Tuesday 24 September 2013

Sykes aiming to be back on track in Yorkshire

Stourbridge rally driver Richard Sykes is aiming to put the misfortune he experienced on his last event behind him when he contests the Trackrod Challenge rally in Yorkshire next weekend, the latest round of the BRC Challenge championship.
Sykes and co-driver Simon Taylor crashed out of the Ulster Challenge rally in dramatic style last month in their Bathams Brewery, Boroughbridge Marina, Silverstone Tyres and G I Sykes Ltd-supported Citrn C2 R2 Max. Injuries sustained in the crash have meant that Taylor is unable to compete with Sykes on the Trackrod.
“Unfortunately Simon received a back injury in the crash so he has been advised not to compete,” said Sykes. “I have drafted in Emma Morrison who co-drove for my championship rival Simon Moore last year. We have competed together before and she is very organised and motivated and no doubt looking forward to a competitive run.”
“It is still mathematically possible for us to retain our BRC Challenge title but we’re relying on other drivers retiring which is unlikely to happen. We’ll be trying our best to win both in Yorkshire and in the final round in Bournemouth though.”
“Our team of Simon Hawthorne and Martin Billings have worked tirelessly repairing the car after Ulster and, with help from Charles Hurst, they’ve done a fantastic job and it looks as good as new.”
“The Yorkshire stages have a lot of long straights which will be a disadvantage for us but I’ll be trying as hard as I can to get the win. We do two night stages on Friday which will be a real challenge and 100% concentration will be needed to get a good result. I won the event in 2007 and 2008 but since then it’s been cruel to us so we need to break that run of bad luck.”
As well as the Friday night stages the BRC Challenge crews will contest three stages in the classic rallying territory of North Yorkshire on Saturday morning.

Monday 23 September 2013

Rodgers aiming to end rally season on a high

Rally driver Tim Rodgers will contest his third and final event of the year next weekend when he contests the Trackrod Challenge rally in Yorkshire.
The event is a round of the BRC Challenge championship and Rodgers is hoping to take on the championship leaders on what is his home event, with the aim being a top three finish.
Rodgers, from Burton upon Stather, was in second place on his last event, the Scottish Challenge rally, in June. Sadly he put his Rally4Real.com Ford Fiesta ST off the road one mile from the end of the event when he had to avoid a crew who had rolled their car and partially blocked the stage.
"The ending of our Scottish Challenge rally was hard to take," said Rodgers. "We had been doing really well, beating all but one of the regular championship crews and we were all set for a brilliant result. There was nothing I could do though, I had a choice of hitting the car that had rolled or trying to avoid it by driving into a ditch at the side of the road. Unfortunately the car hit a log in the ditch and our rally was over."
"I like the Yorkshire stages and I'm confident we will have the pace to be near the top of the leaderboard.  I'll be happy if we can get a top three finish, that will go some way to making up for the disappointment of the Scottish."
The rally starts on Friday evening with two stages in the dark. The crews will do a further three stages on Saturday morning with the event finishing early in the afternoon.

Thursday 19 September 2013

Class podium for Brown on Manx Internatio​nal rally

Rochdale rally driver Steve Brown achieved an excellent result on last week’s Manx International rally when he finished third in class and 25th overall in his Mintex Racing, Fuchs Titan Race, 710 Oil's, PIAA and Sabelt UK-backed Nissan Micra 1300.
The rally started on Thursday night with six stages in atrocious conditions on the Isle of Man’s closed public roads. Heavy rain meant the roads were extremely slippery and the crews were not helped by thick mist on many of the stages. Despite the weather Brown guided the Micra to 4th in class and 39th overall at the overnight halt.
Day two had a punishing schedule of 13 stages including two runs of the hugely popular stage through the centre of Castletown. With conditions much improved from day one Brown put in a strong performance to move up to third in class and 31st overall.
The event concluded with 8 stages on Saturday with the final stage being the very challenging 13 mile “Classic” stage which saw the crews tackle the tricky Druidale road in the mountains before heading down into Douglas and finishing outside the TT grandstand. Brown maintained his third in class position and gained a further 6 places on the overall leaderboard to finish 25th.
“It was my second time competing on the event and once again it was a brilliant rally to be part of,” said Brown.  “The organisation was good and, as ever, the stages were fantastic – a real challenge. At over 190 competitive miles the event was much longer than a usual rally and it’s a great achievement to get to the finish.”
“We suffered a little with a clutch judder at the start of the stages on the Friday and Saturday but once the car got going it was fine. Other than that we had no problems and we completed all 27 stages with no damage to the car.”
“Thanks to all my sponsors whose support was vital in helping me contest the rally, thanks also to the P.A.C.E. team for looking after the car on the event and to Paul Stringer who did a fantastic job navigating me around the stages.”
Brown is now considering returning to the island for the Pokerstars rally in November.

