Activ8 Motorsport Season Resume

Having had a great first season competing in the 2018 Flanders International Championship Activ8 Motorsport chose to to return in 2019.

Events entered

  • Rally Salamandre -Beaumont
  • Rally Van Wervik -Wervik
  • Les Boucles Chevrotines -Sivry Rance
  • Hemicuda Rally -Koekelare
  • 6 Uren van Kortrijk -Kortrijk

The season in numbers –

  • 5 events started
  • 3 events finished
  • 2 events retired

Rally Salamandre

Going into 2019 the team had high hopes to repeat / better their performance of 2018. Steve Santy’s return to the co-driver’s seat for the full 2019 season meant the team benefited from his enthusiasm, energy and professionalism throughout the year.

The weather held for the rally this year and was sunny throughout. The crew quickly got back into the swing of things out of 106 starting crews the crew finished a very credible 46th overall which a good start to the season.

Rally Van Wervik

A bumper entry of 147 crews started the event, with many top crews using it as a shakedown for the high profile Renties Ypres Rally which was taking place shortly afterwards. On stage 6 Wervik 2 the crew were lying 46th overall having gained 31 places from stage 1. Unfortunately disaster struck when a freak stone tore the wiring loom out of it’s fixings under the wing. The result of the main loom rubbing on the tyre was an electrical short that caused a fire both under the wing and behind the dashboard. Valiant efforts by Mick the Hammer to fix came to naught as the cooling fans no longer worked effectively. Game over. First retirement in three years.

To put the running order on stage 6 in perspective the first 25+ crews were in a selection of R5’s, R2’s, Top Spec Impreza’s Porches’ etc. Gutted did not cover the disappointment felt by the team.

Les Boucles Chevrotines

Another very good entry of 114 crews started the event. Albeit the pace was very high due to the excellent stages the crew took a well deserved 31st overall with a competent run.

Hemicuda Rally

Another excellent entry of 158 crews started the event. Whilst lying 62rd overall and steadily climbing up the leader board, on the launch of stage 4, Kortemark 2, a front offside drive shaft sheared.

Game over with the second non finish of the season.

6 Uren van Kortrijk 

The final rally of the 2019 season saw 153 starters. The only night stage of the year has been the teams nemesis. Not this year though – 90 seconds faster on the same stage! A good run for the rest of the rally saw the team finish a very credible 44th overall.


Albeit we had two non-finishes we have again won our class in the FIRC which proves the age-old adage “never give up” and with our resolve paid off as other crews had their own problems and fell by the way side.

Sincere thanks go out to every event organiser who with dedicated helpers put on brilliant events, to every marshal who carried out their duties with professionalism, and all the fantastic spectators along the route.

A big thank you goes to Kristof Denaeghel for all his help and assistance throughout the championship year.

Sincere thanks to Steven (Santy) for bringing a very professional input with his knowledge and experience to the co-driver’s seat.

Now last but not least thank you to the three reprobates who make up the remaining members of Activ8, Phil (the blame monkey) Worsley, Mick (the hammer) Manson and Rick (the body) Rickus.

THANK YOU ALL! – See you in 2020!

FIRC Rally 6 Uren van Kortrijk 2019

Kortrijk was the destination for Activ8 Motorsports last outing of the 2019 season. Once again the final rally of the Flanders International Rally Challenge upheld its reputation of being an event hard on both car and crews, of 153 starters only 101 crews passed over the Finishing Podium.

The event was again based in the beautiful town of Kortrijk and the party atmosphere prevailed throughout the weekend with bars and restaurants kept very busy.

All set up ready in the Service Park in Kortrijk

The organising club Autosfal Groennghe certainly know how to put-on high-profile events with Inscription and Scrutineering being carried out without too many delays. As with all town centre venues spectators and towns folk turned out through out the whole event as the cars could be seen on several occasions as the podium was used to dispatch the crew’s after each service and then as the finishing line. It didn’t matter as to whether the crew’s number was 1 or 100, each was given the same respect with healthy applause.  

