News from: the final round of the British Citroen Racing Trophy The Latvia National Rally Peter Lloyd Stages Rallye Le Touquet, France Rallye d’Antibes, Cote d’Azur The Cambrian Rally Rally GB And so much more!
Geoff’s gossip Well, we’re back! Following the outstanding success of our first ever on-line newsletter we’re pleased to bring you, our faithful followers, the second edition of Rally Ramblings! Thank you all for your comments after the launch of Edition 1. This newsletter is still very much a development in progress and all comments, ideas and criticisms are most welcome. October has been an exciting month – not only have we seen new World Champions crowned in Citroen and Loeb but the powers that be, the FIA, have seen a change in power as well. October 23rd will hopefully go down as an important day in history after former Peugeot and Ferrari boss Jean Todt was voted in as the new FIA president. Whilst the man has recently been synonymous with Formula One we must not forget that he forged his name as both a top line WRC co-driver and then later spearheaded the dominant Peugeot Rally Team so hopefully the world of rallying will get the guidance and direction that it so desperately needs. I recently attended the British Rally Championship open day, which gave us an insight into how the 2010 championship might look. Out of the 20 odd drivers I spoke to it would seem the trend is primarily towards two wheel drive! Apart from a handful of people trying to put together deals in Scoobies or Mitsus’ the majority are looking at all the highly competitive one make series. I’ve already been in a Swift on gravel but had the opportunity to sit alongside Citroen hotshot Sebastian Ogier in a C2R2 Max and chat with 2009 Fiesta Sporting Trophy Champion Craig Breen during a run in the recently launched Fiesta R2. And both cars left me very impressed with their traction and handling! As for the young talents behind the wheels… hmmm – I think I’ll stick to taking photos! With prize money on each round and good media coverage, both of these manufacturer backed R2 class screamers look excellent value for money whilst the little Suzuki Swift is the perfect feeder to the MSA British Rally Championship! In this newsletter we look at the goings on during the month of October, as we remember the somewhat lacklustre summer and make up for it with some seriously hot action out on the stages! One thing I’d like to point out is that our newsletters are interactive – a lot of the photos are actually links to something else – so click away and enjoy! €
Rally Latvia â€“ 04 October 2009 (Latvian National Championship/ Phase 3 Junior Rallying 09) Pryce impresses with pace on Rally Latvia 16 year old Welshman Osian Pryce once more impressed with his maturity on the recent Rally Latvia before ultimately retiring with a broken sump towards the end of the event. Pryce was contesting the final round of the Latvian National Championship at the wheel of a hired Honda Civic type R with regular codriver Craig Parry alongside. By first service Pryce was lying seventh in class, this despite consistently catching the car in front on each of the three tests. The next two stages were more technical and more to Osianâ€™s liking. But then on Stage Six, a re-run of the fourth test the sump was damaged on a rut and the engine lost all of its oil. At the time the pair were well inside the top six in class and lying 34th overall! Junior Rallying is a revolutionary project which allows teenagers, too young to compete in the UK, to learn the ropes in forest rallies in Latvia as the search for the next British World Rally Champion heightens. For more on Junior Rallying please visit www.juniorrallying.co.uk
Peter Lloyd Stages â€“ 04 October 2009 Watkins wins at Pembrey! 19 year old James Watkins scored a dominant class win on the recent Peter Lloyd Stages at Pembrey Race Track in South Wales, finishing the almost two minutes clear of his nearest class rival and 37th overall. Makefast of Newtown and Rally Marketing backed James, driving a Geoff Jones Motorsport run Nissan Micra F1000 had to adapt to a new co-driver at the last minute, with Sherryn Roberts stepping into the hot seat on Sunday morning. James, who had never driven the Micra on tarmac before, excelled in the dry conditions, taking 12 seconds out of his nearest competitor on the opening stage! Another fastest stage time on the second test saw young Watkins pull out a healthy margin and from then on it was all about controlling the class from the front.
What a great rally! Once again Geoff Jones Motorsport gave me a great car and Sherryn was great to step in and help out at the last moment. We had a couple of small moments but nothing major and all in all it was a fun filled day!
