“Hard not to be impressed with new BRC”
For once I could genuinely empathise with Elfyn. Stage three, he gets a puncture. Stage four, I get a puncture. Kielder catches us both. For me, it was the graded section near the end of Pundershaw. For him, the roughness of Roughside.
The penalty for us varied: Evans’ deflation – caused by an unavoidable rock that damaged both wheel and tyre – cost him a second BRC win from three starts.
Mine cost me about 15 minutes and a run back to Carlisle on a space-saver. Fortunately, hundreds of miles down the M6 at 50mph were avoided courtesy of DMACK. My borrowed (and brilliant) Volkswagen Golf Match was given the once over by CA1 Sport before we opted for a crossed winter-summer tyre strategy for the journey south. Winters were all DMACK British Rally Team manager Glenn Patterson had in the back of the van. I was only too grateful. And if it snowed on the Shap, at least one wheel would haul us up and over.
Last weekend was my first taste of the new, reborn British Rally Championship. It was hard not to be impressed with the work of Iain Campbell and his team. Talking to crews up and down the service park, only the odd gripe got in the way of general positivity. The exception was Campbell, who has thrown himself headlong into his dream of working in the sport he loves and was rightly and roundly praised.
I watched near the end of stages two and four, tagging along with former BTRDA Gold Star champion Martin Meadows and his Formula 1000 superstar son Tommi. It was fascinating to listen to Martin’s analysis of the wide variety of lines on offer; far greater than my offering of: “He braked a bit early there…”
Keen to get into the remote service, I’d seen enough post top-10 and was ready to make a move. Tommi was having none of it. He wanted to see some of his mates who’d graduated to big time junior rallying – the Junior BRC.
I’m glad we stayed. I was hugely impressed with the commitment on offer and the closeness of the fight: less than a second splitting Sindre Furuseth, Rob Duggan and Gus Greensmith on the first. Mattias Adielsson was just 1.4s down on Furuseth in SS2 and he dropped that time right in front of us with the mother and father of all slides. Right-rear flirting with the ditch, he put right hand down and kept the throttle pinned. It pulled through and he cracked on. Awesome stuff.
The big let down (apart from my puncture) last weekend was the beating of bogey times. That simply wasn’t good enough at the highest level of British rallying.
Ending on a positive: how good was Matthew Wilson! Hands up who wants to see him back out on a more regular basis. Count ’em Mr W senior… it’s everybody.