Mick the Hammer sat down at scrutineering
Scrutineering was a thorough affair in this rally – Activ8 had no problems as usual

14 stages were laid on with the formidable Lavano being run on Saturday night through a recycling plant and as always the stage was mega slippery much to the delight of the 1000’s of spectators who turn out to watch crews spinning their way through. In previous years the Activ8 crew have made “” a dogs dinner” of the proceedings but this year they got their act together and knocked a good 90 seconds off their 2018 time setting them up for the meat of the event on Sunday. Lavano was run again on Sunday but renamed Mouscron due to re routing the stage through the adjoining industrial estate to the finish, and much to the crews surprise they took 35 overall, so the crew has revised its opinion of the stage from the “worst ever” to one of the “best ever” 

The event uses the market place in the centre of Kortrijk as the focal point during the rally
  • Stage Line Up
  • Lavano 8.68 km
  • Mouscron 8.10 km
  • Aabeke 4.80 km
  • Marke 4.53 km
  • Bellegem 14.95 km (Split Stage – Favourite)
  • Bevergem 8.19 km

The total stage kms adding up to 115 and with liaison kms gave an event total of 279 km.

Lavano – fantastic fun when you’ve got a bit of grip!

Sundays Leg 2 was split into three sections with service and podium visited three times throughout the day.

Activ8 completed the event without major incident but the stages in places ( particularly the two new stages ) were very fast and in one minor incident, on heavy braking  into a T left the surface was muddy and damp resulting in a head on into a ploughed field, fortunately with no damage, and the crew were swiftly on their way.

‘Tarmac’ rallying – Activ8 picked up a lot of Belgium during the rally

As darkness descended on the last stage the crew completed a Wall of Death along a grass covered ditch resulting in a “bum twitching moment” but the sure footed Impreza pulled itself out of the ditch just intime to navigate a very fast Left 3. Hay Ho!!!!!  

Actually the car is on the road on this one – many cars spent a lot of time in fields.

In conclusion 44 overall was an excellent result to finish the season on, and putting that into perspective the top 20+ crews were in very expensive rally cars driven by very competent crews as apposed to a Subaru GC8 which is nearly as old as the driver!!!!!!

One very happy crew at the end of the rally
And the Service Crew were rather pleased too!

FIRC Les Boucles Chevrotines 2019 Report

Bumper update #2 – bring us up to date!

Over the weekend 3rd and 4th August Activ8Motorsport ventured again into Belgium to compete in the 2019 edition of Les Boucles Chevrotines. The organising club Ecurie Autombile Rancoise attracted an entry of 120 crews with 117 starting the event.

As last year servicing was held in the village of Sivry – Rance whilst inscription, documentation, scrutineering and a re-group area were held in Sautin a short distance from Sivry. Thankfully the weather stayed dry this year but at the same time without the debilitating heat that the 2018 rally experienced.

The event consisted of 12 stages comprising 3 legs each with 4 stages. Rance (13.20km) and Montbliart (14.6km) were new for 2019, Granorieu (7.10km) and Sivry (10.05) being used in 2018. Rance and Montbliart were well received as they were very fast and flowing and probably the fastest stages over which the current Activ8 crew have ever competed.

Unfortunately, the last two stages had to be cancelled due to time restraints but this in no way spoiled an extremely well run event, a credit to Cindy Delrue and her team.
Rally Chevrotines was the first event for Activ8 after the wiring problems on Wervik and the car ran faultlessly, a credit to Phil (blame monkey) Worsley for the complete rewiring of the Impreza front loom.

For the crew the event ran well other than for a couple of “senior moments” and one particular “ brown pants” moment, resulting in finishing 31 st overall in the rally. This translated to 2nd in class and 7th overall in the 2019 FIRC Championship. In light of the extremely high retirement rate just finishing was an excellent achievement and our position was fantastic.

A big thanks goes to Cindy and team, every marshal, to Phil in service and finally to Steve Santy for yet another faultless note reading performance.

Onto the Hemicuda Rally in October!

