IT was a case of what might have been for the fancied local crews who made the trip to Beverley last weekend to contest the East Riding Stages Rally.

The popular closed-road event around the East Yorkshire market town attracted another bumper entry including double winner from the past two years, David Henderson and co-driver Chris Lees.

However, it wasn’t to be a third successive victory for the Durham driver in his Ford Fiesta Rally2 as a difficult day ended following a small off on the final stage which led to retirement.

It was a similar story for the two Procter’s Luxury Coaches team-mates, Leeming driver Joe Cunningham and Scruton’s Kevin Procter, who both endured problems on the event.

Procter, and Northallerton co-driver Ian Windress, had an off-road excursion early on which effectively ended their challenge although they gamely battled onto the finish in their TEMSA-backed Ford Fiesta S2000.

But it wasn’t such good news for Cunningham and Scruton co-driver Josh Beer who retired their Ford Fiesta R5 late on with head gasket failure.

It was better news for County Durham co-driver Jack Morton, who guided Callum Black to third overall in their Ford Fiesta, while Harrogate rising star Elliot Payne and co-driver Patrick Walsh continued their great form to bring their Amigos-sponsored Ford Fiesta home in eighth place overall.

The Colman family from Saltburn fared well on the day with Neil guiding Chris Ford to 19th overall in their Citroen C3 and Sam claiming 37th overall and 24th in class in the Subaru she was sharing with Mark Ewing.

One place ahead of them, by just half a second, was Mark and Andrew Constantine in their CBS-backed 1400cc Vauxhall Corsa, whereby the Richmondshire brothers gained their customary class win.

Scottish-exiled Birkby brothers, Carl and Robin Tuer, gave a good account of themselves in their Vauxhall Astra Kit Car, netting 41st overall and fourth in class, four places ahead of South Kilvington publican Nick Kitching and Helperby co-driver Nigel Hutchinson, who claimed a fourth in class in their Ford Escort.

Teesdale’s Andrew Hutchinson, with nephew Joe Hutchinson on the notes, battled to a hard-fought 47th overall and fourth in class in their Renault Clio, whereas Thirsk’s Charlotte Wainwright guided Rob Fisher to a deserved 51st overall and seventh in class in their Citroen DS3.

Thirsk husband and wife, Jon and Alison Trenholme, claimed a fine 54th overall in their Subaru Impreza, with Pickhill co-driver Kari Bates once more guiding Graham Haigh to the finish in their Ford Escort where they took 81st overall and 17th in class out of the 102 finishers.

A couple of other local crews didn’t make it to the finish as Mickleton’s Alastair Hutchinson and Staindrop co-driver St. John Dykes endured problems from the start in their LPG-powered Renault Clio but battled on throughout the day without success.

Welbury driver Tim Johnson retired the Honda Civic he was sharing with Roger Burkill on the fourth stage.