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MG ZR rally ace George Morrison was dealt the cruellest of blows to his BTRDA Rally Challenge assault last weekend as he retired from the Nicky Grist Stages just miles from the ceremonial finish.  After completing over 40 gruelling miles in the forests around the Epynt Military Ranges, the MG suffered a snapped shock absorber on the final stage, forcing the Cottesmore pilot to retire on the road section back to the finish.

Morrison and regular co-driver Jon Quintrell had endured a fraught few months in preparation for the fourth round of the BTRDA Rally Challenge after a fractured wrist brought about a withdrawal of their entry to the third round in Cumbria. But despite his non-score, Morrison headed to the Builth Wells based event second in the championship and would look to build on his decent points haul so far this year.

Heavy rain would make the opening loop of stages trickier than usual and thanks to the MSA British Rally Championship joining the event Morrison would suffer from a lowly seeding position. Having to negotiate the rough forest tracks and ruts, he managed to weave his way through the opening four stages to make it back to the service halt in sixth place in the 1400C class after ending the first test in ninth.

More of the same was planned for the second loop of the day and Morrison was on course to bag more points to add to his tally, when just 450 metres from the end of the final stage, the front shock absorber snapped in two on the rough terrain.  He managed to nurse the limping MG across the finish line to record a time, hoping to affect some roadside repairs and make it back to the finish ramp.  But despite the pairings best efforts, they could go no further and retired from the event just miles from the end.

“I’m devastated” said Morrison.  “I know rallying can be a cruel sport sometimes but to end an event like this is as bad as it gets.  I think it makes it worse that we completed all of the stages but simply couldn’t make it the 12 miles back to the finish ramp. I feel really sorry for the team too who worked so hard to get us here and keep us going on one of the toughest rallies of the year. I’m sure I`ll be able to laugh at this moment in a few weeks’ time but it’s a hard pill to swallow right now”.

The championship returns to asphalt for the next round in August, the Tyneside Stages across the Otterburn Military Ranges.

Morrison is backed this year by SMR Detailing and AB Motorsport.

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