2 out of 3 isn’t bad for Collister and Craine
5th November, 2009
2009 has proven to be a very successful year for George Collister and Janet Craine on the rallying scene having had two overall wins and a top 10 finish in what is considered to be one of the most prestigious events of the rallying calendar.
They proved unstoppable on the Black Horse Forest Easter Stages setting a fastest time on every stage and taking a winning margin of nearly 3 minutes come the events final stage.
The pairs next outing was on the Manx Telecom National Rally, a qualifying round of several National Championships with the cream of British Drivers making the trip over the Irish Sea to compete, Collister and Craine raised more than a few eye brows setting the fastest stage time through the opening Stage through the Streets of Port Erin, an almost unbelievable feat in their ever ageing Mitsubishi Evo 3! Only 0.3 seconds behind however were another local crew in the form of Steven Quine and Richard Skinner in their Evo 5. Overheating brakes would see the pair struggle through the second stage and a timing error at the start of stage three cost the pair a further 30seconds and it nearly all went very wrong with a huge moment over the Brandywell jumps with George and Janet both surprised to have gotten away with it and the Stage finish.
Saturday looked set for a close battle between Collister and Craine with long term rivals Quine and Skinner to take the prestigious Best Manx Crew award, but this was not to be when Quine was sidelined with a broken rear diff during the mornings first loop of stages. Despite a late scare on the penultimate stage stop line when the crew were informed of flames licking from under the Evo 3 they reached the end of the event unscathed and with it taking an unbelievable 6th overall and Best Manx Crew.
The next event for the manx pairing was the Rally Isle of Man Trophy Rally, the event ran alongside the Manx International, a round of the British Rally Championship and consisted of 8 stages starting on the Saturday morning. The opening tests proved to be a close affair with the top 3 crews separated by only 5 seconds. Collister and Craine held 2nd place at lunch but as the island was hit with heavy rain they played there advantage of 4 wheel drive over the rear wheel drive Mk2 Escort of Lee and David Batty and the Darrian T90 GT of regular Island Visitor James Hoseason and Maurice Jelly. The gap was increased further over Collisters home stage taking an impressive 17 seconds out of close friend and rival Lee Batty, this cemented the Evo 3 pairing on the top of the podium for the second year running with George having done the hat trick following his 2002 victory in his own Mk2 Escort.