THE Weymouth duo of John York and Alistair Stephenson battled for honours with the former claiming victory as the British Trials and Rally Drivers’ Association Car Trials Championship Grand Final at Woolminstone brought the 2018 season to a conclusion.

The two battled it out in the classes for local drivers in the rear-wheel-drive category with their MG Midget and Reliant SS1 sports cars.

The former claiming the win after recovering from a slow start which saw him trailing by a six-point deficit at the conclusion of the first round of eight tests.

By the conclusion of the fourth round York had built a lead of 17 points.

The Woolbridge Motor Club were invited to organise the Grand Final having successfully delivered the same at the venue two years ago.

At the conclusion of the trial Woolbridge member and Dutton Melos driver Mark Hoppé was confirmed as the BTRDA Gold Star champion succeeding fellow club member Shaun Franklin.

The successful duo have already claimed first and second in the 2018 Car Trials Championship of the Motor Sports Association (the sole national governing body for four wheel motor sport in the United Kingdom) with Hoppé, an operations manager from Sherborne, taking the premier award having secured back-to-back championship victories in 2015/2016.

With one qualifying round remaining the Association of South West Motor Clubs series is also within the grasp of this prolific trial car driver.

Season-end accolades were not restricted to individuals with the Woolbridge Motor Club being announced as the recipient of The Mike Stephens Trophy for the best qualifying round of the championship.

Prior to the celebrations the trial, which comprised of two categories to cater for both the BTRDA and local drivers, provided a testing day-long competition with sections devised by clerk of the course Andy Webb being acclaimed by many of the drivers.

Double champion Hoppé took victory in the rear-wheel-drive category (national division) by a mere two points from the Hillman Imp, driven by Dave Oliver.

Maiden Newton’s John Kirby took his 950cc Citroen Saxo to victory in the front-wheel-drive division following home the Fiat 127 of Alex Harbourne from Rugby who was credited with the overall event win. John’s wife Sharon took home the award for the best performance by a lady.

The battle for class honours was close at the finish though.

Dave Hiscock, from Blandford, trailed the class victor by eight points at the lunch halt with his 1124cc variant of the Saxo but made-up ground during the afternoon and then closed to within a single point when Kirby suffered a puncture to the front nearside wheel.

The class for two-wheel drive vehicles not carrying ballast was all about Gary Morris and his Vauxhall Corsa with the Bridport driver romping to victory ahead of the Ford Fiesta driven by David and Alistair Moss who claimed the Novice and Junior awards respectively.


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