Sykes stars on Isle of Man Stourbridge resident Richard Sykes made amends for his early season problems by winning both 'stars' rounds of the recent Rally Isle of Man, and in doing so thrust himself back into the championship hunt with three ...
Sykes stars on Isle of Man
Stourbridge resident Richard Sykes made amends for his early season problems by winning both 'stars' rounds of the recent Rally Isle of Man, and in doing so thrust himself back into the championship hunt with three rounds to go.
Sykes, who led all three of the earlier rounds before mechanical troubles sidelined him, was just hoping for a clean run and so was pleasantly surprised to find himself in the thick of the battle for the lead of Fridays rally. The opening stage saw Sykes drop a mere 1.5 seconds to the rapid Mike Harris Junior, but when he clipped a curb on the second stage Richard took a cautious approach to the next few bends to ensure no damage was done. He made this time back up on the third stage when the G I Sykes Ltd supported Peugeot 106 flew through the stage 5 seconds faster. With only one 3.5 mile stage of the day left Richard was a mere 3 seconds behind-- but this became immaterial when Harris crashed into the stricken car of Sykes JAM sport team mate and the stage was stopped.
It was a great battle out there today between Mike and I. It's hard to say who would have won that last stage because we were both pushing hard, so it is unfortunate what happened to him, but that's' rallying.
Less than 24 hours later Richard, who is co-driven by Simon Taylor, was celebrating his second consecutive victory. This time the win was rather more dominant, winning by over 2 minutes. It wasn't all straightforward though.
The Trade Paint Services backed Peugeot had a close call when it kissed the Armco at 110mph on the second stage, puncturing the rear tyre! This cost Sykes over 15 seconds as he limped through the last 6 miles. Times were really close for the next stage but both Richard and Luke Pinder, his closest rival of the day, were pushing hard. Then Pinder brushed a bank and Sykes slowed down when he saw debris, not wishing to crash into a stricken car, dropping him time to the cosmetically deranged Ford ahead of him. With Pinder forced to limp through the last stage Sykes could cruise home in his Acaster Boat Sales backed Peugeot to take a comfortable victory.
Wow, suddenly all of our early season frustrations have disappeared! We were just hoping to finish this weekend, but to actually win both events is great! We were having a great battle with both Mike and Luke before their respective mishaps. I'm really chuffed, and more importantly the car was spot on all weekend.
The 'stars' now all have an extended break before the Trackrod Rally in Yorkshire in October.
-credit: geoff mayes