Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sykes set for forest rally return in Yorkshire

Stourbridge rally driver Richard Sykes will make his return to forest rallying next weekend when he contests the Kall Kwik rally in Yorkshire.

Sykes has had a quiet rallying year in 2011 with his events restricted to two outings in the BRC Challenge championship. He led both events and finished a very close second on the Jim Clark Challenge rally.

“Rallying has taken a back seat this year as I got married and had a six-week long honeymoon at the rugby world cup in New Zealand,” commented Sykes. “I enjoyed the two BRC Challenge events I did though and the competition was very close.”

“I’m aiming to do a full BRC Challenge season next year and I’ll be going all out to win the championship. The first two rounds are in the forests and as it’s been over a year since I competed on gravel I have decided to enter the Kall Kwik to get back into the swing of it.”

Sykes will use his usual Citro├źn C2 R2 Max with support from G I Sykes, Boroughbridge Marina, Silverstone Tyres and Bathams Brewery. Simon Taylor will be on co-driving duties.

“I’m delighted to have Bathams Brewery to add to my other sponsors, their support is vital if we’re going to push for the BRC Challenge title next year.”

“The Kall Kwik will provide us with a tough test as it uses some of the very challenging Yorkshire forest stages such as Dalby and Langdale. There’s the added ingredient of doing some of the stages in the dark too. I can’t wait to get to the start line of stage one.”

The rally will start at Duncombe Park near Helmsley on Friday night with two stages before a further six stages on Saturday.

Wright ends rally season on a high with Grizedale win

Bentham rally driver David Wright enjoyed a brilliant end to his rally season last weekend with a dominant win on the Grizedale Stages in Cumbria.

The event started on Saturday evening with a stage in the dark. Despite the very testing wet and misty conditions Wright stormed through the stage faster than any other crew in his Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, York Brewery and Grove Hill Garage-supported GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9.

“We went really well on the first stage, conditions were pretty tough but we knew that a good performance could give us a decent lead to take into the daylight stages,” said Wright. “I was very pleased to be 12 seconds faster than anyone else.”

The crews contested a further six stages on Sunday with the bulk of the action taking place in Grizedale forest. Wright continued his charge with fastest time on the first two stages of the day to extend his lead to 54 seconds.

Despite the good lead Wright pushed hard on the remaining four stages and was rewarded with second-fastest times on each of the tests, only beaten by a more powerful world rally class car. He arrived at the finish in Coniston with a lead of 1m 38 over the second-placed crew.

“Day two started with a fairly long stage and we wanted to be quick out of the blocks to drive home the advantage we had from stage one. Once we had built up a healthy lead it was tempting to back-off a bit but we decided to push as hard as we could while not taking any risks. I’m delighted with the win, we’ve had a mixed season this year so it’s brilliant to finish off with a victory.”

“Thanks to all my sponsors who made the win possible and also to GPM for the car. I can’t wait for the 2012 season to start!”

With his rally season finished Wright will now concentrate on building a new car which he hopes to use on some tarmac rallies next year. He will also contest selected forest events in his usual Evo 9.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Wright ready for season-ending Grizedale test

Rally driver David Wright will end his season next weekend when he contests the Grizedale Stages event in Cumbria.

Bentham-based Wright narrowly missed out on winning his BTRDA class championship on his last event in North Wales so he is hoping for a successful run to finish off his year in his Kumho Tyres, Drenth, Proflex, Grove Hill Garage and York Brewery-supported GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9.

“It was very disappointing to lose out on the class championship when we had a problem with the car on the previous rally,” commented Wright.

“We’ll be pushing hard to get a good result in Grizedale, it’s a forest I like competing in and we’ve set some good times in there before.”

The rally starts in Coniston and features a stage on Saturday night before six more stages on Sunday which will test the crews to the maximum.

“Grizedale forest is notoriously tough to compete in and running a stage in the dark is going to present a real challenge, I’m looking forward to it.”

