of the National A event on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday) is always a popular win. Mark and Helen Philips dominated the Clubmans Championship last year, there are some very strong contenders this year.

Class information is also given, i.e Standard Production etc to show the challenges within the Hillrally. A space has also been left for those who want to gather the autographs of Britain’s premier off road competitors. It’s one of the few places you will get the top drivers from across the off road board head to head in one of Europe’s toughest Rallies.

CLASSES

Group

Permitted type

Class

Engine (cc)

Winner

A

< 2500

Classes A – D amalgamated

ROBERT CLOSE & DOUGLAS LANDY

Toyota

1

4 x 4

Production

B

>= 2500

< 3600

C

> = 3600

D

Diesel, all capacities

E

< 2500

JOHN HEWITSON & FRANK CROASDALE

L/R Lightweight

2

4 x 4

Modified

Production

F

>= 2500

< 3600

F & G amalgamated

TED IVORY & MATTHEW NEWTON

Land Rover 90

G

> = 3600

H

Diesel, all capacities

ROBERT EDWARDS & JONATHAN ROGERS

Land Rover 90

J

< 3600

DAVID MARSH & DAVID ARNOLD

Land Rover QT

3

Prototype

K

>= 3600

BRUCE TIGWELL & PETER GORMAN
Tigwell 4×4

L

Diesel, all capacities

MERVYN BURGINS & ELWYN MANUEL

Simmbugghini

4

TheHillrally

Land Rover Challenge

M

Petrol or Diesel, all capacities

DID NOT RUN IN 1997

 

Top performers in ’98

D. Drew Bowler N. Paul Clark

4.2ltr Rover Bowler Wildcat

Winners of the 1st round of the Hillrally Championship, Drew was on flying form coming in stage after stage with very quick but calm driving. With only two rounds this year, Drew is perfectly positioned to get a good finish and the Hillrally Championship to confirm his own design, Bowlers, as leading off road competition vehicles. With team mate Paul Clarke 2nd in the GKN Scottish, the Bowlers have a buffer between the 3rd and 5th place QT Land Rovers. Peter Brown in his own build Mungrel is sandwiched in 4th but could push both well known manufacturers aside for that win. Drew will revel in every minute of the challenge and, with a genuine love of the sport, will enjoy the event whatever.

Sponsors: Bowler, Power Train Products, Fina Fuels

ARC Championship

D. Hugh Haines N. Martin Borland.

Champion for the last 4 years in the ARC International Comp. Safaris, Hugh has reigned supreme. He also took 3rd overall in the ’97 BORC. But since selling his famous, all conquering ARC spec. HBH Land Rover, ‘Bertie’, he has been unable to find that same form with his other car, the Simmbugghini. Borrowing the brand new Bowler of Andy Davies could change all that. If the 4.6ltr lives up to its promise, Hugh and rally experienced navigator Martin, should be kicking up some dust in the forest stages and could well improve on a previous best 5th overall. Wet weather won’t be favourite, but dry conditions and a good start will see Hugh and Martin on their true form, neat, decisive, and very, very fast.

Sponsors: HBH Land Rovers

British Off Road Championship

D. Keith Banyard N. Paul Choat

Simmbugghini 5ltr TVR

A switch from BORC navigator to driver for Keith in his own Simmbugghini. Throughout the BORC, Paul has been at the controls as Keith generously admits that he is the better driver. Three rounds have been claimed so far, making it all but impossible for them to be beaten for the title this year. Out early on the GKN Scottish, Keith is keen to have a real crack at the Hillrally. Previously driving under Porsche power, Keith is well prepared to put the pressure on the other front runners and will use all that the TVR has to offer to get that top spot.

Sponsors: Nettletree Off Road Racing

Team Trophy

D. Dave Marsh N. Dave Arnold

D. Robbie Richards N. Graham Bunt

D. Ted Ivory N. Matthew Newton

All 3.5 QT ARC spec. Land Rovers

The Cornwall and Devon LRC are highly regarded in all forms of off road competition, trialling, recovery and certainly speed events. For the Team Trophy, the Qt Services team will, without doubt, be aiming for a top spot. Dave Marsh, 3rd overall in the GKN Scottish Hillrally, has also been flying in the BORC. Despite only a 3.5ltr engine, he is lightening quick off the line. Dave Marsh and Dave Arnold are reckoned to be the only pairing to finish every Hillrally since its restart in 1992. Robbie Richards, 5th overall in the Scottish, won the Sunday run here in ’97. Ted has plenty of class and club wins, 35+ years of off road experience to draw on, and has apparently been through the Qt skip to upgrade a few bits. Plus they have the benefit of sponsorship from Ginsters pasties and of course, Sylvia to keep everyone in line. That should do it!

It could get a bit nasty though, Mick Gillet, Richard Squires and Matt Richmond, the infamous Coleshill ‘mob’ are on for a rumble. The Qts are marked men, don’t get between these crews, it’s going to be rough.

