STEVE Entwistle has established himself as a serious contender for the HRCR Clubmans title after a startling result last weekend.
Well-known for his giant-killing performances in the little Orangebox Mini, the Rishton rallyman finished third overall on the North Yorkshire Classic, beating two Porsche 911s!
And Entwistle paid tribute to his navigator, Bob Hargreaves and his contribution in the car.
"It was a full-on day with 13 special tests and 6 regularities, but Bob was faultless and our result was as much down to his navigational skills as my driving," said Entwistle.
"I'm pretty chuffed with third, especially as I didn't really enjoy the event that much. We had lowered the suspension and put on road tyres in anticipation of the test surfaces. But they turned out to be very rough, so we should have left it with knobblies on."
Originally a 997cc Mini, the car has been transformed by a new 1293cc engine, built by sponsors Mini Sport of Padiham, which has boosted power output from 70bhp to 100 bhp.
The pair were leading the rally well into the afternoon, only to be pipped at the post when Entwistle dropped ten seconds after clipping a cone.
But Entwistle and Hargreaves were the talk of the post-rally presentations, getting the biggest cheer of the night when they went up to collect their trophies.
"Orangebox has a long and chequered history when Roy Mapple was at the wheel in the 1960's, and looks like a bit of a mongrel. I'm certain some people have under-estimated how serious about winning this championship. I'm not sure they do now.
"Even Matt Warren, the winner and reigning HRCR champion went up to get his trophy and said ' I think we have some real competition this year with that Mini'.
The result has propelled Entwistle up to fourth overall in the driver standings, with the next round, the Ilkley Jubilee Classic taking place on Sunday, April 13.