FIRC Rally Van Wervik 2019 Report and follow up.

Bumper update #1 – a late report from the Wervik Rally first.

This years event was held over the 14th and 15th June and was organised by the Auto Club Scuderia Vertica. Many teams were using this event as a practice run for the Ypres Rally so the entry list was a full 147 teams with many top teams. The competition was over 12 special stages with a total of just under 100 km competitive distance.

Activ8Motorsport were allocated number of 82 and despite the variable weather by all accounts were having a very good rally. By half time at the end of stage six the crew were positioned at 46th overall.

Unfortunately, that was the end of the rally for the team. Coming up to the end of stage 6 black smoke started to billow into the Impreza cabin. Upon stopping at the time control it became obvious the front offside loom had broken the fixing, dropping onto the tyre and shredding all 32 wires.

A quick makeshift repair was carried out on the road section to get back to the service area. During service Mick (the hammer) Manson isolated each wire and insulated them to try and perform an interim repair. However, the cooling fans stopped working correctly and the car overheated on the way to the holding area prior to the start of the second leg of six stages.


This was the first non-finish for Activ8Motorsport in some two and a half years of competition and the crew could have been heading for another excellent result in the FIRC Championship.

After the Rally the car spent several weeks at Phil’s house where it became obvious that the had been two small fires – one under the wheel-arch and another under the dashboard. This had melted wires as far up as the indicator stalk which itself had melted. Many wires needed replacing and thankfully the work was completed in time for the following rally – Les Boucles Chevrotines in August.

FIRC Rally van Salamandre 2019 Report

First outing of the season was to the Rally Salamandre held around Beaumont in the south east region of Belgium. A change for this rally was that Simon Belcher of Simons Motor Engineers came along to see how Belgium rallies are run. Simon hopes to compete later in Belgium later in the year.

This is Activ8 Motorsports second season in Belgium which is making the organisation easier as we can learn from our previous experiences. This includes setting off the evening before on the rallies in southern Belgium and stopping over in Kent so we can get an early morning ferry and have more time to travel on the other side.

The rally was held over the Easter weekend and once the team arrived at Dover we were glad we got there early as the queues to get into the ferry terminal looked huge. However, they moved remarkably quickly, and we were only delayed around an hour or so.

Rally Salamandre is organised by ASBL Hainaut Motor Club and is the first rally of the year for the Flanders International Rally Challenge. On the Saturday night there is a prize ceremony to celebrate the previous year’s successes. Activ8 Motorsport won 3 prizes which was a great start to our season and sets us a target for this year.

The rally itself consisted of 5 stages which were repeated over 3 legs

  • Leval 8km
  • Renlies 15km (split)
  • Stree 8km
  • Ragnie 9km
  • Donsteinnes 5km

The sun was out for the whole weekend with temperatures up to 30C. The perfect weather led to some really fast times early on and the requisite high attrition rate with crashes and breakdowns.

It was clear after the first leg that the crew were adjusting after the 5 months lay off over winter. However, once the rust was shaken off the times came down significantly and the teams overall position improved after most stages

Stage 3 passed parallel to the service area which gave the crews the opportunity to watch some of the rally between servicing. Malcolm reported that this stage was deceptively slippy and held to that excuse as he overshot one of the corners in front of all the service crews.

Once again, the car performed faultlessly which as usual highlights the team’s attention to preparation before the event.

The results were great – first place in our class within the FIRC in the first event of year. Taking into consideration the entire field of cars we were about midway which is exactly where we think we should be. Bear in mind the top 15-20 cars are all manufacturer prepared beasts so not comparable to our 20-year-old Impreza.

Big thankyou to the organising club, the marshals and timekeepers who always make the crew feel welcome to their country. Especially good are the English speaking helpers who hover around the scrutineering and documentation areas. We are blessed in having a local in the team, but the helpers are great to guide UK teams through the administrative processes.

Thanks to Steve Santy for calling the notes faultlessly and to the long suffering service crew for putting up with Mr Shouty on the day of the rally.

