AGR readers will surely recall the recent story of Guy Tyler and Steve Fisher, the Adelaide pair who five weeks ago sold up everything when a last minute opportunity arose to compete in the 2016 DMACK British Junior Rally Championship. For those who missed it, the story can be found by clicking here.
The pair have just competed in their first BRC event in their Major Motorsport prepared Ford Fiesta R2, and it was a trying start to the campaign to say the least.
The pair touched down in the UK on Sunday Feb 28th, just four days before they were due to test their new machine at the Sweet Lamb rally test facility. A fair amount of work awaited them to get the Fiesta rally ready, however there was still time for a few quick stickers, including the names of those who have donated to the campaign so far. Guy and Steve were also introduced to their new recce/tow steed, a trusty old Volvo wagon, which Guy was quick to link as the European counterpart to his bulletproof red Corolla back home. Those who are familiar with that awesome little heap of crap Corolla (“It doesn’t need a sump guard, it IS a sump guard”) will know that this is no small compliment to the new Volvo.
The Thursday test day at Sweet Lamb was the first time that Guy and Steve were able to have a proper crack in the Fiesta. From watching the video it looks like they settled in quickly, and it surely makes all of us back at home quite envious that we don’t have rally testing facilities like this in Australia.
Recce sometimes throws up some of the biggest adventures in a rally but Guy and Steve had never seen anything like this, let alone ever attempted to write pacenotes when they couldn’t actually see the road beneath them. The adventure soon turned to despair, and the Friday recce became a bit of a farce.
Despite the trademark smiles and thumbs-ups, it was a real problem for the pair more used to extreme dust and flat crests in full sun. The poor Volvo on normal road tyres simply struggled to cover the ground, and it became more about just getting through the stages than anything else. In the end they got a quarter of the way through one stage before the convoy turned back – not an ideal way to construct detailed pacenotes, but all part of the adventure nonetheless.
There was a lot of discussion on social media about whether the rally would be cancelled due to the snow storm, but luckily Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny enabling the snow to melt before Saturday’s two night stages got underway.
As the snow melted the stages became very rough and slippery, and the troubles soon started when Guy clipped a rock not far into the first stage and bent the front right control arm. They finished the stage and limped through the second stage, still managing to set the fastest 1600 Fiesta R2 time for stage 2, even with a badly bent control arm.
Guy’s Facebook post right after the second stage tells the story: “Whoops, sorry guys. The Fiesta cant take the hits like the Evo could. All fixed now though, maximum attack tomorrow!”
With the control arm changed that night and a wheel alignment in the morning service, the Fiesta was back to brand new and ready to tackle Sunday’s four stages. Success unfortunately wasn’t to come, however.
On the first stage of the morning, Guy and Steve came around a left hand bend to find two other cars crashed on the outside, one rolled. The split second of distraction was enough to put him off line, and in the slippery conditions he found himself heading toward the Fiesta of Merion Evans. Rather than risk hitting it, Guy took the safest option and steered his Fiesta off the road, discovering a hidden tree stump. The pair spent the rest of the day in the snow before their crew could retrieve them.
“It’s really disappointing that we weren’t able to get more time in the seat, but I’m just happy we didn’t hit Merion’s car which would have been a lot more damage. But that’s rallying, and you’ve got to take the good and the bad, I love the sport and will never give up on trying to chase my dreams” said Guy.
Guy is spending his time between rallies working for his team, Major Motorsport, and heads back to their workshop to repair and fully prepare the Fiesta for the next BRC event, the Pirelli Carlisle Rally, to be held from April 30th to May 1st in the North West of England.
Words by Andrew Coles, photos supplied.
If you would like to support Guy Tyler & Steve Fisher in their 2016 DMACK Junion British Rally Championship campaign you can do so via their crowd funding page (click here)#BRC #British Rally Championship #DMACK Junior British Rally Championship #Fiesta #Ford #Guy Tyler #JBRC #M-Sport #Major Motorsport #R2 #Steve Fisher