LEEMING coach firm owner Kevin Procter and co-driver Mike Gilby, from Northallerton, saw off the opposition to win the Lookout Stages Rally with consummate ease last Sunday.

Driving the Motoscope Ford Puma Evo 4x4 on the annual Trackrod MC event held at Melbourne airfield, near York, the pair took victory by just over a minute from Ripon driver Paul Walker and co-driver Nigel Bennett in their Subaru Impreza.

A minor indiscretion with a gate post, which damaged a headlight on the Richard Pocklington-prepared car, was all Procter had to contend with during the day as he enjoyed a trouble-free run around the 50 stage mile event.

The same couldn't be said of team-mate Dave Bellerby and co-driver Tom Cardie, who contested the event in the Motoscope Ford Escort Mk 2. Originally scheduled to be in action at the cancelled Croft rallycross meeting in his new rear-wheel drive Peugeot 206 that same day, the Northallerton driver secured a late entry and was running as high as tenth overall and leading his class until SS5.

The crew then took a wrong turn at one of the split junctions on the stage, resulting in a stage maximum which demoted them to 23rd place at the finish. But Bellerby still declared the outing a success prior to him debuting the Peugeot at Lydden Hill over Easter.

Procter is back in action this weekend when he contests the Robin Hood Stages Rally in his beloved Sherwood Forest, near Mansfield.

l Round two of the Silverstone Tyres BTRDA Rally Championship took place in the Lake District last weekend with the 30th running of the Malcolm Wilson Rally and local crews again emerged successful despite the prevailing snow and ice on some stages.

For the second week running, Northallerton co-driver Ian Windress was on the rostrum, this time guiding Penrith driver Paul Bird to second place overall in their Stobart Motorsport Ford Focus WRC.

A near miss on SS1 was followed by another brief excursion in Grizedale forest, but the pair safely reached the Cockermouth finish, albeit more than a minute down on winner Matthew Wilson.

County Durham co-driver Stephen Robson claimed fourth overall with Appleby's Dougi Hall in their Mitsubishi Lancer, while Welbury driver Tim Johnson brought the Subaru Impreza he was sharing with Barnard Castle's Tony Walker home in 23rd overall and eighth in class.

Prior to crossing the Pennines for the following day's Lookout Stages, the Ripon duo of Paul Walker and Nigel Bennett finished 34th overall in their Subaru, four places ahead of Morton on Swale driver Charlie Taylor in his CTMS Ford Escort Mk2, with co-driver Steve Beilby on the maps.

After a lay-off of almost two and a half years, Richmond brothers Mark and Andrew Constantine made a welcome return to the sport in their new WA Browne Building Services-sponsored Vauxhall Corsa and, despite an eventful day, they eventually saw the finish ramp.

A cautious start was attributed to an incorrect gravel set up, but once fixed at service the pair started to set better times on their way to 52nd overall and sixth in class.

After a promising start on the first stage, the GS Rally Team pairing of Gavin Spencer from Boldon and Sedgefield co-driver Steve Waggett suffered problems with gear selection, resulting in a couple of slow times on the two Grizedale tests.

However, the Bondisle Motorsport team changed the gearbox in 15 minutes at the Penrith service halt and this resulted in some creditable times despite still suffering from intermittent first and third gears.

On the Hobcarton stage, approaching the infamous hairpin bend, the crew hit a tree after braking late on the very slippery surface. But they remained in the rally after being helped back onto the road by spectators. Spencer bounced back with competitive times on the final two stages to end up in 62nd overall and eighth in class. That moved him up to fifth in the championship going into the next round in three weeks' time, the Wold Construction North Humberside Rally.

Sadly, the Ford Escort of Darlington-based CS Automotive driver Geoff Whittaker didn't see the finish ramp after problems on SS4 curtailed the day's activities for the team.

l After the disappointment of cancellation last year due to a lack of entries, the 2005 SG Petch Hamsterley Forest Stages Rally is already attracting plenty of interest to guarantee the event taking place on November 13.

Sponsored by local motor dealer and rally enthusiast Steve Petch, Ripon Motor Sport Club will be running the single-venue event over 44 stage miles and regulations will be available later in the year. Potential competitors can keep up to date with regular information on www.riponmotorsportsclub.co.uk.

Meanwhile, following his big accident with Steve Petch on the recent Kall Kwik Rally, Northallerton co-driver John Richardson continues to make good progress after the impact with a tree in Dalby forest.

The motor sport consultant from the Walkers Garage Tecno 2 centre in South Otterington was taken to Scarborough Hospital for a precautionary check-up following the high-speed smash on February 20.

He was released the same day suffering from what was thought to be severe bruising, but x-rays later revealed that he'd suffered some displaced ribs as well as some crushed vertebrae which look like ruling him out of action for some time.

Petch is hoping to contest next weekend's Border Counties Rally with a replacement co-driver, although it all depends on whether the SGP Motorsport Hyundai Accent WRC will be ready in time.

* More than 100 people turned out to welcome Sky Sports motor sport commentator Keith Huewen and Virgin Yamaha race team boss Rob McElnea to the North Yorkshire Road Racing Supporters Club chat show held at Northallerton Town Football Club last week.

In the audience were other stars of two wheels, including local superbike hero Dennis Hobbs from Guisborough and Marton's former world speedway champion Gary Havelock, as more than £300 was raised for club funds.

Hobbs, meanwhile, will be in action at Donington Park on Sunday for the official British Superbike Championship test day, which will see him on the ex-works Yamaha for the Sheffield-based Team Nvidia. Other local riders in action include Middlesbrough's Paul Veazey on the Astro Kawasaki and Richie Harrison from Darlington aboard his recently-acquired HBR Kawasaki.

The event is open to the public and all BSB classes will be represented, with action getting under way at 9am.