Carr en­ters Som­er­set Stages and misses Cir­cuit of Ire­land

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - Pho­tos: Jucy Rally Pho­tog­ra­phy, Jakob Ebrey

Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship ju­niors Nick Carr and Joe Sturdy will com­pete on next month’s Som­er­set Stages in the BTRDA in prepa­ra­tion for the BRC’S next gravel round.

The reign­ing BTRDA Rally First cham­pi­ons will com­pete with one eye on im­prov­ing the set-up of their Ford Fi­esta R2 be­fore the Pirelli Carlisle Rally start­ing on April 30.

“We have a free en­try for the Som­er­set from win­ning the BTRDA last year so that’s the main rea­son [we’re com­pet­ing],” ex­plained Carr, who has pulled their en­try to the Cir­cuit of Ire­land for fi­nan­cial rea­sons. “Also with all the short stages we can try dif­fer­ent set-ups in prepa­ra­tion for the Pirelli.”

The Fi­esta pair had a trou­bled run on the Bri­tish cham­pi­onship opener in Mid Wales ear­lier this month. In­ter­com is­sues led to a trip into a bank, which ripped a tyre off the rim. A bro­ken shaft on stage five put them out for good.

B ‘OGOF’ is such an ex­pres­sive word, great feel to it. It’s maybe not in the Od­hams Con­cise English dic­tio­nary, but surely ev­ery­one knows what it means ‘Buy One Get One Free!’ For some rea­son bo­gof sprang to mind last week when check­ing out the stages for the forth­com­ing Cir­cuit of Kerry Rally.

The roads were bril­liant, en­com­pass­ing the route of some of the old Cir­cuits of Ire­land. We did see a wee lorry loaded to the gun­nels with peat at the road­side. There was a ‘For Sale’ sign on the rather opaque wind­screen of the lorry. The idea seemed to be that if you bought the lorry, the peat was thrown in. Or maybe it was the other way round. Sounded like some ‘bo­gof’ deal though.

Fol­low­ing the aw­ful win­ter, with months of rain, last week the sun-soaked fields had a golden sheen. Mouth wa­ter­ing rally con­di­tions!

It was rem­i­nis­cent of many happy Easter week­ends on the Cir­cuit of Ire­land, with mile af­ter mile of the most fab­u­lous Tar­mac roads.

We were also on this year’s Cir­cuit stages later in the week – Orra Lodge, Glen­dun, Cairn­cas­tle, Hamil­ton’s Folly to name a few. All stages steeped in rally his­tory. Over ‘Fisher’s Jump’ on Hamil­ton’s Folly, for an in­stant thoughts turned to the late Ber­tie and the new Fer­gus Mcanallen book, King Fisher.

This year’s event is again a counter in the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship, as it was last year. Of course the Cir­cuit was a Euro­pean event years ago when it also at­tracted some great driv­ers from far afield. It was a dif­fer­ent rally then, with 60 spe­cial stages over five days, around 600 com­pet­i­tive miles in a 1200-mile route. Those days are gone of course, never to re­turn. On one of those ral­lies years ago Markku Alen was com­pet­ing for the fac­tory Fiat/lan­cia team. Ev­ery Ir­ish man or woman is proud of the rally.

This year there is not much sign of a deal ei­ther, for the home driv­ers any­way. Some­one like Keith Cronin, lead­ing the Clon­akilty Black­pud­ding Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship points ta­ble fol­low­ing two max­i­mum scores, is in a con­stant bat­tle to source the funds to com­pete at all. He will have to pay 3000 euros to reg­is­ter for the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship to get both a de­cent seed­ing and a bit of Eurosport TV cov­er­age. Of course there is a sub­stan­tial prize fund, which may lessen the pain. Sam and Josh Mof­fett are se­cond and third in the points, so they will have to fork out as well. I won­der if they could get a bo­goff deal? Prob­a­bly not.

Still, it looks as if it will be a bril­liant rally, with the most var­ied and tal­ented en­try seen here for many a long day. In­deed the rally is in a way the vic­tim of its own suc­cess. The en­try is so over­sub­scribed that many driv­ers will not get a run. The rally is not at Easter, a fact that some non-rally peo­ple don’t seem to be cottoning on to just yet. It is two weeks af­ter Easter.

Bang goes an­other fam­ily tra­di­tion – if it’s Easter it’s Cir­cuit time. But then it’s a bit like the 60 stages and the 600 com­pet­i­tive miles over one long week­end – time rolls on.

In nearly four decades of rac­ing, Mike Jor­dan has been through the highs and lows of the sport. But Satur­day’s re­tire­ment from the Alan Mann Tro­phy de­liv­ered a bit­ter dis­ap­point­ment.

An oiled plug in qual­i­fy­ing left Philip Walker’s Ford GT40 only 14th on the grid. How­ever, the early laps were Jor­dan Sr at his very best, ris­ing into the top three in­side five laps.

Af­ter a bat­tle with leader Rob Hall, Jor­dan elected to wind back and shadow Hall, know­ing that he would stop early and hand the car to his son An­drew.

With 10 laps to run, it had all fallen into place and then a rear wheel bear­ing failed and a clear run to fa­mous vic­tory was gone.

Carr/strudy: night­mare BRC start

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