All cheer on the western front

This year’s Tour Britannia followed an acclaimed new route that took in Aintree and Anglesey, with Porsche ace Sean Lockyear leading the way

For the sixth time, competitors judged Britain’s only classic race and rally tour a great success after three days of races, asphalt rally stages and great scenery. For the third time running a Porsche 911 proved the dominant car, and for the second time in three years it was Sean Lockyear at the wheel.

The Tour Britannia route headed north and west from a base in Chester for the first time, with day one steeped in the region’s motor sport history with timed tests at Aintree and a race at Oulton Park. Day two headed west, to the wild moorland tracks of Trawsfynydd and the spectacular race track at Anglesey. Then, to universal acclaim, the scenic road that clings to the side of the Great Orme at Llandudno was used as a special stage.

Day three was on more familiar ground as the route swung south and east, taking in Cholmondeley Castle, the Swynnerton army training ground and a race at Mallory Park.

Traditionally, the event favours drivers with race and rally experience, and Lockyear fits the bill perfectly. His potent 3-litre 911 is the ideal tool for the job, although an element of caution was needed on the final day as the car was sold to Mike Smith over dinner the evening before.

“I think this has been the best route yet,” said Lockyear as he savoured a winning margin of over three minutes, built both in the races and on the special stages. “The car has run perfectly and I loved the Great Orme stage. Anglesey was a great circuit as well,” he added after his first visit to the coastal track. Partnered by novice co-driver Ian Reed, it was a superb performance.

But there were plenty of rivals for Lockyear among 30 crews in the competition event, with the oldest car being the Riley Bigley Special of Brad Mottier and Bill Hoff (below). While 18 cars ran in the regularity rally, a couple of modern cars sneaked in under a Targa heading, and could point the way ahead for the event to move onto a sounder financial footing.

The Shelby GT350 Mustang of Robert Harley/Rupert Clevely led the chase of Lockyear, and they pedalled the Mustang with verve to see off the next of the Porsches. Paul Hogarth/Darren Knutton took a fine third armed with the 911RS of 2009 winner and Porsche racer Nick Whale, as Hogarth had his eyes opened by a first taste of rally stages. Quick but out of contention after a clash at Oulton Park was the spectacular 911RSR of Jeremy Cooke/Mike Dowd.

From the strong Lotus Elan squad only the 26R of old buddies Sean Walker/Ian Flux survived for fourth, while across in the regularity event there was another Porsche win as the experienced crew of Howard Warren/Guy Woodcock claimed a clear victory.