26th to 29th November 2010

Dave Hemingway and Simon Ashton teamed up again for the Roger Albert Clark Open Rally after much midnight oil was burnt by Woodfield Garage, Dave and many others to get the new car finished in time.

The weather was more like Sweden after a thick blanket of snow covered much of the North of England which turned out to be perfect. Dave had a low powered 1600cc engine built at the last minute instead of the historic spec Pinto that had been planned, and barely had enough power to spin the wheels despite the snow and ice!

Despite catching four cars in the first Dalby stage, they held an overnight lead they were never to relinquish. There were some scares along the way... loosing 2 minutes in a Shephershirld blizzard on Saturday night and an icy braking moment in Ae where they bounced over a bank and flattened a sappling but fortunately it stayed shiny side up.

Most of the team were betting on how far the crew would get during the event... nobody expected first overall!


21st August 2011

Simon Ashton was back out with Christer Stark for what turned out to be an event with some of the best roads either can ever remember competing on. The rally was the Emiltrofen and the roads were very twisty and tricky but immense fun. Unfortunately the class of 26 cars proved to be highly competitive and the result was not quite what the pairing had hoped for and they "only" finished 7th in class 28 seconds off the lead, and 18th overall. Still, the grin factor on the stages more than made up for the result!


14th August 2010

Simon Ashton was out in another green car in South Sweden, this time a Group E (like Group N minus) Seat Ibiza. A fellow Waxjoms Club member (Simon's Swedish club) Emrik Smedberg needed a co-driver at the last minute after his regular co-driver lost his voice. The pair had barely met before and Emrik had never had notes read in English before, so a crash-practice using in-car videos the night before was set up. Never more than a handful of seconds off the pace and a fastest time in class on the last stage saw them pick up an excellent second in class from 14 starters.


10th July 2010

With the Ascona repaired, Simon Ashton was back out partnering Christer Stark on the Rojarunden Rally. With temperatures over 30C it was going to be a hot day in a rally car.
The first stage was cancelled after just a few cars as the average speed was deemed to be too high (you don't just get the bogie time in Sweden like you would in the UK as the insurance rules mean you can't beat the bogie time). Dust caused problems on stages 3 and 5 but despite this the pairing took a fastest stage time on stage 5 to jump a place to 4th in class and 15th overall.


19th June 2010

Four rallies in 4 weekends in two countries... Simon Ashton was back outagain this time on the Dackefejden Rally in Sweden - Simon's home "Swedish" clubs' event. With 27 starters in the class amongst a field of over 200 cars it was going to be a tough day! 
The day started well holding fifth in class after two stages however the heavens opened just after leaving service... too late to put on new rubber and a load of time was lost. A return to service say the new tyres fitted and stage 5 which Christer and Simon had helped set up the day before. It all went wrong though as they dropped the back end into a ditch and ripped out the axle against a rock.

12th June 2010

Simon Ashton returned from Sweden for his annual outing on the Rainworth Skoda Dukeries Rally, this time reading the routenotes for David Pattrick. It was David's first event in three years but the still lead the 2 litre group N class after two stages. However a spin in the first Clipstone stage and wayward handling on the long Sherwood straights started to cost time and they fell back to second in class and 51st overall by the finish.

The result was immaterial though following the tragic accident that claimed the life of Martyn Lewis.

5th June 2010

Simon Ashton was out again codriving for Christer Stark in the green Ascona. This time they were fastest out of the blocks to lead the class after the first stage on the Karlskronapokalen Rally. An overshoot on the second stage dropped precious seconds but they took fastest times on stages 4 and 6 to climb back up the leaderboard to claim second in class and 21st overall by the finish. Just 16 seconds covered the top 4 in a very competitive class!

29th May 2010

Simon Ashton teamed up with Christer Stark for the Skilling 500 in South Sweden. After a good start with 3rd in class on the opening stage, however brake balance problems affected the Opel Ascona and they slipped to 7th by the end and 24th overall.