Having Simon help in the Service Crew was great and we wish him well getting his car ready for later in the year.

Activ8 Motorsport

And we’re back! Activ8 Motorsport 2019!

After a fantastic 2018, winning our class and also winning Rookie of the Year Activ8 Motorsport is looking forward to returning to Belgium in 2019.

Once again the team are entering the Flanders International Rally Challenge and aims to compete in the following 5 rounds

  • Rallye Salamandre 20/21 April 
  • Wervik Rally 14/15 June
  • Les Boucles Chevrotines 3/4 August
  • Hemicuda Rally 19/20 October
  • 6 uren van Kortrijk 23/24 November 
Preparing to finish!

Success in rallying means you have to prepare to finish and that takes a methodical and meticulous approach to car preparation. To the layman, after Kortrijk the car looked ready to go to the next rally after a quick wash. However, Mal has wasted no time doing a full overhaul of the car including –


  • New anti rollbar bushes front and rear
  • New bottom ball joints
  • New rear Tein Flexz struts
  • Front Tein struts serviced
  • Full suspension alignment including cornerweight correction – which meant Phil’s garage mini moved at least 10 feet so far in 2019!

Clutch/ transmission

  • Engine removed and clutch sent to CG Motorsport for assessment
  • New flywheel input shaft bearing
  • Gearbox oil change
  • Rear diff oil change


  • Full service
  • New rocker cover gaskets
  • New petrol filter installed


  • New front discs
  • New pads all round


  • Rick ‘the body’ has had both bumpers off and plastic welded the cracks and other damage before spraying them
  • The car has had a general tidy up and gained a few more stickers

Wheels/ Tyres

A full assessment of the wheels and tyres has been undertaken and 4 new Hankook WRC type tyres purchased.


  • Windscreen washer system redesigned to include twin pump system and new washer jets. (It now doubles as a water-jet metal cutter – God help the Windscreen!)
  • LDV van has had full service with all minor issues resolved and a few of the misspelt labels have been replaced with differently misspelt labels.

Thanks to all our friends who continue to help us – Nick and Jim Dixon at MND Motorsports, CG Motorsport, Proflex suspension, Douglas Signs, Pole Position and Costa Coffee!

Next stop – Rally Salamandre!

Activ8 Motorsport – April 11th 2019

FIRC 6 Uren Van Kortrijk Report and Season Resume

The 6 Hours of Kortrijk Rally, held over the weekend of 24th and 25th November  brought a fitting end to the Flanders International Rally Championship (FIRC) 2018.

The event organised by Autosfal Groennghe centred in and around
the town of Kortrijk, with inscription and entry documentation in a
large marque located in the town centre, with scrutineering being
deployed in a local BMW garage on the outskirts of the town.

Recce had started early with Malcolm and Steve having a run
through the first leg stages prior to the formalities of entry and
scrutineering, finishing off mid-afternoon by which time the rain had
increased considerably with no respite.

A recce of the first stage Navano 1, which was scheduled to run in
the dark through a recycling plant, proved to be treacherous, as was
to be the case on the event itself.

Fourteen stages with just over 80 km were laid on and with liaison a
total of 225 km overall.

With 150 competitors competing in the event by the time Malcolm
and Steve started the event, the rain was so heavy that the wipers
seemed useless and the crew were faced with masses of mud, water
pools and mist. The problems were magnified for Activ8 due to
having incorrect alignment of the auxiliary lights, making visibility

As a result of the poor lighting and treacherous weather conditions
the Impreza decided to argue with a mound of timber mulch, which
resulted in a drop down to 107th overall. A disastrous start to the
final round of the year!

Day 2 – Due to the previous night’s heavy rain, the crew chose to run
on full wets. Although the stages had dried out considerably, they
were deceptively slippery in parts and the wets were used for the
whole event and performed admirably with no deterioration to the
soft compound tyres.

