As the KickStart Formula 1000 Junior championship moves to the “business end” of the season, the teams head to Caerwent, south Wales for round 6 and the challenging Patriot Stages rally. Over 100 cars are entered in the event with 16 of those from the Junior 1000 championship. With holidays and exams causing clashes for some of the teams, it’s great to see such a large number of Juniors ready for some flat out and sideways action.
Top of the seedings is Josh McErlean, who’ll be looking the repeat his success north of the border last month as he tries to close the gap between himself and championship leader Peter Bennett. Bennett himself is seeded 2nd with Zak Hughes and Tommi Meadows making up the top 4. It’s a welcome return for Tom Llewellyn, who missed the last event, but has been keeping his skills red hot by winning a junior rally cross event over the summer. Also returning for his 2nd event is Dylan Fowler Bishop after his impressive debut at Melbourne. Alex Holliday will be looking to continue his excellent pace as he drags every last ounce of performance from his Micra against the quicker C1/107’s. After getting some seat time in the recent media test and getting back to winning ways in a karting day, Riley Banks will also be looking to find more pace and less obstacles this weekend. Tom Rawlings impressed at the previous round in his new C1 and will be hoping for another trouble free drive as he gains more rally experience.
Only 4 of the current crop of youngsters have competed at Caerwent, giving them an early advantage over their fellow competitors. These include Zak Hughes, who finished 3rd in 2015, Tommi Meadows, James Hall and Tom Llewellyn. Sitting 3rd in the championship is Adam Ripper, who maintains his run of entering every event this season, with only Bennett matching this number. Most noticeably absent is Ewan Tindall, who currently sits 2nd in the championship and looks set to drop down the order and also gives up his final dropped score space.
As we start to look at dropped scores effecting the table, McErlean and Hughes both know that they cannot afford anymore low scoring rounds or retirements if they want to keep fighting with Bennett for the 2016 crown. The MSA Academy student, currently leads by 39 points after an impressive run of 1 win and four 2nd place finishes from the 5 rounds so far.
The weather forecast for Sunday currently indicates that we can expect rain for the early stages, adding an extra dimension into the mix.
The Final seedings list can be found here: https://www.rallies.info/webentry/2016/patriot/entries.php?type=s
Regulations & Final Instructions can be found here: http://www.forresterscarclub.co.uk/Assets/Rally%20Regs/Patriot16/Regs%20for%20Patriot%20Stages%202016.pdf