Trackrod troubles for Howard Young Tescos employee Alan Howard experienced one of the worst rallies of his fledgling career as he struggled against all odds in the run up to this weekends Trackrod 'All Stars' Rally in North Yorkshire and was ...
Trackrod troubles for Howard
Young Tescos employee Alan Howard experienced one of the worst rallies of his fledgling career as he struggled against all odds in the run up to this weekends Trackrod 'All Stars' Rally in North Yorkshire and was cruelly denied a finish when the engine on his rented Peugeot rally car expired half way through the day.
Young Alan, who headed to the Yorkshire forests lying 3rd in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA 'Stars of the Future' championship standings had last minute problems when the engine of his little Tescos/ Geenergy backed Suzuki Swift developed incurable problems.
After frantic phone calls a Peugeot 106 was sourced from JAM Motorsport but such was the late notice that Manchester based Alan did not even have the chance to test the car before the start of the rally.
Despite the lack of seat time in the car (Alan had never even driven a road going 106 before!) he quickly adjusted to the car and was only 5 seconds off the pace after the opening stage.
Stage 2, the 9 mile Cropton was Alan's first 'proper' forest stage in the 106 and by and large the stage was without incident, apart from when the emergency 'kill switch' was knocked off when Alan hit a bump a bit hard, costing them some time whilst Alan and co-driver William Kelly tried to diagnose the fault.
Next up was Gale Rigg, and despite a big moment on a downhill hairpin Alan still managed a top 10 stage time. We had a big moment in there! As we were coming out of the hairpin the car jumped out of gear and we almost went off the side of the mountain! I managed to gather it all together but the front bumper took a bit of abuse!
A clear run through the 8.5 mile Long Moor was reassuring for Alan, but he was disappointed in his overall time for the stage as, hampered by a long ratio gearbox, he had lost time on the high speed straights and had now dropped outside the top 10 overall.
Alan and William headed to Stage 5, Langdale, with the objective of just finishing the rally and trying to salvage as many points as possible in an effort to maintain their championship position but unfortunately the cruel hand of fate was not yet finished torturing the young rally driver. When the car stalled on a hairpin Alan feared the worst. Sure enough the car refused to start for a number of minutes and when it did eventually fire up he tried to coax the mis firing, smoking Peugeot to the finish of the stage in the gallant hopes of repairing the sick engine at service. However, despite making it to the end of the stage the car died once more and refused to go any further.
I am so disappointed. This whole week has been so stressful. First the Suzuki gave me enough headaches to last a lifetime and then this disaster.
Now I have to focus on the Tempest and hope I can get a good clean run there. I still have a chance to salvage a decent championship result but need a solid points haul on the final rally.
For more on Alan please visit www.shift-into-gear.co.uk
-credit: geoff mayes