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19-year-old Ed Fossey sealed the 1400 BTRDA rally championship with a class win on the tough and demanding Trackrod Stages Yorkshire last weekend (30 September). The Jerseyman in his Yokohama Toyota Yaris produced a champion’s drive to clinch the title in his first full year of rallying.

Ed Fossey came to the Trackrod Stages in Yorkshire with the power in his hands. The young Channel Islander needed a strong result to help his championship bid and a class win would put the title race out of reach for his rivals.

Eager to notch up his first national rallying success, Fossey was confident heading into the event after several class podiums this season. The Bournemouth University student contested the rally last year to great success and with Blackpool-based co-driver Chris Shapre-Simkiss on the notes, and the car fresh from its podium on the Woodpecker Stages –all the tools were at Fossey’s disposal for a strong weekend.

Fossey lined up at car 62 in a 91 car field and the Next Big Step-backed star was keen to fire himself up the leaderboard. On the opening stage a blistering run put Fossey impressively into 31st overall and more importantly second in the 1400 class behind rival Dave Brick.

With four stages remaining on the short event, the young-gun hung onto the coat tails of Brick, making it nail-bitingly close in the championship race. Ed enjoyed pushing the Toyota to its limit and reveled in a personal leaderboard battle with World Downhill Mountain Bike Champion and British Rally Championship competitor Gee Atherton on the time sheets.

Ed went into the final stage of the event not knowing if he would be champion. Content with second in the class, Fossey was to be elevated into the lead as sparring partner Brick was forced into retirement with mechanical problems dogging the Vauxhall Nova driver. Fossey crossed the flying finish of the final stage with the class win in his hands and as a result was 100% assured of the title. More impressively Fossey finished in 31st overall – putting many more experienced drivers in more powerful cars behind him. After seven rounds spanning the length and breadth of England and Wales, Fossey was crowned champion at his first time of asking – winning the Thomas Panels 1400 category.

“That was the best event of the year by far,” enthused Fossey. “It helped that we were seeded higher and with our rivals so we were on a level playing field. I felt comfortable with the car and Yokohama tyres and we were in the mix from the off and we kept Dave [Brick] in our sights.

“We were ahead of Dave on the road which meant we ended the stage happy with our performance and how the year went, but when we checked the times we found out Brick hadn’t finished the stage and had retired. That changed the mood dramatically. We were gutted he retired but that meant we secured the win we needed for the title. It was hard to process so soon after the final stage!

“I am still speechless, to win the title in our first full year is just brilliant. I felt I have really come on as a driver this year and the pace from these small-engined cars is unreal. The BTRDA series is the perfect place to learn the gravel surface and we have been building the pace all year and by the final round I felt very comfortable on the loose surface.”

With the BTRDA championship now over and after a year on the gravel forestry stages, Ed returns to the sealed-surface for his next challenge. Fossey will contest the Roberts Garage Jersey Rally (13/14 October) in the Yokohama-backed Toyota Yaris and will be gunning for a class podium on home soil – the perfect icing on the 2017 championship winning cake.

“Now I have to adapt back to the Tarmac, as next up is the Jersey Rally for us. I haven’t driven on the Tarmac since the event last year so the first day will take a bit of time to get used to the asphalt after a year of gravel. I can’t wait to compete at home and show people what I have been up to this year. It’s going to be a tough rally with some really hot competition, but I can’t wait to get stuck in and enjoy it with no championship pressure.“

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