Monday, 27 February 2012
Driving his Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Boroughbridge Marina and Silverstone Tyres-backed Citroën C2 R2 Max Sykes and co-driver Simon Taylor were immediately on the pace with second quickest time on the opening Gore Heath test.
Their pace continued through the days ten stages, consistently setting top three times before finishing the event with a stunning fastest time in the final Uddens stage.
“I had a really good weekend, the car never missed a beat, it was the best it’s ever been,” said Sykes. “All the hard work that we’ve done making the car fast and reliable seems to be paying off.”
“I knew that competition would be tough at the top of the leaderboard so I was flat out right from the start. I’m delighted that we set top three times pretty much all of the event and it was fantastic to end the event with a fastest time, that really sets us up for the next round.”
“I drove my heart out and didn’t back off all day so I’m pleased to have got a good result to get our season off to a cracking start.”
“It was a brilliant event, the organisers put on a great show with the ceremonial start in Poole town centre, it was good to see so many people down there to watch the cars.”
Sykes will next be in action on round two of the BRC Challenge which will take place at the Bulldog Challenge rally in mid-Wales on March 24th.
Sunday, 26 February 2012
In treacherous conditions Wright, from Bentham, survived numerous spins in his Kumho, Proflex, Drenth, Grove Hill Garage and York Brewery-backed Mitsubishi Evo 9 before having to stop when a puncture caused damage to the suspension.
The Malcolm Wilson rally is Wright’s local event and he usually goes well on it. The event uses the famous Grizedale forest where Wright took a victory on last year’s Grizedale Stages rally.
“I really need to get a decent haul of points next weekend after failing to finish the first event,” said Wright. “The event uses some of my favourite stages in the country, I especially like Grizedale – it’s a place where you can gain a large amount of time if you push hard and have a good run.”
“Hopefully conditions will be better than they were for round one, it wasn’t much fun driving on sheet ice, we span five times on one stage, there was just no grip at all.”
“The rally has attracted a top quality entry so I’m going to have to be flat out from the start to try and get up to the top end of the leaderboard.”
The rally starts on Saturday morning from Cockermouth and the crews will battle over seven stages in Whinlatter, Greystoke, Grizedale and Wythop forests.
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
The Highland Car Club-organised event was the opening round of the Scottish Rally Championship and the club agreed to let Rally2Raise project founder Rachel Medich drive as course car on one of the rally stages.
Rachel, from near Aberdeen, is usually found in the co-driver’s seat and the Snowman was her first experience of driving a rally car in the forest. Despite the forest track being extremely slippery Rachel and co-driver Marieanne Gray kept the car on the road and made three good runs of the stage.
"I loved every second of the driving practice I got, it was great fun," said Rachel. "A huge thank you to Highland Car Club and all the marshals, officials, rescue, doctors, recovery and radio crews for allowing us to get out and raise vital funds and awareness for our causes."
"A big thank you to Marieanne also for keeping me right on the stage, we had one moment where we nearly left the road as it was extremely slippy but fortunately we did not crash."
As well as driving the stage Rachel and Marieanne had a bucket collection at the event which raised £191.99 for the four Rally2Raise causes: the Nystagmus Network, Cancer Research UK, the MS Society and the Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation.
"The people at the rally were very generous, I’m delighted to have raised so much with our buckets, thank you very much to everyone who contributed."
The team will next be out on the Saltire Classic Rally on March 4th. They will be running the Micra ahead of a field of classic cars on a route which takes in some beautiful countryside around Pitlochry. Please visit www.rally2raise.co.uk or www.facebook.com/rally2raise for more information on the project. Donations can be made online via uk.virginmoneygiving.com/rally2raise.
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Sykes will make a full return to rallying this year after a quiet 2011 which saw him compete on two BRC Challenge events, both of which he led, as well as the end of year Kall Kwik rally.
"Rallying took a back seat last year due to me getting married and having a six-week honeymoon at the rugby world cup in New Zealand," said Sykes. "The two BRC Challenge events I did were very enjoyable though and the competition was very close."
"I’m really looking forward to be doing the full BRC Challenge again this season and I will be going as hard as I can to try and win the title, it must be our year this year."