       The crew fared better from stage two and climbed up the results
table to finish 65 o/all. Whilst the overall position was a little
disappointing the Impreza ran faultlessly yet again with the service
crew carrying out checks on tyre pressures and the occasional
spanner checks.

Season Resume

Activ8 Motorsport competed in 5 rounds of the FIRC completing all
with no mechanical problems which reflected on the team’s
commitment, especially considering the very fast nature of the
stages and the built-in “cutting” of corners that takes place (cuts the
full width of the car are not unusual) On one event 5 wheels had to
be replaced as they were beyond repair.

Across the years events the weather varied between 33 degrees heat
to freezing cold also torrential rain, which challenged the crew and

In order to take part, the team covered some 4500 road miles, 350
stage miles 450 recce miles and 5 Channel Crossings, all problem free.

The result for the team’s commitment was an outright class win in

Division M4-B

Result…… Bring on 2019!

The intention of the team is to regroup whilst there are no events
taking place and return to Belgium in 2019 to compete in the FIRC.

Activ8 Motorsport’s provisional itinerary is detailed below:

  • Rally Salamandre (20th – 21st April)
  • Wervick Rally (14th – 15th June)
  • Les Boucles Chevrotines (3rd – 4th August)
  • Hemicuda Rally (19th – 20th October)
  • 6 Uren van Kortrijk (23rd – 24th November)

A very big thank you goes out to every organising club, each and
every marshal and all the enthusiastic spectators who welcome the
teams to the rally’s, especially those that lifted our Impreza out of a
deep ditch!
And last but not least Team Activ8 Motorsport comprising of;
Mick (the hammer) Manson
Phil (blame monkey) Worsley,
Rick (the body) Mindaugas Rickus,
Steve (co-pilot) Santy without who’s skill on the pace notes we would
not have been anywhere near that class win.

Malcolm Mawdsley (driver/ Mr Shouty)

Activ8 Motorsport

FIRC Hemicuda 2018 Report

Activ8 Motorsport’s 4th outing for 2018 was the Hemicuda Rally based in and around the town of Koekelare.  The event was held over the weekend of 20th and 21st October and for the first time in several years the event enjoyed clear warm weather.

The Rally itself was split into three legs, each with 3 very fast stages totalling just under 100km in addition to 150km of road sections.

The Autostal Hemicuda VZW had arranged for service to be held in a large cement factory which was in operation on Saturday morning. We made use of a nearby car park in the morning to complete some final checks on the car before joining the queue to get into the factory grounds. Unsurprisingly the queue was highly competitive with some sneaky and ingenious queue jumping but we managed to get in relatively early and set up in a good spot.

Mal and Steve headed to documentation and then completed a recce leaving Phil and Mick to set up camp. Recce confirmed the speed of the stages and the extensive review of in-car footage provided by the organisers made completing the notes much easier. Scrutineering was a formality, though amusingly it turned out we had yet another form to fill in as we were a foreign crew competing in Belgium. Thankfully there was a really helpful official on hand who expertly filled it in for us after we furnished them with the information required.

The first excitement of the weekend was when the car was placed in Parc Ferme overnight just a short distance from Service. The bag containing Mal’s racing suit had slipped out of the netting and onto the floor which wasn’t noticed when emptying the car after scrutineering. A very nice, but insistent official correctly refused us entry to Parc Ferme until the morning. The time from picking the car up to presenting for the first time check was literally minutes so a crafty plan was hatched for Mal to get changed at the car just before exiting Parc Ferme. Heaven knows what the locals made of a 72yr old man stripping off in a cold car park first thing in the morning! Thankfully Mal and Steve made it to TC1 on time and correctly kitted out.

Starting at car no 75 out of 152 crews, Activ8 quickly got into a good rhythm and set some impressive times for the first leg. The first leg saw just one small mistake with a highspeed lockup prior to a square left which cost a few seconds. However, entering service the team were just outside the top 40 which was excellent.

Even at this stage it was clear that although the roads were dry, many corners required cutting on the inside to get the best line which was spreading dust onto the roads. The result was some entertaining antics by many crews with the unlucky ones crashing and retiring.

