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After clinching the BTRDA 1400 Championship last month, Jerseyman Ed Fossey returned home to contest the Roberts Garage Ltd Jersey Rally (13/14 October). The 19-year-old put in a performance beyond his age as the Next Big Step driver finished third in class and an impressive giant-killing 13th overall, putting many more powerful cars and experienced drivers behind him.

Just two weeks ago, Fossey and co-driver Chris Sharpe-Simkiss from Blackpool sprayed the champagne and were crowned national champions on the Trackrod Rally in Yorkshire after a long-hard season fighting for supremacy on the gravel stages across Britain. With the championship in the bag for the team, the Yokohama-backed Toyota Yaris was to go from a mug-slinging forest car to a tarmac-hugging machine for the 35th Jersey Rally organised by the Jersey Motorcycle and Light Car Club.

Glorious sunshine prevailed over the course of the weekend but overnight rain on the Thursday made conditions a lottery on the first set of stages in St Martin and on Friday evening. Starting at car 40 the Bournemouth University student last competed on asphalt a year ago and was eager to adapt quickly to the sealed surface. On the opening set of six stages the Channel Islander showed his class as he hit the ground running – setting the 12th fastest time out of the 75 starters on the opening test. As the greasy road surface dried the more powerful cars came into the reckoning, but Ed mixed it with the best, as he held 27th going into the famous night stages.

As the night descended, and with confidence growing, Fossey produced some moonlight magic to work his way up the order in his Japanese machine. With lamp pods on, Ed excelled on the night stages, threading his nimble 1400cc pocket-rocket through the daunting narrow lanes. Leaping up the order after the Trinity and St Clement loop of stages – staking his claim to 17th overall at the overnight halt.

Fossey was determined to break into the top 15 on the second day of the event and revelled in the Saturday morning stages to the west of the island. The former Victoria College student was on a mission and clawed himself into 14th, setting some fastest class stage times along the way. Scorching sunshine saw large crowds lap-up the Jersey Rally atmosphere and lined the route to watch Fossey continue his march up the field on the final loop of stages through St Saviour and Victoria Village. 13th overall was to be a fine reward and a strong third in class was great way to end a stellar year for the Jersey teenager.

At the Ceremonial Finish, the Toyota driver reflected on the two-day event.

“I picked up the Tarmac style quicker than I expected as my last sealed-surface event was Jersey this time last year. The first stage was slippery which really helped me greatly and the second day was bone dry and sticky tarmac, so it was good to have all conditions to learn from.

“I am really happy with my performance and a great result to round out a fantastic year. However, I am always looking for more, as I wanted to be closer to Julian [Wilkes] and Stuart [Thompson] who were ahead of us in the class. We are a lot closer to them compared to last year, so I am happy with the progression and looking forward to coming back next year to fight again.”

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