Images from BCCC Myherin

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Monday 9 September 2013

Brown all set for Rally Isle of Man return

Rochdale rally driver Steve Brown will contest the Rally Isle of Man next weekend and he is hoping for a repeat of the brilliant result he achieved on last year’s event.
Brown will be driving the same Mintex Racing, Fuchs Titan Race, 710 Oil's, PIAA and Sabelt UK-backed Nissan Micra 1300 that he took to second in class in 2012.
The Micra has been repaired after an accident on Brown’s last event, the Jim Clark National rally in June. Despite the accident Brown finished second in class.
“I’m really looking forward to the event,” said Brown. “The Isle of Man roads are fantastic for rallying and there’s a brilliant atmosphere with loads of spectators cheering the cars on.”
“We’ll have three days of competition including plenty of stages in the dark which will provide a very tough test.”
“The car has had a fair bit of work since the Jim Clark and it’s feeling great. Thanks to everyone on the team for helping get it ready. Thanks also to Mintex for the new brake pads we’ve fitted, Tom at 710 Oils and Chris at PIAA who has supplied us with a HID lamp unit which will be a great help in the night stages.”
The rally starts from Douglas on Thursday 12th September and the crews face a daunting 192 miles of competition on the island’s closed public roads.
For more information please visit www.facebook.com/stevebrownrallying.

Sunday 8 September 2013

Rally2Raise team enjoy successful Merrick Stages rally

The Rally2Raise team of Aberdeen’s Rachel Clark and Brampton’s Caroline Lodge enjoyed another successful event last weekend when they finished second in class on the GWF Energy Merrick Stages rally.
Heavy rain the day before the rally made the 9 miles of the opening Craignell stage extremely slippery with several of the top drivers having spins. There were no problems for Rachel in her E.Watson and Son, Pirelli, AW Motorsport and McPherson Document Solutions-supported Nissan Micra 1.3 though and she completed the stage fourth in class.

The Dallash stage was next and Rachel maintained her position with another good performance. Following a service halt the crews headed for a pair of stages in Glentrool forest including one that was 13 miles long. With a lot of long straights these stages didn’t suit the Micra which, with around 60bhp, was the lowest powered car in the event. However, Rachel extracted every bit of performance from the car to move up to second in class.
One more stage stood between Rachel and a great result but at 14 miles stage 5 was the longest of the event and it had already claimed several of the cars that were running ahead of the Micra. The crew and car emerged unscathed though and Rachel and Caroline made it to the event finish in Wigtown.

“The stages were absolutely awesome,” said Rachel. “The tracks were very slippery and the weather went from sun to torrential rain and back so conditions were extremely challenging. The little Micra struggled on the long straights, we definitely needed a lot more power there.”
“I tried as much as possible to keep the momentum up – when you slow down it takes a long time to build up speed again in a 1.3. This led to some interesting moments though including bouncing through a ditch at a hairpin in front of a group of spectators. After our gear linkage issues on the last event it was great to have a troublefree rally this time.”

“Thanks to the Marshall family for putting on a brilliant event, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks also to E.Watson and Son, Pirelli, AW Motorsport and McPherson Document Solution for their support and to Clark Motorsport for trailering the car and servicing.”
For more information please visit www.rally2raise.co.uk or www.facebook.com/rally2raise.