On leg two, stage 1 near disaster struck for the team as around 5 minutes into the Kortemark stage Mal “ran out of talent” on a dusty corner. A fast 3 left saw the car head into a ditch and stop abruptly after hitting a object which span the car 90 degrees and almost roll. The car ended up beached with 3 wheels off the ground and would have stayed there but for the ever enthusiastic Belgium spectators. A group of them quickly assembled and practically lifted the Impreza out of the ditch and onto the road.

It immediately became clear there was damage to the steering and the car was handling unpredictably for stage 4 and stage 5 with the times nowhere near as competitive. By the time the crew entered the much needed service the overall position had dropped to 51st.

The initial assessment in service was not good. The drivers front wheel was best described as being at a jaunty angle and the wheel itself was clearly over 30mm further back in the wheel arch than it should be. The damper, bottom suspension joint and roll bar droplink had all been destroyed and the lower wishbone was bent like a banana. Amazingly there was no apparent damage to the chassis and the team had spares for everything apart from the damper. A quick decision was made to replace the destroyed ball joint and drop link which was completed swiftly by Mick and Phil. There was no time to swap the lower wishbone so the wheel was re-aligned by eye and the bodywork pulled out of the way of the tyre. The tracking was set by eye and the crew sent on their way.

Despite best efforts the crew left the service area a little late resulting in road penalties. Although there was no expectation of the car being competitive Mal started putting in reasonably good times again. When the car returned to service at the end of stage 9 the team discovered they had finished a very respectable 40th overall. An amazing result delighting the team and Steve’s family who’d waved the crew out on stage and who provided the team with some really nice cake to celebrate with at the end.. Thanks!!

A very big thank you goes out to the spectators who lifted us out of the ditch and got us under way again, to all the marshals and organising club who put on a brilliant event, to QuestMead for the teabags, to Mick and Phil without whom we wouldn’t get to the events and last but not least to Steven Santy for putting up with an old age pensioner and doing, as always, a brilliant job on the notes.

An update on the work done on the car will follow soon… It took a whole 2 days for the majority of the repairs to be completed!

Bring on Kortrijk


Preparation Update #2: Activ8 Motorsport September 2018

At the end of our last update the car had just been put back together again. To celebrate Mal immediately went on holiday for a week.

Mal is now back and the car has had a few outings around the local roads. The good news is the refurbished gearbox is as smooth as butter and whine which was attributed to worn wheel bearings has disappeared.

Next steps are to do a full geometry alignment in preparation for track day when hopefully the whole of the UK based team can get together.

Then it’s all systems go for the Hemicuda Rally in Belgium late October when again we will team up with our Belgium “ co-pilot “ Steven Santy.

Next update could be the obligatory ferry photo!

Activ8 Motorsport

Preparation Update: Activ8 Motorsport September 2018

The Activ8 Motorsports Team is making good use of the downtime between Les Boucles Chevrotines and the next FIRC event, Hemicuda Rally, at the end of October.

Primary focus has been placed on the drivetrain. All units have been in competition use since purchase of the car in 2016 with no attention other than changing of oils. A full inspection was undertaken and the following work completed..

Gearbox and rear diff: These were removed and sent to MND Motorsport so that Nick and Jim Dixon could strip/ examine and refurbish as required.

Hubs: Both rear hubs have been replaced due to damage and wheel bearing wear. The front off-side hub was also replaced for the same reason

Driveshafts/ prop shaft/ gearbox cradle: These were removed and examined carefully for damage and wear. Fortunately, these were found to be in excellent mechanical condition.

Whilst the car was in bits Mal has given the brakes a full strip-down, clean and replacement. Additionally, to try and make setting the suspension up on the back some new adjustable front lateral arms were fitted to the rear subframe.

As of 9th September, the car is back together, and an initial test drive has been completed. Next steps (after Mal has another holiday) is for a full suspension setup to be undertaken prior to a track day which will act as a shake-down prior to the next event.

Further info as and when.

Activ8 Motorsport