British Historic Rally Championship Launches at Riponian Stages

The 2024 Fuchs Lubricants British Historic Rally Championship gets underway this weekend in Yorkshire, as the Riponian Stages Rally [11 February] lifts the curtain on an exciting new season.

The UK’s premiere Historic Rally Championship will see a return to a mixed surface format in 2024 and is expanded to a nine-round calendar with 11-point scoring opportunities and seven rounds to count towards the final score.

The BHRC, sponsored by fluid giants Fuchs Lubricants for the sixth consecutive year, once again kicks off with the Thirsk-based Riponian Stages and the popular opener will provide the perfect backdrop for a new-look season which is likely to be as unpredictable as ever.

A wide range of classes will assemble for the opening round tussle, with Historic specification cars registered from 1968 to 1990 eligible including everything from Category One to FIA specification examples and the Category 4A and 4B which cater for four-wheel drive Historic examples.

The series will also welcome non-historic two-wheel-drive vehicles which will run under the Rally 2 marker and the BHRC2 championship also offers contenders in the up to 1600cc classes the chance to vie for a title whilst competing alongside their more powerful rallying cousins.

Lining up to do battle this weekend is a wide mixture of cars and crews, all eager to get their season off to the perfect start. Inspired by the interest at last year's Roger Albert Clark Rally, no less than three Historic Four four-wheel drive machines will head for Thirsk in a first for the BHRC.

The new generation of Historic rally cars are a real crowd pleaser with many running in works style liveries to truly recreate the late 80’s and early 90’s era in which they competed. Having dipped his toe in the water in 2023, George Lepley returns in his Mitsubishi Galant VR4, hoping to re-create his Woodpecker Rally victory from last season.

Whilst the four-wheel-drives are not eligible to become British Historic Champion, contenders will vie for Category honours and can “win” each round of the series. Lepley did that in style last time out and Dale Bowen returns to the co-drivers seat in a bid to recreate that feat.

Kevin Proctor and Jamie Edwards will wheel out their Autoglass-style liveried Sierra Sapphire Cosworth for the first time in the BHRC, whilst Baz Jordan and Arwel Jenkins swap their Ford Escort MKII for an all-new Mitsubishi Galant.

World Rally Championship ace Chris Ingram throws his hat into the BHRC ring, piloting the stunning TR7 V8 from the David Appleby Engineering stable. After an impressive debut on the Roger Albert Clark Rally in the car, the WRC2 front-runner will step back into the Triumph in Yorkshire and has enlisted the services of Micheal Gilby in the co-driver seat.

The hunt for the BHRC title lays firmly at the door of Nick Elliott and Dave Price who return for another attempt in their FIAT 131 Abarth. Second place last year to champions Roger Chilman and Patrick Walsh shows their potential and if the stars align this season, the pairing are well placed to take the coveted crown.

Yorkshire’s masters Matt Robinson and Sam Collis sign up for 2024 and as former winners of the Riponian will be ones to watch in their Escort MKII, but will have plenty of opposition from fellow Ford pilots from across the Irish Sea.

Owen McMackin made several appearances last season and returns for a full assault with Paul McCann alongside, whilst Adrian Hetherington and Ronan O’Neill will be looking for some luck this season after a troublesome 2023. Barry McKenna set an impressive pace on the RAC Rally last year and heads for Thirsk with Galway International Rally-winning co-driver Andy Hayes.

The 2021 BHRC champions Ben Friend and Cliffy Simmons make a welcome return to the series after a season away, bringing their familiar Escort MKII in a bid for a second title. He will have Richard Hill and Patrick Cooper to contend with and don’t underestimate young James Lepley and Simon Jones as they get to grips with their MKII. Daniel Mennell and Richard Wise will be on home turf and could go just as well in their example.

Category Two [cars registered between 1968 and 1975] will also provide entertainment from a brace of Ford Escort MKI pilots. Josh Carr returns to defend his title after a captivating season in 2023, and Osian Owen is alongside but will be chased hard by Jeremy Easson and Mike Reynolds who just missed out last year. Tim Pearcy and Steve Pugh launch an assault on the series and Phillip Harris and Derek Davies return for a third season.

Terry Cree and Richard Shores swap their Mini for their BMW 2002Ti whilst Matt Bown and Tom Murphy add to the variety with their Hillman Avenger.

Six stages in forests such as Cropton and Gale Rigg will test crews throughout Sunday, with just over 42 competitive miles on offer.

For more information on any of the Championships promoted by the RACMRC, please visit:

External Credits:

MCR Motorsport Media / British Historic Rally Championship - Images: Russ Otway / 90Right


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