Flying Scotsman Gordon Nichol overcame a couple of confidence sapping moments on last weekends British Rally Championship season opener to take the final podium position on the Bulldog international Rally of North Wales.

'Gogsie' and co-driver Emma Morrison had made the decision to make their own 'pace notes' this year after having spent 2008 modifying organisers notes. In theory this was a good idea but in practice Gogsie, who was the runner up in the 2008 Suzuki Swift Challenge, was a little too ambitious with some of his notes.

A couple of heart in the mouth moments on the opening pair of stages dented his confidence and, knowing that points equal prizes, Nichol opted to back off and consolidate third position, preserving the little Sunwise, Cooks Car and Van Hire and Airbrush Perfections backed Suzuki as well.

"Over the off season Emma and I practiced writing our own notes and it seemed to work, but I think more work is required as some of the corners were spot on and others were just far too optimistic," he said. "But the real positive from this weekend is that, even without being able to trust my notes, we were not far off the pace. Next up is the Pirelli, a rally which I won last year, so fingers crossed we can have a repeat performance in 2009!"

Nichol is contesting the 2009 Swift Cup on a rally by rally basis due to financial constraints and would like to make a special mention about Darren Dyche, who kindly offered to pay for the fuel for the season.

by Geoff Mayes