Dixies Challenge 2023

The adrenaline-fueled, second round of the HRCR Mini Sport Cup took place over the challenging, army training, Eypynt ranges, renowned for their blind crests, unseen bends, and large jumps. This formidable terrain promised to push every mini crew to their limits, captivating both participants and spectators alike.

Despite the initial enthusiasm of nine Mini entries, only seven cars managed to make it to the starting line in time, adding an extra layer of intensity to the competition.

Leading the pack were Clive King and Anton Bird in the Mini Sport-backed Mini, car 41. Close behind, the team of Eric Davies and Russell Joseph eagerly awaited their turn, while Ken Price and Andrew O’Hanalon prepared to give it their all. The remaining cars were spread throughout the field.

Most of the crews met the night before for a meal and drinks and a good might was had by everyone. With rainfall overnight and the infrequent use of the ranges, the stage was set for a thrilling challenge, as the roads were expected to be slippery.

Clive was concerned that he would not be on the pace, as he had not been to Eypynt since before Covid. The event was divided into batches of two stages, allowing crews to push their limits before regrouping at the service area, where all the Minis serviced together. 

Despite minor setbacks, such as Harvey Steven's noisy wheel bearing, the anticipation continued to build as Clive and Anton blazed through the first stage, 12 seconds faster than the second-place team of Andrew and Kevin, with the rest of the crews close behind.


Unpredictable Twists and Triumphs Unleash Excitement at the Mini Rally

With a short road section, it was on to the second stage where Clive faced a momentary setback as the intercom battery failed. Undeterred, he pushed forward, matching Andrew's remarkable speed and setting a joint fastest stage time. The other crews continued in hot pursuit.

Ken Price, unfortunately, found himself caught in one of the ditches that dotted the course, damaging the front of his Mini. Regrettably, he decided to withdraw from the race, although they managed to get out with a stage maximum.

Back into service, Andrew had the gear leaver becoming difficult to select 3rd and discovered the mounting was pulling through the body.

Harvey's setback proved to be more severe than anticipated, as his supposedly noisy wheel bearing revealed a chipped tooth on the crown wheel, forcing him to retire from the competition. Nevertheless, undeterred by these trials, Clive powered through the following two stages, skillfully extending his lead.

However, the fourth stage came to an abrupt stop due to a major accident involving car number 1, halting the action. Back at the service area, participants exchanged tales of their cars' performances, before quickly returning to the stages.

Unfortunately, Eric's car suffered from frustrating electrical issues, grinding to a halt just past the flying finish on the sixth stage. Despite frantic efforts they could not get it started. Andrew's Mini began to overheat towards the end of the same stage, parking close to Eric with the crank pulley loose.

Within a short span of time, four Mini contenders were forced to retire from the race, leaving the remaining drivers determined to reach the finish line. With Andrew and Kevin out of the running, Clive decided to ease off the throttle, aiming to secure his position. To his surprise, he found himself clocking in three seconds faster than his previous run through the stage, in the process extended his lead.

When the exhilarating race finally concluded, Clive emerged as the victor, clinching the first-place trophy in the fiercely contested Mini Cup, first in class,  29th overall.



The prize draws were held at the finish:

Exol Oil prize - won by Andy Jarman

Snap-On prize kindly donated by Andrew (from Snap-On) - won by Eric Davies

Alan Brown from Questmead came to watch how their brake products performed. He awarded a set of brake pads for best improvement in seeding to Andy Jarman


Congratulations Clive & Anton on 1st place finish!


Thank you to the generous sponsors of the HRCR Mini Sport Cup – Mini SportMintex, Exol Oil, Snap-On, Yokohama & Questmead, without whom there wouldn’t be a Championship.

To catch up with all the action from the Mini Sport Cup, please see here.
For more information on the Mini Sport Cup, please see our Facebook page here.


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Words - Clive King

Photo - Geoff Bengough