Another class win for Howard Young Alan Howard endured a frustrating Rally Isle of Man as his little Tescos/ Greenergy sponsored Suzuki Swift suffered with handling maladies throughout the 2 day event. Even so, showing incredible experience ...
Another class win for Howard
Young Alan Howard endured a frustrating Rally Isle of Man as his little Tescos/ Greenergy sponsored Suzuki Swift suffered with handling maladies throughout the 2 day event. Even so, showing incredible experience belying his youthful age, young Alan ended the weekend with a highly creditable 5th overall and 1st in class!
With next to no wet weather experience and a new co-driver for the event Alan knew that a cautious approach would be the sensible way to start off the event. 5th fastest through the very slippery Union Mills was pleasing to Alan. However Cringle, the final stage on Friday, was possibly the trickiest in the entire championship. With the road as slippery as ice in places this was a stage to respect. Respect it Alan did, but was very unhappy with the handling on his car. Upon returning to service a detailed inspection found the rear left bush was damaged, causing the wheel to move around and make the car unstable. A quick scavenge around and a replacement was sourced, enabling Alan to carry on into day 2. The time loss in the final Friday stage had dropped Alan, and last minute replacement co-driver Neil Foulkes, down to 6th overall.
Day 2 began with a very slippery run through Rhenab and Alan was only 6th quickest, re-adjusting to the handling on the Suzuki. Due to accidents and delays the next 3 stages were all cancelled, which was frustrating for Alan, as he had been hoping to make up time in stages that really suited his driving style.
A top 6 time through White Strand was then duplicated on the penultimate stage as Alan pushed as hard as he dared in the changeable conditions. After running out of time and being unable to recce the Newtown stage the pair were nearly caught out by a couple of unseen bumps but they arrived at the final stage, the 14 mile 'Classic' ready for a big push.
On a stage where bravery and commitment are required in bucket loads Alan came through as the shining star to go 3rd fastest through the stage. This despite another bush failure on the front of the car, causing the front right wheel to move backwards into the wheel arch under braking!
What a rally! I have heard so much about this place and it still surpassed my expectations. We had some handling issues throughout the rally but a very big thanks must go to my service crew for working late on Friday night to rectify it all. I am fairly pleased with the results but reckon I might have made up a bit more time if those other stages hadn't been cancelled.
Alan now moves into 3rd overall in the championship standings with only 2 gravel rallies left. Next up is the Trackrod Rally in Yorkshire on the 7th of October
For more on Alan and the whole S.I.G Team please visit www.shift-into- gear.co.uk
-credit: geoff mayes