Ewan Tindall & Co-Driver Paul Hudson won the first round of the Junior Rally Championship after a dominating display winning 6 of the 8 stages. Ewan was chased all day by Tom Rawlings in 2nd and James Hall, who got his first podium finish in the Junior rally Championship.
The weather conditions went from high winds to pouring rain as the packed field of 19 Junior drivers started the first rally of the 2017 season. After finishing in 3rd place in 2016, Ewan Tindall started the day as favourite for the rally with the other more experienced drivers expected to challenge for the top of the leader board.
The club also welcomed 5 brand new rookie drivers entering their first ever rally, Billy Grew, Adam Dalton, Robert Wilson, Elliott Payne and Robert Cotton. These drivers, plus 14 year old Ioan Lloyd would be fighting for the Rookie Cup and would be won by Lloyd, who also managed to finish in an impressive 4th place overall.
In the overall Junior Rally, Tindall made a typically solid start with Rawlings making a slight error at a split which would cost him 9 seconds and a potential share of the lead. The two drivers would be very closely match throughout the day with only a few seconds separating them at each stage, which gave Tindall a 15 second lead heading into the last stage. Rawlings would push hard to set the fastest stage time, but it wasn’t enough to take victory away from the Newcastle school boy.
At the start of the day there was much excitement and expectation surrounding the new car entries of Eddie Lewis and Jack Hartley. Lewis had entered the new Ford Fiesta 1ltr Eco Boost car and Hartley had gone back in time to build a Classic Mini Cooper. This was the first outing for both drivers, with Hartley only finishing the build the day before. Both had solid starts, but an issue with a fuel pump and a puncture in stage 6 hindered Jack Hartley’s progress, whilst Eddie Lewis increased his pace throughout the day to finish 7th overall.
The Lewis Reporting Pre’03 Trophy (for cars registered before 2003) had an intense battle between Alex Holliday and Ioan Lloyd until stage 7 when Hollidays drive shaft gave way leaving Lloyd to take charge of the championship.
Northern Irishman Sam Adams made a great debut in the English Championship driving well all day and finishing in a strong 5th place. After several errors on the first stage, George Sheard clawed his way back through the field to finish 6th overall. It was a Disappointing end to Billy Grew’s first rally as a mechanical issue in service delayed him starting stage 7 and was forced to withdraw. The other rookie drivers handled the very difficult conditions with flying colours and all look forward to getting back out in the next round.
The next round of the Junior championship will be on 30th April at the challenging Harlech Stages in Wales.