Dunbar racing driver Stevie Irwin is leading the way in a coveted championship.

Irwin currently sits top of the pile in the North of England Tarmac Rally Championship, after the opening two rounds, but will have to wait until April for a return to action.

The first meet of the new season took place just after Christmas, in North Yorkshire.

The Christmas Stages saw 40-year-old Irwin joined in his Vauxhaull Nova by another Dunbar resident, Colin 'Beany' Smith, as co-driver.

The pair enjoyed a "good steady day", according to Irwin, and finished the event in 22nd place overall, and third in their class (class 2).

And Irwin took part in the second round, the Jack Frost Stages, earlier this month.

He was this time joined by Burnley's Neil Bye as his co-driver, and the pair made a good start, despite the freezing conditions, as they set the 13th fastest time on the first stage.

An impressive display saw the duo claim class victory by more than a minute, which was good enough for a 24th place finish overall.

And Irwin explained a technicality has allowed him to top the leaderboard.

He told Courier Sport: "I played my joker on the Jack Frost which gave my double points, so I'm leading the championship so far.

"There's still a long way to go, though!"

And the 40-year-old, of Wilson Place, will miss the next round in Blackpool next month, but will make his return at the DCC Stages at Ingliston in the Capital on April 5.

Irwin, meanwhile, plans to travel to Mull later this year to take part in a "unique" rally.

He added: "We are booked to go back to compete on the Mull Rally in October, which, although it isn't a championship round, is a must do event for us ,due to the unique nature of the roads and the size of the event.

"Last year they ran with a full entry of 150 cars, running into the night on Friday and Saturday.

"We competed last year, but unfortunately the event was stopped after the first leg due to a fatality."

For race information and results, visit www.nerallychamp.com.