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Henderson & Lees take second East Riding Stages win

28 February 2023

The Reed Group East Riding Stages Rally Report

For the second successive year, David Henderson and Chris Lees were winners on the East Riding Stages Rally. The pair didn’t have it all their own way, with a fiercely competitive top ten challenging them on every stage.

The top ten cars were flagged off by Guy Martin.

The 145 cars were flagged away from the start arch in Beverley Market Place from 9am, with the top ten sent on their way by TT rider and motorsport enthusiast, Guy Martin.

145 cars were flagged away from the start arch in Beverley Market Place.

A short shower just before the opening stage at Wawne Common had left a number of crews questioning their tyre choice. In the event, James Ford/Neil Shanks were quickest on stage one in their Citroen C3 Rally2, with a 2.1 second lead over David Wright/Paula Swinscoe’s Ford Fiesta R5.

Joe Cunningham/Josh Beer were another two seconds back in their third placed Fiesta R5, with the Fiesta Rally2’s of Steve Simpson/Patrick Walsh and Henderson rounding out the early top six.

Simpson/Walsh lived up to their seeding on SS1.

Unfortunately Steve Wood/Mark Glennerster’s Fiesta WRC was the first casualty of the event: “We came into a chicane too quick, hit a bale hard and it spat us off backwards into a ditch,” said Wood, who was starting his Protyre BTRDA British Asphalt title defence with a retirement.

Early leaders Ford/Shanks increased the gap to 2nd to 12.1 secs after stage two.

Ford increased his lead to 12.1 secs after stage two on Coom Hill, but Wright lost time with a spin and dropped to fourth. “I was on intermediate tyres, but spun and got stuck,” he explained.

Henderson had leapt up to second, with Cunningham still third, but Wright had only 0.4 secs in hand over Kevin/Owain Davies’ VW Polo R5, as Simpson slipped down to sixth.

The lead gap came down a little on stage three, Rise. “I had a big spin and lost my rear spoiler," Ford explained. Although the top crews held station, Simpson had been caught by Rob Swann/Darren Garrod’s Fiesta WRC, leaving them tied for sixth place.

Swann/Garrod tied for sixth place after three stages with Simpson/Walsh

One more stage followed at Dunnington, before service at Leconfield, and Ford reached there with his lead intact, but reduced to 2.8 secs. Henderson had managed to close the gap, despite a slide into a bale on stage four. “It was very slippery on slicks, especially on stage one, but it caught us by surprise when it rained at the start,” he said.

Cunningham had been hit with a three-minute penalty for an early arrival, which put him out of contention and moved Wright back up to third.

Davies had moved up to fourth and Swann had gone ahead of Simpson into fifth. “It was very slippery on slicks and I had a few half spins, but it was very unpredictable,” said Simpson. “I started on wets and it was OK,” Swann added.

Payne/Woodburn finished the first leg in 7th position, before fighting back from brake problems to take 3rd overall by the end of the rally.

In seventh Elliott Payne/Tom Woodburn’s Fiesta Rally2 was closing, “it was our first time with a new suspension set up, so I was getting used to that and had an unpredictable brake problem too,” said Payne.

John Stone/Laura Connell’s VW Polo R5 held eighth from the start, with Joe McKeand/Charlotte McDowall’s Subaru Impreza and former British Rally Champion Jonny Milner/Colin McMath’s Toyota Corolla WRC the rest of the top 10. “I started on wets too. It’s great to be out again, so much fun and I’m loving every gear change,” Milner explained.

Fan favourite, Milner/McMath’s Toyota Corolla WRC.

As they started their second run through the stages, Ford initially managed to increase his lead over Henderson, but that soon changed. “I lost it, stalled and it wouldn’t restart and lost 30 secs“ said Ford, after dropping to fifth on stage six.

Henderson was now in front with just over five seconds in hand over Wright. Payne and Swann had both moved up too, while in sixth, Davies was still close enough to threaten Ford.

Just re-runs of the Rise and Dunnington stages were left to complete the day. But Henderson’s lead was cut, after he had a slight off on the penultimate stage. “We went through a ditch,” he explained.

The gap at the top was down to 5.5 secs, before another five second gap to Payne, while Swann found the recovering Ford edging ever closer in his quest for fourth.

Wright: "It was mine to win, if I hadn't spun."

Henderson’s advantage had reduced further by the end of Dunnington, but victory was secured with 3.6 secs to spare, with Wright rueing his earlier spin. “That was mine to win if I hadn’t spun,” he said.

Payne was still third despite losing time on the last run. “I managed to find a ditch,” he said. Ford demoted Swann to take fourth and Davies retained a solid sixth. “Apart from running wide on stage one, it was a great day on an awesome rally,” said Davies.

Simpson was in seventh from stage six. “I had a great afternoon and upped my pace, but so did everyone else,” he admitted. It was another 20 seconds before eighth placed Stone, who had held the position all day. “It was so unpredictable in places - sometimes wet, sometimes dry,” he said.

Stone/Connell with the Polo R5 in it's stunning new Legend Fires livery held onto 8th place.

