With the fastest times on the open three stages, Dave Welch and Stuart Proctor (Subaru Impreza) were never headed during the day and they took the victory by 23 seconds from 2013 event winners Alex Cannon / Ray Keith in another Impreza. Simon Belcher / Sam Bailey started strongly holding second place in their Impreza until a broken driveshaft put them out after three stages. Alex Cannon / Ray Keith then became the new chasers and managed to take time out of Welch on 3 of the remaining 5 stages to consolidate their second place.
Gary Wayne / Neil Bloor and Ian Tiffany / Graham White, both in Impreza’s swapped places throughout the morning, partly because of various excursions in the slippy conditions, with Tiffany gradually in the ascendancy and holding on to third spot from stage four onwards. One of the most impressive performances was by Simon Thomas / Kate Bannister in a Peugeot 306 who dominated class 3 and eventually finished 4th overall to break the Subaru domination.
In the classes Jessica Robinson/ Chris Sheridan (Nissan Micra) who won Class 0 for up to 1 litre cars whilst David McMullan/ Marc Melhuish (Nova) finished 13th overall and won class 1 for cars up to 1400cc. Class 2 was a battle between Matt Wood/ Riki Musson (Nova) and Michael Pickles/ Beverley Warren (Proton Satria) but on this occasion Wood was just that little bit faster throughout the day and ended up 10th overall, winning the class by just over a minute.
There were mixed fortunes for the large contingent of Dukeries crews on the event with event winners Welch / Proctor scoring maximum points in both the EMAMC and Dukeries Rally Championships. Paul Rees / Paul Briggs (Vauxhall Astra Mk2) were 8th overall and 4th in the very competitive Class 3, but that was not the plan when they entered the event in Class 2. However, a last minute problem with the intended 1600cc engine meant an overnight engine change! David McMullan/ Marc Melhuish (Nova) finished 13th overall and won class 1 whilst Emma Bennison/Paul Webb, now in a 1275cc Micra, came 4th in Class 1 which certainly helped to maintain their position in both the EMAMC and Dukeries Rally Championships.
John Griffiths / Nigel Wetton suffered a puncture on the first lap of stage 2 and the resulting stage maximum removed the chance of a top 5 result although they set competitive times for the rest of the day. Lee Ashberry / Dominic Foister (Escort Mk2) finished 14th overall whilst Jon and Mathew Atherton in the Avenger worked their way up to 28th overall. Nick and Tom Barrington in the beautiful Audi Quattro came in 33rd. Craig Stevens / Maddie Evett were the first crew to suffer car problems which resulted in them missing stage 2 but after the problem was fixed they were setting some good stage times.
Not so lucky were David Wood / Peter Kettle (Mitsubishi Evo) who set some really good times including 3rd fastest on SS5, but eventually had to retire with gear selection problems. Chris White / Chris White Jnr retired at lunchtime with a bent axel whilst Dean Hickling / Geoff Moss (Sierra Sapphire) hit a tree stump on SS3. Stephen Booth / Catherine Booth on only their second event started well and were setting some good times until a broken diff on SS6 ended their day.
The awards were presented by 6.00pm to conclude a very successful day. The winners spoke on behalf of all the competitors when they praised the event organisers, marshals and the landowner for their efforts to make this another excellent and challenging event.