Close call for Weaver in Kielder Neil Weaver, the dominant Xspec 1400 championship leader, survived a 'big moment' in Kielder to return to Carlisle at the end of 70 miles of rough and tough competition to finish the Pirelli Masters Rally a ...
Close call for Weaver in Kielder
Neil Weaver, the dominant Xspec 1400 championship leader, survived a 'big moment' in Kielder to return to Carlisle at the end of 70 miles of rough and tough competition to finish the Pirelli Masters Rally a highly creditable 5th overall and 2nd 2wd home.
Running behind the Pirelli International Rally, the Masters event was headed by 1995 World Rally champion Colin McRae, but alas his rally ended prematurely when his car ground to a halt on junction 5 of the very first stage.
Despite the roads being fairly dug up Weaver and Thornton were revelling in the chance to strut their stuff in front of the crowds that had turned out and still set 7th quickest time through the opening 8 miler. this despite driving the last 2 miles on a puncture!
Stage 2, Rushy Knowle saw the little Ferrari red Corsa stop the clocks a mere 4 seconds slower than James Belton, driving a far more powerful Ford Escort MkII.
Stage 3, Chirdonhead, saw another top 5 time before the cars headed back to Carlisle for a quick blast around the 'P zero' spectator stage before service. Neil and Nick did their best to entertain the crowds who were disappointed by McRaes demise and in doing so set the fastest 2wd time through the stage. Incredibly his time was 2.3 seconds quicker than that of Barry Clark who won the S1600 category of the International Rally - pretty impressive for a little 1400!
After service the cars headed out to Stage 5. Shepherdshield is notorious for being a very fast stage and is very typical of Kielder, with unusual cambers and bumps guaranteed to catch even the most dedicated out. Neil was flat in 5th gear when he misheard a note, hit a bump a bit too hard and the car was thrown off the stage at over 100mph!!! The moment we hit that bump I thought that we were going to have a big one! Somehow we avoided hitting anything and I was able to bring the car to a halt, but we had no idea where the stage was!
Incredibly hordes of spectators descended on the little Corsa and manhandled it back onto the road where Neil was able to continue on his way, shaken but not stirred! Despite loosing over 2 minutes in the stage the duo were just glad that the car had emerged unscathed. It's not often that Kielder lets you get away with such a big one! I guess today was my lucky day!
To prove their determination had not been beaten Neil and Nick carried on to set a string of top 5 times through the remaining stages on their way to finishing 5th overall and 2nd in the 2wd category! Incredibly, as well as being near the times set by recognised 2wd rally ace Steve Bannister, Weaver and Thornton also managed to beat the rally legend on 2 stages!
I love Kielder but as today has shown it has a reputation and you would be foolish to ignore that! I must say a huge thanks to all the spectators that helped us back on to the road!
The next event for Weaver Motorsport is this coming weekend where Neil and Nick headed to South Wales for round 5 of the BTRDA Xspec 1400 championship, the Red Dragon Rally.
Having won the last 4 rounds by over a minute each time, the pair are firm favourites this weekend.