13th to 16th November 2009

Plans to go for a second victory on the Roger Albert Clark Open Rally hit problems on the second evening for Dave Hemingway and Simon Ashton.

They had a spot of luck on the first evening after the main relay failed enroute to the second stage in Langdale. A frantic search trying to find the problem followed but was traced in the darkness but the heat from the scorching relay! They dropped 30 seconds in Langdale after thinking they had picked up an early puncture which put them on the back foot straight away.

Day two went without a hitch until they were about to enter the first of four Kielder stages when a screech materialised from the engine bay. Unfortunately the cam belt cover had broken its' mountings and fell onto a pulley wearing it away. Fearing a cambelt failure and expensive rebuild they pulled out until spares could be sourced. A frantic search in service proved fruitless but luckily a post on the BritishRally Forum brought two replacements on Sunday morning, Roy Johanson was first there so his was used, a second offer came from Ivor of Gretna - huge thanks from the team to both for your help.

Days three and four went relatively smoothly but with one hour in penalties after missing six stages a result was out of the window. Final placing 8th overall, 1 hour and 38 seconds behind the winner!


24th October 2009

Christer Stark, with W&DMSC's Simon Ashton calling the route notes needed to beat Robert Norss on the Marknadsnatta Rally to claim the Smalands District Championship class title however things didn't quite go to plan. Despite having the speed all season long for some reason things just didn't gel and a few moments were encountered along the way to a disappointing 6th in class and 67th overall. Christer will move up to being a 'B' driver next season after this years results so things will only get tougher from now on for the Ascona crew!

3rd October 2009

Chris Wood and Simon Ashton had yet another character building rally on the Harold Palin Memorial Rally at Manby. Roger Priestnall gave them the job of shaking down his freshly rebuilt Proton Satria which barely proved to be Pud proof! Clutch problems on the first stage were followed by broken driveshafts on stages two and three. The power steering failed on stage four as well as the radiator fan and the fuel pumps started playing up to to get a piece of the action! Fuel pressure problems persisted for the remainder of the event but they clawed their way back to 5th in class and 28th overall by the end.

26th September 2009

Simon Ashton claimed his first Swedish class victory partnering Christer Stark in the Opel Ascona. The five stage Ekratten Rally featured the trickiest forest stage in the South of Sweden as well as a tarmac spectator stage around an industrial estate. 


12th September 2009

Christer Stark and Simon Ashton took an early bath on theTV-Sngen Rally after the differential failed 3km into the opening stage...


27th June 2009

Simon Ashton was back in Sweden competing on the Dackefejden Rally, his "home Swedish" event.

There were 229 entries and Simon, partnering Christer Stark in his Opel Ascona were 204th on the road...

"We caught our minute man on the first stage and lost 10-12 seconds in his dust until we were close enough for him to see us. He did get out of our way quickly though and had a puncture so we caught him pretty quickly. Stage 4 was the longest of the event at 22km and we had spent the day before setting it up so knew parts of it reasonably well. Talking to our 'new' minute man at the stage start, the driver and codriver had swapped seats for the first time, they were doing gravel and pacenotes for the first time and were not going very quickly! They managed to talk the start marshals into giving us a 2 minute gap but we were still badly in their dust after 9 of 15 pages of notes. Eventually we got past them (after 2 or 3 attempts thinking they were pulling over when in fact at least once they were just trying to avoid going off..!) and we got to the end of the stage having lost 30 seconds.
In the fifth and final stage we were trying a little too hard to claw back some of the lost time and we had one overshoot and one sideways moment coming into a junction where we parked against a tree. However with Christer's inspired driving we only dropped a couple of seconds on the stage. If we hadn't still got the two minute gap we would have caught our minute man again, this time on just a 9km stage...!
End result... 5th in class, 20 seconds off second and 30 off first. We were gutted, first or second could have been ours if the event had been seeded properly. However Christer is still leading the championship class."