Rallye Le Touquet, France – 02-05 October 2009 (French National Championship/ UK Citroen Racing Trophy) With the small seaside town playing host to the final round of both the French National Championship and the grand finale of the British Citroen Racing Trophy the rally attracted over 148 entries for the three day event.
Both Citroen Racing Trophy title protagonists Jason Pritchard and Marty McCormack would face stiff competition from the top French C2R2 max pilots but by the end of Friday’s three night time tests the pair were first and second respectively. Changeable weather conditions on Saturday saw both drivers endure a torrid time with both reporting a couple of time consuming spins, and Jason clipping a bridge as well! However the rivals ended the day second and third in class, with Marty 16 seconds ahead. Jason’s rally ended early on Sunday when he slid off, through a hedge and into a locals’ front garden! Although the car was undamaged the marshals would not allow spectators to help heave it back onto the road and Jason’s rally and his title hopes were over! I’m so disappointed as I feel like I’ve let the whole team down! We proved that we could run at the front of the field this weekend but this was only the second time we’ve driven this car on BF Goodrich tyres as we normally use the Pirelli control Tyres in the UK and I just lacked confidence in the wet. The crash was all the more frustrating as we found out that a Subaru had crashed there before us but because it was four wheel drive it was able to reverse out and carry on! The house owner also told us that a chicane is normally placed on the approach and as we were recovering the car the organisers were building a chicane for the second run! Marty did the Brits proud by returning to Le Touquet second in class, 11th overall and crowned the 2009 British Citroen Racing Trophy Champion! This was my first rally in Europe and so to be competitive against the locals is amazing. The stages were really tricky in the wet but I was enjoying the battle against Jason until he went off. We’ve had some good races this year!
Lewis and Hunter Cambrian Rally – 17 October 2009 (BTRDA, Welsh National, Welsh Clubman Championships) The BTRDA season finale not only saw a title showdown between the Subaru World Rally Car of 2007 champion Will Nicholls and the modified Mitsubishi Evo 9 of young Dave Wright (who won the title when Nicholls rolled on the opening stage) but it also saw a number of World Rallying big names entered, taking the opportunity for one last test ahead of the Rally of Great Britain one week later. Mikko Hirvonen was out to play as course car whilst Mads Ostberg was having a run in his Subaru Impreza S14. Nasser Al-Attiyah and Eyvind Brynilsden were shaking down their N4 class cars, an Impreza N15 and a Skoda S2000 respectively and then, of course, there were all the typical competitors out for a play – all 171 entries! Geoff Jones Motorsport was well represented on the event. Geoff himself was making a rare competitive appearance, this time at the wheel of a Group N MG ZR 1400cc! The last time Geoff had driven a front wheel drive in anger on gravel was as a works Nissan driver in 1998! Despite admitting to being rusty Jones was fourth fastest 1400 through the opening 6 miler, and an astounding 18 seconds faster than the next car in class!!! However the strong run came to a premature end with a loss of oil pressure (caused by a massive hole in the block) on stage two! Chris and I had a lot of fun in Clocaneog East but it did take us pretty much that whole stage to get into a rhythm as Chris has never sat with me before. We had a good pace going into Stage 2 until the engine objected to the pace. I must say a big thanks to Jim Ward from CEM and Chris Wright from CWC and to all of the crews from the MG ZR Challenge – it’s a brilliant formula and the craic amongst the 1400 crews is spot on. Whilst Ostberg may have taken the overall win and Hirvonen wowed the many spectators (more than I have seen on WRC GB for a number of years!) Neville Jones was enjoying a very strong run in his Subaru Impreza B13. Despite not being overly impressed by his own driving, fifteenth overall and third in class is pretty darn good! Slightly further back but with his customary grin was Paul Griffiths, giving his BDG powered Escort a shakedown ahead of the Roger Albert Clark Rally. Not only did ‘Griff’ and Sam Collis win the ‘historic’ section of the rally but finished 19th overall and second two wheel drive as well!
