Malcolm Mawdsley had an action-packed start to his 2011 rally season at last weekend’s Riponian Stages race near Thirsk.

The Subaru Impreza driver finished second in the D Class race behind Ian Jemison, despite going quicker than him in seven of the 12 stages, and came in 36th overall with a time of 51.17, just two seconds behind Jemison.

The Bradford-based driver encountered problems bef-ore the event began.

Johnathon Turnbull step-ped up at the last minute to stand in for regular navigator Kev Bardon, who was taken ill.

On the third stage, a heavy coming together with a five-foot banking on the exit of a fast right turn threatened to send him into a tree-lined ravine.

Then in the penultimate 11th stage, a rear suspension arm was torn from its mounting, leaving the wheel flapping about uncontrollably in the wheelarch.

However, Mawdsley soldiered on to nurse his car through the remaining forest stages and completed the final 19.5 road miles to see out the event.

The sight of his car rolling across the finish line emitting a plume of blue smoke pouring from the wheelarch highlighted the challenge Mawdsley faced in getting the car to the line.

And to get there without losing overall position was a testament to the skill and determination of the crew.

The car is back in one piece though, and is being prepared for Activ8’s next outing at the Mid-Wales Stages, when regular photographer Mike Wood will be donning his overalls for the first time since 1988 to take the co-driver’s seat beside Mawdsley.