Teenage rally driver Tom Cave will have just one objective on his mind when he competes in next weekend's Woodpecker Stages Rally, the penultimate round of the 2011 BTRDA championship: a fourth class win. The 19 year-old from Aberdovey has vowed to push from the very start, despite destroying his Group N Subaru Impreza on his last outing, the Neath Valley Stages.
Tom and regular co-driver Craig Parry were contesting the Neath Valley Stages to maintain their momentum as they progress through their 2011 BTRDA Production Cup campaign. However, an unseen rock on the inside of a corner launched their Impreza into the air and after three rolls, the car came to rest in a very sorry state.
Subsequent investigations revealed the shell and roll cage too badly damaged to use again, so the car will be re-shelled. However, this process will not be complete until well after the Woodpecker, a pivotal rally for Tom in his goal of clinching the 2011 BTRDA Production Cup. Therefore, he and Craig will start the event in a rented car.
While many drivers might approach their next event carefully to settle themselves back in after such a large accident, Tom is keenly aware that with just the Woodpecker and the Cambrian Rally in October left this season, if he is to stand a chance of becoming 2011 Production Cup champion, he has to push from the off.
Explaining, Tom said: "Of course it was devastating to damage the Impreza as we did but I guess, that's an occupational hazard in rallying. I suppose I could argue that if I didn't have incidents like this, I'm not pushing hard enough!
"I'm really glad we've managed to source a car for the Woodpecker though. I'm not nervous about getting back into a car - I can't afford to settle back in gradually. If I want to do well this year in the Production Cup, then I've got to attack from the start of the very first stage.
"It's not going to be easy. Jamie [Anderson] is pretty quick, as is James [Grint], so it'll be a tough fight. I'll also have to make sure I don't get dragged into a battle with any of the local drivers who are doing the event but aren't registered for the championship, as it would be all too easy to throw it away for the sake of a stage win or two."
Tom is currently second in the Production Cup, seven points adrift of Anderson. However, Tom has the possibility of adding 25 points to his total over the final two rounds, as six of the eight scores count, whereas Anderson can only add an extra 12. So it's still all to play for as the series approaches its conclusion.
Commenting, Tom said; "It's going to be an interesting end to the season, that's for sure. The maths is relatively straightforward - I need the best result possible and that means going to Ludlow looking for the class win."
The one-day event runs on Saturday 3 September and is based at the racecourse in Ludlow. It uses stages close to the base including Haye Park, as well as two runs over roads in Radnor.