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George_Morrison_PR2_15After two years away from the sport, HM Forces Mechanic George Morrison began his rallying comeback trail on last weekend’s BTRDA Series opener, The Rally Weir Engineering Wyedean Forest Rally. But an early event retirement ended his charge up the leader board after setting an encouraging time through the first stage of the Chepstow based event.

Piloting his new MG ZR in the highly competitive 1400C class of the series, Morrison was keen to start the season on a high after a short test at the beginning of the year revealed its far superior handling and braking characteristics in the car compared to his 2013 steed, a Peugeot 205.  But a broken drive shaft on stage two of the event would put him out of the rally before he had a real chance to settle into the challenging conditions on the Forest of Dean.

Morrison from Tidworth, Wiltshire was co-driven by Glenn Mercer who was competing on his very first event and would be undoubtedly finding his feet throughout the day.  The three mile opening test was perhaps the hardest of the day due to the heavy overnight rain in the area and thick layer of mud, which greeted the crew early on Saturday morning. With Mercer still adjusting to the pace note system, Morrison had to drive the stage without direction calls from the new comer, but Morrison took a confident approach and they emerged from the stage in a solid class position.

On then to the longer second stage and the duo gelled instantly with Morrison starting to feel more comfortable with both the new car and the calls from Mercer.  Their pace increased as the stage progressed but it was soon to be in vein as the MG dug into the rough gravel on a hairpin and snapped a driveshaft, ending their comeback charge on the spot.

“Of course it’s really disappointing to retire from the event before we really got going” said Morrison. “Glenn had got the rhythm back in his pace notes and I was starting to push for the first time and it was just unlucky we got caught up in the ruts.  But we have to look to the rest of the season now and see how we can develop throughout the year. I know the car is good and I feel really confident, more than I ever did in the Peugeot so I think we can certainly be fighting for a podium spot on the next event in March.”

The second round of the all-gravel series is the Malcom Wilson Rally in Cumbria which takes crews to the notorious Grizedale Forest complex in just three weeks’ time.  Morrison will hope to test the MG before the event in an attempt to gain more seat time and be “match fit” for the remainder of his BTRDA Rally Championship, MZR ZR Challenge and MSA English Rally Championship campaign.

Image courtesy of MCR Motorsport Media

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