150 rally drivers and crew revved up for The Malcolm Wilson Rally on Saturday 11th March 2006. Turbo charged Ford Focus world rally cars, Subaru imprezas and 1400 cc Ford Fiestas lined up ready to do battle in the classic Lakes gravel forest stages of Whinlatter, Grizedale and Greystoke, and compete for overall and class wins.
Team Kankku from Windermere fielded Troutbeck farmer Pip Simpson and co-driver Nick Fieldhouse in their Subaru Impreza GC8. They raced through all 45 stage miles to receive the top Cumbrian crew award, after the early retirement of Ford World Rally Team Manager and ex world champion Malcolm Wilson.
“The prizes are all at the finish” exclaimed a jubilant Pip Simpson” who only last December crashed out of the Grizedale Stages Rally in spectacular fashion after taking an early lead. “Like Malcolm, we have had our fair share of knock backs, but today was all about neat and flowing driving. “The award is great news for us, but it is even better to think we have put that Grizedale accident well and truly behind us and we can now start building on our speed for the rest of the BTRDA championship.
Cars competed on the special stages at speeds of up to 130mph. Paul Bird, in a Ford Focus WRC was the overall winner, with Alistair Tough the winner of the standard production car class N4. It is estimated that the rally contributes over £150,000 to the local economy and attracts more than 7,000 spectators.