Monday 2 October 2017

Currie claims victory in Trackrod Fiesta finale

The DMACK ST Trophy championship reached it’s finale last weekend on Trackrod Rally Yorkshire and it was Tobermory’s Alasdair Currie who ended the season with a win after tying on time with Richard Wells.

Currie and co-driver Steven Brown got their event off to a great start, setting fastest time in the long Langdale stage ahead of 2017 title winner Sam Bilham.

Bilham’s hopes of rounding off his year with another win were dashed in stage two, Staindale, when a misfire caused him to stop for over five minutes: “We had to pull over but we got going again eventually, albeit at reduced pace. We rectified the problem in service but we’d lost too much time so just went out to enjoy ourselves. It’s a slightly disappointing way to end the season but we achieved what we wanted to this year with the championship win, that’s the main thing.”

Currie maintained his leading position in Staindale but it was Richard Wells and Calvin Houldsworth who were quickest in the stage, moving up to second on the Fiesta leaderboard.

Stages in Gale Rigg and Cropton were up next. Currie was fastest in Gale Rigg but only by 0.8 seconds from Wells. With his car back in good health it was Bilham who was quickest in Cropton.

Going into the last stage, in the notoriously tough Dalby forest, it was all to play for as Currie led Wells by just 5.2 seconds. In a very dramatic finish Wells beat Currie by exactly 5.2 seconds which meant that the two crews ended on the same time, Currie being classed as the victor on a tie-break ruling which gave him second overall in the championship and the prize of using a Castrol-backed Fiesta R2 on Wales Rally GB.

“It was a great end to my first year in the woods,” said Currie. “We have chased this result through the season. We struggled a bit early on as we were catching cars and losing time behind them. I’m delighted to get the win and the Rally GB prize drive.”

Despite losing out on the tie-break Wells was pleased with his result: “I really enjoyed the day. We had a steady start in Langdale which meant we had a big challenge to try and overhaul Ally for the rest of the event. We almost got there. The car ran faultlessly all day and I’m pleased I was able to bring the battle right down to the wire.”

Finishing third of the DMACK ST Trophy crews was Jon Ambler and Simon Jones who were challenging for third place on the end of season leaderboard.

“We didn’t push too hard as we were focussed on the championship,” commented Ambler. “In a rough and muddy rally it was nice not to have to take risks. We brought the car home with no issues or moments and it was very satisfying to get third after our retirement on the Nicky Grist Stages. Thanks to the organisers for a really enjoyable championship.”

Tom Easson and Abi Haycock were fourth: “We had a good run, we started strong but the second stage was a bit messy. I built confidence throughout the event and the times were improving. I made a couple of mistakes in Dalby which cost us some time but I still finished well which I’m happy with.”

After his problems in stage two Bilham finished in fifth place with the other Fiesta entrant, Martin Laverty, having to retire following a troublesome day which included power steering issues and an overheating engine.

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Successful rally return for Becky

Eastoft rally driver Becky Kirvan-Rodgers made a successful return to competition on last weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, finishing sixth in class on her first event for almost six years.Other than a quick test session the week before Becky had not driven her APD Communications-supported Ford Fiesta ST since Wales Rally GB in 2011 and there was no chance to gently get used to driving on gravel again with the opening test being the long Langdale stage, the same place she rolled her car last time she competed on the event.

Fortunately there were no such dramas this time and Becky and co-driver Chris Ridge emerged unscathed although the car was having gearbox problems, jumping out of first and second gear which caused them to lose time. The problems continued in stage two, Staindale, before the crew headed to service.

“I was a bit nervous at the start,” said Becky. “Our pre-event test went well but actually competing is a different matter. I’d have preferred a nice easy short stage to start with but we were straight into Langdale. I enjoyed it though and managed to get into a good rhythm.”

“The gearbox problem was frustrating, there are a lot of first and second gear corners in Yorkshire forests so it was far from ideal. Our service crew did their best to fix the issue in service but it couldn’t be sorted without taking the box out of the car and we only had a 30 minute service halt, so we had no choice but to carry on and work around it.”

After service the crews headed west for stages in Gale Rigg and Cropton forests before a final stage in Dalby.

“Gale Rigg and Cropton went well although the gearbox problem got worse which hampered our pace. Dalby had been used by the historic cars the night before and it was very muddy and slippery. We nearly went off on one corner but I kept my foot down and managed to get some grip which pulled us round.”

“It felt great to get to the finish, especially after my last outing on Trackrod rally ended with me upside down off the road. The stages were a huge challenge with the road surface changing very quickly from one straight to the next, but I really enjoyed the event and I’ve definitely got the bug back. Hopefully I’ll be able to do more events next year. Thanks to Chris and all of the Becky Kirvan Rallying team and thank you too to APD Communications, without whom I would not have been able to do the event.”

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