Mini Sport Cup 2023: Vale Of York

Mini Cup Champion Clive King at the Vale Of York

Triumph and Resilience at Vale of York Stages

Historic Grounds, Modern Challenges

In the wake of the canceled Cheviot stages, the championship found a new battleground at Melbourne airfield – the Vale of York Stages. While six Minis eagerly took their places on the grid, one had to withdraw at the last moment. The stage was set for an unforgettable day of racing.

The backdrop for this rally was the historic World War Two airfield, known for its rugged terrain and scattered gravel sections. It was a true test for both man and machine.

Pre-Race Unity

As tradition dictated, the eve of the race saw the teams gather for a hearty meal and some camaraderie over drinks. The Mini teams were more than just competitors; they were a community.

All the Mini teams came together to prepare for the rally, each crew ready to support one another. Leading the pack was Clive King, the championship leader, and his co-driver Anton Bird in car number 32, a Mini Sport supported contender. Close behind were Craig King and Russell Joseph in car number 34, aiming to build on their recent successes.

Mini Cup - Preparing Rally Minis for Vale Of York Stages

1400cc Modern Class Showdown

The field was awash with Minis, all competing in the fiercely contested 1400cc modern class. With 11 entrants in this category, the competition promised to be intense.

Conquering Nature's Challenges

Race day presented its own set of hurdles. Warm weather after heavy overnight rains had caused flooding on parts of the track. The cars and crews were in for a grueling test.

In the first stage, Clive King clocked in at 4.49, sharing the same time with Trevor Hancock, while the rest were close behind. The rough terrain tested the Minis with their small wheels maneuvering over broken concrete and potholes – a true test of survival.

Triumph Amidst Adversity

The second stage saw Clive briefly overshoot a bend, necessitating a reverse move. Despite this setback, he finished with a time of 4.44, allowing Trevor to take a brief lead. The competition intensified as other cars closed in on the frontrunners.

Trevor experienced a minor misfire but found swift assistance from Clive, showcasing the unity and support within the Mini Sport community.

Rally Mini driving through puddle.

Pushing Limits

In the following stage, Clive made a determined push, reclaiming the lead from Trevor, who had pushed his car hard, causing brake issues towards the end of the stage.

Challenges, however, continued to test the teams' resilience. Trevor's radiator mounting broke, leading to retirement due to radiator damage. Shane Gamble faced brake issues and a leaking front caliper but rallied with the help of fellow Mini enthusiasts.

Team Effort

Craig and Russell encountered a broken steering arm but couldn't repair the car on the spot. They accepted a stage maximum and were later recovered, where a new hub was fitted. Unfortunately, they had to retire for good due to electrical issues.

Triumphant Finish

Clive and Anton, despite a decision to ease off a bit to preserve the car, extended their lead. Shane, with his car now running smoothly, gained a few seconds on Clive in the next stage. Harvey picked up a puncture, costing him four minutes.

Despite the trials, all three remaining cars crossed the finish line. Clive secured 17th place overall and an impressive 2nd in his class, while Shane finished 28th overall and a commendable 4th in his class. Harvey clinched 33rd place overall. Historic Minis proved that they still possess the pace to compete with modern counterparts.

Mini no. 52 at Vale of York Stages

Championship Glory

After the dust had settled and the cheers subsided, Clive King's remarkable performance at the Vale of York Stages brought him the 2023 Mini Cup Championship title. However, the co-drivers' championship remains a thrilling battle among Anton Bird, Russell Joseph, and Kari Bates.

The co-drivers' championship will see a winner-takes-all showdown at the Glyn Memorial rally in late November. It's a thrilling conclusion to a season filled with ups and downs, and Mini enthusiasts are eager to see who will emerge victorious.

Prizes Galore

  • Craig King was the lucky recipient of the Exol oil prize.
  • Harvey claimed the Snap-On prize, generously donated by Andrew O'Hanlon.
  • Shane Gamble was recognized for the best improvement in seeding, earning a valuable set of pads donated by Questmead.

Are you ready to rev up your engines and feel the adrenaline rush of a rally driver?

Put your skills to the test and make your dream a reality!

Discover more by reading "Be Inspired... Start Mini Motorsport!" or reaching out to us directly for all the information you need:

Phone: 01282 778731

Email: or

Photography : Andy Crayford