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Tommy relishes opportunity to compete on World rally stage

Tommi Meadows in action in Wales''''Picture: Carl Leavold
Tommi Meadows in action in Wales''''Picture: Carl Leavold
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Rally driver Tommi Meadows relished the chance to compete on the same stages as the best in the world this weekend at Wales Rally GB.

Ably assisted by co-driver Emma Morrison, the pair guided their Swift Group supported Ford Fiesta R2 to a successful finish on this tough rally.

After having been given the chance to get back behind the ME Rallysport Fiesta by Swift Caravans boss Peter Smith, the crew were entered into the National event which included 2 days of flat out action in the forests of Wales.

The first day consisted of five special stages being run behind the main WRC field.

A good run through the first stage allowed the pairing to get reacquainted with the M-Sport built machine, which is quite a different beast to the 1400cc Ford KA they have campaigned in the BTRDA series this year.

However, trouble struck in the following 29KM Brenig stage. A rear puncture caused the team to drop quite a bit of time, despite being able to struggle through and change the wheel at the end of the stage.

“The conditions were really quite rough, so we tried to be tidy and keep it in the middle of the road,” explained Tommi. “I think a sharp rock has damaged the sidewall and caused the puncture - it’s just one of those things and part of doing a tough event like this”.

A sensible drive through the day’s remaining stages left Meadows and Morrison a very credible 20thoverall of the 81 entries, and second in class at the overnight service stop, where the C1-R mechanics worked hard to get the car prepared for Saturday’s action.

Day two began with a long road section from Rally HQ in Deeside down to stages in the Myerhin and Sweet Lamb Complex.

A small issue with a rose joint in the gear linkage meant that the Clitheroe teenager had to try and be gentle with the car over the day’s stages.

The weekend was topped off with an impressive performance in the final stage, where Tommi guided the Fiesta to a top 10 stage time.

Despite being the youngest driver at just 18, Meadows and co-driver Morrison were rewarded with 15th overall and second in class.

“I’m really chuffed to get to the finish of what was a tough rally - and to come home with a good result like this makes it even better,” said Tommi.

Elsewhere, Chatburn quad racer Ayrton Knowles travels to Foxhills Moto Park in Wiltshire with a mathematical chance of winning the Clubman Elite British Quad Championship.

This is the final round of the 2018 championship, and 18-year-old Ayrton has got to win all three races to win the championship.

“It’s been a long season, explainsedAyrton, “More than one round has been either cancelled or postponed due to the weather – Foxhills was postponed back in June because it was too dry and dusty, so fingers crossed it wont be to wet this weekend!

“Foxhills s one of my favorite tracks and I have always been fast there .

“I feel confident that with luck on my side i can take the three wins.”

Ayrton, who is a third year apprentice aircraft engineer, has been racing for 10 years, and this could be his second British championship – the other being in the 150cc youth class .

Last season was his first adult season, and although he won more races than anyone else, he missed a complete round due to a crash where he sustained a broken and dislocated collar bone, other wise he would have taken the championship last year.

Ayrton said: “The quad has been meticulously prepared by my dad so I am confident that it’s perfect, so it’s down to me and I am up for it.”

Ayrton wouldn’t be able to compete without the fantastic support and sponsors, and added: “This weekend hopefully I can give them all a bit of pay back.”