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Dale drivers take honours in 75-mile Blackpool rally stage

CREWS from Teesdale took honours in the North West stages of the motorsport event in Blackpool this month.

This 75-mile rally has become a massive event over the years. It takes in the Blackpool promenade and Fleetwood docks and attracts with up to 10,000 spectators.

The event started at a Preston go -kart track which has had a recent upgrade including new tarmac. Conditions were greasy for competitors. Chris Anderson from Butterknowle and co-driver Chris Thirling, from Bishop Auckland revelled in the conditions and were fourth fastest in his Wilkinson Maintenance Ltd sponsored Fiesta. They ended 13th overall at the end of the night after a stall cost them time. Alistair Hutchinson from Eggleston and co-driver St John Dykes from Barnard Castle fell culprit to the greasy conditions and spun in the go-kart track but excelled in the two Clifton stages.

They have taken part in the event many times before and finished the night just ahead of Chris Anderson in 11th. Hutchinson and Dykes lead their class in their Northern Energy-sponsored Renault Clio running on LPG.

Mark Thompson from Staindrop and his co-driver Phil Kenny ended the night in a disappointing position. After setting some fast times the pair then took a wrong turn and did too few a laps round Clifton and got a stage max. This meant they had all to do the following day from 44th overall.

 The next day Chris Anderson seemed to be the pace setter of the locals showing dedication through some of the tight promenade stages but really gained time in the longer five-mile stages where they were catching more powerful Mitsubishis.

With a push over the final stages, the pair were delighted to finish 3rd overall only nine seconds between them and  6th. Hutchinson and Dykes maintained a consistent pace over the day knowing how hard the long rally is on the car and as a result were happy to come away 13th overall, 1st in class.

Thompson had a fantastic day in his Peugeot 206 going from 44th at the start of the day to 19th overall and 2nd in class behind the Clio.

The rally was won by Paul Bird in his Focus world rally car and 2nd was Kevin Proctor in his Subaru. 


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