Chris Ingram Wins 2019 European Rally Championship

The 2300 Club’s John Easson Award winner from 2013 has just won the ERC title in a very tense final round in Hungary. Again partnered with Ross Whittock in their Toksport Fabia R5 they endured a very slippery event and very poor conditions. The pair had a puncture and lost valuable time in leg 2 along with other championship rivals. When asked about the conditions Chris said “it’s just like Manchester”. They managed to keep on pace to finish 4th overall, only 2 positions behind their nearest rival Lukyanuk. This ensured the Championship win. A very well deserved result for the whole team and financial supporters. Unlike some of the other teams they didn’t have the financial backing, even resorting to crowd funding for the last 2 rounds. So a very inspirational season with his 2019 goal completed. One more step on the ladder to Chris’s master plan to become WRC champion by 2023.

All junior drivers and Co-drivers should be inspired by this pair. Even when times were hard and the money had run dry, they didn’t give up. With hard work and determination, anything is possible. An inspiration to us all.

You can read more about Chris’s Master Plan HERE

Andy Mort Tour 2019 – What You Said (Continued)

STUART ANDERSON AND CHRIS THIRLING (Car 37):

“We must concur; it was an excellently organised event and look forward to next years. A great thank you to the Organising Team and Marshals.”

PETER CROFT AND AMANDA BRADLEY (Car 33):

“I would like to add our thanks to all the organisers and helpers for the AMT, we thoroughly enjoyed the event. It is the second time we have done the AMT and the first using the Tulip method, we we found to be extremely good and easy to follow. We stayed in time and managed all the controls which is always a bonus. The only regret was not getting Paddy Hopkirk to sign the road book as we had dropped the MG at home after the test at Hansons and left all the paperwork in it, we picked up the road car to make it easier to travel home after. The evening with Paddy was excellent, to see the two Minis at the finish.”

Andy Mort Tour 2019 – What You Said

PHIL AND AIDEEN DEAN (Car 44):

“What a brilliant event the AMT was, we both had a brilliant day out and was a credit to the 2300 Club and the organisers. It certainly is a great memorial to Andy Mort.
Yes, we got lost or missed junctions a few times but it was a fantastic day out. A big thank you to the marshals, especially the ones manning the later controls stuck up on the top of hills in an increasingly cold day, waiting for us stragglers to turn up.
The day couldn’t have finished any better that to have Paddy Hopkirk as your guest speaker, what a great laugh and what an ambassador for the sport.
Next year I hope to have the Hillman Avenger rally car finished and we can turn up in a proper car for the event!”

ROD AND DIANE BRERETON (Car 23):

Our great, great thanks for an absolutely brilliant event, proven by its popularity and full entry.
Without doubt the best we have ever done. Everything was just perfect. I assess events on the road books, and if I end up going to OS maps then it’s a bad event. Your road book was spot on. I’m sorry I didn’t stop for the forum, sadly Diane was full of a cold and was ready for home.”

OWEN AND PAM FRANKLAND (Car 17):

“Once again, we decided to make a weekend of our trip to Lancashire to take part in this excellent run with our MG3.
We were away on time at 10.17 and had a great drive over some lovely roads and hit our times at the checkpoint. We made the lunch halt without trouble and set off for the afternoon run.
Things didn’t go so well as a a couple of wrong turns had us pushing hard to keep on time. One wrong turn took us miles out of our way and we had to backtrack, although we couldn’t remember exactly which way we had come.
We turned into one country lane and found the checkpoint we wanted, although we had no idea how we got there!
We finally made it to the end and took part in the blindfold challenge, which did end up involving a bit of shouting…
At the finish we got our route book signed by Paddy – and we won a couple of bottles of champagne for getting a clean sheet. As neither of us drink, we’ve donated it to the Durham Auto Club to raise money for the Great North Air Ambulance.
We had a great day and a huge thanks go to all who worked so hard planning the event and those stalwarts manning the checkpoints. By the time we got home we had done 357 enjoyable miles.”

IAN HARRISON AND ELLIE MURRAY (Car 19):

“We had a great day out despite finding ourselves, along with others, in Hellifield when we should have been in Sabden! Hence we arrived late at every control in the first half of the event. It turns out that the start marshal told some competitors about the first page of the road. But it didn’t spoil our day.”

GEOFF MAINE AND PHIL HOWARTH (Car 3):

“We’ve done every one of these events, and Paddy Hopkirk made this year’s special – and the cheese and onion pie was excellent!”

