CONNOR'S FIRST TASTE OF BRC GRAVEL 20 year old Connor McCloskey will start the British Rally Championship this weekend with three rounds of the Irish Rally Championship and a fine tenth overall on Rally Ireland under his belt. The...
CONNOR'S FIRST TASTE OF BRC GRAVEL
20 year old Connor McCloskey will start the British Rally Championship this weekend with three rounds of the Irish Rally Championship and a fine tenth overall on Rally Ireland under his belt.
The youngster from Kilrea in Northern Ireland will contest the British series in his Pirelli-shod Mitsubishi Evolution 8 and will be partnered by Damien Connelly. Connor plans to contest the Irish and British Rally Championships as well as the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge and, if time permits, some rounds of the Northern Irish Rally Championship. This ambitious schedule has been built on the springboard of Connor's Fisher Foundation Young Driver Award which he won in 2005. The award has already helped fund a training session at John Haugland's famous Norwegian ice driving school, teaching Connor invaluable car control skills.
Having only begun rallying in 2004, Connor is getting used to busy years with eleven events to his credit in 2005, when some fine class and overall results mixed with frustrating retirements "The start of the 2006 tarmac season seems a lifetime ago and it was frustrating on the first round as we had strict instructions to get to the finish in one piece. We've been using a new Evo 9 for the last few tarmac events but we're sticking with the Evo 8 for the gravel."
Connor is not a stranger to the British series, taking 3rd place in the Mitsubishi Evo challenge on the 2005 Jim Clark Rally while Damien also has experience in the BRC, finishing tenth on the Manx and seventh in Ulster. The pair's rally CVs make impressive reading although neither has experience on British Rally Championship gravel so the Pirelli Rally will be a baptism of fire.
Connor, "If we can continue to improve I'll be happy. The fact that there won't be any world rally machinery up front will make the events more of a level playing field, although our only plan is to make it to the finish and gain experience on this first rally. I'm also quite keen to keep it in one piece as our main sponsor Egger is based in Hexham and I think they even own some of the forest nearby!"
The first round of the new-look British series is based in Carlisle and after a city centre start early on Saturday, the stages are mainly in the infamous Kielder Forest complex. The service area at Carlisle Airport to the east of the city will be the hub of activity on Saturday and Sunday, with the spectator special "P-Zero" stage at nearby Newby Grange. A total of 115 miles of fast gravel tracks await the crews who will all be looking forward to a fierce battle and the finish in Carlisle on Sunday afternoon.