Tom Cave swaps revision notes...

for pace notes for rally return

British junior rally driver Tom Cave will scrap his revision notes next weekend and pick up his pace notes once again, as he returns to rallying after the end of his GCSE exams. The 16 year-old, who elected to miss one round of the Latvian Rally Championship to concentrate on his studies has now completed his exams and has entered the Rally Kekava 2008 to get his rally program back on track.

Next weekend’s rally is a round of the Latvian RallySprint championship but Tom will be using the event to reacquaint himself with the Latvian stages, after an absence of six weeks. His last event, the Talsi Rally, ended with a low-speed roll on the sixth stage and subsequent retirement, so Cave, from Aberdovey, will be keen to get as many miles under his belt as possible to build confidence ready for the following weekend’s National event.

“It’s great to have finished my exams at last. It feels like it’s been a long time coming, with the exams themselves and the preceding revision but I feel good to have completed them. Now I can focus on my rallying and get back out on the stages.”

The Ford Fiesta ST rally car which Tom uses in the National championship is still being repaired after the roll on the Talsi Rally, so he will revert to the car he used last year in Latvia, an MG ZR, for this event. While quite different from the Fiesta, Tom doesn’t feel that there will be any real difficulties in the switch.

“It’s a little annoying to be doing the event in the ZR as obviously, I’d prefer to be doing it in the Fiesta. However, the goal for this event is to get a decent result and get another finish under our belt, to count towards my international license. So in that sense, the older MG, while not handling as well as the Fiesta, should be fine for the job.”

Tom plans to contest the UK’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB, in December this year, just days after his 17th birthday. As he will potentially only just have passed his test, he will run with a Latvian International license and to gain that, finishing the next few rallies and gaining as much experiences as possible is crucial.

“The objective for this event and the following ones is to get to the finish and maximise experience and mileage. With the retirement on Talsi and then missing the Cesis to concentrate on my exams, we’re already potentially two events down on the experience I need, so finishing is of paramount importance. I also need to rebuild my confidence after the roll on the Talsi Rally and demonstrate that we are capable of finishing events and not more prone to crashing. So the actual result next weekend doesn’t bother me too much, just the finish.”

Tom will be one of three drivers competing under the Junior Rallying banner, the scheme to develop young British rallying talent inspired by Tom’s rallying in Latvia last year. As a result, while he will be concentrating on his own event, Tom will also be on hand to offer advice to the other two Junior Rallying drivers if they need it.

Next weekend’s event is based in the same town as Tom’s first event this year in April; Kekava. However, while it shares the same base and name as the previous event, the challenges are likely to be very different.

“I don’t know the stages on this event although I am told they are more technical than April’s Rally. But until we start the recce on Saturday, we won’t know for sure.”

Once this event is over, there will be an all-too-brief respite for Tom and co-driver Gemma Price. They will contest Rally Kurzeme, the next round of the National championship the following weekend in the Fiesta, assuming the repairs are carried out in time. Staying in Latvia should allow a period of recuperation but also, as Tom admits, time for work as well.

“I’ll be staying in Latvia between the two events, with Gemma and my father. We’ll get a little time off but Gemma and I will work on the pace notes and discuss various other aspects of our rallying while we’re there. We will also start planning for next season. We’re already halfway through this year and it’s time we began sorting-out some of the ideas and opportunities for next year, as the end of this season will come around very quickly.

“We’re not thinking about Wales Rally GB just yet, as we have these two events back-to-back. However, once the Kurzeme event is out of the way and I hopefully have two more signatures on my license, then we can start to think about what will be involved in that event and what we do for next year.”

The Kekava 2008 Rally comprises six stages run entirely on Sunday 29 June, with the pre-event recce and scrutineering taking place on Saturday. Crews face 60 competitive kilometres before returning to Kekava for the finish ceremony on Sunday afternoon. 

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