RICHARD PYE AND AMY MOORHOUSE (Marshals):

“Neither of us have marshalled before so we were very grateful to Maurice Ellison for showing us the ropes in the morning before we went out on our own in the afternoon.
Every car thanked us for volunteering and all were handing out sweets by way of a ‘thank you’ which was much appreciated!”

JOHN HARTLEY AND NIGEL BENTLEY (Car 40):

“Just a line to congratulate your team on an excellent event. The route was interesting and scenic, altogether a super route. (Sorry I am repeating myself)
Also thanks for dealing with us so swiftly when we arrived at the start.”
John subsequently followed up with the following, looking at it from an organisers perspective having organised so may successful events himself.
“I thought we may not make this year’s event as within striking distance of the start a rather over enthusiastic cyclist (who turned out to be a really nice chap) ran into the car whilst we were stopped. Car not severely damaged, more than can be said for the cyclist who had a nasty gash on his face, but he was saved from worse by his helmet. We had to wait for ambulance and police to attend the scene, eventually getting to the start with minutes to go to our start time. The 2300 Club spotted our arrival and brought the documentation to us and signed us on just in time to slot into our correct starting position.
When Nigel and I drove onto the car park, despite our last minute arrival, we were able to take in and appreciate the effort that has been put in and recognise we were on a “proper” event. There was a parking space allocated by our car number, although we were not in it for very long, but long enough to appreciate the treasures to be seen ….. EMO and EJB.
The rally pack of route book and rally plate etc was superb – printed in eye catching colour, printed and presented to the highest quality. It is the detail – I have no place to affix a rally plate to my car by way of cable ties and was so much relieved to find included in the pack suckers to fit the plate to the car windscreen. I did not cherish the thought of self-tappers through my bonnet.
When it was the minute to set off we drew into a smart gazebo to be flagged off by none other than Paddy Hopkirk. Does it get any better than that?
The route itself, crafted by those wily old navigators Walter Bateson and David Barritt was a constant joy, interesting roads in beautiful scenery. We are so fortunate to have such a magnificent motoring area right on our doorstep. I am not going to detail the route but in a route of 140 miles we ranged across NE Lancashire and W Yorkshire as far as Blubberhouses, then enjoyed the scenery of Nidderdale and Wharfedale back to bonny Lancashire again.
After the finish of the Tour we were invited to a fun driving test – along a taped off lane in a car park – which was not straight, to stop and then for the navigator to throw fan belts over a shock absorber. All this against the clock – and oh – I almost forgot to say the driver was blindfolded and relied on instructions from the navigator. Although the test took less than half a minute – how long did it take to set up with all the banners and at least four marshals on hand.
Back at the finish a robust supper of Lancashire Hot Pot (what else) and mushies was provided followed by a sweet.
But that was not all! After the meal we were regaled by Paddy Hopkirk with stories and short films of his past exploits.
Where will you get such a day for an entry fee of £50?”

SIMON ROTHSCHILD AND ALAN SHAW (Car 43):

“Just a quick note to say thanks to your organising team, marshals etc. for a great event. We, Simon and myself, ask you to pass on our thanks to everyone involved.”

IAN DAWS AND JOHNATHAN ATTHAY (Car 24):

“Many thanks for a fabulous fun and sociable event to you, all your colleagues and marshals. We really enjoyed it and hope to be back next year.”

IAN ROWSON AND PAUL COOPER (Car 4):

“Thanks again Stuart, was a fantastic day, with lots of very nice cars around, a brilliant route again, not sure what happened to all them photography peeps don’t seem to want to post any pics yet.. thanks again Ian.
Oh and see you next year hopefully another tour will be in the making .”

IAN HARDY AND CAROL HARDY (Car 39):

“Thoroughly enjoyed my first Andy Mort Tour. Lots of interesting cars and people to catch up with; many of whom were on Mull and I’d missed!
Really well organised and looked after by the army of volunteers; please pass on my thanks.
Keep me on the mailing list please for next year!
All the best”

KEITH OGLESBY AND GRAHAM HANSON (Car 11):

“Great event! Well done and thank you and all the organisers and marshals!
Btw are there any official photos eg at the start with Paddy setting us off?”

JOHN COOPER AND JANET RITSON (Car 32):

“Apologies for the delay in contacting you, but just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone involved in last Saturday’s fantastic day.
We thoroughly enjoyed the drive, the supper and Paddy’s very entertaining presentation.
The effort that everyone puts in to prepare for and marshal on the day is tremendous and very much appreciated.
Please pass this message on to everyone at the 2300 Club.”

