Bulldog rollercoaster(March 25, 2012)
Jon, Emmet and the Armstrong rally team have only just completed their first competitive rally in style, winning their class and 13th overall on the Fivemiletown Spring rally. High on the buzz resulting from such a great first rally it was time to look onwards and plan for the future, after a few weeks of discussions it was decided that Jon & Emmet would compete in the remainder of the British Rally Championship Challenge (BRC Challenge) and the Fiesta Sport Trophy Challenge (FST).
Jon Commented after the decision: “This is fantastic news for me and Emmet because we really didn't know what was next after Fivemiletown, and there is very little in Ireland for young drivers in recent years so something across the water was preferred"
The first event of their campaign was the Bulldog Rally yesterday (24th of march 2012) which contained 6 competitive stages! With stiff competition from similar machinery it was sure to be an interesting step in Jon's career over the Welsh stages. Jon Started well, just 7 tenths of the fastest overall BRC Challenge competitor, this was good enough for second fastest and wasn't bad at all considering it was only Jon's second ever gravel rally using pace notes. On stage 2 Jon and Emmet had a good charge through the 8 mile stage and were 12 seconds faster than the nearest Challenge competitor. The time Jon set through the second stage was also good enough for 15th fastest in the international rally, this showing Jon and Emmet's great pace already within the British isles. Jon had now jumped into the lead of the Challenge by 13s as the crew headed into the 15 mile Gartheiniog stage which was followed by service and then another 3 stages.
The Crew had been flying through Stage three, the 15 mile Gartheiniog stage when they hit trouble. Jon Picks up the story:
“We had been having a really good run through the stage, at around the 10 mile mark we had started to get caught in the car in front's dust in places as we had been catching him which wasn't good at all. The dust didn't affect us too much but after a big straight down we came into a hairpin like we normally do, but the hairpin had become very cut up and there was a large bang. There was nothing alarming afterwards as we headed down another massive straight which consisted of all 6 lefts which is why we didn’t notice our puncture until we came to the end of this fast section into the first right hand corner after the hairpin, a right 4. The car just would not turn in at all, it was like we lost our steering completely and the result was slipping the car of a drop and rolling 2 times"
The accident ended Jon and Emmet's event as the car was too far off the road and had a fair amount of damage, a disappointing end to a great start! It is a case of what could have been but neither a less you can be sure that Jon and Emmet will be out on the stages again once the car has been repaired! The Fermanagh teenager stated: “It’s very disappointing because we know now that we had the pace and could have won but that's rallying! we weren’t going to go to the Pirelli anyway as we have a family wedding so fingers crossed we can have the car repaired for the Jim Clarke"
Keep up to date with how the repairing process is coming along and further developments on Jon's official website, twitter and Face book page!