THE new rally season heads to one of it's most scenic competitive areas this weekend.
The Malcolm Wilson Rally is a set of stages around the forests of the Lake District and is the second round of the BTRDA Rally Championship, with the rally HQ located in the town of Cockermouth.
Although there are several route changes this year due to the spread of Larch disease they will not make any difference to Eccleshall’s Harry Gardner.
He, along with co-diver Elliot Graham, will be propelling their Norman and Birch -supported Subaru Impreza at an impressive rate of knots regardless.
So impressed were the BTRDA seeding team with Gardner’s speed on the first round, the Wyedean Forest Rally, they have given him the starting position of 23rd out of 100 entries. Amongst the preceding 22 competitors there are several WRC type specification rally cars which are on paper more refined and quicker than Gardner’s vehicle.
Those same WRC cars also tend to have a team of highly skilled mechanics employed on building and maintaining those cars during the course of the rally.
Not so for Gardner, who undertakes every aspect of mechanical work needed himself. It always therefore amazes onlookers who witness Gardner mixing it with those more affluent teams around him.
It will therefore be no surprise to see Gardner/Elliot take a top finishing position on this rally.
Wilson himself was once one of UK's world rally championship star drivers. He now heads the Ford works rally car campaign under the banner of M-Sport.
Wilson will be away in Mexico at the time of this rally where he will be overseeing the M-Sport participation on the next WRC round.
The Malcolm Wilson rally documentation and scrutineering will indeed be taking place in the M-Sport complex at Dovenby Hall, to the west of Cockermouth.
Next week’s Staffordshire Newsletter will bring you news on how Gardner fares in the BTRDA Championship Malcolm Wilson Rally.