'Kielder woes for unlucky Simon'. Colwyn Bay's Simon Hughes could only smile after a character building day on the Pirelli Trophy Rally this weekend. The 23 year old Welshman was left to rue his misfortune after a driveshaft failure on the ...
'Kielder woes for unlucky Simon'.
Colwyn Bay's Simon Hughes could only smile after a character building day on the Pirelli Trophy Rally this weekend. The 23 year old Welshman was left to rue his misfortune after a driveshaft failure on the opening stage of the rally cost him any chance of victory on the second round of the Fiesta SportingTrophy.
After finishing second on the opening round of the series, the Malcolm Wilson Rally, Hughes and Berwickshire co-driver Claire Mole were keen to make the most of their knowledge of the Kielder forests near to the rally base in Carlisle. Hughes and Mole had contested the event many times previously, and both were keen to use that experience to the full with just 45 stage miles on offer, and no service back up for the first three stages.
Hughes had also attracted backing from the Furrows Ford dealership for the event. The Shropshire group were supporting Hughes as part of the Fiesta SportingTrophy Dealer Challenge, and Simon was keen to put on a good show for his new supporter. Unfortunately, fate was to strike the youngster a cruel blow just one mile into the opening stage of the rally. Hughes exited a corner normally, but a driveshaft broke in the transmission of the Ford Fiesta ST150. Hughes was able to limp out of the stage with just one wheel drive, losing over a minute in the process.
The bad luck was compounded by the fact that Hughes had to tackle two more stages before help could be found. The Fiesta lost agonising amounts of time as it limped through the long fast stages. Hughes made the most of his mechanical knowledge as he nursed the car to the service point where the mechanics rectified the problem.
With a top ten finish looking unlikely, Hughes had no option but to push on. Hughes romped through the Rushy Knowe stage to set fastest time, nearly six seconds faster than his closest rival. Buoyed by that performance, the Welsh ace pushed on again on the penultimate stage, only to have a puncture near the start of the stage that once more dropped him time. Hughes then notched up second fastest time on the final stage of the event as he was left to reflect on an unlucky 13th in the Fiesta classification.
MSA British Rally Elite Academy member Hughes was understandably disappointed with the result:
'There's not a lot you can do in this kind of situation. I'm particularly disappointed for Furrows Ford as they have stepped in to support us through the Dealer Challenge. We know that we have the pace to win in this championship, but fate didn't want us to win today! It was bad enough having a driveshaft break so early in the first stage, but the fact that we had to do two more stages before we could fix it just compounded the agony to be honest. I'm pleased that when we did have a clear run we were fastest, so that is encouraging. The next round of the series is in Wales - so I'm hoping that home advantage will work in my favour. After this result, we have no option but to hit the ground running on the next event. It promises to be another very close encounter I think'.
Hughes will head to Builth Wells in three weeks time for the Severn Valley Clubman Rally, round three of the Fiesta SportingTrophy. Hughes and Mole will be hoping that fortune favours the brave as they look to push for victory in Mid Wales on June 3rd.