FOLLOWING in the tyre tracks of his dad, Charlie’s, ten wins on the event, Elliot Payne ushered in the new generation by taking a stylish win in the Inter-club event of the KT Green Riponian Stages Rally.

The 20-year-old, who is based near Ripon, improved on his runner-up spot in last year’s event to emerge 46 seconds to the good in the Ford Fiesta Rally2 he was sharing with co-driver Tom Woodburn after six stages on the North Yorkshire Moors around Pickering and Helmsley.

After a steady run through the opening test in Gale Rigg, reigning BTRDA Gold Star champion Payne set the fastest time on the remaining five stages held in Cropton and Wass forests to take the victory ahead of Scottish pair Hugh Brunton and co-driver Drew Sturrock in their ex-World Championship Skoda.

Tied on time with Brunton after the 45 stage miles of the Ripon Motor Sport Club-organised event was comeback driver Alistair Ginley, from York, with Spanish-exiled Yorkshireman Craig Thorley on the notes in their Ford Fiesta.

Using the SGP Motorsport team’s Hitachi-backed Ford Fiesta Rally 2 while waiting for their recently-acquired ex-Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda Fabia Rally2 to be readied were Durham duo Stephen Petch and co-driver Michael Wilkinson. The pair set the fastest time on SS1 but had to settle for fourth place, five seconds down on Ginley.

Yorkshire dairyman Charlie Payne with co-driver Carl Williamson finished fifth in the second of the team’s Go Mango-sponsored Ford Fiesta Rally2s ahead of another Scottish crew, Alan Carmichael and Arthur Kierans in their Hyundai R5.

Making their debut on gravel were Leeming’s Joe Cunningham and Scruton co-driver Josh Beer in their Procter’s Luxury Coaches-backed Ford Fiesta R5, and despite the lack of experience on the loose, the pair came home in an impressive seventh place overall. Rounding off the top ten was former Northallerton driver Steve Black, now residing in the Midlands, along with co-driver James Aldridge in their Ford Fiesta Rally2.

There was plenty of success for a number of other local crews including Bolton-on-Swale’s Cat Lund, who guided Andy Rowe to 15th overall in their Mitsubishi. Thirlby driver Ben Cree was best of the two-wheel drive competitors in his Opel Corsa as, along with co-driver Robert Wiggins, they finished 17th overall and first in class.

Making a welcome return to the forests after a two-year break were County Durham brothers Dan and Matt Thompson who finished 20th overall and second in class in their 1600cc Vauxhall Corsa.

Pickhill’s Kari Bates guided Graham Haigh to 29th overall and fourth in class in their Ford Escort, while Ripon driver Gary Beckwith, with sister Kirsty Angell on the maps, claimed 41st overall and seventh in class in their Ford Escort.

Richmond youngster Tom Constantine was making his gravel rallying debut in the MG3 he was sharing with Mickleton’s Tony Walker, and they finished a creditable 43rd overall, taking an award for second in class as a bonus.

In the opening round of the 2023 Fuchs Lubricants RACRMC Historic Rally Championship which ran as the National element of the rally, Lealholm garage proprietor Nick Cook claimed ninth overall and a class win in the Ford Escort Mk1 he was sharing with co-driver Dave Raw, with South Kilvington publican Nick Kitching taking 25th overall and third in class in his and co-driver Andrew Trollope’s Ford RS2000.

Making it a good day for the Cree family was veteran Terry from Thirlby, who along with Boltby co-driver Richard Shores, brought their Mini Cooper S home to a class win.