3 February 2023
Last years winners David Henderson and Chris Lees will be returning to the East Riding Stages Rally with their Ford Fiesta R5 to defend their crown.
Photo thanks to James Downie of RWD Rally Images
But Henderson’s motorsport background goes back to his childhood, following the exploits of his rallying father Fred.
David himself started circuit racing in Formula Ford in1993, before graduating into Formula Renault. “I won the Formula Renault 1700 Class title, then did UK and Europe in the 2 litre cars,” he said.
Having raced Renault Spiders in 1998, he also made his rallying debut on the Christmas Stages with a Ford Ka, before doing the Ford Championship for the following two years, finishing runner-up in 2000. “I had rallied a Mitsubishi three times in ’99 too, including the Network, but crashed out,” he added.
“I moved into the Ford Puma Championship after that, won the title and beat Guy Wilks and won the Christmas Stages in an Evo too,” he said.
After continuing with occasional outings in the Evo and Puma in 2002, he contested the Christmas Stages again in 2003, finishing fifth, before a 15 year break from the sport. “I came back in 2018 and ‘19 racing in Caterham’s and then bought Alan Kirkaldy’s Escort Millington towards the end of 2019,” he explained.
In 2020 wife Katie joined him on their only outing on the Jack Frost Stages, finishing fourth.
“I had already started looking at R5’s when Covid hit, but carried on with the Escort until the middle of 2021,” he added.
He had class wins at Snetterton and on the BRC round at Oulton Park, “I had a fastest stage time at Oulton too,” he said.
Debuting his Fiesta R5 on the Pendragon Stages, he had three other outings before the end of the season. “We were fast but had a few niggles and had some work to do on the car over that winter, after a roll on the Trackrod,” he explained.
His partnership with Lees starting on the 2022 Riponian, “I wasn’t confident starting that, but we scraped a third place,” he said. Onto Snetterton and he proved unbeatable, setting him up nicely for the inaugural East Riding Stages.
“We started the rally well, but didn’t look at times until we had done two stages and we had a five second lead. We didn’t look again until lunch time, then it was head down for the rest of the day, as there was some tough opposition,” he said.
Photo thanks to GF Rally Images
So what were David’s thoughts looking back on the rally? “It was my first time in the lanes since Ulster, Manx and the Jim Clark 20 years ago, but I think it was similar to Flanders in character, but without deep ditches and big cuts, but very fast and flowing, brilliant rally.”
He had further wins at Donington and the Winter Stages at Croft, the latter with Katie again, and also took in a number of Scottish Championship rounds. “I like rallying on gravel or tarmac, like racing too, in fact anything in motorsport,” he admitted.
With Lees now his regular co-driver on multi-venue events, Katie sits in for the smaller and local rallies. “She wouldn’t trust herself in the lanes, but does well on the single venues and it’s fun,” he concluded.
For updates on the rally, visit our website www.bdmc.org.uk/east-riding-stages or follow us on facebook @BeverleyMotorClub
Whether you’re a returning competitor, a new competitor, marshal or spectator, we look forward to welcoming you to our corner of Yorkshire in February.
For more information, please contact our press officer
Peter Scherer firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit our website www.bdmc.org.uk/east-riding-stages