Rally crew Richard Sykes and Janice Moore enjoyed a great result last weekend on the Jim Clark Challenge Rally when they took second place overall although they very nearly claimed victory on the tough Scottish Borders-based event.
The rally, a round of the BRC Challenge, kicked off with three stages on Friday evening and despite it being the first event on tarmac that Stourbridge’s Sykes had contested since last October’s Mull Rally he was on the pace immediately, setting third fastest time through the spectator-packed stage through the streets of Duns.
A brilliant fastest time on the second stage at Bothwell saw Sykes and co-driver Moore storm into the lead which they consolidated on the third test, the daunting Abbey St Bathans stage, to take a lead of 4 seconds into the second day.
Day two opened with stages at Polwarth, Edrom and Ayton. Although the lead was lost briefly after Edrom Sykes and Moore were back on top as the crews headed to Kelso for a service halt.
A heavy downpour shortly before the penultimate Eccles stage made the road conditions treacherous but Sykes powered through the test in his G I Sykes and Boroughbridge Marina back Citroën C2 R2 Max to take a lead of 15 seconds into the last stage.
With his good lead Sykes decided to back off slightly in the final Swinton stage but a misheard pacenote saw the C2 go through a hedge at around 90mph and into a field. Fortunately the crew got the car back onto the road and to the finish but the time loss was sufficient to drop them to second place.
“I had a decent lead with one stage to go so I decided not to do anything silly,” commented Sykes. “We were going at 97.5% rather than flat out but we were still doing 90mph when I thought Janice called a fast corner when she had actually called a slower one.”
“We were going far too fast to take the bend so we went right through the hedge at the side of the road and into a field. The crops in the field were as high as the bonnet but we kept going and aimed for the hole we had just made in the hedge.”
“By the time we had extracted ourselves one of our main rivals Dick Archer was right behind us and we both flew through the rest of the stage, Dick just edging ahead on a long straight with his more powerful car.”
“Sadly we lost out on the win by just six seconds to Dick but it was a brilliant battle and I really enjoyed the event. The car performed faultlessly and although this event was meant to be a one off I am thinking of doing the next championship round in Ulster.”
Please visit http://www.gisykes.co.uk for more information on the G I Sykes rally team.
Image courtesy of Songasport.