More Good News from George Lepley

The 2300 Club’s 2018 John Easson Award winner, George Lepley, kicked off his season with a class win on the Cambrian earlier in the year. He’s since been carrying on the good form by winning the championship! Very well done to a very worthy winner.

If you are a young rally driver or co driver, entry for the 2019 John Easson Award opens again on 1st of September. Check out this website for details nearer the time. Get your 2020 season of to a flying start.

The Wait is Nearly Over!

The regulations and entry form for the 2300 Club of Blackburn’s eagerly-awaited Andy Mort Tour will go live on their website on Sunday, August 4 at 10am.
And it promises to be a memorable day in more ways than one, with the organisers mapping out a route with a difference this year.
“We have spent a long time making sure it will be substantially different from previous years, and we’ve found some lanes that many people will probably have never seen before,” explained club chairman Neil Molyneux.
“All of these roads are non-damaging and perfectly passable in a road car, so there’s no need for sump-guards or roll cages. There is no competition element, it’s all about the enjoyment of driving on some of the best roads in Lancashire and Yorkshire.
“We also looking forward to having Paddy Hopkirk with us for the day, which will make this year’s Andy Mort Tour very, very special. Although Paddy won’t be driving, he’ll be at the start at West Bradford Village Hall to meet everyone, and flag the cars off. He will then join us at the lunch halt at Blubberhouses before greeting the finishers back at West Bradford.
“The day will finish in style with a talk by Paddy on his momentous career in motorsport, hosted by the equally-legendary rally co-driver and 2300 Club member  Ian Grindrod.
“It promises to be a fantastic day out for any motoring enthusiast, and we anticipate a lot of interest.”

*The  Andy Mort Tour is a non-competitive ‘Touring Assembly’ starting and finishing at  West Bradford Village Hall, near Clitheroe 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.
Open to any ‘vehicles of interest’, the Tour will see crews embarking on a scenic route of at least 100 miles using simple navigation of tulip diagrams or map references, with code-boards and marshalled checkpoints.
With a limit of 50 cars allowed, the organisers expect the entry list to fill very quickly.
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, along with booking information for Paddy’s talk, will be on the club website or their facebook site: Tour of Mull by 2300 Club.

Amazing News from George Lepley the John Easson Award Winner

“We have won the BTRDA Silver Star in the mighty Avenger, beating all the Escort BDA’s, Millington’s, modern R2’s etc! It was great to win 4 from 4 events. Needing to finish 6th or higher on the Nicky Grist event, we finished 3rd.”

“Tyre choice and being held up by catching a car in stage 1 was challenging, but our result was all the more sweet by beating the best of the British Historics! A great result for the team. The amount of PR that the car has created has been phenomenal, it’s everywhere and everyone has talked about it.”

“I would like to thank everyone at 2300 club for putting your faith in me and I’m proud to be the ambassador for the Award.As for future plans, the Avenger is on its way back to Baz Jordan. We are currently 2nd O/A in the Gold Star too and we are hoping do at least the Woodpecker, if possible the Trackrod, in order to gain some more points for the championship. I have put an entry in for the Woodpecker.  For now, I’ll try to enjoy the summer break but get plans in place for the last 2 BTRDA rounds followed by 2020.”

Paddy Hopkirk (& his Mini) Confirmed

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.

George Lepley – BTRDA Rallynuts Stages

The 2300 Club’s 2018 John Easson Scholarship Winner reports on his progress

George had another mega weekend. The Rallynuts stages, starting in Builth Wells for round 3 of the BTRDA Rally Championship. A new engine in for this event, a 2 litre 16 valve BRM. 

“The first loop of stages were much drier than expected and we set out on tyres that were too soft, causing some time loss. Furthermore, a differential issue meant the car was effectively 1 wheel drive with little/no pre-load when checked in service. The car wasn’t driving quite as George had hoped and felt as if they were struggling for traction, so this explained a lot! George found himself not leading for the first time this year, in fact 8 seconds down. But with 2 stages left, it was a case of giving it their all to ensure they got the win that they were after, especially after the first 2 wins this season. 21 miles through Hafren and Sweet Lamb awaited them. Although the car was wounded, George and co-driver Tom Woodburn, had a big push to come out with a 12 second win! Despite their issues, it was great to be first 2 wheel drive, first historic and first Junior! It puts them in a very good position in the championship with 3 wins from 3. 

Most importantly, it was the first win for the new BRM engine and so I would like to say a big thank you to the whole team and to all the supporters and 2300 Club John Easson Award for their continued support and belief in me. I’m proud to have re-paid everyone with this win with the new engine. 

The next event is on 11th May in Oswestry, the Plains Rally.

George Lepley 11th Overall on Malcolm Wilson

The 2300 Club’s 2018 John Easson Scholarship Winner reports on his progress

Round 2 of the BTRDA was the Malcolm Wilson Rally, based at M-Sport, with Stages in and around the Lake District. They included a long 12.5 mile stage through the notoriously challenging Grizedale stage of which I was certainly looking forwards to!

