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MG ZR pilot George Morrison finishes the Carlisle Stages in season comeback.

With two non-finishes to his name in 2015 thanks to a series of mechanical misfortunes, George Morrison took his MG ZR to its first finish of the year in one of the toughest events in the REIS-Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series calendar, the DMACK Carlisle Stages.  Based entirely in the Kielder forest complex, the stages are renowned for catching the unwary but Morrsion took it all in his stride, nursing the MG around the rough stages to reach the Longtown finish ninth in the 1400C class.

The HM Forces Mechanic from Tidworth in Wiltshire was all set to have co-driving wife Emma in the passenger seat for the first time on the event, but a back injury during the week meant a replacement would need to be sought. Welshman Unum Pila stepped in to assist in a bid to rejuvenate Morrison’s MGZR Challenge and Kick Start 1400 championship aspirations.

With new runner order regulations, Morrison would start the event towards the tail end of the field and would almost certainly encounter tricky conditions in the stages thanks to the passage of over 130 cars ahead of him.  But Morrison was keen to ensure a finish was on the cards in the Borders and settled into a pace that would be comfortable enough to manage the conditions safely. Returning to the first service of the day, Morrison’s only complaint was a twisted shock absorber and the team quickly corrected the issue.

The second loop would prove a little more troublesome as halfway through the fourth stage of the event the MG broke a driveshaft on a rocky corner, leaving Morrison with just one wheel drive.  Nursing the car to the end of the stage, the newly formed duo completed the next test with the tricky handling and made it back to service where the team could change the defective unit.  Despite the final 13 mile test being cancelled due to an earlier incident, Morrison was overjoyed to finish an event for the first time this year and dedicated the achievement to the people around him who made it all possible.

“It’s been a really tough start to my season and it has been hard not to get a little depressed about our retirements with the new car” said Morrison. “But thanks to the huge effort of the team we have managed to turn our fortunes around and get a finish under our belt.  Matt Beebe at AB Motorsport has been instrumental in making sure the MG was able to start the event and thanks to him we emerged unscathed from this notorious event.  Thanks also must go to Gareth for stepping into the co driver’s seat at the last minute.”

The next round takes place in just four weeks’ time as crews return to Wales for the sixth round of the REIS-Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, the Nicky Grist Stages.

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