Furness & District Motor Club, organisers of the weekend’s Hippo Motor Group Grizedale Stages Rally, came up with a number of new features to mark the 30th running of the event.

They included a new start venue, two special stages on a never-rallied-before forest and a Windermere ferry crossing.

The event started early Saturday morning from the Lakeland Motor Museum, from where a short road section took the 70 competing cars to the opening pair of stages at Chapel House Wood, east of Newby Bridge. The route then took competitors north to catch the Windermere Ferry to enable them reach the remaining stages in Grizedale and Dunnerdale.

Having completed almost 40 miles of timed special stages, Ollie Mellors and Ian Windress were declared the winners in their Proton Iriz R5. They finished 22 seconds ahead of the Ford Fiesta WRC of Irish duo Josh Moffett and Stephen Thornton with the similar car of Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson completing the podium line-up.

It was a day of mixed fortunes for Cumbria contestants, but county honours were upheld when Appleby’s Stuart Egglestone and Penrith’s Brian Hodgson took top Class 3 honours after finishing ninth overall in their Ford Escort Mk2.

More silverware went to Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club members Mike Wolff and Mark Twiname who won the first in Class 4 prizes after finishing sixteenth overall in their BMW E30. Both crews had lucky escapes in Grizedale, with the Escort clipping a bank and the BMW clouting a log pile, but neither car suffered much damage.

Top south Cumbrian co-drivers Chris Williams and Tom Woodburn were drafted in to guide Irish drivers Paul and Stephen McCann who had headed over from Dublin. Williams, from Millom, who is the Lakeland Motor Museum’s Duty Manager, was co-driving Paul McCann in a Skoda Fabia S2500. They struggled to find the right suspension settings during the morning tests but once sorted they were able to up their place and finished 20th overall. Swarthmoor exile Woodburn guided Stephen McCann, Paul’s nephew, to an impressive eighth overall, their only issue coming with an overshoot in Grizedale that cost the Ford Fiesta S2000 crew a handful of seconds.

Austin Mini Cooper S duo Phillip Lilley and John Ellwood, from Grasmere, had a close encounter with a Mitsubishi Lancer that spun in front of them. Fortunately, they survived to finish 38th overall and win the Class 1 runners-up awards.

After making their forest rally debut on last year’s event and finishing 38th overall, Kendal-based brothers-in law Pete Gorst and Phil King were hoping to go even better this year. Sadly, it wasn’t to be as their rally ended on the second run through Grizedale after their Citroen Saxo went in and out of a ditch before sliding down the track on its side.

Grange co-driver Heather Grisedale was another whose name ended up on the retirement list. Co-driving Ian Baumgart in a Subaru Impreza, the pair were on course for a top ten finish until a driveshaft broke at the start of the penultimate stage.