LUDLOW Castle Motor Club co-driver Phil Clarke has won the Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship for the third time in a row following a tense final round.

Clarke and driver Jason Pritchard had to beat their season-long rivals Nick Elliot and Dave Price in the final event as they had the slenderest advantage going into the Trackrod Historic Cup – a 55-mile rally run through classic Yorkshire Forests.

Pritchard/Clarke emerged from Friday night’s tricky Dalby stage with a 0.8 second lead in their Viking Motorsport prepared Escort MKII.

The following day covered a further 44 miles with the championship still all to play for and it was Elliot quickest out of the box in his MKII to take five seconds and then two seconds on the opening two stages.

With no option other than to push to overhaul their title rivals, Pritchard/Clarke were sticking to the plan when their rivals went off on a slow right-hand bend on stage four.

It meant they went into the final two stages with a one minute 22 second lead and they kept their composure to safely navigate their way to the end to finish second overall and first registered Historic crew giving them their third consecutive British title.

Bridgnorth’s Jez Rogers was also out on the event co-driving as usual for Simon Webster in his Ford Escort.

Hindered by engine trouble, the pair also picked up a puncture and put the car briefly on its side in the opening stage and went into day two in 23rd place.

Things improved though with Webster getting to grips with the Escort’s new suspension and by the end the crew had climbed to ninth overall and fifth in class.

Running alongside the Historic Rally on the second day was a modern event and this saw

Keaton Williams back out in the Ford Fiesta R2T of Gee Atherton, primarily as a test for the forthcoming Wales Rally GB.

They had a good run despite Atherton still nursing an injured shoulder to finish 27th and fourth in class.

Chris Ridge sat alongside driver Becky Kirvan-Rodgers in another Fiesta as she looked for some miles after making her return to the sport she last competed in in 2011.

They lost second gear on the opening stage but still finished 55th and fifth in class.

The one major disappointment at Filey was for Dave and Toby Brick who needed nothing more than a top five finish in their1400cc Vauxhall Nova to claim the British Trials and Rally Drivers Association 1400 Championship.

They had opened up a 30-second lead going into the last stage but with just 11 miles to go their gearbox exploded to end their championship hopes.

The next meeting of Ludlow Castle Motor Club will be held on October 11 at Ludlow Brewery from 8pm.