Committ-Ed Victory for Cheltenham Youngster Cheltenham rally novice, Ed Robinson, dominated the N1 class in Saturday's Red Dragon Rally, recording four fastest times in six stages through the dust and heat of the Neath Valley...
Committ-Ed Victory for Cheltenham Youngster
Cheltenham rally novice, Ed Robinson, dominated the N1 class in Saturday's Red Dragon Rally, recording four fastest times in six stages through the dust and heat of the Neath Valley Forests.
Driving a Gwynnespeed Peugeot 106, 17 year-old Robinson gave an excellent demonstration of the controlled attacking driving style that is the trademark of his mentor, Andy Gwynne.
This was Ed's third ever rally, and his first with Iestyn ap Dafydd, better known as 205 Challenge winner Paul Tod's co-driver, contesting the Fiat Stilo Cup in the BRC this year.
The pair made their intentions obvious from the outset when they set fastest stage time by 15 seconds on stage one through Walters' Arena. They never lost the class lead during the day, despite a lowly seeding at 33rd on the road forcing them to drive in the dust of slower cars for much of the day.
Stage 2, Crynant, could have seen the end of their rally when a larger than expected pot-hole threatened to bounce the car off the track, and on the third test, Pelena, the pair were nearly driven off the stage while overtaking a slow moving competitor who suddenly veered around a large hole, but Robinson was unfazed by both situations, and continued his charge through Resolven to reach second service with a 30 second class lead.
A dramatic charge from Paul Green almost saw the pair lose their position on Crynant 2 when memories of his Somerset retirement saw Ed take a cautious approach to the heavily rutted stage, put he made amends with a blistering display through the short second run through Walters, extending the lead by 7 seconds to win class N1 by a 14s overall margin, and secure 7th place in the Silkolene BTRDA 1400 Championship.
"I knew of Ed's potential before I agreed to sit with him," reports ap Dafydd. "In the other two rallies of his career he has put in some excellent times, but has suffered a bit of bad luck, and maybe some over- excitement, which has cost him good positions. I was impressed with his maturity on this rally, and how much he has learnt from two events - he was measured, calm and always had a little extra to pull from the bag when it was needed!"
"Luck was with us today," adds Robinson. "I'd put in a lot of work in the run up to this event, and knew that we could get a good result.
"It was my first time with Iestyn, but we gelled straight away, and I was confident to attack from the first stage. The car performed really well, and the stages were in excellent condition, so I just had no excuses!
"The hanging dust was a nuisance, especially when we caught cars early on in the event, but we were able to move up a few positions during the morning and apart from a few slides, had no real problems all day.
"I don't know if my budget will allow me to contest the rest of the 1400 BTRDA rounds, but I shall certainly be out on the next round, the Dukeries in June."