The vital Greenerways Rally project to assess the impact of a future gravel rally “Eco Tyre” is set to be as entertaining as enlightening. The Forestry Commission and MSA will be on hand to observe the damage inflicted by the equivalent of a whole rally using this tyre. But they will also be treated to a battle between some of the country’s top drivers, as well as handful of clubmen who are there to have a punt for the silverware on offer.

Mark Higgins tops the entries, with TEG Sport boss Lynn Newby dusting off her co-drivers overalls for the event. The battle royal joined between Higgins and Greenerways number two seed, Irishmen Keith Cronin & Greg Shinnors in the British Rally Championship, may not be at stake here, but you can bet that they will still be checking their stage times at every opportunity, eager to seek an advantage.

David Bogie & Kevin Rae will also make the change back to gravel mid-way through their BRC campaign, currently between asphalt events. But the youngster is joining battle away from two regular series’, currently trailing Jock Armstrong by just three points in the Scottish Rally Championship after closing the gap with victory on the Jim Clark Reivers Rally.

With Armstrong at car four, he and Bogie will have their own battle to play out ahead of the next SRC rally at the end of June. But it will be interesting to match the top drivers from the BRC and SRC on this one-off event. There will be a battle of the co-drivers between TEG Sport team cars too, as Lynn’s husband and team engineer Stuart Newby will co-drive for Armstrong.

The third scot in the line-up, Aberdonian Dave Weston Jnr, looks like taking the event seriously. The BRC newcomer is sticking with co-driver Aled Davies and no doubt hoping that the brief switch back to gravel will be a green light to post a podium place.

Like TEG Sport, the BRC’s Revolution Wheels Rally Team will field two cars. Geoff Jones, having had a taste of the BRC on the Jim Clark, will be co-driven by team boss Warren McKiernan. Neither is new to rallying, in fact Geoff has more experience than most, but Warren’s experience of making pace-notes may put him at a disadvantage to the second Revolution crew.

Rob Swann and Darren Garrod will put their experience from several years in the British Rally Championship to good use on the 5.37-mile stage. With just two passes to make an accurate set of ‘notes, accuracy will be the key, so the long term partnership should pay dividends.

Another crew used to each other and currently lying fourth in the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge, are Irishman Owen Murphy and Welsh co-driver Dai Roberts. The third Lancer in a field dominated by Subarus, Owen will hope that the reputed power advantage of the Evo will be sufficient to move him up the order on this sprint event.

Welsh co-drivers are obviously in vogue, since Chris Davies has secured a seat in the noisiest car in the field. Peter Stephenson’s last outing in Kielder was as part of the British Rally Championship where he finished a creditable 15th overall on the Pirelli International Rally in April.

Simon Bowen and Richard Robinson are true clubmen, convinced that their first gravel event will be one to remember. The car was only built in readiness for February, but Bowen has already contested several local club events, recently moving further afield for the Jim Clark Reivers Rally.

Another Clubman Jim McNeil is joined by the second female co-driver on the event, Kim Baker. Having scored a ninth place overall on March’s Riponian Rally, Jim’s move up from a Nova last year has proved successful, the in-car partnership with Baker carried forwards for this unusual event.

Finally British Rally Championship media man Simon Moss is joined by BRC regular Emma Morrison. The pair has contested a couple of events in the eBay Impreza, but Moss joins Bowen as a gravel first-timer, hoping his steadfast co-driver will impart some confidence.

The event format of a single repeated loop is designed to simulate an entire rally competing on the “Eco Tyre” and as such the drivers will have plenty of opportunities to hone their lines through the corners. But the true test will be whether the narrow pattern tyres make a difference to the wear and tear on the surface on what will be an interesting and hopefully entertaining event.

Spectator information
Spectators will be strictly limited to the forest with no access to the service area, which is remote from the forest access point and special stage. There will be a designated spectator car park at £10.00 per car. Access will be open to spectators from 12.00 noon via map reference 80/706870.

If planning to attend the event please approach the Kielder Water Dam along the unclassified road, either from the West (Saughtree via B6357) or East (Bellingham via B6320).

Cars will run at one minute intervals, competing anti-clockwise round a 5.5 mile stage. The schedule after the 12.45 start has been left deliberately flexible, but the action will be pretty much non-stop.

Because of restricted space and access, the Service Area is out of bounds to all spectator vehicles. During the service halts there will be around a twenty minute gap between loops. In this time Cumberland Sporting Car Club will send a spectator control car through the stage with information on the event’s progress.

12.45 Start
13.01 SS1 Greenerways
----- SS2 Pirelli
----- SVA Service
----- SS3 Forestry Commission
----- SS4 Motor Sports Association
----- SVB Service
----- SS5 Motorsport News
----- SS6 Cumberland Sporting Car Club
16.00 Finish & Awards

Greenerways Rally Entry List

Car Make

Mark Higgins
Lynn Newby
Subaru Impreza

Keith Cronin
Greg Shinnors
Mitsubishi Lancer

David Bogie
Kevin Rae
Mitsubishi Lancer

Jock Armstrong
Stuart Newby
Subaru Impreza

Dave Weston Jnr
Aled Davies
Subaru Impreza

Geoff Jones
Warren McKiernan
Subaru Impreza

Rob Swann
Darren Garrod
Subaru Impreza

Owen Murphy
Dai Roberts
Mitsubishi Lancer

Peter Stephenson
Chris Davies
MG S2000

Simon Bowen
Richard Robinson
Subaru Impreza

Jim McNeil
Kim Baker
Subaru Impreza

Simon Moss
Emma Morrison
Subaru Impreza

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