Two out of two for MH Motorsport Cadets
MH Motorsport takes second BRC Cadet victory at the Pirelli International Rally
With high hopes of taking their second Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) Cadet victory this season, MH Motorsport were rewarded with win number two at the Pirelli International Rally last weekend thanks to Fiesta R2 pilot Josh Cornwell. Once again taking a five-car team to the British Championship, MH Motorsport would be looking to its three Cadet challengers in their 1600cc Ford Fiesta R2’s to provide victory in the category dubbed as the “youngsters” series for those lucky enough to be under 25 years old.
The Kielder forests would play host to the two-day rally and its infamous nature has caught out many more experienced drivers over the years. 100 miles of tough driving would lie in wait for the MH Motorsport team and aiming to repeat their opening round Border Counties Rally success, Josh Cornwell and co-driver Richard Bliss headed the field into the forests on Saturday morning.
Unlike his trouble free run at the opening round, Cornwell would not have it all his own way and the first leg would prove to be a troublesome one for the youngster. After a slow start on the opening stage of the day, the Fiesta’s gear lever snapped in Cornwell’s hand, losing a chunk of time in the process. But a charge over the remaining stages of the day saw him regain the lead of the Cadet category by a slender margin. That lead became a deficit on the fifth of eight stages and Cornwell would need to knuckle down over the final loop in Sunday if he was to be back out front.
A mature drive over the closing stages ensured he hit the front, and crossed the finish ramp in Brampton as victor once again. “It’s been a really difficult weekend for us and it could have gone either way at several points over the rally” said Cornwell. “To take our second victory is of course a great result and we really need more of the same on the next round to further extend our Cadet lead”.
British Championship returnee Nabila Tejpar headed to the event with the aim of improving on her 2016 pace. Struggling with handling issues on the opening loop of stages, Tejpar and co-driver Charley Sayer-Payne felt uneasy in the super-quick Kielder forests at first, before settling back in during the afternoon stages on leg one.
Nabila Tejpar & Charley Sayer-Payne in action. Image credit Jakob Ebrey Photography. Click to download high res version. Punctures would blight any progress up the leader board but she was pleased to cross the finish ramp with yet another finish under her belt.
“I feel I have progressed this year which is great and I guess the good thing is I know there is more to come too” said Tejpar at the finish. “I struggled with the chicanes this weekend as well, they were very tight but it was the same for everyone. The positive thing is that the pace is improving and we have more points towards the championship, it’s been a good rally.” Contesting the event for the very first time, Alex Waterman and co-driver Harry Thomas headed to the Pirelli Rally with the firm aim of netting points after a non-finish at the opening round.
Alex Waterman and Harry Thomas in action. Image credit Jakob Ebrey Photography. Click to download high res version.
After the opening leg, Waterman was pleased with his progress during the day. “It’s gone well today but wow those stages are fast” he said. “It will take while to build the confidence and we are adjusting the notes as we go for tomorrow’s stages.”
Sadly Waterman became the only non-finisher in the MH Motorsport team after breaking a driveshaft on the sixth stage of the event. “I have to look at how we progressed during Saturday’s stages and take that away with me. I’m still learning, so all these things will help in the future I`m sure.” Round three of the series, The RSAC Scottish Rally takes place at the end of May with two days of action in the Dumfries and Galloway forests.