“Hard not to be im­pressed with new BRC”

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

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.

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