The Wethersfield Stages, Wethersfield, Essex 28th August 2017
Stages: 6 – Starters: 49
After the promising but ultimately disappointing showing at the TSH stages earlier in the season, Mark 2 were out to make amends at the Wethersfield stages on August Bank Holiday Monday. Dean from GeoPrep had thoroughly gone through the car, fixing bent panels, replacing the clutch and refitting the serviced suspension. The sequential gearbox had also been rebuilt by Stuart Newby from Subaru guru’s TEG Sport. There was also a gigantean effort by Mark Sims to get from mid-Wales to the venue to enable him to service for the team which was hugely appreciated.
This was to be the team’s first visit to the venue with 6, 10 mile stages to complete. First impression were favourable but it was to be a very, very hot one! Co-Driven by original Mark 2 co-founder, Mark Norris, driver Mark Welch was keen to get going. “It’s going to be tough out there” said the out of shape driver!
The competition would come from previous winners Niall Moroney and Ross Daniels, both in Subarus (with Moroneys being a full WRC 2000 version), Mark Jasper, Stephen Tilburn and Robin Adams all in rapid Mark 2 Escorts which would perform very well in the fast dry conditions.
SS1 flew past and despite exercising a degree of caution due to the unfamiliar venue, the 2 Marks not only came in from the stage smiling but with 7th fastest time which was an improvement on their seeding of 10!
“This is a great venue” said Norris, or Boris as he is more normally known. “It’s very quick in parts but has some technical tracks around what was the old bomb dump – I hope we don’t dump the car at any point”. Simsie and Dan checked the car over and gave the crew the thumbs up. Time for SS2………..
SS2 was close. The 2 Marks set 5th fastest time, 3 seconds from 4th who was 1 second behind 3rd who was 1 second behind second. Very close after 10 miles!
So 5th overall after 2 stages was pretty impressive. It was about to get even better!
SS3 saw the demise of 4th placed Mark Jasper, retiring after a puncture – a scenario all too familiar with Mark 2. This elevated Mark 2 up into 4th where they would stay for the rest of the day despite coming under pressure from one of those rapid Escort Mk2’s – this particular one being driven by Robin Adams.
Moroney took the win from Tilburn then Daniels (who was only 2 seconds behind at the end). The two Marks were delighted with 4th place, 1st in class. Not bad considering it was their first time at the venue AND that 2 of the 2 crews in front of them were also previous winners! Unfortunately the oil leak which had first surfaced on the TSH stages returned, so more work for GeoPrep before the next event, the Challenger Stages at Bovington!
Mark II Motorsport would like to thank all of its sponsors as well as Mark Sims and Dan Mann our brilliant service crew with a little help from Ben Norris, and Dean George of Geo Preparations.
Images : M&H Photography