The weekend saw a perfect end to the first full season of competition for drivers taking part in Junior Rallying, the scheme to develop the next generation of British Rally drivers.
Four of Junior Rallying's first stream completed this weekend's Aizpute Rally and with it, graduated to the next stage of their rallying careers.
The Aizpute Rally is the last round of the Latvian RallySprint Championship, which forms Phase Two of Junior Rallying, giving drivers from the age of 14 the chance to begin genuine rally competition in the Baltic state. From here, they graduate into the Latvian National Championship, on their way to securing an international rally license and the next stage of their career.
Junior Rallying figurehead Tom Cave was treating the event as a test, as he sought another signature on his license to allow him to secure his international license and with it, eligibility to enter his home round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB in December.
He enjoyed a relatively trouble-free run, with the Junior Rallying technicians rectifying a small gearbox fault before he adopted a steady pace to ensure he reached the finish of the event and notched up another signature. “I wasn't pushing this weekend, as the finish was my only objective,” he said at the end of the event. He finished 42nd overall and eighth in class.
Tom Clark enjoyed yet another excellent event, now having recorded six finishes from the same number of starts and continued his run of improving his position with every rally. He was second in class following the event's double-run superspecial stage through the centre of the town on Saturday and despite several 'moments' on Sunday, including clipping a straw bale and damaging a front wing, was delighted to finish the event 39th overall and fourth in class, his best result to date.
“It's been another good event,” he said. “It was a great relief to get through the rally and gain another finish. The superspecial in particular was great fun – lots of people, judging by the camera flashes all around us! I'm pleased we keep improving our results as we go – perhaps we'll win our class one day!”
Jamie Brown was another driver who started well and enjoyed a trouble-free run, to begin with. However, it was on the second loop of stages on Sunday afternoon where things went a little wrong for the 16 year-old. Having survived his own fair share of moments on the first loop, he hit a rock or a pothole in the second loop and punched both front and rear dampers on the left of his father's Honda Civic out through the top of the mountings.
He managed to complete the event, picking up a damaged exhaust system on the way but was pleased to arrive at the finish 53rd overall and 11th in class.