Hello! What a week and weekend the Formula 1000 club had recently!

Sunday 8 March 2009 saw history being made with the very first Junior rally held on UK shores at the Roskirk Stages, Wigan.

As you all know, the build up to the event was of huge proportions but no-one could predict what the reality would be like on the day, but I'm pleased to say it was a fantastic day. Not only did the Juniors perform extremely well, but they impressed all the competing adults, the spectators and most importantly, the event organisers. This column will probably be full of thanks on behalf of the club, so bare with us if we get a little carried away!

No-one in the club could believe that, on the Saturday evening, after five years of doggedly working with the MSA to finalise regulations etc, that the start of the first round of the Kick Energy Acceleration TV Formula 1000 Junior Championship was a matter of hours away. I think at that point, the committee were more anxious than the competitors!

As the morning dawned, the eleven crews arrived at the Three Sisters Circuit for pre-event scrutineering, thankfully all passing without any issues, all cars receiving compliments for being extremely tidy and well built cars. The drivers briefing, held by the event organisers BSSMC, was kept short but crucial as was the Juniors briefing, held by Tristan. This helped to reassure the juniors and place some of those pre-event nerves to rest.

What became obviously very quickly to us all was the immediate pace and the competitiveness between each crew with just one second separating first and second fastest junior crew all day. Infact, on some stages, there was up to three crews tying on time! An incredible feat, when you consider less than twelve months ago, some of them hadn't driven a car let alone a vehicle at rallying speed.

Not only did the crews impress with their outright performance, they also impressed with their ability to tackle the increasingly treacherous weather conditions changing from rain to snow to hail to sunshine in a matter of minutes.

Taking the first ever victory for a driver between 14 and 16 years old was sixteen year old Ashley Slights, co-driven by Jemma Bellingham. Ashley, who uses part of his father's workshop to prepare his Toyota Yaris, was fastest from the outset and maintained his lead. However, credit must go to those in second and third position, Cameron Davies and Alex Parpottas respectively. The pair, when not tying to the second with each other, were taking the challenge to Ashley the entire day, with Cameron coming in just 10 seconds behind the Yaris crew with Alex just eight seconds further back.

Nick Cristofaro, partnered by BTRDA and MSA National Gravel Championship regular co-driver Jamie Edwards came home fourth overall, a mere two seconds behind Alex and co-driver Kath Rumney. Fifth was Dominic Scott with Matthew Jackson, co-driven by Fiesta Sporting Trophy UK driver Matt Edwards coming in sixth after consistent performances in the typical British weather! James Smith came home seventh after what he described as a "scrappy morning". However, despite putting in times similar to the leaders in the afternoon he was able to challenge the two Matt's, however; Matthew was able to hold him off for his sixth position.

Coming in eighth was Ben Friend ahead of Aaron McClure and Josh Davey, the latter duo enjoying a close battle of the closing stages of the event. Coming in in eleventh was our youngest competitor, indeed, the youngest driver in British Rallying, Matthew Thompson. Matt, who only turned fourteen two weeks prior to the Roskirk, impressed everyone with his turn of speed and certainly has potential for future rounds!

Now for those thank you's, this might take a while!

Firstly, thank you to all at BSSMC for taking what was a big risk in agreeing to run the inaugural Junior rally. Not only that, but the event was hugely successful and very well organised, with the changeovers being completed in minimal time. Fantastic.

Thank you to our championship sponsors, Steve Perez through Kick Energy, David Winstanley through Acceleration TV and to John Goff of rallyschool.co.uk who have provided the series with fantastic support.

On behalf of the Junior competitors, thank you to Tristan, Alistair and the rest of the Formula 1000 club committee for keeping the faith and allowing the Juniors to finally compete, the five years of hard work were worth it!

Finally, thank you to the Junior competitors for the way in which they conducted themselves on the day. Enjoying the occasion but maintaining cool, professional heads putting in mature performances. Even some of the adults were slightly embarrassed by the pace you were all running at!

So, to end, congratulations again to Ashley and Jemma on their maiden victory and to both Cameron and Alex on their podium positions, both putting in great drives despite very little driving experience to speak of!

The next round of the Kick Energy Acceleration TV Formula 1000 Junior Championship is the Lee Holland Stages at the Anglesey Race Circuit on the 26th of April. If you would like more information, please visit the Formula 1000 website at www.formula1000.co.uk.

Coming up soon we will have a first account report from the inaugural winner, Ashley Slights.
Happy Rallying!

The Formula 1000 Rally Club

Written on behalf of the club by Jonathan Jackson

 

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