AFTER a three-year hiatus, Croft Circuit will once again reverberate to the sound of rally cars later this month when the Swift Signs and Shirts Christmas Winter Stages Rally takes place on Sunday, November 27.

Following the effects of the Covid pandemic and a brief sabbatical, the combined forces of Northallerton Automobile Club and Darlington and District Motor Club have worked alongside the Croft management to bring the sport back onto the calendar and, with a capacity 90-car entry already assembled, it promises to be an excellent event.

Back in 2019, when the event ran as the Christmas Stages Rally, it was rising star Frank Bird from Penrith and his Hexham co-driver Jack Morton who brought their Ford Focus WRC home to victory at the North Yorkshire track to emulate Frank's father, Paul’s, double success on the event some 18 years earlier. Frank is back to defend his title this year in the latest-specification Ford Fiesta R5.

Second last time out was eight-time winner, Kevin Procter, who will be hoping he can add to his tally. The local businessman from nearby Leeming Bar has been a staunch supporter of the event for many years and will be giving Bird a run for his money in his Procter’s Luxury Coaches-backed Ford Fiesta S2000.

Willington driver David Henderson has had a successful season in his Ford Fiesta R5 and will have wife Katie alongside him on the maps as they look to add to his Croft victory 21 years ago. Joe Cunningham and Josh Beer from Bedale are another pair who could challenge for the win in their Ford Fiesta.

Darlington stunt ace Paul Swift, Northallerton’s Dave Bellerby and Durham driver Barry Renwick will also be to the fore.