Riponian Stages Rally Takes Place This Weekend, February 12

North Yorkshire is set to host a field of modern and classic rally cars this coming weekend as the 2023 Riponian Stages Rally event gets underway on Sunday, 12th February.

It’s the second year in a row that the rally also hosts the opening round of the Motorsport UK Fuchs Lubricants Historic Rally Championship, with 111 cars contesting the six special stages across the North Yorkshire area.

The stages — at Wass near Hambleton, and Cropton Forest and Gale Rigg in the Moors between Rosedale Abbey and Goathland — total 43 miles. The competitors will run each stage twice, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and each has designated spectator areas with a £10 parking fee.

As is tradition for the Riponian Stages, the classic two-wheel drive cars will lead off the event and be the first through each stage. Defending historics champion Matthew Robinson, a Ripon local, will be one to watch in his Mk2 Ford Escort, along with Ireland’s Marty McCormack in a similar machine.

Elliot Payne may be the favourite for the overall victory, in an all-wheel drive Rally2 class Ford Fiesta. Payne is fresh off a successful 2022 campaign in which the 19-year old won the British Trials and Rally Driver Association (BTRDA) Gold Star. However County Durham local Stephen Petch, driving a new Rally2 Skoda Fabia, was only nine points behind in the championship and will likely be right up at the sharp end too.

There’s plenty of other local drivers too, as well as other racers and co-drivers from elsewhere in the British Isles, with a wide mix of cars that include a FIAT 131 Abarth, a Porsche Boxster, and a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX.

Ripon Motor Sport Club chairman Doug Smith commented: “The Riponian Stages Rally is Ripon Motor Sport Club’s premier forest stage rally event and has been held every year since 1986, barring a couple of interruptions… The event brings people from all areas of the country… Spectators can expect to see some fast, spectacular action in the forests.”

Images from Gary Fothergill of GF Rally Images, via RMSC.

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