MH Motorsport dominate Cadet Cup podium at Nicky Grist
British Rally Championship team MH Motorsport occupy all three BRC Cadet Cup podium positions in Wales. Hampshire based British rally team MH Motorsport enjoyed a successful weekend at the fifth round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC), scoring a Cadet podium lock-out at the Nicky Grist Stages in Wales (8th/9th July). In the process, they edge just a few points away from securing the Cadet Cup title. With the Cadet category providing the opportunity for progressive youngsters to hone their skills in older specification R2 cars, the series was always set to provide close competition this season and MH Motorsport’s Josh Cornwell & Richard Bliss have dominated proceedings in each round so far. A third place last weekend was enough to bring them within a stone’s throw of the Cadet Cup honours with two rounds remaining. Continuing their run of success, the MH Motorsport squad occupied each step of the podium in Wales with Alex Waterman and Harry Thomas securing their very first Cadet victory after just 10 months in the sport. The duo were followed home by an impressive run from teammates Nabila Tejpar & Steve McPhee in second spot. Cornwell and Bliss occupied the final podium place. Just two weeks after the Ypres Rally in Belgium, MH Motorsport had been working around the clock to ensure the five-car team were ready for the gruelling two-day blast across the forests and military roads of Epynt. The opening leg saw stages in the Crychan and Halfway forests before an overnight swap onto asphalt trim for the second day across the closed roads on the ranges. Oscar Solberg and Patrik Barth would head up the MH Motorsport Junior BRC charge in their Ford Fiesta 1.0litre R2T and were joined by newcomers Josh McErlean and Aaron Johnston in the sister car. Solberg immediately set the Junior BRC pace and would hope to repeat his round one victory as he settled into the dusty gravel stages. His hard work would be undone by a turbo boost issue on the fourth test which sent him tumbling down the order to eighth. In a bid to play catch up on the opening asphalt test on Sunday, he was unlucky to end his event off the road, unable to continue. McErlean needed little time to settle into his new car, setting a string of impressive times to edge into the top three during the opening loop on Saturday. Ending the leg in sixth, he too would not emerge from Sunday's opener, after an off-road excursion found the Fiesta stuck and with no way to extract the car, would go no further. Better fortune was enjoyed by the MH Motorsport Cadets with Alex Waterman and Harry Thomas returning a mature drive to win the category in their Fiesta R2. In their inaugural season in the sport, the pairing are admittedly still learning but showed a sign of things to come, with a very impressive win against tough competition on one of the hardest rounds of the season so far. “It's unreal,” said an emotional Waterman at the finish. “There are really no words to describe this right now. Never did I think that I would be here after just 10 months of rallying, but we’ve made it and I’m really, really happy. To think our parents used to rally on those stages and have rolled cars up there [Epynt], to follow in their footsteps is such a good feeling and it certainly won't leave me for a while”. Nabila Tejpar was joined by Epynt expert Steve McPhee for the event and his local knowledge was a valuable asset, taking her to an inagural Cadet podium at the weekend. The notorious stages on the event caught out many more experienced drivers and despite being her first visit to the ranges, increased her pace throughout the two days to secure a fantastic result which further strengthens her third place in the Cup. “It's great to have taken my first ever podium at a tough event like this which really shows that I've made an improvement this season,” said Tejpar. “I know there is still a lot more to come from me and looking at the bigger picture I`d like to think that I can improve faster still over the next two rounds but to tackle stages like Epynt and come away trouble free is a real boost. It’s been a hard weekend but I`m happy with the result”. Rounding off a successful weekend for the team, Josh Cornwell and Richard Blisstook their fifth rostrum of the season, albeit their lowest score with third place. They didn’t have it all their own way however as transmission issues forced them to retire from the opening day. With a new gearbox fitted, the duo headed back out onto the stages, netting third spot. They now need just a handful of points on the following outings to secure the title. “It's great to have scored another podium after retiring from day one and it just goes to prove that it’s never really over, even when you think it is,” said Cornwell. “Our consistency over the opening rounds has really paid off and that means we can afford to take the hit with a lower score, but four wins and a third isn't a disaster by any means. We managed to get the results and the points in the bag so that if we had issues like on Saturday, we had a bit to play with. It all came good in the end and I`m happy with how the season has gone so far”. The sixth round of the championship marks a return to an all-asphalt format for the remainder of the season as crews will cross the Irish Sea to contest the Ulster Rally in August.
-Ends Images courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography/MCR Motorsport Media