Clitheroe rally driver Tommi Meadows enjoyed a class podium on last weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages Rally. The 17 year-old entered the gravel surface event feeling anxious to get a finish, after DNFs on the previous two rallies knocked his confidence back.
Joined by regular co-driver Ian Oakey, Meadows spent the early stages of the rally getting used to driving the Group A-spec Ford KA again after a recent lack of seat time.
The welsh stages were rougher than expected, making it challenging for the smaller two-wheel-drive cars.
‘Usually you try to hook the inside wheel onto the inside of the corner to pull the car round’, Tommi explained. ‘By the time we arrive at the corner around 100 cars have already been through and worn away the gravel really badly in places, so you can’t always take the line that you want without damaging the car’.
The afternoon loop was a re-run of the morning loop, which included four special stages in the forests around Epynt Ranges. A different approach to the afternoon saw an improvement in stage times, after trying harder to neaten up the driving style. After a sensible drive, the pair made it back to the finish in Builth Wells with 47th o/a (102 starters) and 2nd in the 1400S class.
‘I’m happy just to have a finish under my belt after the past two retirements – there is plenty more speed to come from me and the car, but today I knew had to drive with my head and bring it home safely to get the experience’, said Meadows. ‘It looks like we have cracked the set-up of the car now too – we tried some different compound DMACK Tyres and made some tweaks to the Proflex Suspension, and it’s a dream to drive’.
Tommi is supported by DMACK Tyres, Morris Lubricants, Sagar Insurances, Motordrive Seats, Pacenote.com, Proflex Shock Absorbers, Zenith Racing and Gareth Hooper Motorsport.