Sykes will use his usual Citroën C2 R2 Max with support from Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Boroughbridge Marina and Silverstone Tyres. Simon Taylor will be in the co-driver’s seat on what will be the 7th anniversary of the pairings first event together – they contested the 2005 Rallye Sunseeker in a Peugeot 206.
"I’m delighted that Bathams Brewery have joined my other sponsors in supporting my title campaign, I hope we will have a long and successful partnership with them. They are motorsport enthusiasts and they make the best pint of beer in the Midlands if not the country.”
"The Sunseeker is sure to be a tough start to the year, we’ll be battling over 50 miles of gravel forest tracks in the Poole and Bournemouth area and in the BRC Challenge every second counts so we will be flat out right from the start. We need a win to start the championship campaign in the manner we mean to carry on.”
Sykes will be testing the car on Thursday in the Ringwood forests before heading for the ceremonial start of the rally in Poole town centre on Friday evening. All the competitive action takes place on Saturday.
Sunday, 19 February 2012
Sunday, 12 February 2012
With temperatures well below freezing the rally crews faced the difficult decision of which tyres to choose for the opening stages in the Forest of Dean. Wright selected cut gravel tyres but as soon as he started stage one he knew this was the wrong choice as the gravel forest tracks resembled a skating rink. Battling to keep the Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, Grove Hill Garage and York Brewery-supported Mitsubishi Evo 9 on the road Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson had five spins in the stage and were down in 29th place overall.
Conditions were no better in the second stage although Wright was progressing well until a high speed spin between two steel gate posts.
“Stage one was a nightmare, there was no grip at all and we were very lucky not to do any damage in our numerous spins,” commented Wright. “Stage two was also very icy but we seemed to be having a better run until the spin. We only just missed the gateposts and we’d have done a lot of damage had we hit them. We ended up landing backwards in a ditch but the car was ok.”
Wright was able to swap to tyres designed for ice before the third stage and the difference was immediately seen as he caught and passed the car that started the test a minute ahead. Shortly afterwards the Evo 9 picked up a puncture which caused damage to the suspension as Wright drove out of the stage, forcing him out of the event.
“The ice tyres transformed the car on the slippery surface, we were having a really good run in Speech House but the puncture ended our hopes of a good result. It was a very disappointing way to end the rally but we’ve just got to put it behind us and look forward to the next event which will be the Malcolm Wilson rally in March. This is our local event and I really like the stages, I’ll be having a big attack to get as many points as I can.”
Sunday, 5 February 2012
Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson will contest the event in their usual Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, Grove Hill Garage and York Brewery-supported Mitsubishi Evo 9.
After winning his final event of 2011 Wright’s hopes are high for a good result on the Chepstow-based event and he is aiming to repeat the class victory he took on last year’s Wyedean as well as securing a good overall position.
“We had an excellent start to the season on last year’s event when we finished fourth overall and won the class,” commented Wright. “I’d like to aim to get into the top three this year although the rally has attracted a high-quality entry so it’s going to be very competitive at the top of the leaderboard.”
“It will be interesting to see what conditions we get on the rally, it was sunny last year but there has been heavy snow in previous years. We’ll be looking for a good clean run whatever the conditions.”
The rally will start from Chepstow racecourse on Saturday morning (11th February) with crews contesting seven stages in and around the Forest of Dean.
Wednesday, 1 February 2012
The organisers of the Inverness-based event, Highland Car Club, are supporting the project by allowing the Rally2Raise Nissan Micra to run ahead of the competitors on one of the rally’s stages as well as giving space at the signing-on venue for the team to promote their four causes: the Nystagmus Network, the Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation for post-natal depression, Cancer Research UK and the MS Society.
The event will be the first time that project founder Rachel Medich has driven on a rally – she is usually to be found in the co-driver’s seat. Marieanne Gray will be on co-driving duty with Rachel on the Snowman.
“I am delighted that the Snowman rally organisers are helping us to promote Rally2Raise,” commented Rachel. “It’s going to be a daunting challenge driving a rally car in the woods for the first time but hopefully it will all go well and we’ll make more people aware of the charities that we are supporting.”
“This will be the first of a few events we will be part of in 2012 so keep an eye out for our little yellow and blue Micra on the stages!”
For more information on the Rally2Raise project please visit www.rally2raise.co.uk or www.facebook.com/rally2raise.