Saturday, 22 August 2020

M-Sport Return to Rally

It was a rather damp return. It was indeed a very wet day, interspersed with dry showers, but it failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the crews, marshals and officials, although one had to feel sorry for the service crews sprachlin’ about under the cars in the puddles.

It was more of a celebration than a competition, although there had to be a winner, and that just happened to be a chap called Wilson. Matthew that is. At the finish one chancer approached him and said he couldn’t win because a handicap had to be applied. When he asked why, he was told it was because his name was Wilson and he knew the forest roads intimately.

At that point co-driver Stuart Loudon butted in: “No, that can’t be right. I was his handicap today.” To which Matthew nodded and replied: “He was just in there for ballast.”

That just summed up the nature of the event and the prevailing atmosphere which surrounded the whole affair. Just pure dead brilliant, so it was.

Rhys Yates eventually grabbed second after a fraught time swapping times all day with Adrien Fourmax with just 7 seconds separating the duo at close of play. Rhys had no issues during the rally saying: “It’s just good to get back” while Adrien was trying some new engine and gearbox components so it proved to be a worthwhile test session.

Racing refugee Frank Bird was 4th and just glad to be behind the wheel of a rally car again despite the fact that the Sports, GT & Endurance racing scene is actually back in action.

Sam Moffett rounded off the top six, helped by brother Josh’s problems. A spark plug blew out of the block on the first stage taking the thread with it, although Josh continued after lengthy repairs were completed between Stages 1 and 2 of the 6 Stage event.

Top Scot was Rory Young in 12th place overall while Finlay Retson won his class and finished an impressive 23rd overall in such high powered company.

But the real winner today was the sport of rallying, although the news that the Forestry Commission had intimated that forest rallying wouldn’t resume until ‘the Spring’ of next year did cause dismay, with Malcolm adding: “We might just have to run another one of these!

Provisional leaderboard:

1, Matthew Wilson, 35mins 46secs

2, Rhys Yates, 36.22

3, Adrien Fourmax, 36.29

4, Frank Bird, 36.59

5, Hugh Hunter, 37.23

6, Sam Moffett, 37.25

7, Cathan McCourt, 37.26

8, Charles Payne, 37.34

9, Joseph McGonigle, 37.36

10, Tom Williams, 37.52

A more detailed report will follow tomorrow (Sunday).

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