The first non scoring round was held at Roskirk which we did to gain a bit of seat time before the season really kicked off. We were happy to walk away from the event with our first win of the season and doing so by exactly one minute! This sort of result was one we hoped to carry on throughout the rest of the year!
However, the first scoring round of the Championship definitely put sour in the mouths of everyone in the whole team. Mechanical retirement on the first stage piloting the ever trying Fiesta set the year out to be a little trickier than expected. We knew from now on, we had to finish 6 out of the 7 remaining rallies to even stand a chance of winning the Championship.
The next four rounds saw us use the old faithful Citroen C1 to try and help us on our way and did so by place four 2nd places in a row from a variety of positions! Going into the final 2 stages at Weeton joint leader before losing out by only a handful of seconds knowing we had to bring the car home. Sitting a consistent 3rd at Brawdy before capitalising on another competitor’s mistake moving into 2nd. Leading up in Solway against 30 Juniors from all Championships pretty much the majority of the day before losing out on the win by only 4 seconds, not pushing 100%again to guarantee another podium finish.
The second half of the year is where things got a little more difficult. We went to Pembrey knowing a clean run would allow us to win the Championship at our home round of Cadwell. However, it doesn’t seem like making things easy is in my nature… Rolling the car half way through the day put a hold on our Championship attack. There were three weeks until Cadwell Park and we knew we still had a chance to win if we finished the last two rallies of the year so the rebuild got underway! All I can say is what a job the team did to turn that more than bruised car back to form. Hundreds of man hours later and she was back on all 4 again looking better than ever!
Moving on to Cadwell, we knew like much of the season it was make or break. A top 5 finish and we would give ourselves a very good chance come the last round at Anglesey. A calculated drive once again saw us bring home 4th, just 1 second to 3rd, completing our job for the day nicely. We did exactly as we needed to do!
Nerves were definitely in the air heading into the last round at Anglesey. We knew if we came in the top 9, the Championship was ours. Much like Pembrey, I didn’t make life too easy for myself or the team. We had a big spin and bent the rear beam in the process on the first stage which put us near last in 17th place. It was as if it was taken away in seconds. Driving with a still slightly bent beam for the rest of the day, we managed to slowly work our way back up to 9th place. We did what we needed to do once again and that was all we cared for. More of the same on Sunday, having a bit of a push mid day saw myself and Graham cross the line as F1000 Junior Rally Champions!
What a year! We had everything from wins, mechanical breakdowns, crashes, podiums and much more but we pulled through the ups and downs that Motorsport seems to offer. We knew we had the pace to win multiple events this year, however maybe myself backing off too much at times cost us the win, however, still won us the Championship. Huge lessons learnt this year about controlling my speed and realising how hard it is to drive fast but also for a good finish. I can’t personally thank everyone enough who’s helped me this year achieve such a great result. Also a huge thanks to the F1000 team as without them, non of us Juniors could do what we love at this age. And for any 14-17 year olds looking to get into Rallying, this is the perfect place to start. Amazing battles all the way through the pack, giving you the basic fundamentals to be able to move on confidently into the wider world of Rallying and having a great time in the process!