John Easson Award – Champion

The Club Champion

It was late November 2018 when it was announced that Lincolnshire’s junior rally ace George Lepley had won the 2300 Club’s 2018 John Easson Award. After entering the competition for 4 years, his persistence had finally paid off. George had shown some serious promise, having won the BTRDA 2wd Championship for the 2018 season. 2300 Club members, not to mention Award scheme manager Allan Durham, were all excited to see what George could bring to the 2019 season.

The new Award winner had planned to take part in the British Rally Championship 2wd with all things in place. Exciting times ahead for 2019 with the John Easson Award covering George’s entry fees up-to a maximum of £5,000, with a bonus of £1,000 if he won the Championship. This would be a big help to George’s finances.

Unfortunately by mid January his plans had fallen through with his main sponsor pulling out. All rally plans were shelved. It was also George’s final year at university so he announced with great sadness that he would not be rallying for the first half of the year and would be concentrating on his degree. Although 2300 Club were disappointed they understood his predicament, but knowing what he was capable of would support him later in the year.

However just two weeks later, at the beginning of February, another door opened. A very different opportunity came from the BTRDA Championship headline sponsor Baz Jordan. He offered a historic spec, 8 valve Hillman Avenger to George for the Cambrian Rally. George grabbed this opportunity with both hands.

As it happened 2300 Club were marshalling on the Cambrian Rally with a strong turn out of 13 Marshalls, all dying to see this historic Avenger in action in George’s capable hands. Positioned with the club’s historic 40 year old banner, proudly sited on a decent bend on the stage, George’s pace was truly outstanding. He looked very fast and was on a par with the modern cars. The results that day tell the story!

  • 1st overall 2wd BTRDA silver star (includes modern 2wd)
  • 1st overall Historic cup
  • 1st overall Junior driver

Beating modern machinery with the historic car, was it a fluke or a sign of things to come?

Mr Jordan was more than happy with the results on the Cambrian, leaving the Avenger with George for the next event. 2 weeks later it was the Malcolm Wilson Rally based in Cumbria. The 2nd round of the BTRDA rally would have the usual early March treacherous conditions, proving a difficult rally for the Avenger. George had a few issues in stages 7 & 8 which put him just outside the top 10. Still an incredible result in such bad conditions, beating many modern 4wd cars.

  • 11th overall (in the thick of the modern 4wd machinery)
  • 1st 2wd Silver Star
  • 1st overall Historic cup
  • Best presented car at scrutineering.

So another fantastic result. A theme is emerging with George and the Avenger getting along well!

April brought the Rallynuts Stages Rally in mid Wales, where things did not quite go to plan. Time was lost due to a differential problem, so George had to work hard to stay in the mix. But looking at the results you would never know:

  • 1st 2wd Silver Star
  • 1st overall Historic cup
  • 1st overall Junior driver

The Plains Rally was next in May. Still in the Avenger, there was a chance of a Championship win, If the results kept coming. George lost time in stage 2 with a puncture but still managed 10th overall again against modern 4wd machinery. Brilliant result going into the mid season break. He found himself on the front cover of UK Rally Scene magazine, a mid season highlight.

It was also time to finish the Chemical Engineering Degree at the University of Nottingham with, you guessed it, another first.

Leading the Championship standings for most classes, it was back to business in the Nicky Grist Stages Rally, again in Wales. This was where the BTRDA Silver Star(2wd) and the Historic cup Championships were won, after just five of the seven rounds.

An incredible season, after the disappointment in January, to elation in July. Not only was George Lepley the star driver, he also made the little Avenger an unlikely star with fans of its own. George and the Avenger beat all the modern R2 cars, modern high power RWD cars and the best of the historic Escorts and drivers in the country. George commented “this car flies like a bird & entertains like a comedian” and I only originally borrowed it for one event! Time to hand it back to a very pleased Baz Jordan. With the Championship won, time to do the last two rounds in 4wd.

In August’s Woodpecker Stages Rally George would compete in a Mitsubishi Evo 10 Clubman B13 spec car. Not quite the power of the WRC or R5 cars, but very capable, with the following results:

  • 1st Gold star
  • 2nd Overall

Proving he could not only challenge but beat WRC and R5 cars, he set 3 fastest times on 5 stages with pace, control and smoothness to beat the best drivers in BTRDA.