Sponsors: Qt Services, Ginsters Pasties, LRW, Windsor Garage, R Y Land Rovers, Colebrook Bodies, Superwinch.

Diesel

D. Mervyn Burgins N. Patrick Caine

Simmbugghini 2.8 Isuzu Turbo

Rock solid and deceptively rapid. If you like diesel power, try to get a close up of this unique vehicle. Mervyn has a brilliant record in the Hillrallies as well as AWDC and BORC, not just in class, but overall. A strong challenge could come from the Goodyear backed 2.5 Tdi 90” of Glen McKeith, but he’ll have to work hard to close in on Mervyn’s times. In different classes, both should do well, but will have to watch out for Northern Ireland driver David Johnston. A media drawing end over in his brand new 2.4 diesel Bowler in the GKN Scottish didn’t slow him down one bit, the Bowler was remarkably undamaged. Same class as Mervyn, they will be chasing the Simmbugghini hard.

Sponsors: Fronwen Garage, Llandrindod Wells, Millar Oils.

Clubmans

This year the Clubman’s event is wide open. From Tony Cable, who has so far amassed a total running time of 5 minutes on 2 rallies, to Michael Harris who has been C&DLRC’s 2nd overall for 5 years running. There is always good sport in the Clubmans, don’t miss them off the line, a lot of banter goes on. Tony Dowdeswell will look to better 2nd overall in ’96 whilst Robert Welsh and Gordon Langford are competing in their first ever Hillrally. Peter Roberts is in the same boat but has recorded 4th in the ARC Nationals. It’s a top event, watch out for their running times as they do differ from National A.

If Mark and Helen Philips have entered, can you use their photo here as last years winners. If not, which ever you fancy.

Production

D. Simon Smith N. Robin Izzard

Land Rover 110 3.5 Ltr.

This should be fun. Simon, a more regular Class C driver and instructor at the famous Devil’s Pit off road centre, now hauling a 110 out on stage. He’s got the nerve and verve to really do something here. With late entries for this class still to come in as the programme is being made, there could be even more hot competition for this class. In ’97 Simon won the Spirit of Event award for coming through after a catalogue of the worst, most painful disasters, and still smiling. The Ladas could be his Achilles heel. Surprisingly agile, they may just nip in with some pacey times, especially if Bill Jones is in the mood for an argument. If it comes to sheer endurance though, this is your man.

Sponsors: Lumsdon Land Rovers, Devil’s Pit (well worth a visit) and GSI

Modified Production

D. Tim Slaughter N Gwen Adair

Niva Sport 1.7

Hero’s of last years Show ground stage, Tim and Gwen will have a real following this year. David Carruthers took honours in the GKN Scottish this year whilst Tim had to go with 3rd. Time to redress the balance. Scottish LROC’s Peter Baird has that extra power and a long list of club wins to fall back on, he could be the man for MP F. Andrew Kennet is romping away with all the class wins for the diesels in Mod. Production. But if you want to see a Lada in all it’s glory focus on Tim, he and Gwen will not let you down.

Leaf Sprung

D. Mick Gillet N. Eddie Barnett

Series 1 3.5ltr Land Rover ARC spec.

Although no separate class is being run for leaf sprung vehicles, they are well worth a closer look. The fastest around at the moment is driven by Coleshill man Mick Gillet. Running brand new Springline modified S111 88″springs, fresh for this Rally, Mick and Eddie are on for all or nothing. Special graphite grease is used between the slightly thicker springs, with one extended for more support. Range Rover shocks all round plus a pair of Bilsteins on the front enable Mick to travel at speeds good enough to put him top 5 in the Hillrally Championship.This could be Mick’s last Hillrally in his famous S1, a new Production 90″ is in planning. With a huge service crew, 30+, Mick is out to chase down C&D’s Dave Marsh, beat him good and proper and take home some silver.

The Lex – Army Rally Team

For the first time the Hillrally will be included as the final round of the Army Stage Rally Championship. Selected through the Navex Advanced Driver Training Exercises, the teams represent the Combined Services for the season. They have enjoyed good results in the Mobil 1 British Open Rally Championship including the Icelandic round, with top seeds Major Alan Paramore, Team Manager and Captain, and Sergeant Tim Line leading as they go into this final round.

Take in more here from their ‘blurb’

With generous support from Lex Service PLC and preparation and contributions from the competitors themselves, the Lex – Army Rally team is run on a self supporting basis.

Land of Ice and Fire

For the very first time outside their own country, the legendary Icelandic rally crew Sighvatur ‘Foot to the Floor’ Sigurdsson and Ulfar Eysteinsson, will be competing in the ’98 Hillrally. Their Jeep Cherokee recently took them to 8th overall on the Rally Reykjavik beating some of the top flight Group A vehicles. Look out for the registration plate it reads “HVALUR” which translates to “WHALE”. So watch out for them because ‘Whale’, the flying Cherokee, has come to play in Wales!. We wish the crew the very best of luck, and no doubt they will receive the very best of Welsh hospitality. Now there’s an autograph to collect.