Junior Rallying back in action

with yet another new driver

Junior Rallying, the scheme to develop the next generation of British rallying talent by training drivers from 14 years of age, returns to Latvia next weekend, for the next round of the RallySprint championship. Two familiar faces will form part of the three-car line-up, with another new addition to the scheme, Jamie Brown, joining Tom Cave and Tom Clark as they compete on the Kekava 2008 Rally.

Based in the same town as the similarly-named event earlier this year, next weekend’s rally features completely different stages from May. This time, the roads are more technical and while the experience of returning to a familiar host town will be useful to the drivers, the new roads will make the event just as challenging as the first time round.

The rally sees the crews complete the recce on Saturday 28 June with six stages run on Sunday 29, totalling 60 stage kilometres, with a total distance covered of 170Km.

As the drivers are all too young to hold a road license, once each car reaches the end of the stage, driver and co-driver must swap seats, as well as roles. The driver picks up the road book and time cards and is responsible for navigating the co-driver to the next time control on time.

While this is the only way that minors are able to compete in Latvia, according to Junior Rallying Manager and co-driver for Tom Cave Gemma Price, this helps the drivers to build an understanding of the co-driver’s role and importance. “Assuming the role of the co-driver on the road sections is good experience for the drivers. While they may not need that experience in actual competition, it does give them an implicit understanding of the intricacies involved in ensuring that the car is in exactly the right place at the right time. It’s all part of the development model which we have created with Junior Rallying.”

Three Junior Rallying drivers will be competing next weekend. Tom Cave, the inspiration for the scheme itself, is returning to competition after missing the recent Cesis Rally to concentrate on his GCSE exams. He will be keen to maximise his experience and build confidence after his last event, where he rolled his Ford Fiesta ST and subsequently retired. He will use the event as a warm-up for the Rally Kurzene the following weekend, the next round of the National championship.

Tom Clark will make a welcome return to Latvia. The 14 year-old from Essex has put in a string of exceptional results so far this year and will use the event to continue to develop the settings on his new Suzuki Swift Cup car, a process he began on the last round. He and co-driver Aggie Foster have set themselves a goal of achieving a top-five class finish in the car, which should be well within their reach, if their previous performances are anything to go by.

Joining his two experienced colleagues next weekend is Junior Rallying’s latest recruit, 16 year-old Jamie Brown from Norfolk. While this will be Jamie’s first rally, he’s no stranger to motorsport, having been karting for several years and currently competing in the 750 Motor Club SaxMax championship, where he is currently sixth.

While he undoubtedly has skills on the circuit, he and his family are looking at rallying as his father comes from a rally background. For the event, he will be using a two-litre Honda Civic and will be partnered by experienced co-driver Craig Burgess. Jamie underwent a Junior Rallying training course at the Sweet Lamb Rally Complex in the run-up to the event and impressed both Price and the instructors with his approach and potential.

“We concentrated on shaking the car down ready for the trip to Latvia, as well as working on Jamie’s skills,” said Price. “I was very pleased with how he did. He came on leaps and bounds on the day, as we worked on car control skills as well as pace notes and various other aspects of rallying, which will be new to him. Jamie has been brought up on rallying, but until Junior Rallying launched in January, was unaware that he would be able to get started in the sport before he was 17. We welcome him to the team and look forward to a good first event."