The final round was at Septembers Trackrod Rally Yorkshire. Seeded 3rd did prove that George was there to take on the big boys. Finishing the last stage with the fastest overall time. Results may have been better with a different tyre choice.

  • 3rd overall
  • 1st B13 (non R5/WRC)

I don’t think we will see a season as good as this for a long time. 2300 Club does not have a club champion, as it is a club of organisers, but George Lepley, wearing the 2300 Club John Easson Award Decals on his cars, certainly championed our Club.

2019 Andy Mort Tour Report

As the dust settles on the fourth Andy Mort Tour, the 2300 Club can reflect on an event that proved an overwhelming success. All the ingredients were there: one of the best known names in rallying in attendance, two of the most famous Minis in the world, a record-breaking entry of 55 cars, and a fabulous route through Lancashire and Yorkshire – even the weather played its part.

Thanks to support from Mini Sport and managing director Chris Harper, the club were lucky enough to have Paddy Hopkirk in attendance, flagging off the cars and greeting the finishers back at West Bradford Village Hall before entertaining a 150-strong audience with a talk on his life and career. First cars away were Paddy’s two Mini Cooper S’s, 6 EMO, in which he won the 1990 Pirelli Classic Marathon and 33 EJB, the replica of his 1964 Monte Carlo Rally winning car.

From Austin to Abarth and Stratos to Skoda, there was an amazing array of classic and modern machinery. The hubbub of interest and expectation began to mount as the crews arrived, all with back stories about their car – and themselves – to tell. For some, the drama started before the chequered flag had even dropped.

Fellsman Tour organiser and LAC member John Hartley nearly didn’t make it in his Porsche, after being collected by a speedy cyclist whilst stationary in Waddington. Hartley and navigator Nigel Bentley had to call an ambulance for the injured rider, only continuing to the start once he had been treated.

Ahead of all the crews lay a 120-mile route through Lancashire and Yorkshire, meticulously planned by 2300 Club members Walter Bateson and Dave Barritt and their team, using a choice of tulip road book or maps. The tulip road book proved to be a brainteaser from the start, with several crews not realising that the first page was a sample route from last year and turned left at the first junction instead of right….

The opening section took in familiar territory of Sawley, the Nick O’ Pendle, Sabden, Brierfield before heading across the top of Burnley down to Haggate crossroads and turning left towards Wycoller. There was a famous motorsport face at the second checkpoint near Wycoller Country Park, with leading WRC co-driver Daniel Barritt – and his mum Janet – signing the route cards.

Oakworth, Crosshills and Steeton and Addingham were next up on the signposts, but then a dreaded ‘Road Closed – Diversion’ sign created problems for crews – particularly those ones relying on the tulip road book alone. A detour through the centre of Otley saw the field pick up the original route to the lunch halt at Blubberhouses.

At least one crew ignored the diversion sign and carried on regardless. In a scene allegedly reminiscent of ‘The Italian Job’, Mini Sport’s Michael Anderson and his son Ben took to the pavement in 33 EJB in their determination to stay on course – and on time. The post-lunch run took in some picturesque roads near Pateley Bridge and Greenhow before heading through Embsay and skirting around Skipton, rounding off with some of the superb road rally lanes around Lothersdale.

The route finished with an optional ‘fun test’ in the car park at Hanson Cement. Two abreast, cars were timed around a simple left or right dog-leg lined with cones and tape. Simple – except that the driver was blindfolded and had to rely on their navigator for precise instructions.

Several squashed cones and chewed up tape later, everyone was through and heading for the finish for a well-earned supper and Paddy’s much-awaited talk. He might be 86 years old, and many of the stories and events we already know, but Paddy really can tell a tale or two.

Amidst gales of laughter from the enraptured audience, Paddy recounted his career in motorsport, starting out with autotesting in Northern Ireland, graduating to rallying with the Mini, the Monte, circuit racing and then later life with the family.
And he even took time out to wish Steve Entwistle and Mark Appleton all the best on next month’s RAC Rally of the Tests, driving Paddy’s own Cooper S, 6 EMO.
“Good luck to Steve and Mark on the rally next month, but we’re not bothered about third or second, only number one”, he said. So, no pressure there then….

As the evening wound up and everyone departed after a brilliant day of driving and socialising, the same four words could be heard everywhere.

“See you next year!”

