British Historic Rally Championship ready for the Riponian

British Historic Rally Championship ready for the Riponian

The Fuchs Lubricants British Historic Rally Championship speeds back into action this weekend as the Riponian Stages Rally (12 February) heralds the beginning of an exciting season for the top-drawer series.

The leading Historic rally championship in the UK will see seven high quality events form the roster in 2023, with six gravel rounds and one asphalt event offering the only change to the format.

The BHRC, sponsored by fluid giants Fuchs Lubricants for the sixth consecutive year, once again kicks off with the Thirsk-based Riponian Stages and the popular opener, famed for its unique closed-road asphalt link sections, has attracted a new line up of crews and returning regulars all eager to stamp their name on the trophy.

The Roger Albert Clark Rally Motor Club organised series will continue to provide a wide range of classes for historic specification machinery, catering for competition cars registered from 1968 to 1990 Including everything from Category One to FIA specification examples. 

New for 2023 sees the introduction of Category 4A and 4B which cater for four-wheel drive Historic examples. The series will also welcome non-historic two-wheel-drive vehicles which will run under the Rally 2 marker.

Alongside the front-running crews, the BHRC2 championship also offers contenders in Category B and up to 1600cc classes the chance to vie for their title whilst competing alongside their more powerful rallying cousins.

Lining up on the opener is a dynamic mix of former champions and event winners, with many getting `match` fit ahead of the marathon Roger Albert Clark Rally at the end of the season. The BHRC is the perfect hunting ground for the November event and none other than 2021 winners Marty McCormack and Barney Mitchell will bring the noise to Yorkshire at the weekend with their Ford Escort MKII.

Last year’s Riponian victors Matthew Robinson and Sam Collis make their first appearance in the BHRC in almost ten months and undoubtedly are hoping for a repeat run to the top step of the podium in their Escort and `Robbo` knows the forests as well as anyone.

Former champions Nick Elliott and Dave Price also make a comeback but will wheel out their FIAT 131 Abarth for their campaign after a part programme in the car last season.

Also returning are 2019 champions Simon Webster and Jez Rogers, with Adrian Hetherington and Ronan O`Neill hoping to fair better in 2023. Finishing third overall in the series last season, Robert Gough enlists co-driver Paul Morris to guide him through the event.

Roger Chilman has enlisted the services of British champion co-driver Patrick Walsh to start the BHRC this season, having only completed a part programme over the past few years and will be bedding back into his Escort with every passing mile.

Richard Jordan and James Gratton Smith will be looking for their maiden BHRC podium in 2023 and contest the FIA Category K class, as does last year’s class champions Rudi Lancaster and Guy Weaver.

Newcomers will also join the fray this season, with Tom Walster and Chris Ridge mounting a campaign, as is Kyle Tilley who is regularly found contesting the IMSA SportsCar Championship in the USA. He is co-driven by Martin Brady. James Lepley and Simon Jones have marked their intent on a full debut season with each of the aforementioned piloting Ford Escort MKII’s.
The fight for the Category 2 [cars between 1968-1975] honours is set to be a blistering affair as last year’s runners-up Josh Carr and Richard Wardle aim for one better this time around in their Ford Escort MKI. But there is a rich tapestry of competition in 2023 and the likes of Warren Philliskirk, Jeremy Easson, Phillip Harris, and Andrew Stokes are well-equipped to take the top spot.

Six stages and over 43 stage miles in classic Yorkshire tests such as Cropton and Gale Rigg will challenge even the most experienced competitor on Sunday in a fitting start to the season.

For more information on any of the Championships promoted by the RACMRC, please visit:
Images credit: Russ Otway 
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