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Three Legs of Mann anniversary rally finishes in historic TT pit lane after two hard days

The 60th Anniversary of the first Manx Trophy Rally in 1963 was marked by the Three Legs of Mann rally run in the traditional format, taking in some of the famous Isle of Man rally roads, putting on a truly great contest by some of the best road and regularity crews in Europe.

There was no better way to celebrate the great Manx rallies of the past than to witness wonderful classic rally cars on famous rally roads in all conditions, and a great battle which was finally won by Dan Willan and Mark Appleton in a car fitting of the era, a Volvo PV544. The pair overcame, first of all, initial leaders Paul Crosby and Ali Procter in their Porsche 911, then the challenge of Paul Dyas and Martyn Taylor’s Volvo Amazon, followed by the dire weather which included, fog, mist, rain and sleet at one point.

This was Dan Willan’s first visit to the Isle of Man to compete in the Three Legs of Mann and he took the win first time out with top navigator Mark Appleton who took his second win here. Such was their incredible teamwork that they pulled away from the Dyas/Taylor challenge over the course of the final leg on Saturday to win by 1 minute 37 seconds.

Dan Willan; “It is fantastic to win, but I did get a bit of help from Mark, he was incredible. However, we gave ourselves a bit of a challenge which made it even tougher for us, as we thought we fancied the road at higher speeds than we were meant to be doing, and that definitely made it more exciting! The Volvo was great, just what a fantastic machine, it looks so unlikely but honestly, it’s better than it looks. It’s a quick thing and it goes really well – it’s just fantastic.

“As for Mark, I don’t know how he does it. I mean, I’ve never had a navigator using a calculator before! So, perhaps the trade secret is out now, but he just makes it look so easy, it’s a joy to work with him.”

Mark; “It’s good. It’s the second time I’ve been over on this event, and the second time I’ve won it. It’s great to come back and keep that winning record. Maybe I’ll have to come back again for the hat trick! We had a lot of fun in the car, yes, the result is great, but you know the fact that we’ve had so much fun and laughs in the car over the event, that’s what makes it so enjoyable. We were saying on the run in that, even if something strange had happened and we hadn’t got the result that we have, we’d still have had a wonderful weekend, we had a great time together.”

Paul Dyas; “I am the bridesmaid again, the same as on Rally of the Tests last year, I don’t know what I’ve got to do to beat Willan! I went and entered this nice little rally in the Isle of Man thinking no one else will turn up and the bugger comes and does it and he beats me again. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the Flying Scotsman in four weeks, so that’s another challenge that’s completely different again. No doubt the weather will be the same, but this time we won’t have a roof!”

Martyn Taylor;”You can never beat a good trip to the Isle of Man, it’s always great fun. The weather is always unpredictable, not quite what the brochure said but I don’t think anyone minds, it made the event. If you look at the entry list you certainly have the top 12 to top 50 navigators in this country. It was an incredibly close competition but if you analyse it you will find that most of them all gained their experience as road rally navigators.”

Steve Head, 3rd place driver, Ford Escort, “It was absolutely amazing to finish third because we just set a target of getting to the finish, not the podium, so it’s just brilliant.”

Graham Raeburn, 3rd place navigator,” Yes it was very hard work and exceedingly challenging, but it feels like it’s a deserved finish in third because of the amount of effort we both put in, Steve was driving well, quick and committed in the dark and the fog of Friday night, and I worked really hard on the maps to make sure we didn’t miss any of the many tricky slots. Having lots of enjoyment as well, seeing all the classic rally venues from history as we’ve gone around made the event by experiencing that incredible history.”

Steve; “It has been a great but important event with the 60th anniversary of the Manx Trophy Rally. We have the TT history too so it was all around us. The roads, the terrain, the organisation, it’s just so well put together in every respect.”

Guy Woodcock, HERO-ERA Competition Director, and Clerk of the Course 3LOM.

“It has gone so well it is absolutely unbelievable. We have had everything the island could throw at us, the sun has popped out just now, but last night we had fog and rain. The plantations were muddy and conditions were difficult, but the crews got through and here they are coming in tonight after a tough final leg – it has been awesome. You know, the island delivered, and that’s why we keep coming back.

“Look at the top 10 results, it could have been any one of those who could have could have won it. A great win for Dan and Mark, they have been at the front from lunchtime on leg one. Martyn and Paul pushed them but never gave up, also a great result for Steve Head and Graham Raeburn on their first-ever HERO -ERA event.

“It’s been an interesting event and as you know, it’s a place that’s dear to my heart and I can’t wait to come back.

“60 years ago the first ever rally on the Isle of Man took place in 1963 when Roy Fiddler and Don Barrow started the Manx Rally. We have come back, and we’ve celebrated that, and as we said at the welcome dinner, we will present the original cups to the winners which are great great pieces of rally history, they can see the famous names engraved on the trophies. So yes, we are really pleased with the way it’s gone, it’s great for the island to celebrate those 60 years. Well done to everyone who finished and to those who won trophies, congratulations, they earned them big style,”

Photography Credit: Will Broadhead


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