THE 2300 Club of Blackburn will be out in force on this weekend’s Cambrian Rally.
A team of 13 are helping with marshalling duties on SS3 Penmachno, which is due to run at 10.30am. This is the third year the 2300 Club have officiated on the Cambrian, the opening round of the 2020 BTRDA Rally Championship. It’s a link that goes back to the days when the club ran the Tour of Mull Rally, and Mark Wilkinson, who is a stage commander this weekend, was assistant chief marshal on Mull.
The team will also be out supporting the current John Easson Award winner, Ewan Tindall, who starts at car 53 in his Fiesta R2. Also out are previous JEA winners Osian Pryce, (car 4, Hyundai 20 R5) and George Lepley (car 10, Mitsubishi Evo 10).
And that’s not the only connection: a small piece of Tour of Mull history can be seen on Llandudno Promenade on Saturday. “We always had a start ramp on Mull, but when the Mull Car Club took over the running of the rally, we had nowhere to store it. Luckily, the North Wales Car Club, who organise the Cambrian, were in need of one, and we were very happy to gift it to them,” explained club spokesman Cliff Simmons.
John Easson Award winner Ewan Tindall begins his challenge for the 2020 BTRDA Rally Championship in North Wales this weekend.
The talented 18-year-old from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne is seeded at car 53 in his Fiesta R2 on Saturday’s Cambrian Rally. With a new car and a new co-driver – Andrew Roughead – the all-gravel event will be the start of a new learning curve for Tindall.
“I’ve never done the Cambrian before, and never driven the Fiesta in anger on the loose, so it’ll be a steady start”, he said. “The stages are likely to be wet and slippery, probably fairly rutted by the time we get to them, so our plan is to settle in, get a feel for the car, particularly as it is left-hand drive, and see how our pace matches up with everyone else in the R2 Cup class. Most of the R2 contenders are seeded between 50 and 60, so we’ll be in good company, and be able to keep a close eye on their progress. I’m very happy to have Andrew Roughead alongside me. He’s a vastly-experienced co-driver who I’m sure will help me develop as a driver.”
Ewan and his dad Lee have been working flat-out for the last two weeks preparing the new car, which included completely rebuilding the gearbox. Said Ewan: “We had hoped to be able to do a gravel test before the Cambrian, but it’s not been possible. Most of the others have already been out testing, so we are on the backfoot slightly. But championships are never won on the first round!”
The 2020 Cambrian Rally starts in Llandudno at 9am with seven stages in North Wales before the finish back on the Promenade around 4pm. For spectator information visit www.cambrianrally.co.uk
Ewan and Lee Tindall would like to thank Nick Dixon for the gearbox rebuild, and Ian Peake, Ian Gillespie and Matt Edwards for their assistance, and the 2300 Club of Blackburn.
Since its inception in 2004, the John Easson Award has helped numerous rally drivers further their involvement in the sport. With £5000 in cash to the selected applicant, and a bonus £1000 if they win their overall championship class award, the JEA is recognised as the UK’s top free-to-enter scholarship.
But for 2019 winner Ewan Tindall, that support goes even further. “For me, winning the John Easson is the difference between going rallying or not going rallying,” said Ewan. “Our costs have now been halved, and we can afford to contest the full BTRDA Championhip, instead of sitting on the sidelines. Entry fees alone are £650 per event, then there’s all the additional costs of running the car, of which tyres are the biggest outlay. I’m incredibly grateful to the 2300 Club for giving me this opportunity, and I intend to repay their faith in me. I made the final last year, and missed out to George Lepley, so when I went in front of the judges this time, I knew what to expect and felt more confident. We all share the same passion, so I just talked about my ambition and plans for the future.”
The 17-year-old from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne impressed with his maturity during the selection interview in front of a panel of judges from the 2300 Club. He joins a long list of winners who have gone on to greater success, thanks to the award. They include newly crowned European Rally Champion Chris Ingram, who won in 2013 and Lepley, who went on to win the BTRDA Silver Star title.
Ewan, who contested the 2018 Fiesta ST Trophy, has swapped his ST for a more competitive Fiesta R2 for the 2020 season, acquired from KG Motorsport.
Ewan Tindall would like thank the 2300 Club, his dad Lee Tindall, mechanic Simon Hewitt and John Swinscoe of Rallytech, Withnell.
Fred Arthur Blundell, who was Chief Marshal and Results Chief on the Tour of Mull, has died just before his 93rd Birthday.
His given name was Arthur. Taff Edwards began referring to him as Fred as a gentle leg-pull and it stuck. To his Rallying friends he was and is Fred. To the rest of the world he was Arthur.
For many years Fred fulfilled both of the above roles on Mull. This guaranteed him no sleep for the entire weekend. His genial manner was unaffected and his ability to party when the work was done was legendary.
Fred introduced computerised results to Rallying. In 1979 the Aros Hall in Tobermory was linked to the Philips mainframe in Croydon via a telephone handset pushed into a device with two rubber cups on it. PCs had not yet been invented. This was a success and was soon superseded by an Apple II computer running a tortuous BASIC program that was written by Fred.