Andy Mort – A Tribute

A much-loved member of the 2300 Club, Andy Mort lost his life in an accident on the 2015 Tour of Mull. Twelve months later, the club decided to honour his memory with an annual event, and four years on, the Andy Mort Tour goes from strength to strength. Roger & Pamela Broom are just one of many of the crews taking part on Saturday, they were personal friends of Andy, and this is their story:

“My husband Roger and I marshalled main time controls MT2 and MT8 on the Tour of Mull for over 25 years. Over that time we got to know a good few of the 2300 Club members, including Andy Mort. On some occasions, particularly when there was a serious incident or hold-up, or even a cancellation, Andy was often the person who would jump in and be our ‘extra hands’ and liaison with rally control. He was a great guy, and when the 2300 Club organised the first Andy Mort Tour, we knew we just had to be part of it. Initially, it was to show support to Andy’s family, friends and the 2300 Club. Now we take part to celebrate and remember Andy and also because it’s a great event to do. Thank you the 2300 Club!”

Andy Mort Tour – Peter Croft

Peter Croft is typical of many competitors who have achieved high-speed success in motorsport before moving to a slightly more sedate, but equally enjoyable, events like the Andy Mort Tour.

“My introduction to motorsport began with hot rod racing on the Oval tracks in the late 1960s and early 1970s, finishing fifth in the British championship race at New Brighton driving at 1600cc Ford Anglia.”

“Lack of funds and a young family insured and in forced lay-off, but after that I took up road rallying in the late 1970s, first with a self-built mini and then a Mark one Ford Escort, culminating in winning the Clitheroe DMC championship.”

“After another absence, I started racing a Westfield in the Kit Car Championship, before switching to a Sylva Phoenix kit car with reasonable success. After that, I contested the MG Car Club Championships in an MG Midget until 2011.”

“In recent years, I have taken part in the Fellsman and last years Andy Mort Tour in an MGB GT with my partner Amanda Bradley, and we are looking forward to Saturday very much.”

Andy Mort Tour – 1 week to go …

The countdown to the Andy Mort Tour has started. With just four days to go, excitement is building – thanks to a record entry of 55 cars and crews all eager for a great driving day and the chance to meet Paddy Hopkirk. And it’s the ‘Paddy Factor’ that is expected to make this year’s Andy Mort Tour the best yet. “We’ve had a fantastic response, and it was very soon apparent that we would have to extend our limit of 50 cars to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend,” explained Neil Molyneux, chairman of the 2300 Club of Blackburn. “Having Paddy here to meet and greet everyone, and then give a talk at the finish, is going to make the day very special. The icing on the cake is having Paddy’s two cars, 6 EMO and 33 EJB taking part. The organising team have worked very hard to put on an entertaining route that everyone will enjoy, and we hope all the crews will finish the tour wanting to come back again next year.” And it’s not just the crews who will be busy preparing for Saturday. Course car driver Neil Johnson faces a race against time getting his ex-Thierry Neuville Fiesta ST ready after damaging the steering last time out on the Little Devils Tour. The car was used by the current WRC front-runner in the Belgian Rally Championship in 2008.

Fortunately, Neil works for a BMW dealership, so should be able to get a last-minute replacement if it all goes wrong. Whatever he turns up in, he’ll have long- standing 2300 Club member Pete Kenyon on the maps. ‘PK’ was entries secretary when the club ran the Tour of Mull closed road rally, and is a familiar figure in the trials bike world, officiating at many national and international events, along with his brother Roger. Keeping up the family links, Roger will be at the other end of the field as the last car on the Tour. The start venue at West Bradford Village Hall will be open from 8am on Saturday morning, and the organisers ask all crews to arrive at least an hour before their scheduled start time. Each car has an allocated car park space, please do not park on the grass verges on the main road. Cars will leave at one minute intervals, with the first ten cars flagged away by Paddy, who will have the pleasure of seeing 6 EMO, his Pirelli Marathon – winning Cooper S, at car one, followed by 33 EJB, the replica of his 1964 Monte Carlo Rally-winning Mini. Both cars are expected to attract a huge amount of attention throughout the day, and will be taking part in the optional Super Special Test, which takes place after the finish control in West Bradford. “Andy Mort was a fun-loving character and would have appreciated everyone taking part in this element of the day,” explained Neil Molyneux. “We are looking forward to seeing friends old and new on Saturday, even the weather is looking promising!

The 2300 Club of Blackburn would like to thank our event starter Paddy Hopkirk MBE, Chris Harper and Mini Sport of Padiham, Gary Young and Hanson Heidelberg Cement Group, Educational Printing Services Ltd, West Bradford Village Hall, the Millstones, and all the marshals.