'Borders bonus for Hughes and Mole'. Colwyn Bay's Simon Hughes will look to home advantage for the Jim Clark Memorial Rally on July 8th, despite the fact that the Welshman lives hundreds of miles away from the Scottish event. Hughes will turn...
'Borders bonus for Hughes and Mole'.
Colwyn Bay's Simon Hughes will look to home advantage for the Jim Clark Memorial Rally on July 8th, despite the fact that the Welshman lives hundreds of miles away from the Scottish event. Hughes will turn to the immense local knowledge provided by co-driver Claire Mole of Paxton, Berwickshire for the Kelso based event, round four of the Fiesta SportingTrophy.
An early mechanical retirement from the recent Severn Valley Clubman Rally has pushed 23 year old Simon down the points table for the Fiesta ST150 based series, but despite the disappointment of two consecutive retirements, Hughes is aiming to bounce back on an event he has contested no less than five times in the past six years. The Furrows for Ford in Shropshire backed Fiesta has been thoroughly overhauled since its last appearance in Mid Wales and no bolt has been un-turned as Hughes looks to get his title challenge back on track.
MSA British Rally Elite Academy member Simon's best result on the Jim Clark Memorial Rally to date was a podium finish in the ultra competitive Super 1600 category, up against the works Peugeots and MG teams a few seasons ago. Hughes also hit the headlines with a spectacular accident on the fast tarmac lanes in 2004 - a moment often repeated and shown on TV. Although he has experienced good and bad fortune on the massively popular rally, Simon knows that his experience of tarmac roads, the knowledge of former works co-driver Mole, and lots of pace note experience will all help.
A season spent in the Czech Republic contesting only tarmac rallies has massively improved Simon's pace note making technique, and as such, the Welsh ace is confident of a good performance on the rally, which is also a round of the British Rally Championship. Familiarity with the stages is always a big advantage on any event, and with many of Simon's rivals making their first trips to the Scottish borders, Simon is only too aware that he needs to make the most of the experience that has brought him runners up finishes at both UK and World Rally Championship level this year:
'The Jim Clark Memorial Rally is a great event' said Hughes. 'I remember it for a variety of reasons. I made my debut in the Renault Clio Super 1600 in the car at the event, and I also had the biggest and most publicised accident of my career on the event as well! All that is well and truly in the past now, and my ability on tarmac was massively improved by a season abroad where I really learnt a huge amount about the art of making real pace notes. I really hope I can put that knowledge to good use at the Jim Clark, and having Claire's local knowledge is a real bonus too. Claire knows just about every single inch of every road on the event, so it gives me a huge confidence boost to know that. After two non finishes due to mechanical problems, we're really keen to get a good score this time.
This is the first time the Fiestas will do battle on the tarmac this year, so it could be a wide open fight. Either way, it will certainly be a close run thing. I'm confident that with a good clean run, we can once more be at the sharp end, especially with the tarmac experience I have from contesting Rallye Catalunya and Corsica this year. It is all to play for, and thanks to the continuing support we have had from Furrows for Ford in Shropshire, we're ready for the challenge'.
The Jim Clark Memorial Rally is one of the few UK mainland rallies to run on closed public tarmac roads. As such, the event always sees plenty of spectator and competitor numbers. Named after the former F1 World Champion Jim Clark who lived near the event in the small town of Duns, the event is always one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the UK rallying calendar.