13th June 2009

On the Rainworth Skoda Golden Jubilee Dukeries Rally Chris Wood and Simon Ashton borrowed a 1600 Nova and Simon hoped hisluck would change after a string of retirements on his home event. Their first stage in the car went relatively smoothly despite Chris complaining of no rear brakes and having to use the handbrake on every corner to help it to turn in and they emerged with the class lead. However the familiar ending for the pairing in stage two came when a rod made a bid for freedom through the side of the block of the standard engine. 


30th May 2009

On a day which saw a lot of carnage and many cars parked up after hitting the scenery, Simon Ashton partnered Christer Stark to 3rd in class on the Roja-runden Rally in South Sweden.

The pairing broke a wheel and picked up a puncture on their Opel Ascona 2km from the end of the second stage after clouting a rock on a tightening bend over a crest, but were lucky to get away so lightly and only dropped around ten seconds as 5 cars rolled at the same spot.

They finished 25th overall and now lead their class in the Smålands DM regional championship.


9th May 2009

Simon Ashton started his Swedish rally season in fine style on Saturday taking second in class alongside Christer Stark on the Skilling 500 Rally.

Christer's new Opel Ascona ran reliably throughout the event and despite catching their minute man on the first 7km stage, a couple of overshoots and a failing intercom over the last two stages, they finished just 7.5 seconds behind the class winner in 27th overall.

Full results are available at


Christer shaking down his new Ascona last weekend.


15th March 2009

Simon's first event of the 2009 season got off to a bad start when the engine on Chris Woods Vauxhall Astra developed problems stopping the crew just two miles into the opening stage of Sundays Riponian Stages Rally.


14-17th November 2008

Dave Hemingway and Simon Ashton win the Roger Albert Clark Open Rally!

Simon flew back home from Sweden to contest the Roger Albert Clark Open Rally for the third time with Pontefract's Dave Hemingway.

We got off to the best possible start by being first equal overall (including the Historic contenders) on the first stage and held second overnight. The attack had been planned as we were expecting to be re-seeded as per the regs.

However the re-seeding didn't take place so we were back in our original road position on Saturday morning.

Phil Burton woke up on Saturday morning and stormed into the lead of the Open Rally with Mad Mick Jones in hot pursuit. After Langdale we were down to fourth though unconcerned with the bulk of the event still remaining.

Entering Greystoke we had moved back up to third, 5 seconds behind 'Stonemad' Brian Lawlor with Burton missing the final four stages of the day while he changed his engine. Lawlor took 26 seconds out of us on the first run through Greystoke, but put his Escort in a ditch on the second run and retired. However Marcus Noble also clawed back lots of time to finish the day two seconds behind in third.

So we had to go for it to try to keep hold of our second place, but on the first Ae stage of Sunday morning we picked up a puncture, fortunately we still managed to extend the gap over Noble by 16 seconds.

At second service of the day, the Christmas tree tie wrapped to the ariel gained a set of balls thanks to Dilys and Val, the C.L.O.'s, apparently this was to make up for the lack of any held by the crew!

Second place was maintained as the day progressed. Mad Mick continued to stretch his lead while Dave did the same over third placed Noble until the end of SS24, Castle O'Er. Mad Mick was parked up with a broken diff. No pressure, only one and a half  BTRDA rounds (73 miles) to try to hold on to the 1 minute 28 second lead!

By the final stage of leg three, the lead was up to just over two and a half minutes, but still not enough if we needed to stop to change a puncture mid-stage.

By the end of the first Kielder stage of the final leg, the lead was nearly eight minutes as Noble had visited a ditch, however our service crew had decided not to tell us! Though we found out in service with just two stages remaining... Falstone passed off without incident, the same cannot be said of the last stage.

Delayed by almost an hour, Dave was shaking while he waited to start the stage, even asking Malcolm Wilson for advice on how to calm the nerves! Nearing the end of the stage after a particularly rough section, knocking noises were coming from the rear of the car and it tried to swap ends on every left hand bend... the first of which lead to a particularly scarey moment. However the stage was successfully cleared, and in emergency service the team found the wheels to be full of mud and stones which had been jamming on the brake callipers and locking the wheels every time Dave came off the throttle.

