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BBR pirelliFormer Kinross High School student, Blair Brown (20) and co-driver, Richard Simmonds (40) of Duns achieved what they set out to do with a solid finish at the Pirelli Carlisle Rally (April 30-1 May).

Arriving at the pre-event reconnaissance to a mixed bag of weather reminded the young rally driver just how fast and slippery the gravel stages of the legendary Kielder Forest could be. Having competed but not finished the event two years’ prior, Brown was out to ensure he’d go the full distance and secure additional points in his DMACK Junior British Rally Championship campaign.

Settling into an early rhythm the duo completed the first two stages with no issues despite the loose, muddy gravel conditions, however on stage three the pair were not so lucky picking up a puncture at the midpoint caused by a stone wearing a whole in the rim. Despite this misfortune they continue at pace completing the stage.

Stage four gave a sharp reminder just how dangerous and notoriously tricky the Keilder stages could be when the Ford Fiesta R2T had a big moment launching over a crest and landing with the back wheels of the car in the ditch in fourth gear. For a second the duo thought it was all over but thankfully the car pulled out of the ditch and no damage was done.

Stage five was a short, sharp introduction to the second day of rallying. Having written their own pace notes for the event Blair and Richard struggled to get into a good rhythm which continued throughout the day. Despite a better, faster result in stage six the pair remained out of sync with the notes and agreed that to reach the finish was the goal of the day.

Finishing overall 26th and securing a further 4 points in championship (9th position) Blair said, “The stages in the Pirelli Carlisle Rally are all very fast and with this you need to have extremely accurate pace notes. As Richard and I haven’t had a great deal of experience of writing our own pace notes on gravel we have found we had a number of issues which cost us a lot of time this weekend.  On the positive side, we have learnt a lot and it is something we can work on to improve our times”.

Commenting on the event Richard said “It’s an achievement to finish the Pirelli so I’m happy we did that as well as managing to secure a few more championship points. We have a lot of work to do before the next round to match the pace of the front running crews”.

Blair and Richard would like to thank you to all their sponsors and supporters for supporting them at the Pirelli Carlisle Stages. They can next be seen on round four of the DMACK Junior British Rally Championship in Dumfries at RSAC Scottish Rally on the 25th June.

Highlights from the Pirelli Carlisle Stages can be seen this weekend Saturday 14th May at 7.30am on Channel 4 and Sunday 15th May at 4.30pm on BT Sports 2.

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