Fred will be remembered as a lovely man. He was never visibly flustered even when dealing with a crashed computer program and a queue of results queries from agitated co-drivers. No-one can ever remember him swearing. He was always ready for a joke and a chuckle.
When Fred stood down from his major Club responsibilities he moved into a new role in his 80s. He donned a boiler suit and joined the road crew. This gang was known for their jokes and spoofs as much as for their practical skills and Fred became an integral part.
Fred’s funeral will be at St Josephs Catholic Church, Bury lane, Withnell, Chorley, PR6 8SD on Wednesday, 25th September, at 11.30.
Neil Molyneux from the 2300 Club joined Mark Stone on his Drystone Radio show ‘Back Seat Driver’, on 15th September 2019, to talk about the 2300 Club and the upcoming Andy Mort Tour, featuring Paddy Hopkirk
The link to the original show on Drystone Radio is no longer available, but the MP3 excerpt can be played here:
‘Get your entry in now’ is the urgent message from the organisers of October’s Andy Mort Tour. The 2300 Club of Blackburn have received an unprecedented level of interest since the regulations were published last week. “We were delighted to get almost 20 paid-up entries in the first 24 hours,” explained chairman Neil Molyneux. “Since then the numbers have been steadily rising, and we are now approaching the 40-mark, which leaves us with just ten more spaces left. The Andy Mort Tour has always been popular, but I think the ‘Paddy Factor’ has really taken effect this year.”
Thanks to Mini Sport and their managing director Chris Harper, the club will have the legendary Irish rallyman Paddy Hopkirk as their guest of honour on the day. The Padiham-based Mini specialists enjoy close personal and business links with Hopkirk, and have been entrusted to look after his famous works Cooper S replica 6 EMO, in which he won the 1990 Pirelli Classic Marathon. “Paddy will be flagging off the cars off from the start at West Bradford Village Hall, near Clitheroe, and greeting the finishers later in the day, “ said Chris. “And to round off a great day, there will be an unmissable talk by Paddy recounting some of the highlights of his long and illustrious career in motorsport, followed by a question-and-answer session with renowned rally navigator Ian Grindrod.”
Early entries include 2015 HRCR clubmans champion Steve Entwistle, who will be giving 6 EMO a run-out ahead of November’s RAC Rally of the Tests.
The 2300 Club are also appealing for marshals to help on the day, and volunteers will get a free supper and entry to the talk by Paddy Hopkirk. Anyone wishing to marshal should contact Simon Bibby at email@example.com.
Paddy Hopkirk will be greeted with a familiar sight when he flags off the crews at October’s Andy Mort Tour – his own Mini Cooper S!
Although entries don’t open until next month, Mini Sport of Padiham have confirmed that Paddy’s 1990 Pirelli Marathon-winning car, 6 EMO, will be among the starters. The iconic red-and-white machine is still owned by Hopkirk,and is prepared and maintained by Mini Sport. Managing director Chris Harper said: “We were delighted to be able to facilitate Paddy’s appearance at the Andy Mort Tour, and it only seemed right that 6 EMO should be there too.
“Although Paddy won’t be driving on the day, he will flag off all the cars at West Bradford village hall and then meet up with everyone at the lunch halt, before greeting the finishers back at West Bradford ahead of his much-anticipated talk.” Mini Sport have invited rallyman Steve Entwistle, who drove 6 EMO on last year’s RAC Rally of the Tests – and led for much of the event – to drive the car on the day. Entwistle, from Rishton, near Blackburn, is one of the favourites for victory in this year’s Rally of the Tests in the same car.
Organisers 2300 Club of Blackburn are expecting a bumper entry for the Tour, which takes place on Saturday, October 19. It is run in honour of club member Andy Mort who was competition liaison officer on the Tour of Mull Rally for many years, and a top National-level navigator in his own right. He sadly lost his life in an accident on the 2015 event. Club chairman Neil Molyneux said: “It promises to be a memorable day out for any enthusiast. Coffee and bacon sandwiches are served to all participants before the first car gets underway at 10am, driving a 120-mile route through stunning Lancashire and Yorkshire countryside.
“There is a lunch halt where crews can purchase snacks and drinks, before the afternoon leg which is due to finish around 4.15pm with the option of a couple of fun driving activities on private ground. “An evening meal will be served at about 5.30pm and after that we have the legend that is Paddy Hopkirk entertaining us with anecdotes and stories from his glorious career in motorsport. “There will also be the chance for to ask Paddy questions before the day wraps up at about 8pm.”
*Entry fee for the Andy Mort Tour is £50 for a car and two occupants. Extra passengers are £15 each. For enthusiasts who cannot take part in the Tour, but would like to come to the Paddy Hopkirk talk, tickets are available at £10 each for the evening meal and entry to see the guest speaker. Pre-booking for these tickets is essential. Regulations and entry forms for the Andy Mort Tour will be out next month, along with booking information for Paddy’s talk, on this website.