CONFIDENCE is a great asset in any sport and cousins Dave and Jamie Forrest couldn’t have had better preparation for the longest rally in the UK this year than clinching the Motoscope Northern Historic Championship at last weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire.

Dave, from Wrose, and Skipton-based Jamie steered their late 1970s 2-litre Ford Escort to the narrowest of class wins in the all off-road event across the North York Moors forests.

It was enough to move out of reach of any of the competition for the overall northern title, which he last won, albeit with a different co-driver, in 2018.

The annual Trackord rally, run by a Leeds-based club and starting and finishing in Filey, incorporated six stages and 60 competitive miles on loose gravel surface made more slippery by rain earlier in the week.

But the car emerged unscathed and is now ready for the Roger Albert Clark Rally - run in commemoration of great RAC (Royal Automobile Association - pure co-incidence!) rallies of the sport’s ‘classic era’ of the seventies and eighties, over five very intense days in late November.

“It was a really smooth run but the class was very tight,” commented director of an independent Porsche specialists Dave, who has the done both Trackrod and Roger Albert Clark events several times before.

“We began with a 12-mile night stage in Dalby and were 17 seconds faster than out biggest rivals Mike Reid and John Millington in a similar Mk2 Escort.

“We even caught and passed our minute man in the stage, although he was good enough to move over and let us pass.

“The following morning we took a little time out of them, then they’d do the same to us and, on the penultimate stage - Dalby in daylight - we were exactly the same time.

“The rally finished with the longest stage - over 13 miles in Langdale - and Mike just edged us but we held on to win the class by just under nine seconds!”

Looking ahead, it will be Dave's fifth attempt at the Roger Albert Clark Rally, now celebrating 20 years since Sweden’s former Audi Quattro works driver and 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist triumphed ahead of 37 entries in the inaugural running.

The event has grown and when the Forrest cousins set off from Carmarthen on the evening of November 23 a capacity 180 cars are expected to cross the start ramp.

Ahead of them are Almost 340 miles of competition, taking in Wales, Southern Scotland and Cumbrai, that will test the endurance of cars, crews and service teams to the maximum.

“We have finished the last three we’ve done but mud sucked us into a ditch on the last stage of our first attempt in 2013,” recalled Dave.

“It’s just a shame there are no stages in Yorkshire this year.”

The Trackrod rally Yorkshire was won by former French Junior Champion Adrien Fourmaux, whose fifth victory in the five out six rounds that he has contested clinched the British Championship in a state-of-the-art Ford Fiesta Rally2.