Carr enters Somerset Stages and misses Circuit of Ireland
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.