'Podium points for consistent Jamie'. Wrexham rally driver Jamie Edwards got his Formula 1000 Gravel Championship campaign off to a strong start this weekend, as he finished a fine 3rd on the opening round of the series. Contesting the ...
'Podium points for consistent Jamie'.
Wrexham rally driver Jamie Edwards got his Formula 1000 Gravel Championship campaign off to a strong start this weekend, as he finished a fine 3rd on the opening round of the series. Contesting the Astra Stages Rally, based in Llangollen, Edwards recovered from an overly cautious start to take home a strong points haul after 43 miles of gravel stages in Clocaenog and Aberhirnant forests.
With Pamela Hilton of Farnborough on the pace notes, Edwards admitted to being very nervous before the event, after crashing out on his first forest rally last year - on the very first stage. With that in mind, Jamie was well off the pace of his rivals on the opening stage of the rally in Alwen, dropping over 40 seconds to the leader in just five miles. Although disappointed to lose so much time, Edwards was mighty relieved to have come through the stage unscathed, and was looking forward to trying to get to the finish of the event, his main aim for the day.
The second stage of the rally was also the longest, at a fraction under nine miles. After hitting a half a mile into the stage, the intercom between Edwards and Hilton stopped working, so Jamie struggled to hear the notes from Hilton as they went through. Reverting to shouting and hand signals, the pair made it through the stage in one piece, and despite being held up by a stricken car in the next stage which cost around 10 seconds, Edwards reached service happy to find himself 3rd in the F1000 points.
The Ian Hughes Motor Body Repair Centre backed Nissan Micra 16v was running extremely well, and Edwards was starting to gain confidence in the car as the crew headed south to Bala and the Aberhirnant stages. The first stage was very rough in places, forcing Jamie to back off to avoid damaging the Micra on the large stones. A puncture was not what was required, and with a safe margin over 4th place, Jamie was keen to avoid any mistakes from now till the finish. The fifth stage, Llangower, was well suited to Jamie's precise driving style, and Edwards thoroughly enjoyed himself as he finally felt comfortable with the gravel specification Micra and the new Dunlop tyres on the car.
A brief check over the car at Bala service showed no problems at all on the diminutive Nissan, so Edwards and Hilton headed back to the long Clocaenog 'Mid' stage for one final nine mile test. With the intercom fully working this time around, Jamie pushed a bit harder and was four seconds quicker than in the morning run through, despite driving with a finish in mind. A trouble free run through the stage netted the pair 3rd in the F1000 points:
'The game plan for the season is quite simple. We need to score some good points scores early on whilst I'm still getting to grips with driving on gravel. I was driving on the cautious side for the whole of the day, as I didn't want to make a stupid mistake and end the rally in a ditch, which could have been so easily done in the mud and the rainy conditions. It was sad to see a couple of our rivals retire today, but our consistent approach paid dividends.
Our next championship round in just two weekend's time - so it was vital that the car made it through in one piece today. Not only did we achieve that goal, but we also took 3rd which was well inside the Top 5 finish I had hoped for before the rally. My service crew did a great job with the car, and Pamela and I got on well and we were both happy with our performances. We'll aim to finish in the Top 3 again on the forthcoming Gwynedd Rally, and that will hopefully put us in a good position for the remainder of the year where we will look to pick up the pace'.