All that remained was the run in to the finish... now the car decided to start cutting out! Fortunately it held out and a faulty relay was found while queuing in Carlisle City Centre before spraying the winner champagne!


DH enjoying the spoils, drinking from his Winners Rose Bowl on Wednesday night.



8th November 2009

Simon Ashton rounded off his season of Swedish Rallying in the Smålands Distrikt Mästerskap with the Silverratten Rally in Älmhult - the home of Ikea.

Co-driving for Christer Stark in the Volvo 240, they took a fine second in class from 18 starters in a hard fought battle. While Champion Morgan Eriksson rushed off into the distance, second to fourth place was covered by just 14.1 seconds after 4 stages and 45km. The result leaves Christer and Simon 4th in the Championship VOC class.

Full results are available at

4th October 2008

Simon Ashton teamed up with Chris Wood again this time in the ex-works Astra Kit Car for the Harold Palin Memorial Rally at Manby, which the pairing won together ten years ago. Unfortunately their event was not so successful this time...

On stage one they had a 180 degree spin, then got delayed slightly while another competitor recovered from a moment at the watersplash, then overtook him around the outside of the same corner they had spun on the first lap! Despite this they were 6th overall and just 11 seconds of the event leader.

Stage two and they were still experiencing unpredictable grip and clipped a bail then followed that up with an overshoot.

Stage three went much better until they hit a tractor tyre at the final chicane and badly bent the steering but managed to set 4th fastest time to climb a place the fifth overall ahead of two Impreza WRC's.

Unfortunately it rained for stage four handing an advantage to all the four wheel drive crews and they dropped a place back to 6th again following a cautiously clean run after their earlier problems.

It all came to nothing when a driveshaft snapped on stage five and they didn't have a spare so had to retire.



6th September 2008

Christer Stark and Simon Ashton had a character building home event on yesterdays Dackefejden Rally.

The event is a classic on the Swedish calendar and much longer than many other Småland regional championship events at 55 stage kilometers. The rally started in a very wet Växjö but by the time Christer and Simon had reached the first stage it had at least stopped raining.

Disappointed with a comparatively slow first stage time, Christer pushed in the second stage only to have two "moments" including having to reverse back off the scenery in one corner! Fortunately there was no damage other than in the lost time which put the team on the back foot for the remaining three stages.

Stage three was much better and they crew were looking forward to the long 23km fourth stage. Unfortunately about 800m from the start on a quick left-right kink they ran out of road and again attacked the scenery bouncing over many of the hidden rocks that litter the local countryside. A bad vibration and some nasty noises accompanied the run through the rest of the stage and they still set a competitive time. At the end of the stage they found a bent and battered rear wheel rim with a chunk missing but fortunately the tyre remained inflated so the renound Volvo strength had shone through! Their following minute man was not so lucky, picking up a puncture at the same spot.

A very rough final stage was reeled off without any incidents and the crew took 7th in class (from 21 starters - this event was also a round of the National VOC Championship) and 63rd overall, and has helped them maintain their 3rd in class in the Småland District Championship.

Simon's next event is back home in England with October's Harold Palin Memorial Stages at Manby. Partnering Chris Wood in a Vauxhall Astra, the pairing won the event ten years ago so decided it was time for another crack at it!



23rd August 2008

Simon Ashton enjoyed another good run with Christer Stark on the Skilling 500 Rally in Varnamo, (Sweden). With just an overshoot to report, the pairing took 4th place in the Volvo Original class from 16 starters. Overall they took 49th place. Full results available from

Their next event will be Waxjo MK's (Simon's Swedish motor club) own Dackefejden Rally on the 6th of September.




2nd August 2008

Christer Stark and Simon Ashton enjoyed another fine run in the Volvo 240 on yesterdays Emiltrofen Rally based in the village of Tuna near Vimmerby.

After five stages the pairing took fourth in class and 54th overall. The first two stages were the trickiest of the event and the pairing had to attempt them in a rain storm. Stage three was much more flowing although very short while the start of the final stage was extremely slippy due to another downpour, the hitherto class leader crashing on this stage and dropping 13 minutes.

