There was more success for two drivers competing under the Junior Rallying banner this weekend, as they took part in the Rally Kekava 2008, the fifth round of the Latvian RallySprint Championship. Tom Clark and Junior Rallying newcomer Jamie Brown finished the event 47th overall and sixth in class and 67th overall and 20th in class respectively.
Last weekend’s event was based in the town of Kekava, which saw another event run there earlier this year. However, the stages on last weekend’s rally were very different from those on the first running of the rally. More technical and tighter, they posed a very different challenge to the two Junior Rallying drivers, as they progress through the scheme’s programme, gaining valuable experience along the way.
Clark was competing on his fourth event with Junior Rallying and his second using his Suzuki Swift Cup car. Before the event, his goal was to once again amass as much experience as possible and ensure he reached the finish, to continue to develop his stage rallying skills. However, he also set himself a target of finishing the event in the top five in class.
He and co-driver Aggie Foster were looking well on course for this but during the event, they clipped two cones that were used to mark out chicanes on the event. Each occasion cost the pair five seconds, adding ten seconds in total to their road time.
By the time they reached the finish ramp of the event, they had secured sixth in class, just seven seconds behind their closest rival in fifth. Therefore, without the time penalties for clipping the cones, they would have achieved their objective of a top-five class finish.
“I am really pleased to have finished the weekend; that gives me four out of four finishes, which I am really happy with. We have improved the Suzuki’s set up and it’s a great car but I know I can still get more out of it as I improve my understanding of how it works. My pace note system is starting to work really well and I am getting more comfortable with the recce and note-making from scratch, which is one of the reasons we opted for Latvia with Junior Rallying in the first place. I’m looking forward to the next event in August, when we visit the east side of the country for the first time.”
Junior Rallying newcomer Jamie Brown was competing on his first rally, having already enjoyed success on the racetrack in the UK. He chose rallying as his family has a rally background and it seemed natural for him to try the discipline. His aim at the start of the event was to reach the finish and gain as much knowledge and experience as possible.
“What a weekend! My first-ever event, my first competition abroad and my debut on a gravel surface. The stages were fast and sandy with some challenging ruts but pushing-on added to my experience and we got more confident as the day went on. Many thanks to Gemma [Price, Manager] and Peter [Gladstone, Technical Manager] of Junior Rallying for their help and support. Roll on August and the next event!”
Junior Rallying’s next outing in Latvia will be Rally Gulbis in the Gulbene region of the country, over the weekend of 9 & 10 August.