The Trackrod Rally Yorkshire was the final round of the ST Trophy. The event is held in the famously fast Yorkshire forests to the west of Scarborough and with most places in the ST Trophy decided only 4 crews entered the event.
The championship had come down to a 2 horse race between James Giddings and Ewan Tindall. James had led the championship since the 2nd round and Ewan had shot to the top ranks in a short space of time, only joining the championship at the mid point after his 17th Birthday.
Sadly for Ewan a gearbox issue he picked up on the last round, The Woodpecker Rally, had left him struggling to effect repairs in time for the Trackrod so he and codriver, Paul Hudson, had to sit on the side lines which meant James & Sion were crowned ST Trophy champions before they even started the first stage.
The morning of the event was dry and sunny albeit very cold, frost has been reported in the early stages so a little caution was needed.
Newcomer to the championship Bobby Mitchell was first of the ST's away. Bobby, a former M-Sport ST Trophy competitor from 2007 had decided to dip his toe into the last round of the championship and get a feel for the competition with a chance he may return next season. He set a fast pace into the first stage in his new car but half way through the stage go caught out on a notorious corner and left the road at high speed, luckily the car sustaining no damage but the steering wheel had hit his hand. He put in a push on stage 2 and was quickest ST through the 6 miles of Gale Rigg showing his speed of the past. His hand was still giving him grief which had now swollen badly as they arrived at the first service.
James Giddings & Sion Cunniff were next away, with the championship sewn up you would expect the welsh crew to play it safe but no, they topped the time sheets in Cropton making their mark on this rally as they had done on the championship. Stage 2 saw them match times with Tordoff and head back to service with a 9 second overall lead.
Mat & Tim Tordoff were the third crew into the stages, Mat & Tim had been pretty consistent all year and this had paid off with them taking 2nd overall in the championship, helped a little by Ewan Tindall & Paul Hudson's no show at this event. Mat had a moment on Stage 1, overshooting a corner over a crest, no damage was done and matching Giddings in Stage 2 showed them in 2nd place at Service 1, just 9 seconds behind Giddings & Cunniff.
The fourth crew away were the local crew of Neil Fewlass & Steven Varey. Both crew members had cut their teeth in these stages in the past but sadly that was pre pacenotes and probably pre colour television! The crew had used descriptive notes all season but had struggled so decided to opt for the simpler number system for the final round, Steven finding it a lot easier to get the information out. They had a clean run through the first couple of stages and were happy to be back out after their harvest lay off.
The third stage was 10 miles of Dalby, the stage is not to everyone's taste as it has long straights and square corners and is definitely not suited for the ST's but the crews all made it safely through and back to service 2. Bobby Mitchell & Sam Coleman were the fastest through with Mat Tordoff having a push and stopping the clock just 7 seconds behind Mitchell and 7 seconds ahead of champion Giddings. Fewlass was 4th and getting used to the new notes.
The final 20 miles of the event were in the classic Yorkshire stages of Staindale & Langdale, both stages suiting the ST's. Giddings hit the top of the time sheets again in Staindale, just piping Mitchell by 3 seconds with the charging Tordoffs a further 3 seconds behind Mitchell. The crews then headed into the longest stage, Langdale with James & Sion holding just a 7 second lead over Mat & Tim so it was going to be a last stage showdown between the two season regulars.
Giggings pushed hard and managed to keep the Tordoff's behind and finished the stage 3 seconds quicker giving them the overall event win. Mat & Tim took a well deserved second and despite topping the time sheets on the final stage Bobby & Sam took 3rd place. Their stage 1 excursion obviously making their overall result suffer. Sadly Neil & Steven snapped the gear selector and had to drive most of the 13 miles of Langdale and the road section back to Filey stuck in 3rd gear!
The crews lined up on the sunny promenade in Filey for the traditional champagne spraying and this brought the 2018 ST Trophy to a climax.
James & Sion were officially announced as the champions of the 2018 MRF ST Trophy and win the use of the Castrol R2 on the 2019 BTRDA R2 Rallye Cup
2nd place goes to Mat & Tim Tordoff. They win a free entry into WRGB National and the use of the Castrol R2 car.
3rd place goes to Ewan Tindall & Paul Hudson who win a test in the Castrol R2 in 2019
The final points standing for the Championship are on the side margin of the website home page.
It has again been a close fought championship, this year coming down to the final round. We would like to thank all of the competitors for making it such a competitive and fun championship.
Thanks must go out to the championship sponsors, MRF Tyres, Castrol, Mintex, REIS insurance & TORQ racewear.
Details of the 2019 ST Trophy will be announced soon.