Williams reflects on a successful debut season 20 year old Brecon based Sara Williams can look back on her first season of gravel rallying with a smile on her face after a some very strong showings throughout the year have seen her net a number of awards in the Welsh Clubman, Welsh Forest Rallying and ANWCC Championships. Williams spent the last two seasons rallying on tarmac and after winning her class in the BTRDA Clubman Tarmac championship in 2008 the decision was taken to move into a four wheel drive Subaru and tackle gravel for the first time. Although her physical appearances would not put Sara out of place amongst a bevy of models the young sales advisor thinks nothing of taking the fight to the men out on the stages and has taken to the turbocharged Brecon Motors / Brecon Car Rentals backed Subaru like a duck to water, recording a number of top ten overall results throughout 2009. I have really loved this season. The Impreza is a great car, everyone has been a great help this season! To win the under 25’s in three different championships is great but to finish fourth overall in the Welsh National is amazing so I must say a very big thanks to all of my supporters, family and friends. The list of awards in pretty impressive and includes winning the Under 25’s in the Welsh Clubman, Welsh Forest and ANWCC Championships as well as finishing second in class in all three series. The plans for 2010 are for the young talent to tackle the BTRDA Rally Series but Williams must spend the winter break sourcing the additional budget to make the step up to the countrywide series. The 2009 awards 2009 RallyingUK.com MSA Welsh National Championship Class B13 – 1st Under 25 – champion Overall – fourth 2009 Lico Welsh Clubmans Forest Championship: Class 4 – second overall Under 25 – champion Ladies – champion Overall – fourth 2009 ANWCC Forest Rally Championship Novice – champion Class D - second Under 25 - champion Overall - second
For more on Sara please visit www.sararally.com
Antibes Rally 2009 - 16 – 18 October 2009 (European Rally Championship/ Citroen Racing Trophy) Based just outside Nice, on the outskirts of Monaco, the Antibes Cote d’Azur Rallye was the penultimate round of the 2009 FIA European Rally Championship and whilst the battle for overall honours would rage between the Abarth Punto S2000 of Giandomenico Basso and the Peugeot 207 S2000’s of Michal Solowow and Corrado Fontana, no less than 19 Citroen C2R2 Max hot hatches would take to the start of the three day event. And amongst those contesting the rally in these potent little Citroens would be Jason Pritchard and stand in co-driver Darren Garrod. After the recce the pair realised that the diff ratios in their North Road Garage, Competition Car Insurance and FCS Laser Mail backed C2R2 Max was too high for the tight and technical stages, forcing a re-think in strategy. With the car lacking the punch out of corners and with local knowledge critical, Jason was now focused more on a finish rather than on setting blistering times. Despite the handling issues and encountering snow and ice on the world famous Col Du Turini whilst on hard compound slick tyres, Jason and Darren returned to the finish unscathed and inside the top twenty overall. This is by far and away the toughest rally I have ever done! The rally had a lot of really short straights and lots of tight corners and with the wrong ratios in the car we were on a back foot from the very start. But the experience has made the trip worth while and I can now say I have survived the Col du Turini!
FIA World Rally Championship Round 12 – Rally of Great Britain Who would think that, after 12 rallies across the globe, an amateur mistake by not putting bonnet pins back correctly after remote service would potentially cost Mikko Hirvonen the world championship? You have to hand it to Citroen and Sebastian Loeb for taking both titles once again in 2009 – and in Loeb’s case making history with his sixth consecutive driver’s title! Although run earlier in the year the 2009 Rally of Great Britain (the Wales moniker was dropped after the Welsh Development Agency decided to withhold their sponsorship) failed to disappoint. Torrential rain, bright sunshine and some fantastic driving out on the stages all made this the perfect end to the 2009 rallying season. Loeb controlled it from the front, taking the lead on the opening day and gradually extending his advantage as the weekend progressed, his C4 WRC behaving perfectly throughout the three day event, but the turning point in the rally was on stage 15, the penultimate stage of the rally. Mikko was on a massive attack, having just taken 11 seconds out of Seb on the previous test, but mid way through the stage the bonnet flew up and the Finn was forced to stop and removed the damaged bonnet, dropping over a minute and effectively throwing away his title hopes. To loose the title because of such an amateur mistake (the rule is – close the bonnet, hook the clips surely?) either shows the pressure Hirvonen was putting himself under or is just plain bad luck! Further back Conrad Rautenbach had another ‘ok’ rally – struggling to find a feeling all event long but ultimately returning to Cardiff in eighth position, claiming the final point in his Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC.
