IN DEBUT RALLY SEASON
Newcomers rank first overall in production classTeam finishes sixth position overall at the end of debut seasonRally-spec D-Max retains standard chassis and drivetrain
The Jewson Isuzu D-Max Rally Team finished its debut season in the British Cross Country Championship with an unprecedented class win.
Competing in Class 1B, driver Jason Sharpe and his co-driver nephew Russell, piloted the D-Max to eighth position at the final round at Walters Arena, South Wales, ensuring the crown will take pride of place in the trophy cabinet.
Class 1B is open to production vehicles only, mandating a maximum engine capacity of 2,500cc and restricting motorsport enhancements. The D-Max was ranked sixth in the final overall standings, ahead of several purpose-built rally vehicles.
The season started in the dense mist of Myherin, the Welsh ‘Pikes Peak’, in April, where the team finished second in class, and tenth overall, before class wins at the second and third rounds in Ebbw Vale (South Wales) and Forest Estate (Dumfries) respectively. After a mid-season break, Sharpe wrestled the powerful D-Max through extremely tough conditions in round four in the Radnor Forest, finishing in sixth place overall and claiming another class victory.
Round five saw Jason and Russell meet a personal hero in the form of AC/DC front man and car fanatic, Brian Johnson, who was spectating at the Bovington event in Dorset. Despite jarring the front differential on the military tank training site, the team still finished second in class.
The sixth and final round of the season, held at Walters Arena on the edge of the unforgiving Brecon Beacons, saw the team hit trouble in the form of a large rock at the end of day one, damaging the suspension and propshaft. The team completed all the required stages to finish eighth, however championship rules mean each team must ‘drop’ its worst result of the season.
As the Jewson Isuzu D-Max Rally Team had never finished below third prior to the final round, Jason dropped his final result, handing the team the class win.
Driver Jason Sharpe comments: “We’ve had a hugely successful first season in BCCC. Throughout the season, the D-Max has shrugged off everything each rally could throw at it, and it has proved to be extremely reliable, despite some very testing conditions. It has consistently been fighting at the front for wins against many of the much more powerful, dedicated rally vehicles, which further underlines the rugged capability of the standard D-Max pick-up.”
Isuzu UK General Manager, William Brown, added: “While there is a precedent for the Isuzu D-Max competing at a high level – notably in international rallies like the Dakar – those pick-ups are heavily modified. We entered a standard double cab D-Max with a few small competition modifications into the BCCC as it represents an extreme and intense example of the kind of challenges that thousands of our pick-ups face on a daily basis. We’d like to congratulate Jason and Russell them on their performance with the D-Max in this first season of competition.”