Winner Ingram inspired as NW Stages Rally returns

Thousands of fans flocked to Garstang and the surrounding area for the Legend Fires North West Stages Rally as closed-road motorsport returned to Lancashire lanes.

By Phil James
Friday, 25th March 2022, 4:45 pm

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The rally, in partnership with Simpson’s Skoda and ND Civils, raises thousands of pounds for charity and is the biggest event of its kind in the North West.

Spectators filled Garstang’s High Street on Friday evening for the ceremonial start before heading out to watch the special stages on Saturday.

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Chris Ingram and co-driver Craig Drew won the Legend Fires North West Stages Rally in their Skoda Fabia Rally2

The High Street was packed again on Saturday evening to see 2019 European Rally Champion Chris Ingram and co-driver Craig Drew celebrate victory in their Skoda Fabia Rally2.

Their win was predicted but wasn’t without incident as a high-speed spin on the Long Knots stage, near Chipping, ended with the Skoda nose diving into a hedge.

Incidents on the first Nicky Nook stage, particularly one involving the VW Polo of Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke, resulted in the stage being cancelled but further runs proceeded as scheduled. In an extremely tough event, 46 of the 125 starters did not finish.

Ingram won by 52 seconds from the second placed Ford Fiesta Rally2 of Scots duo Paul McKinnon and Paul Beaton, while Leyland’s Mark Kelly and co-driver Neil Colman from Darlington finished third in their Fiesta R5.

Hambleton duo Simon Bowen and Richard Robinson claimed bragging rights among the strong contingent of Blackpool South Shore Motor Club entrants.

They brought their Ford Fiesta S2000T home sixth, three places ahead of the VW Polo GTi R5 of John Stone and Tom Woodburn.

Fleetwood’s Mark Holmes and Craig Simkiss finished 13th in their Fiesta S2000, two places ahead of Pilling’s Neil Wearden and co-driver Mark Fisher, who took the top Class C Award in their Hyundai i20 F2. Another Hambleton crew, Paul Murro and Callum Cross, finished 19th in a Fiesta R5.

Blackpool’s Benson brothers, Dave and Steve won the second in Class B Awards in their Honda Civic.

The event went ahead thanks to the co-operation of Wyre Council, Lancaster City Council, Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council, Garstang Town Council and Parish Councils throughout the route.

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