African Pirelli Star Drive winner Jon Williams and British co-driver George Gwynn also had an adventure filled event. Consistently running in the top ten in Group N the pair lost time with a broken gearbox on Saturday – the Ralliart Italy Mitsubishis once again proving fragile!
Christmas ideas It’s that time of the year already and Geoff Mayes Media have a selection of ideas – be it a thank you to sponsors, a memento to a long suffering co-driver or a thank you to the team our range of gifts should do the trick! (As we are away for the month of November orders need to be placed by 1st November to ensure a Christmas delivery!)
Any size, any number of photos and in any layout you like – click on the image to view a larger version.
Calendars We can offer a selection of calendars, ranging from desk calendars showing the week ahead to A3 wall calendars, ideal for marking those important rally dates. These calendars are brilliant as you can have a different photo of yourself in action for each month!
€ € € €
Standing size : 24cm x 10.5cm x 14cm Month-to-view layout 26 pages Available with a white or black background £20 each or discount for multiple orders
€ € € € €
Folded size 28cm x 21.8cm (approx A4) Open size 28cm x 43.6cm (approx A3) Month-to-view layout 1 or more photos for every month of the year Available with a white or black background £25 each or discount for multiple orders
To the future…. Whilst Zoe and I head to Africa to cover the Mombasa Rally and the world famous East African Classic Safari there is plenty going on in the UK too.
The Tempest Rally, supported by JLT and Revolution Wheels, is one of the best organised rallies in the country and with the HQ a stones throw from the bright lights of London it is a marketing heaven.
A week later is the annual pilgrimage to the frosty forests of Dalby, Langdale, Greystokes and Kielder for the Roger Albert Clark Rally. Four days of some of the finest historic rallying in the U.K Just a handful of days later the octane overdose increases with the Intercontinental Rally challenge circus arriving in Perth for the season ending Rally Scotland. With Kris Meeke having already wrapped up the title the former Colin McRae protégé will be looking to end his debut season in the screaming Peugeot 207 S2000 on a high. At the same time, some 150 miles south, the Premier Stages takes place in the Nottingham forests. Quite why two quality events would run on the same weekend is anyone’s guess but watching or contesting the Premier Stages will certainly have good value for money. And this year the event includes night stages too – so real rally drivers only need apply! € This all takes place at the same time as the Classic Safari. We’ll be following the Tuthill Porsche Team and the Sira Racing Mk 1 Escort every step of the way (all 4500km of it!) From the start in Mombasa, Kenya through the famous Tsavo and Amboseli Wildlife Reserves, past Mount Kilimanjaro and up towards Lake Naivasha, famous for its pink flamingos, before beginning the long trek back to the coast, this marathon event really is a true test of man and machine! I hope you have all enjoyed this edition of Rally Ramblings and we’ll be back with our Christmas edition very soon!
In the meantime, take care and drive safe! €
Forthcoming events This is a list of events that Geoff Mayes Media will have a representative on – please contact us in advance if you would like photos or video at one of those listed, to ensure we film you! € November 2 7 7 13-15 21 19-22 23-30
Geoff and Zoe fly to Africa Sunshine – yippee! € Southern England Tempest Rally Mombasa Rally, Kenya Kenyan Rally Championship Roger Albert Clark Rally North England/ Scotland Premier Rally Nottingham IRC Rally Scotland Intercontinental Rally Championship East African Safari Rally Kenya/ Tanzania
December 4 5 12 27
Geoff and Zoe fly to Mud Island Grizedale Stages Geoff Jones Motorsport party Pembrey Christmas Stages
I bet it’ll be raining! North England Wales South Wales
January 14-17 21-23 18-23 24 30/31
Autosport Show, NEC, Birmingham Qatar International Rally Middle East Rally Championship Rallye Monte Carlo Intercontinental Rally Championship Red Kite Stages Welsh Clubman Championship Brean Stages
Photo of the Month
British Rally Championship International Rally of Yorkshire (And yes, it did go over, but thanks to the safety devices both crew members were ok!)