At the moment it’s easy to think that British rallying is struggling. But actually, we’re in a better position than we’ve been for a long time. Allow me to explain and introduce you to a couple of friends of mine…
The British Rally Championship has been taken in-house and is due to re-launch in 2016 (presumably with renewed investment), and the BTRDA Rally Championship, the UK’s premier gravel title went down to the final round for the third year in a row.
Add to that the fact that in 2015 the BTRDA will bring together the gravel and asphalt championships to create a mixed surface challenge, and you start to see a different picture.
One of the most exciting things to have happened for British rallying in the last few years has been the introduction of Junior rallying, with budding stars able to get out and compete from the age of 14.
I’ve been involved from the start, both competing in the F1000 Championship, and covering the Junior 1000 that came from it for the Special Stage TV Show.
As a result, I’ve been privileged to meet and follow the progress of some of the competitors as they’ve progressed from the Juniors through to their various chosen next steps.
One such driver is Chris Ingram, a man who I sat with in his Junior 1000 Citroen C1 for a feature on Special Stage, and who in 2015 will contest his first season as a works driver with Peugeot. Chris’ success is surely the biggest inspiration our current young crop of drivers could ever be given, because he has achieved his first works drive.
Another man we hear a lot about is Aaron McClure, who having started in the same series as Ingram is stepping up from the British Rally Championship to four wheel drive in 2015 to contest the Group N class in the BTRDA Series. With people like Luke Francis and David Wright proving that a Group N car can fight for podiums with the top teams and drivers, McClure faces his biggest challenge, and opportunity yet.
Aaron’s story, like Ingram’s should inspire anyone whose dream it is to climb the ranks of UK rallying.
I’m delighted to be bringing you an up-close, honest and frank Q&A with both of these drivers on this site, going under the surface to bring you a fascinating insight into their respective rally career routes. They’ll be offering real-world advice to budding young drivers, and giving their views on some of the things that matter the most to fans, competitors and people involved with the world of rallying.
Look out for the Q&As hitting the site soon, including exclusive content from the Special Stage TV series, but in the meantime you can follow Chris and Aaron on Twitter where you can see their progress first-hand.