HOME WIN FOR PINDER ON SWIFT SPORT CUP The MSA British Rally Championship's 2009 Swift Sport Cup was a cracker, going right to the final round on International Rally Yorkshire at the end of September. At the end of nearly 100 miles of high...
HOME WIN FOR PINDER ON SWIFT SPORT CUP
The MSA British Rally Championship's 2009 Swift Sport Cup was a cracker, going right to the final round on International Rally Yorkshire at the end of September.
At the end of nearly 100 miles of high speed competition in the forests of North Yorkshire, it was local lad Luke Pinder and co-driver Peter Scott who took victory in both event and one-make Championship.
Six crews contested every round of the one-make series, but it was left to just three to battle it out for the overall title on this final event, with just two eligible to win the Junior category and with it a place in the 2009 Pirelli Star Driver final.
Last Year's runners up Gordon Nichol and Emma Morrison headed the series on its move back to gravel, the Scot needing a win to secure the title. But equally needing full points for the win were recently crowned MSA British Ladies Rally Champion, Australian Molly Taylor and co-driver Jemma Bellingham.
Pinder too needed to come out on top, but his event started badly, struggling when a suspension bolt worked loose, leaving the alignment awry and the car handling badly.
It as Taylor then, who caught the rest of the field napping on the day's opening test, setting a time 22 seconds clear of Richard Sykes and Simon Taylor. The Midlander's approach on this ultra fast event was simple since he couldn't take the title; win at all costs. It was evident though, that Taylor had the same idea and after her time on stage one, both Pinder and Sykes had a big push.
Sadly the first stage had not been kind to Nichol, the loose conditions catching him out and forcing the car to run wide. As it came to rest on the edge of a ditch he thought he had got away with it, but the car slipped sideways and landed on its side. Without spectators to help, the pair struggled to right the little Swift, eventually managing, having lost nearly twenty minutes.
Nick Everard and new co-driver Sam Collis had a bad morning too. They lost time when their lower front suspension bent under heavy impact from potholes, forcing the front right hand wheel into the arch, which punctured the tyre slowing the car to a crawl. They managed to affect roadside repairs and limp back to service where both wishbones and the wing were replaced with just moments to spare.
Meanwhile Pinder had set a pair of cracking times on stages two and three, closing the gap to Taylor back to 22 seconds, but Sykes was to have a disaster. He first bent the front wishbones in the same hole as Everard, the subsequent damage causing the driveshaft to pop out. After stage-side repairs, the Swift then refused to change gear properly, eventually jamming in gear. With over half an hour lost, they were lucky to still be in the event, limping back to service lying plumb last.
However they did manage to get to the finish, unlike the unfortunate Taylor. With her lead diminished to just four seconds by stage six, after some stunning times from Pinder, a rock hit their fuel tank, damaging the fuel pump and ending their event on the spot.
Although not registered for the one-make series, Mark Gamble stepped in to drive the car that he had run for David Harrison all year. But driveshaft problems stopped him in stage two, leaving just four to take the finish in Pickering.
Nichol and Morrison's early time loss left their Championship hopes in tatters, even their final third place or GBP200 prize money no consolation for a season where they were the only crew to finish all six events. The dropped score rule eventually left them seven points away from the title and runners up for a second year.
Taylor's exit promoted Everard to a career best second and his first podium finish; just reward for the youngster whose pace and confidence has grown throughout his debut BRC season. The result netted the Yorkshireman GBP300 prize money and elevated him to fourth in the final standings.
With all the Swift crews hitting problems, Pinder eventually cruised to the finish to take not only the Swift Sport Cup and another GBP500, but the Pirelli Star Driver nomination as highest placed Swift Junior and the Rally 1 class in the MSA British Rally Championship.
The only driver to have been nominated in both 2008 and 2009 Pirelli Star Driver competition finals, the Yorkshireman should have some small advantage in the forthcoming shootout.