Full results can be found at while Christer and Simon will be back in action in two weeks time on the Skilling 500 Rally.


12th July 2008

Simon took part in a very strange Roja-Rundan Rally based in Fagerhult yesterday with Christer Stark in his Volvo.

Just as the pairing were about to start the rally it began to rain, and by the time they had completed the short run out to the first stage they were in the middle of a thunder storm and on the wrong tyres for the horrendously wet and slippy conditions and a case of massive understeer followed. A visit to service en-route to stage two sorted the tyres but the lightening was still flashing as they completed the second stage with a much more competitive time.

As Christer and Simon were on the startline for the third stage it was stopped following an accident by a fellow crew, and eventually the stage was cancelled so they were sent back to service where they were told of problems on stage four too so they were to wait for further instructions! It transpired that there were three fires in the stage following lightening strikes and the fire and ambulance service were in attendance.

After a delay of around one and a half hours, a meeting and vote was held where competitors from Gotland decided to call it a day and accept championship points from their current positions otherwise they would all have missed their ferry home! Meanwhile remaining competitors would miss stage four and battle would commence on stage five.

So Christer and Simon set out once more, three and a half hours after they were due to start stage three! Once again the rain started to fall but not so badly and the two remaining stages were completed without any further problems and they took 6th in the Volvo Original class from 11 starters.


14th June 2008

Simon's luck on the Dukeries Rally went from bad to worse when he partnered Chris Wood in the Astra. They opened their account well by taking third in class on the opening stage on Chris's first time in the woods for two years. However it all came to nothing when the engine went sick in stage two.

13th June 2008

Simon will be back in action again this weekend though in Britain this time on the Rainworth Skoda Dukeries Rally.

He will be hoping for better luck than the past two years when he stopped in the same Clipstone firebreak both years!
Last year it was with David Pattrick when the Peugeot 106 transmission failed.
The year before the engine on Chris Wood's Astra exploded while they were leading two wheel drive car.

The Woodfield Garage ex-Gaz Prom Astra now has a freshly rebuilt engine and will be making a return to the forests after a complete rebuild.
Simon will be reading the notes for Chris again and they are seeded at car 22.

7th June 2008

Simon claimed his first podium in Sweden on Saturday's Kalrskrona Pokalen Rally.

Co-driving for Christer Stark again in the Volvo 240, the Blekinge stages proved to be very tricky with many stages resembling a scrap yard of bent and broken rally cars. The event took place in hot and dusty conditions and 38 of the 108 starters in the regional (DM) championship section of the event (and 30 from 73 in the Swedish Championship section) retired on the stages which contained many jumps and corners over crests.

Following the six action packed stages totalling 42km, Christer and Simon claimed 39th overall and second in the VOC class just 5.8 seconds behind fellow Wäxjö Motorsällskap members Jimmy Kristensen and Stellan Andersson.

Full results can be found at


5th June 2008

Simon is back in action in Sweden again this weekend on the Karlskrona Pokalen Rally. As this event is only a Swedish and Regional Championshio event (unlike the International South Swedish Rally), the organiser supplied route notes are only available in Swedish so Simon will be translating them into English 'on the fly'!

Christer has sorted the engine problems which hampered progress on the South Swedish so the full power of the Volvo 240 can now be unleashed! Results will be available at

24th May 2008

Simon Ashton enjoyed a trouble free run to fourth in class co-driving for Christer Stark on the South Swedish (Midsommardansen) Rally at the weekend.

A slight problem with the Volvo's engine meant top speed was not achievable during the hot weather, but the team hope to fix this for the next event in two weeks time.

Despite rallying for many years, this was Christer's first event on pacenotes (and English pacenotes at that) following a test session which proved Simon's Swedish wasn't good enough to use Swedish notes!

22nd May 2008

Simon Ashton is gearing up for his first event in Sweden. Simon will be co-driving for Christer Stark in a Volvo 240 on this coming weekends clubman section of the South Swedish Rally, the Midsommardansen Rally. Live results should be available at