Sunday 1 September 2013

Mixed fortunes for Sykes in Ulster Challenge rally

Stourbridge rally driver Richard Sykes had mixed fortunes on last weekend’s double-header BRC Challenge event in Ulster with a podium finish on the first event was followed by a dramatic rally-ending accident on the second.
Sykes and co-driver Simon Taylor went into the weekend looking for two victories to boost their hopes of retaining their BRC Challenge championship crown. A cautious start was made on the opening day, the first stage was very wet and Sykes dropped a few seconds to the leading crew in his Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Silverstone Tyres and Boroughbridge Marina-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max. A long 14 mile stage was next and Sykes used intermediate tyres as it was still wet but this proved to be a mistake as the tyres went off after the halfway point causing more time to be lost.
“Conditions were very wet on stage one,” said Sykes. “We were slightly cautious as, with it being a double-header, we couldn’t risk an accident on the first event.”
“I thought intermediate tyres would be the right choice for stage two but after 8 miles they turned into blancmange which made driving very interesting. At this point we’d dropped to fourth with the championship leader Russ Thompson ahead of us.”
Sykes pushed hard in the remaining stages and with one stage to go he was 7.5 seconds behind Thompson. It was dry enough for Sykes to use soft slick tyres and a storming run through the last stage saw him take 15 seconds out of Thompson to get into third place at the finish.
The team made a decision to go all out for a win on the second event with the car set up aggressively and fitted with hard slick tyres for opening 14 mile Sloughan Glen stage. Sykes was going well but part way through the stage he approached a right hand bend flat out in 5th gear, he changed to 4th but was still doing 90mph as he took the corner which was too quick. The car slid off and hit a bank, coming to an instant stop.
“We went from 90mph to zero immediately, it was probably the biggest impact we’ve ever had. Simon injured his back so could not get out of the car right away but we eventually got him out and laid him down while we used the Rallitrak safety radio to get help.”
“He was stretchered to hospital with a neck brace and back board. After an x-ray and CT scan he was diagnosed with a compound fracture in his L1 vertebrae. After being kept in overnight he was allowed to travel home the next day.”
“The championship is now probably out of reach but we will soldier on and repair the car in time for the Trackrod Challenge rally at the end of September. The damage to the car isn’t too bad, the bank soaked up a lot of the impact. I will need a stand-in co-driver for the Trackrod though as Simon needs 8 weeks off. We’re still third in the championship so we’ll continue to push for a great result.”

Rally2Raise team to return to Merrick Stages rally

The all-female Rally2Raise team will head to Wigtown next weekend to contest the GWF Energy Merrick Stages rally for a second time.

Driver Rachel Clark, from Aberdeen, competed on the event last year and successfully finished after over 40 miles of tough forest stages. This year she will be partnered by Brampton’s Caroline Lodge in the navigator’s seat. The pairing have already completed two events this season with great results on the Scottish rally in Dumfries and the Speyside Stages in Elgin. They will use their usual Nissan Micra 1300 which is supported by E.Watson and Son, Pirelli, AW Motorsport and McPherson Document Solutions.

The team was formed in late 2011 with the aim of using rallying to raise funds and awareness for charities through motorsport. To date they have raised over £3,500 and this year their supported charity is the Nystagmus Network. Nystagmus is a presently incurable eye condition from which Rachel’s son suffers so it is a cause that is very close to her heart. The team are also raising awareness of the Bottle Stop campaign, a project which is seeking to ban glass bottles from town centre pubs following the tragic death of the project founder’s husband in an unprovoked attack with a broken bottle.

“The Rally2Raise project has gone really well,” said Rachel. “I think we’ve done a good job raising awareness of our causes, especially those which are not so well known such as the Nystagmus Network. The rallying community has been incredibly generous in supporting us, I did not expect that we would raise so much in less than two years.”

“I’m really looking forward to the Merrick Stages, I enjoyed it last year and hopefully we will get another good result. The event uses some classic Scottish rallying stages which are a pleasure to compete on. The rally organisers have given us a discounted entry fee which we're extremely grateful for, it's fantastic that they are supporting Rally2Raise again.”

“We’ll have the lowest powered car in the event but that won’t stop us from pushing as hard as we can and trying to beat the crews in more powerful cars.”

As well as competing on the Merrick the team are busy organising a virtual rally to raise funds for the Nystagmus Network. The event will take place on 27th October and entries, costing £5, are available now. All levels of experience are catered for including total beginners and you don’t even have to leave your home to take part! Please visit www.rally2raise.co.uk or www.facebook.com/rally2raise for more information.