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Images from Wales Rally GB


Please click here to view the images.

Becky battles to world rally championship success

Rally driver Becky Kirvan ended her 2011 season in style last weekend when she successfully completed Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB. The four-day event proved to be a very tough test with several of the world championship’s leading crews failing to reach the end but Becky and co-driver Will Rogers battled through to finish in 39th place and first in class.

Day one of the rally took place in North Wales with the first two stages being a blast around the Great Orme tarmac toll road near Llandudno. Although this was a short stage it was very tricky with lots of twists and turns and unforgiving kerbs. With the brakes on her Cristal Global-backed Ford Fiesta not feeling quite right part way through the test Becky drove cautiously to make sure she got to the end of the Orme stages.

The crews then headed to Clocaenog for a long forest stage in the dark. Fog made visibility difficult but, after adjusting the brake bias, Becky had no problems and returned to Llandudno for the overnight halt in 51st place.

“I was pretty tense before the start of the Orme so it was good to finally get going after all the preparation work for the rally”, said Becky. “Other than the brake issue we had a troublefree run through the stages. The darkness and fog in Clocaenog was very challenging and I was pleased to emerge unscathed.”

Eight stages in Dyfi and Dyfnant forests greeted the crews on day two. Conditions worsened through the day with heavy rain and mist making driving hazardous and, with running near the back of the field, Becky faced the added challenge of a very cut-up road surface.

“The conditions in the later stages on day two were the worst I have ever competed in. It was impossible to see where the track went due to the thick fog and on top of that we had heavy rain and the darkness to contend with so we slowed right down as we did not want to risk crashing out. There were cars off all over the place and we did not want to join them!”

Blue sky and sunshine replaced the previous days rain and mist for day three with six stages scheduled including two runs of the spectator-packed Sweet Lamb. The first stage of the day was in Hafren forest and, at over 20 miles long, it was the longest of the event. Becky’s only problem was getting caught up by a foreign crew in a faster car. Despite indicating that she was pulling over to let them past, the driver behind drove into the rear of the Fiesta causing damage to the bumper. The rest of the day went well although a puncture in the second Sweet Lamb stage resulted in a large time loss. Despite this Becky ended the third day in 46th place.

“The third day could not have been more different in terms of the weather, visibility was good and it was a pleasure to drive the stages. In particular the stretch of stage through the wind turbines in Myherin was brilliant. I also enjoyed the first run of Sweet Lamb so I was disappointed to have to limp through on the second run of the stage due to our puncture. I could not understand why the crew drove into the back of us in Hafren, I indicated to pull over as soon as they appeared in my mirrors so I think causing damage to my car was completely unnecessary and something I have never encountered with any British drivers.”

“After service in Builth Wells at the end of the day all the cars and crews travelled to Cardiff where we drove down a crowd-lined street to the overnight halt, the atmosphere was brilliant!”

The fourth and final day took place on and around the Epynt military ranges near Llandovery. The opening two stages, Halfway and Crychan, both mixed tarmac sections with the more usual gravel forest tracks. Becky had a couple of spins on the tarmac as it had been made extremely slippery by the cars running ahead of her. One spin resulted in her needing the spectators to help extract her from a ditch, luckily there was no shortage of spectators on this rally! Other than that she had a clear run through the stages and moved up to 39th place by the end of the event which was rounded off with a ceremonial finish in the grounds of Cardiff castle.

“I am thrilled to have got a finish on a world championship event, it’s the perfect end to what has been a great rally season, I would never have thought at the start of the year that I’d be BRC Challenge Ladies Champion and a WRC class winner! It was a real challenge for me, the rally was a lot longer than any other I’ve done so I'm delighted to have made it to the finish ramp. I’d like to thank Cristal Global for their support which enabled me to do the event and all the Rally4Real team who worked very hard both before and during the rally on the car. Thanks also to Will for co-driving, he did a great job. I shall be doing all I can to try to find a budget to enable me to return to the event next year!”

