What happened in 2016
The first season of the new-look BRC had its curtain-call on the picturesque Isle of Man, with three days of titanic Tarmac action that captivated the island. Along with the regular BRC crews, the season finale saw two top-notch interlopers – Citroen WRC star Craig Breen and triple BRC Champion Mark Higgins. Breen unfortunately retired early on, but Higgins took the fight to Elfyn Evans on the asphalt event. The Welshman set the initial pace, but driveshaft woes on the second night set up a tantalising showdown to the final day of the season with Higgins holding the upper hand. Evans had to work hard for his fifth win of the year, edging Manxman Higgins by just 5.9 seconds at the finish outside the famous TT Grandstand.
With the title already decided, there was a five-way fight for the runner-up spot in the championship. Tom Cave was the class of the group as he traded times with the top two throughout to put himself second on the BRC rostrum – with Higgins not registered – and secure the same position in the 2016 standings. Enjoying a scrap with Cave throughout, Desi Henry took his third BRC podium of the season and his first on Tarmac.
After sealing the BRC2 title, Matt Edwards graduated to an R5 Fiesta for the final two outings. Following a solid run on the Ulster, Edwards looked at home in his new machine on the Manx lanes, climbing the order throughout the long event to take fourth in the BRC section ahead of Jonathan Greer, David Bogie and Alex Laffey/Andrew Roughead, who took their best finish of the season in eighth in their Fiesta R5.
2014 BRC Champion, Dan McKenna gives his views on the classic rally:
“It’s such a special event. The island is steeped in motorsport history with the TT races and also the rallying. I have competed on both the national and international rallies and the island stages are a real challenge.
“There are so many different characteristics to the roads on different parts of the island. You have everything to test crew and car. It can be narrow, tight and twisty on very bumpy roads or it can be very fast, flowing and wide on smooth roads and all of this maybe even in one stage.
“It’s a rally of high attrition, with high mileage, night stages and town super-specials which are always tricky, and with no let-up, cars and crews are tested to the limit.”