East Boldon based rally driver Simon Moore returned to competition after a break of nearly four years last Saturday (20th March) to take a class win on the Border Counties rally.
Moore, who was the 205 Scholarship champion in 2004 and 2005, used the event as a test for the newly built Renault Clio in which he will contest the British Rally Championship (BRC) Challenge and Clio Challenge championships this year.
With a broken differential suffered while testing the weekend before the rally and new suspension not arriving until the day before the rally Moore and co-driver Emma Morrison were lucky to make it to the Jedburgh based event.
The rally opened with the Hyndlee stage and Moore made a steady start, completing the stage in 43rd place. As he got used to the Clio the pace increased and by the end of stage three he was up to 35th overall and first in class.
"After the last minute problems with the car it was a relief to get to the rally start," said Moore.
"We took it easy on the opening stage, with a new car, new co-driver and a ring-rusty driver we didn’t want to have an early retirement!"
"We had good runs in stages two and three though and we were pleased to find that we were leading the class."
Stage 4, Redesdale, saw Moore suffer his only problem of the day, a puncture costing some time. A good clear run through the final Wauchope stage moved Moore and Morrison up the leaderboard to 29th overall at the rally finish which, combined with their class win, was a brilliant debut result.
"I’m delighted with getting to the finish and winning our class. The car has taken me six months to build from a standard road going Clio and today has made all the effort worthwhile."
"We’ll be out again in the car again next weekend so there’s going to be a few late nights preparing the car this week I think!"
Moore and Morrison will contest the Bulldog Rally in Wales next weekend (27th March) which is the opening round of both the BRC Challenge and the single make Clio Challenge.