Overseas winner for Richard Burns rally at RAF Marham

International stars at base for weekend of racing

The roar of engines and smell of rubber burning on the runway may not be unusual at an RAF base, but it was cars and not jets which took centre stage at Marham this weekend.

Motorsport fans were in their element with international rally stars at RAF Marham for the two-day Richard Burns Memorial Rally.

Around 130 top rally crews from as far apart as Jersey and Inverness took part in the event which is organised with King's Lynn Motor Club.

TV's the Stig did not attend the event, as organisers had hoped, due to e pre-event mix up. But flypasts from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight did take place.

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The starting list contained some international names, national and several local crews taking advantage of an opportunity to have a go on home ground.

Overseas contender and World Rally Championship (WRC) entrant, Corsican Pierre Campana won the event by more than 20 seconds having taken six of the eight stages. He was driving a privately-backed Mini John Cooper WRC – out for the first time in this country – which will be taking part in the WRC round in Germany next weekend.

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International stars Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke tested their Mini to the limit ahead of the WRC Rally Germany next weekend.

Station Commander Pete Rochelle had the chance for a spin and siad the experience had been 'great - very exciting and a fantastic opportunity.'

Previous winner, Ray Brammer, from Terrington St Clement, with Matt Whattam co-driving, in a WRC Subaru Impreza, got off to a good start lying fourth until a mechanical problem stopped them on the third stage. Hasty repairs saw them running again by the end of Saturday afternoon.

Another Terrington crew, Mark and Sam Loomes, had the worst luck with gearbox failure early on the first stage and joined around 30 crews who retired on the first day.

Steve Tilburn and his son Jack led the trio of cars entered by event sponsors Hylton Gott.

Four stages, up to 17 miles in length, were run each day, using runways and perimeter tracks, with the route marked by around 3,000 cones and more than 100 one-ton straw bales. Speeds of the fastest cars were approaching 140 mph in places

The rally was the idea of Sgt Chris Daykin, from RAF Marham, and was set up in 2008 as a memorial to Richard Burns who died in 2005 from a brain tumour, a year to the day after he became the first Englishman to win the World Rally Championship.

Sgt Daykin met Richard in 2000 when the rally driver visited the base and completed a sortie in a Tornado GR4 jet alongside Sqn Ldr Tim Rust.

'He inspired me to take up rallying and after his death, a charity rally seemed the perfect tribute. But never in my wildest dreams did I envisage it would become an event of this scale,' said Sgt Daykin.

This year's event also included area dedicated to a Remembering Richard exhibition, featuring previously unseen film footage of his life, displays of his competition cars and memorabilia from his career.

There was also an array of military and motors sports displays, driving demonstrations, rides and activities.

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