After her successful season Becky is now concentrating on securing support to compete in 2012 when she hopes to contest the British Rally Championship. Please visit www.beckykirvan.co.uk or www.facebook.com/beckykirvanrallying for all the latest news and photographs.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Cristofaro gets a taste of 2012 dream with Skoda shakedown

Milford Haven rally driver Nick Cristofaro last week enjoyed his first experience of the car that he hopes to compete in next year when he tested TEG Sport’s new Skoda Fabia R2.

Cristofaro, 18, travelled to TEG Sport’s Lancashire base from his South Wales home to help finish the preparation work on the two cars that TEG have had delivered.

Once that was complete the team headed to a race track in Cumbria for the first tarmac test of the car which will be campaigned in next year’s British Rally Championship.

Cristofaro and fellow teenage driver Arron Newby took on the driving duties, successfully completing around 50 miles on the twisty circuit.

“I was extremely excited and had a few sleepless nights when I was asked to test the Skoda,” commented Cristofaro. “I could not believe how the car looked, it was like a mini-World Rally Car. Skoda Motorsport have obviously put a lot of thought into the design and build of the car.”

“We started the test by running in all the components as the car was fresh out of the box. It was an absolute pleasure to drive and no matter how hard I pushed the car would grip. The flat-shift sequential gearbox was outstanding and it added to the excitement of driving the car.”

After narrowly missing out on winning the Fiesta ST championship this year when his car suffered mechanical problems on the final round Cristofaro is hoping to use a Fabia in the British Rally Championship in 2012 but he needs to find funds to support the drive.

“The test has made me even more determined to get the funding together to compete in the Fabia next year. With this car and the TEG Sport team I think I can get some seriously good results. I hope there is someone out there who noticed my performances in an outdated car last year who will help me achieve my goals in motorsport.”

Please visit www.nickcristofaro.co.uk for more information on Cristofaro’s rallying or join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/nickcristofarorallying.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Becky ready for her toughest rally challenge ever

Rally driver Becky Kirvan will start her toughest ever rally challenge next week when she takes part in Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB.

Becky has had a very busy time since her last event in September as her Ford Fiesta ST car has had to be rebuilt following an accident when the brakes failed. After many hours hard work by the Rally4Real team the car is now ready for action again.

"The car was pretty badly damaged in the crash," said Becky. "It needed a new section of roll cage, a new roof, door, door pillar and wing and several other parts. The gearbox has also been rebuilt to ensure it was in perfect working order for the challenging event ahead."

With usual co-driver Kaz Watts ruled out of the event due to a neck injury Becky will have Will Rogers on the pacenotes. It will be the first time the pairing has competed together so the plan is to treat the first stages cautiously.

"I’ve not driven competitively since the accident and there has been no time to do any testing. With the four days of competition on Rally GB and the notorious treacherous conditions that this rally has, I do not want to risk an accident early on so I’ll take my time to get used to Will and to driving at speed again."

Becky has attracted a new sponsor for the event, Cristal Global. Cristal Global, who have a plant in Stallingborough, employs nearly 4,000 people on five continents and they are the second largest titanium dioxide producer in the world, the largest producer of merchant titanium chemicals and the leading manufacturer of speciality titanium products.

"Without the support of Cristal Global it would be impossible for me to do the event so I am extremely grateful to them. It was a dream for me to compete on a World Championship event and Cristal Global have made that dream come true. It’s going to be a real challenge for me and the team as it is by far the longest and toughest event I have competed on but I cannot wait to get to the start!"

The rally starts in Llandudno on Thursday 10 November and from there the crews will head south to compete in some of the most famous forest rally stages in Wales, including Clocaenog, Dyfi and Crychan. The successful crews will finish in Cardiff on Sunday.

Please visit www.beckykirvan.co.uk or www.facebook.com/BeckyKirvanRallying to find out more about Becky’s rallying. Phone reception permitting live updates from the event will be posted on the Facebook page.