he weekend saw an excellent result for the Delaney 'Dads and Lads' outing on the Lee Holland Memorial Rally, the second round of the 2015 Formula 1000 Junior Championship. Tom Delaney, 15 years-old, was second in the F1000 Junior running while dad Dominic was ninth overall on his first rally back in the driver's seat for more than two decades.
The event was interesting because Delaney junior was co-driven by Joe Cruttenden while Dominic was co-driven by Joe's dad, Tim, so the Delaney/Cruttenden label appeared twice on the entry list and hence, the 'Dads and Lads' approach.
After learning some useful lessons on the first rally of the season, where he lost time over-driving the car, Tom's approach this weekend was to concentrate and drive a clean and tidy rally and see how he got on.
The first stage of the rally showed how things might progress - Tom was third fastest and from that moment on, was rarely out of the top three on stage times. The approach remained the same with Dom telling Tom not to get drawn into any battles that could affect the smooth running of the event.
In fact, the only issue suffered was when Tom encountered a car re-joining under the trophy regulations, where it had retired earlier and was running to gain experience. He outbraked himself and rather than hit the car in front, he drove around a straw bale marking out the course. He and Joe stopped to allow the other car to regain its correct position, so they did not gain an advantage but the other car had also stopped, to allow them past so as not to hold them up. A small time loss was the result.
As the event drew on, Tom and Joe held their third place but two stages from the finish, the car in second place took a jump too fast and suffered damage. Although they finished the event, they lost enough time to drop back and so, with two stages to run, Tom and Joe were second in F1000.
They managed their pace and performance perfectly to arrive at the finish of the event, based at the Anglesey race circuit second in F1000 Juniors, some 48 seconds off the winner, who comes from a karting background. This translates to six seconds per stage or one second per mile on only his sixth rally ever.
Commenting, Tom said; "This was a really good weekend. I did exactly what we decided to do and not only did we have a much smoother rally, the times came as we hoped they would. The only problem was when I did exactly what I agreed I wouldn't and started chasing the car in front and we know how that ended. But I'm really pleased with second - a great result for all of us."
Not only is Tom's finish a great result for the F1000 championship but it potentially also put him 18th overall in the rally, out of 32 finishers, since the organisers combined all the times, for the senior and junior rallies, on the same results screen.
Dad Dominic was also out on the event in his business' rental rally car, a Group N Subaru Impreza. He had not driven competitively for decades but decided to have a go and was happy to drive as fast as he enjoyed in a car which was not ideally suited to the event or the conditions.
"This car is great in the forest but it's too big and heavy for an event like this," he explained. "It's basically a gravel car with a set of slicks bolted on and that rarely works very well. But Tim and I had good fun and kept out of trouble and managed to finish ninth, which I'm pleased with."
Tom will now miss the next two rounds of the F1000 Juniors, since they clash with his final-year exams but he will resume his campaign in July, after he finishes school, on the Mid Summer Caerwent Stages rally in Wales.