Burton Pidsea’s Chris Peart had a productive weekend on the Isle of Man when he took second place on each of the two Isle of Man Challenge rally rounds he contested in his Vauxhall Corsa S1600.
After a very disappointing last round when the car engine blew before the rally start Peart and co-driver Jamie Forrest were keen to get their championship challenge back on track on the island.
The first event consisted of nine stages on the tricky stages which were held on closed public roads. The opening stage saw the crews start from a foggy TT Grandstand in Douglas for a short blast along part of the TT course. Peart’s event got off to a great start when he set fastest time on the stage.
Three longer stages followed and Peart showed consistent pace in very changeable conditions to hold second placed behind local driver Kevin Vondy after the Corlea stage.
“I was delighted to be lying in second after the early stages,” said Peart. “The weather conditions made driving difficult but we had a troublefree run through all the stages.”
At over 17 miles stage 6, Ballanank, was the longest of the first event and with a mix of fast wide roads and tight and bumpy lanes it was a big challenge for the crews. Peart maintained his quick pace to stay in second place. A third and second quickest time followed on the next stages with Peart ending the event on a high by taking quickest time on the famous Tholt-y-Will stage although the time was not enough to overhaul the event winner.
“Second was a brilliant result, I was very happy with that. We had a good steady run and the car was faultless.”
The second Challenge event saw the crews compete over eight stages. Conditions were again changeable although as the day progressed the mist and rain became worse, making driving at speed very hazardous. Peart was again on the pace and by the end of stage four he was leading the event.
“The rain got very heavy in some of the stages and the tarmac was extremely slippery, we also had to contend with thick mist. To be in the lead in those conditions was very pleasing.”
Second place on the fifth stage saw Peart drop to second on the leaderboard. His clean run continued until the eighth stage when a wheel was damaged on the Peart Auto Services supported Corsa but despite this he kept his second place. The wheel was changed prior to the ninth and final stage which would see the crews tackle the notoriously difficult Druidale road in the mountains before dropping down into Douglas to a finish back at the TT Grandstand.
Despite being over a minute behind the leader Peart pushed very hard on the last stage and, despite a faulty intercom, he stormed to quickest fastest time taking 56 seconds off the leader but it wasn’t quite enough to take the win.
“After our disastrous Jim Clark rally our aim for the two events was to collect a good haul of points for the championship and it’s great that we have achieved that.”
“The last stage was fantastic, the Druidale section was very tough and then the run down past Injebreck was extremely slippery, it was a fantastic way to end the event.”
Peart now lies in second place in the BRC Challenge and he will contest his final event of the championship, the Trackrod Challenge rally, in late September.