After a large amount of rain fell on the Friday night, the stages were certainly going to be wet and slippy. But to see the snow arrive and then settle how it did was a surprise to say the least! 3 very slippy stages before the first service awaited us, causing a lot of drama amongst other crews! Then a long trip out to the Grizedale area for some excellent stages. There was no snow here, just wet ground so plenty more grip than the morning Stages! A big push through the 4 stages that we’re awaiting us saw us extend our lead in the 2 wheel drive and historic categories. Unfortunately, a rear axle arm bent in the penultimate short stage causing the car to behave strangely. A short final service where the service crew managed to replace one of the broken parts before a final stage in Greystoke where we just nursed the car back to get to the finish after a very dramatic and difficult days rallying! An extremely rewarding champagne spray at the finish!

An incredible 11th O/A, 1st 2 wheel drive, 1st Historic, 1st Junior award (Tynemouth Computer Services), Best presented car at Scrutineering award, Special award for fastest 2WD through first 2 stages Hobcarton & Comb.
The next event is the Rallynuts Stages in April. A big thank you to Baz Jordan of Jordan Road Surfacing for loaning me the lovely avenger, the 2300 Club John Easson Award, Jondel Race Engines, Ex-Pressed steel panels, Kielder WT, Pirelli Tyres, revolution wheels and all the team for their continued support.”

Andy Mort Tour 2019

Heads-up – here’s a date for your diary. This year we will be running the Andy Mort Tour, starting at West Bradford Village Hall on Saturday 19th October. The formula will be similar to previous years, with the exception that we plan to bring a very big rally name to the Forum in the evening after the event.

Keep your eyes on our website for more information as and when it’s available

John Easson Award Winner George Lepley on the Cambrian Rally

“After my 2019 British Rally Championship plans fell through a month before the opening round, I was left without a seat. The opening round was the Cambrian Rally in Llandudno, North Wales, which was also the opening round of the BTRDA (British National Championship of which I competed in last season). 10 days before the event, local businessman and BTRDA Championship headline sponsor, Baz Jordan of Jordan Road Surfacing, stepped in and said I could use one of his beautifully prepared historic Hillman Avenger rally cars, it’s not what I had planned but thought…hell why not, I saw it as a challenge, being a right-hand drive car and a rear wheel drive car after the left hand drive Fiesta R2 I drove last year.

With the opening round being part of the 2 biggest rally championships in the country, the British Rally Championship (BRC) and British National Rally Championship (BTRDA), Llandudno town centre atmosphere was electric with over 130 rally cars. Stages included some of those used on the Great British round of the world rally championship, Wales rally GB, so some challenging stages were ahead of us in the new car.

Despite some very slippy conditions in the morning, followed by a rutted road in the afternoon, the car ran faultlessly and me and co-driver Arwel Jenkins came away with first 2 wheel drive car, beating much more powerful millington & XE powered cars and modern R2 fwd cars, being presented with a special award for the rally for our hard charging effort! Also, finishing first historic rally car in the Historic Cup and first BTRDA Junior Driver, I was delighted with our achievement, it couldn’t have gone any better for our first event in the car! It is now part of our 2019 BTRDA campaign to aim to be the first historic car to win the overall 2 wheel drive/Silver Star championship. We finished a very credible 13th overall, against many 4 wheel drive World Rally cars, R5 cars, Evos, Subaru’s etc!

I would like to say a huge thank you to the 2300 Club John Easson Award, a prize that literally has kept me rallying this season (last year at Uni!) Also, I would like to say thanks to Baz Jordan, Jondel Race Engines, Beatson’s Building Supplies, Ex-Pressed Steel Panels, Kielder WT, Pirelli tyres and Jason Lepley Motorsport, all for making this possible. It is not the end of my modern rally career, just a blip in my circumstances which I hope to turn into a positive showing my pace in a variety of cars, LHD or RHD, FWD or RWD !

The next event is in 3 weeks at the Malcolm Wilson Rally in Carlisle.”

Winner of the 2018 John Easson Award

2300 Club are pleased to announce the winner of the 2018 John Easson Award. Lincolnshire driver George Lepley was chosen as the winner of this year’s prestigious award which is worth a total prize fund of £6,000.

This year we had a total of 17 Candidates for the award consisting of 15 Drivers and 2 Co-Drivers. The JEA subcommittee met on the 14th November to review the applications and pick our 3 finalists.

George Lepley (Lincolnshire)
Ewan Tindall (Newcastle upon Tyne)
Finley Reton (Blairgowry Scotland)

The final was held Friday 23 November at the Tickled Trout Hotel. The selection panel this year was 2300 Club members Clive Molyneux, Ian Grindrod, Bury Rally Driver and local Businessman John Cope, and our 2017 JEA winner Tommi Meadows.

Every year the team are faced with a difficult task to choose the eventual winner, and this year was no exception, all 3 candidates gave a good account of themselves on why they should receive the coveted JEA.

However one candidate stood out from the other two and it was a unanimous decision by the panel to award the prize to George Lepley.

George first applied for the JEA in 2014 and had made it through to the final on two previous occasions but narrowly missed out on the prize, but he persevered and came back for yet another attempt at winning the JEA, and his drive and enthusiasm shined through and he certainly impressed the whole team enough to take the prize this year.

We all agreed we think he will be a good ambassador to carry the JEA forward.

2300 Club would like to thank all candidates who applied for this year’s award.

Allan Durham
2300 Club John Easson Award Scheme Manager