Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Puncture robs Sykes of Scottish Challenge rally podium

Stourbridge’s Richard Sykes was denied a podium finish on last weekend’s Scottish Challenge rally when a puncture whilst in second place dropped him down the leaderboard.
After a disappointing Jim Clark Challenge rally Sykes was keen for a good result in his Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Silverstone Tyres and Boroughbridge Marina-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max.
The rally started with a loop of three stages, two in the forests near Ae and one at the Heathhall spectator stage near Dumfries. Sykes was on the pace immediately and lay in second place overall after the third stage.
The crews returned to Ae for stages four and five. Stage four went well and Sykes maintained his second place. Disaster struck on stage five though when, four miles in to the 14 mile-long stage Sykes fell victim to the sharp rocks and stones on the road and punctured a front tyre. With 10 miles still to go he had to stop and change the wheel which cost three minutes, dropping him to 9th place.
“We had a very good start to the event, we couldn’t keep up with the torquey Clio of Russ Thompson but I was pleased with second place,” said Sykes. “Sadly the puncture meant we plummeted down the leaderboard but we had no option but to change it in such a long stage. Usually it'd take less than two minutes but a problem with the nut gun meant that it took three.”
With three stages to go Sykes pushed hard to try and regain some positions and by the event finish he was up to 6th place and second in class.
“It’s another disappointing result but 6th is better than 9th and we’re still third in the BRC Challenge championship so all is not lost. The next event is a double-header on the tarmac roads of Ulster which should suit our car. We have to go all out for two wins to keep alive our hopes of retaining the title.”
The Ulster Challenge events take place on 23rd and 24th August.