Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship New for 2008 Regular crew profiles The BRC will feature all its registered competitors on a regular basis throughout the 2008 season. Some well known and some not so well known faces will appear...
Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship
New for 2008 Regular crew profiles
The BRC will feature all its registered competitors on a regular basis throughout the 2008 season.
Some well known and some not so well known faces will appear in this section and obviously there will be more to say about the longer serving competitors than the newbies. That said, the intention is to give additional exposure throughout the field and in no particular order, the first of the featured bunch are Rob Swann and Darren Garrod
Still only 39, Rob Swann has been rallying for around thirteen years and contested the 2007 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship in a Subaru Impreza N12.
His business in the demolition, groundwork and plant hire industry has helped Rob secure backing from Allied Property & Leisure Ltd, a large developer in the South East, alongside long time sponsor Revolution Wheels that has supplied competition wheels for several seasons.
In 1995 he appeared on the rallying scene on the Dukeries Rally in a Mazda RX3 with his brother Peter co-driving. They were placed back at 167th overall, but had improved by the Cambrian at the end of the year to take 28th. He swapped to an Escort in 1996 and finished the season second in the BTRDA B10 class and twelfth overall with some impressive top twenty results.
His 1997 season saw a swap to a group N Escort Cosworth but a frustrating year left him with a solitary point, having swapped co-drivers a couple of times. By 1999 he had settled with his Escort and with Ken Bowman in the co-drivers seat and finished third in the 2000 BTRDA Silver Star series, with a flourish on Rally GB in an Evo, taking 42nd place overall.
2001 saw him competing in an Evo 4 with some excellent class results, eventually finishing runner up N4 driver behind Leon Pesticcio. He also contested the Swansea Bay Rally, part of the ANCRO series, beating a certain Guy Wilks by twelve places.
In 2002 Rob won the BTRDA Gold Star Production Cup in the Mitsubishi and the experience competing at National level in an Evo stood him in good stead for his move to the British Rally Championship. This experience was supplemented by several more outings on Rally GB but by his own admission the step up to the BRC was a big one.
"2004 was a learning year for me in a Mitsubishi in the BRC," he commented, "but I swapped to an Impreza in 2005 and I've been improving every year. We were 3rd in the Championship at the mid point last year." Darren Garrod has sat with me for the last few seasons in the BRC and the partnership has worked well.
His increase in pace is plain to see as last year he contested his local event the Tempest Stages where he finished an impressive third with a pair of World Rally cars in front. The result was more impressive still when his co-driver was Revolution Wheels boss Warren McKiernan who had never navigated before.
His fifth place in the 2007 BRC is his best result so far, but he still smarts from Rally Isle of Man; Rob explains, "We were set for our first ever BRC podium and we missed out on the final stage by 0.6 seconds to Wyn (Humphreys). I was gutted, but it shows that it is possible to be up at the top with a bit of luck."
Welsh electrician Darren is no stranger to success either, having won the Astra Stages Clubman event in 2005 and 2006 with Ieuan Rowlands and Nick Kenny respectively. The Pwllheli based 28 year-old guided Rob to an impressive debut 10th place on Rally Yorkshire that year and entered Rally GB, unfortunately succumbing to mechanical problems.
His co-driving career began in 1998 navigating on road rallies, but he soon progressed to stage rallying and contested the Peugeot 206 Cup alongside Paul Jones. Even in 2004 he was still in the Peugeot and keeping fresh with local Welsh road rallies.
By 2007 he had a regular seat with Rob and 2008 should see the partnership renewed for the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship.