FOLLOWING another fascinating battle on last weekend's Woodpecker Stages, Clitheroe-based rally driver Martin Meadows goes into the last round of the 2000 BTRDA Gold Star Championship as one of two drivers who could lift the coveted...
FOLLOWING another fascinating battle on last weekend's Woodpecker Stages, Clitheroe-based rally driver Martin Meadows goes into the last round of the 2000 BTRDA Gold Star Championship as one of two drivers who could lift the coveted crown.
Martin was looking for a good result from last weekend's Ludlow-based event which included competitive mileage on both sides of the English/Welsh border - and his Silverstone Tyres-backed Proton Compact was immediately on the pace. A problem with the car's engine management system cost him time, however. With the engine losing power on the longer stages. "It's a bit frustrating," said Martin who was sharing his Compact with Gloucestershire co-driver Ian Oakey as usual. "The longer stages are usually the ones where we take time out of our rivals, but today it's the other way around. We're winning the shorter stages, but as soon as the engine gets hot on the longer ones, we're losing power and dropping back."
Despite that problem, Martin maintained his presence in the handful of drivers who were at the sharp end of what turned out to be a fascinating battle. Martin's main title rival, Daniel Dunbabin scored maximum points on the event - with Martin right behind. "This means," said Martin, "whoever wins the last round will win the title. What a way for the championship to go. I always said this would go down to the final round, but I didn't expect it to be this tense. It's amazing. I would say this is the way championships should be fought out, none of this winning it mid-way through the season - you want it to go right down to the wire to keep it interesting."
The only other driver in with a shout of the Gold Star title was top Peugeot driver Martin Sansom, but the Sidcup youngster crashed out of the Woodpecker near the finish. Having Sansom in the championship, Martin feels, has added an extra dimension. "Martin (Sansom) is one of the top competitors in the Peugeot Super 106 Cup," explained Martin. "So for us BTRDA boys to be mixing it and beating him, is very good for us. Especially when you consider the Roger Clark Award: a lot of people feel the winner of the inaugural Roger Clark Award could come from the Peugeot runners - so it's nice to show the judges that we've got a lot to offer too."
Martin's next motorsport outing will be on this weekend's Manx International Rally, where he will be working with Niall McShea and Citroën, completing a safety check of the stages before the Ulsterman takes the team's Saxo kit car through them. Martin says, however, that he is already counting the days until the BTRDA finale, the Cambrian Rally on October 7. "We've been at the front of the BTRDA Gold Star for a few years now," said Martin, "and 12 months ago we were in exactly the same position as we are now. The fact that we missed out last year, makes me even more determined to get it right this time. The one thing I really hope for though, is a clean fight. I hope neither Daniel or I suffer any mechanical problems, I want it to be fair: whoever wins on the stages will win the title - may the best man win!"