Last years Protyre Championship runners-up Neil Roskell/Andrew Roughead climbed to ninth during the afternoon, in only their second outing in their new car. “I couldn’t get it into stage mode for the first stage, so did it in road set up. Then we got stuck in stage mode, spun twice and stalled on the morning stages. So we put wets on for the afternoon to gain confidence and still managed to do 80 metres down a Dyke on stage seven,” Roskell admitted.

Milner completed the top 10 overall, with Simon Bowen/Craig Simkiss’ Fiesta R5 just missing out.

Class D winners Atkinson/Twiname finished 12th overall.

Class D front runners Darren Atkinson/Mark Twiname, John MacCrone/Stuart Loudon and Brad Cole/Jamie Vaughan were next home in their Escorts, having held station in their class all day. Atkinson stayed on intermediate tyres all day, while MacCrone’s afternoon charge was hampered when his paddleshift broke.

McKeand was 15th having slipped from the top 10 earlier in the day. “We lost time on the last stage, hitting a chicane. We hit it on the first time through as well, but this time it was harder,” he told us.

John Indri/Claire Williams had to recover from a spin on the opening stage in their Mitsubishi Mirage R5 to seal 16th. They had another big off at the end of stage three, “I tried to take the final corner flat and it went off at speed,” said Indri. “The only way I would have an off quicker than that would be in an aeroplane,” Williams added.

Class C winners Slights/Robson

Rob Tout/Terry Martin’s Fiesta R5 was next to return to the Market Place, while Class C winners Ash Slights/Dave Robson’s Escort, Nigel Worswick/Steve Clark’s Fiesta R5 and Paul Horton/Matt Edwards’ Citroen C3 Rally2 rounded off the top 20.

Barlow/Morrison’s Nissan Micra was unbeatable in class A.

In Class A Charlie Barlow/Emma Morrison’s Nissan Micra was unbeatable, 38 secs clear of Mark/Andrew Constantine’s Vauxhall Corsa. Apart from a slight steering problem, Barlow had a trouble-free run. “We had the circuit rally suspension set up and it felt it was trying to kill us, so we changed it in service,” Constantine added.

Nicky Cowperthwaite/Helen Hall’s Corsa retook third from Paddy/Tom Homan’s Ford Puma, “he got ahead when we visited a ditch on stage three,” said Cowperthwaite.

Chris/Heidi Woodcock’s Proton Satria and Chris Lawrence/Kevin Gould’s MG ZR completed the class finishers.

Dunn/Douglas won class B in their flying Nova.

Kev Dunn/Sean Douglas’ Nova had seven seconds lead after the opening stage to head Class B. By the end it had grown to 50 secs, with Tim Johnson/Roger Burkill’s Honda Civic heading the chase until the final stage, when they were pipped by Adam Hanner/Wayne Wood’s Ford Puma.

Ben/Andrew Wilkinson’s Peugeot 106 GTi ousted Chris Ruck/Steve Harris’ Vauxhall Corsa for fourth from stage four, while Daniel Poole/Irvine Holtom’s Corsa completed the class top six.

Although the Slights/Robson Escort dominated Class C, a spin on the first corner of the first stage left them chasing Matt Tarbutt/Mike Yates’ Renault Clio for the initial two stages.

Slights finally won the class by 17 secs, with Tarbutt slipping to fourth. Michael Harbour/Ian MacDougall’s Escort moved into second with a stage to go, while Sam Adams/Michael Johnston’s Escort completed the class podium on the final test.

The Escorts of Tim Mewett/Liz Jordan and Oliver Hunter/Matt Daniels completed the class top six.

While Atkinson, MacCrone and Cole battled for overall top 20 places, Barry Renwick/Steve Dargan’s Escort held onto fourth in Class D, from fellow Escort crews Gerry Fitzelle/Mark Mason and Martin Hodgson/Tony Jones.

Rowlands/Hall won the Historic class in their Escort.

Will Rowlands/Emyr Hall’s Escort was never headed in the Historic Class, with uncle of the rally sponsor, Mike Reed with John Millington, and Keith Turner/Brian Hodgson’s Escorts the top three.

The winners were presented with their awards in the historic setting of Beverley market place by rally sponsor John Reed.

David Henderson and Chris Lees, winners of the East Riding Stages Rally 2023.

The Reed Group East Riding Stages Rally: Top 10 Results

1 David Henderson/ Chris Lees Ford Fiesta Rally2 39:12.01

2 David Wright/ Paula Swinscoe Ford Fiesta R5 +0:03.6

3 Elliot Payne/ Tom Woodburn Ford Fiesta +0:10.0

4 James Ford/ Neil Shanks Citroen C3 Rally2 +0:16.3

5 Robert Swann/ Darren Garrod Ford Fiesta WRC +0:26.7

6 Kevin Davies/ Owain Davies Volkswagen Polo R5 +0:35.9

7 Stephen Simpson / Patrick Walsh Ford Fiesta Rally2 +0:53.4

8 John Stone/ Laura Connell Volkswagen Polo GTi R5 +1:13.1

9 Neil Roskell/ Andrew Roughead Ford Fiesta Rally 2 +1:34.7

10 Jonny Milner/ Colin McMath Toyota Corolla WRC +1:35.3

Full results can be found at

All images thanks to JEP.
Words: Peter Scherer.

Editor: Cat Lund

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