Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Sykes takes class podium on rally return

Stourbridge rally driver Richard Sykes made a successful return to competition last weekend when he finished second in class and 19th overall on the Nicky Grist Stages event in Wales.

Sykes' day didn't get off to the best of starts when his Bathams Breweries, G I Sykes Ltd and Body Clinic-supported Citro├źn DS3 R3 dropped onto three cylinders at the start of the first stage. Despite an under-performing car, Sykes was fifth in class on the opening Crychan stage and fourth on stage two, Halfway.

"We had the best preparation for a long time ahead of this event," said Sykes. "We had a 40 mile test of the car and we did a lot of work getting it ready after our retirement on Wales Rally GB last year. However, as the countdown for the start of Crychan started, the engine went on to three cylinders so, despite the team fixing the issue in auxiliary service, our hopes of getting a class win were dashed immediately."

Sykes and co-driver Janice Moore's troubles weren't over however as an electrical gremlin affected the car on the remaining stages. Sykes continued to push as hard as he could though and he was rewarded with a second in class finish.

"The electrical problem meant that the car would not run correctly when accelerating hard so we were particularly affected on stage starts and coming out of the corners. We didn't get the class win that we wanted but second is a great result under the circumstances and we had a really enjoyable day. Our time on the second running of the first stage was 30 seconds faster so that shows what sort of time we were losing."

"Service and Sport were supplying us with their latest medium compound MRF tyres which suited the rough conditions very well and, when the car was higher up the speed range, they performed very well . My shoulder stood up to the job and Janice did a great job guiding us through the classic stages used on the event."

Image courtesy JMS Photographic