Barry Lindsay and Caroline Lodge have been crowned this year’s SG Petch ANECCC Champions (Association of North East and Cumbria Car Clubs) following a confident drive on the penultimate round at last weekend’s Malton Forest Rally.

Heading into the six-stage event with the championship lead, the Spadeadam Motor Club pairing only needed a fourth place finish to seal the deal - but this is rallying and anything can happen!

Getting off to a less than ideal start, Lodge had been supplied with incorrect route information and the pairing approached a first gear corner in an overly ambitious fifth gear.

Luckily, they realised in time and scrubbed off enough speed to make the corner.

Realising the supplier’s error, Lodge quickly got back to calling the correct instructions and - despite their confidence being dented for a few miles - they entered the midday service break with the class lead.

Completing all of the afternoon’s muddy stages unscathed, they extended their class lead and brought their Peugeot 206 home in 25th place overall and 3rd ANECCC - enough to claim the crown.

Confirmed as champions, Lindsay and Lodge will claim their prize of a drive in the SG Petch Motorsport Ford Fiesta S2000T in February.

Before then however, the Cumbrians will be back in action at our region’s traditional end to the rally season - contesting the Grizedale Stages with their Peugeot 206 in December.

Also in action on the Malton Forest Rally, John McIlwraith and Jonathan Fowler took their Subaru to 14th overall and 11th in class.

Nick Taylor and Helen Harkness finished 28th overall with their Subaru, and Mark Fisher navigated Rob Snowden to 18th overall.

Continuing the rallying theme, Frank Bird was also in action last weekend - piloting his Ford Focus RS WRC on the opening round of the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship at the Neil Howard Memorial Stages Rally at Oulton Park.

Partnered by co-driver Jack Morton, the Penrith-born lad got off to a great start and led the event by ten seconds after setting the fastest time on two of the opening four stages.

But on the fifth stage came disaster and the 20-year-old was forced to retire from the lead following a turbo problem.

“It was a disappointing finish to the day,” said the youngster, “but we showed really good pace beating some of the top guys and leading the rally at the halfway point.

“I felt comfortable but then we suffered a problem with the car which led to retirement. These things happen and although it’s frustrating, we move on.”

Although Bird will miss the next round at Cadwell Park, he plans on returning for round three at the Cobble Shop Knockhill Stages Rally in early December.

Elsewhere on two wheels, Paul Bird Motorsport has signed Christian Iddon to partner Josh Brookes as the PBM Ducati Team prepare for the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship.