Evening Standard Journalist Smith starts rally campaign with class win
Castrol / Evening Standard team set standard as they claim terrific 1st in class at the Trackrod Rally.
Evening Standard sports journalist David Smith started his challenge of becoming a World Championship Rally (WRC) co-driver at one of Britain’s top rallies, the Trackrod Rally, Yorkshire, by swapping his perch in the press box for a seat in the heart of the action. Smith not only got his first real taste of the competitive sport, but claimed a terrific victory by coming first in class at Trackrod Rally (27 September). Smith successfully navigated experienced driver Tony Jardine through the six ultra-fast, dusty forest stages in Yorkshire’s ‘heartbeat’ land, at speeds exceeding 100mph. He was in the navigator’s seat of the Castrol / Evening Standard Ford Fiesta ST150 supported by York based ProSpeed Motorsport.
The team were also helped by McLaren Development Engineer Andy Beale and Kumho, who supplied the tyres for the event. Despite this being Jardine’s second time competing at the Trackrod Rally, it was journalist Smith’s first competitive Rally. In preparation Smith got some useful coaching and tips from renowned World Rally Championship co-driver Nicky Grist.
With this information and a last minute coaching session from ProSpeed MD Olly Marshall, Smith took to the rally like a natural. At the midpoint service Jardine said, “There is definitely good chemistry inside the car with me and David. He is showing some great potential. Throughout the first couple of stages he was finding his feet, and from then on he was very confident. You can see that he is just trying to find his own technique, and once he has that he can only get better.”
ProSpeed’s Marshall, who has been looking forward to working alongside the duo of Jardine and Smith at his local rally, was watching the beginning of the showground stage said,
“I am very impressed with David’s early progress, he showed great enthusiasm and a good grasp of the basics.”” On completion of the rally Smith said, “That was the experience of a lifetime. It is one thing watching sport from the press box, usually the best seat in the house, but it is quite another strapped tight into a racing seat while Tony drives at breakneck speeds literally inches away from stout tree trunks My one major mistake was sending Tony into a tight right bend at close on 100mph. Only his tremendous skill, and a rare slice of luck, prevented an accident. It was a sobering moment for me.”
Smith went onto say, “I always held rally drivers in high esteem, but after the Trackrod Rally I am now totally in awe of them and the engineers who work wonders preparing the cars against the clock in the most testing of conditions.”
The Castrol / Evening Standard team who also received support from Alpinestars and Arai Helmets, will now set their sights on another confident and successful finish at their next upgrade signature stop, the Bulldog Rally (18 October)