Pinder dominates Swifts on Rally Isle of Man 25 year-old Yorkshireman Luke Pinder and co-driver Peter Scott dominated the Swift Sport Cup on this weekend's Rally Isle of Man, the fourth round of the MSA British Rally Championship's 1600cc...
Pinder dominates Swifts on Rally Isle of Man
25 year-old Yorkshireman Luke Pinder and co-driver Peter Scott dominated the Swift Sport Cup on this weekend's Rally Isle of Man, the fourth round of the MSA British Rally Championship's 1600cc one-make series.
The winning margin over nearest rival, local driver David Harrison, was one minute eighteen seconds, but by the final pair of stages Pinder had eased off considerably, having built a buffer of over two minutes.
They stamped their authority on the event from the second stage, the first having been stopped by an accident further up the field, over thirty seconds clear of youngster Harrison and co-driver Glyn Thomas after the 11.21 mile Kella stage.
By the close of the first day Pinder had almost achieved his two minute buffer and even the inevitable rain on Saturday couldn't stop fastest stage after fastest stage. True, Harrison and new Championship leaders Gordon Nichol & Emma Morrison both had their chance at the top of the time sheets on the final pair of stages, but at the TT grandstand it was Pinder who took maximum points to close the gap to Nichol.
Harrison's event was interspersed with niggling problems, his front brake pads breaking up and replacement ones fading. He and Thomas also had a couple of overshoots while pushing hard, but their worst incident came just before the finish ramp. Unsighted in the service area, they collided with the side of Nick Everard's Swift, damaging the front of their previously unmarked car.
Scot Nichol ran consistently third for the two days of this mammoth event, on such a tight budget that the whole team camped and took the overnight ferry to arrive early on Thursday morning. The consequent lack of sleep meant that they elected to use organisers' pace-notes, struggling to adapt back after perfecting their own system during the early part of the 2009 season.
However, they now lead both drivers' and co-drivers' Championships, overtaking Molly Taylor and Jemma Bellingham who had a difficult first Rally Isle of Man. Initially fifth early on in the event, the Australian driver continued on her immensely steep learning curve, overtaking Nick Everard on stage seven despite an earlier overshoot and spin.
Unfortunately the only all-female British Rally Championship crew was caught out on Saturday's first stage, careering over a bank on a tricky downhill junction. The car launched into the air and landed heavily on its roof, thankfully both crew only shaken by the crash.
Both days' opening stages saw the demise of Richard Sykes and Simon Taylor, breaking a gearbox on Friday, only for the driveshaft to let go on Saturday after an overnight repair and re-start.
Nick Everard and Chris Davies took the final position at the end of the 180 mile rally, having endured an eventful first Rally Isle of Man. They struggled with brake and suspension set-up, also having to affect a repair on a burst front brake pipe with ingenuity and mole grips. Despite the drama, both crew pronounced themselves happy at the finish, the incident with Harrison causing surprisingly little damage to their car.
With crews now starting to consider dropped scores, Luke Pinder is in a strong position as all the drivers must discount their lowest score at the end of the season. Both his and Taylor's non-finishes on one round each, do however mean they need clean runs on the forthcoming Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally (August 21/22) and the season finale in Yorkshire.
Swift Sport Cup coverage from the Rally Isle of Man will be included in the Sky Sports Rallyzone preview for the next event which first airs on 20th August. Full TV listings HERE.