James Watkins impressed on his gravel rallying debut when he brought his Nissan Micra F1000 home 32nd overall and fifth in class on the Coracle Stages last weekend, raising money for the Severn Hospice along the way.

The 19-year-old and co-driver Geoff Mayes began the seven stage event seeded at car 50 and although the Makefast and Rally Marketing-backed man admitted to tackling the opening test cautiously, he soon found a good rhythm and by the end of the day was full of smiles.

"The weather today was atrocious and on one stage we even had the windscreen misting up on us which made things interesting!" said Watkins.

"The Micra was brilliant though and whilst we might not have been the fastest car in the field we had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed my first experience on gravel.

"I must say a big thanks to Geoff Jones Motorsport who helped me out with tuition before the rally as well as providing the Micra, which ran well all day long."

Watkins and Mayes successfully raised over ?150 for the Severn Hospice but are encouraging people to continue to donate through their justgiving page on the internet: www.justgiving.com/coraclerally09.

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Meanwhile fellow Welshpool resident Wayne Ellis will contest the Harry Flatters Rally in Peugeot 106 Rallye this weekend - and like Watkins he is supporting the Severn Hospice.

"My grand father is currently being looked after by the Severn Hospice and I am really impressed with the level of care that they provide," said Ellis, "and so I would like to try and give a little something back."

by Geoff Mayes