Three legs of Mann set to mark rally history
Champion’s entry list will celebrate 60 year Manx Trophy Rally anniversary with fierce contest
Famous Orangebox Mini returns to I.O.M. after 1964 debut
Island of Speed attracts international entry from 10 countries including Europe, Brazil and the USA
It is really difficult to predict a winner as the star-studded entry list tells you it could be any of a dozen crews, all with winning credentials.
Andy Lane and Iain Tullie (BMW) are both winners and gold medalists whilst car two of Dan Willan and Mark Appleton (Volvo) have won the RAC Rally of the Tests six times between them, Dan just last year when he also won the national championship!
Paul Crosby and Ali Procter (Porsche) are winners, Paul a multi-time champion. Right behind them at car four are Paul Dyas and Martin Taylor, winners and gold medalists who had such a fight with Dan Willan and Niall Frost in the 2022 RAC Rally of the Tests, finishing runners up – just. Niall Frost is navigating champion-making navigator Nick Bloxham this time in his Ford Escort Mexico, Nick having been the navigational brains behind the HERO Cup Champion in 2022, Stephen Owens, who is also entered! Nick drives as well as navigates and is very competitive – he and Niall are definitely the dark horses.
There are champions Paul Bloxidge and Ian Canavan (VW), Pete Johnson Golden Roamer Champion 2022 (Volvo), Jayne Wignall HERO Cup Champion, winners Nicky and Darell Staniforth in their highly competitive Toyota Corolla and Thomas and Roger Bricknell in the VW. Roger is a former Golden Roamer Champion. Klaus Mueller from Germany is here fresh from his hard-earned second place on the Winter Challenge to Monte Carlo this January in his Lancia Fulvia.
Gold medal winner Emily Anderson is navigating 2022 Sahara Challenge winner Bill Cleyndert in their forty Mini Cooper S.
Top special stage rally winner and Isle of Man resident Adrian Kermode will compete in his first regularity rally for a long time in his Mini 1275 Leyland navigated by Andy Darlington who was one of a group of UK-based teams caught out by cancelled flights to the Isle of Man due to the mist and fog over the island. Some have had to resort to ferries and may arrive a few hours before the start!
Adrian Kermode, British Leyland Mini, 1275. “It’s the best place in the world to go rallying, isn’t it? Closed roads have been a feature of island sport for many, many years since the start of the TT. So, it’s just an amazing place to go to for any motorsport really but rallying in particular. There are some fantastic classic stages that haven’t changed for 10’s of years, you know, great places to go rallying.
“And the mist in the rain? There’s an old saying in the Isle of Man, if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute, because normally within a minute everything changes! However, it has been lingering around a bit today, my co-driver should have been here this morning, as we speak now his plane is completely cancelled due to the fog and he’s trying to get Logan Air flight. So, he should be here hopefully by eight o’clock this evening. As long as he gets here, we’ll be OK.
“If there’re no flights from the UK, if they’re all cancelled, he might have to get up to Heysham and get the boat which should leave at two, which means he’d get in at six. So, he will be quite tired tomorrow, but let’s keep our fingers crossed for the flight!
“This is the first one of these events I’ve done. I did a regularity rally in Cheshire near Chester about six years ago. So, I have a rough idea of what to do but I haven’t got the faintest really, this is all new to me. We’ll see how it goes!”