Silverware at last for Delphi backed Barrett

Delphi backed Ian Barrett (Clayton West, Huddersfield) and Simon Ashton (Sheffield) endured a character building MSA Rally at the weekend in the closest fought battle of the season.

Fastest in class on the first two stages of the event, Barrett soon built up a lead of twelve seconds before the seasons run of bad luck took a turn for the worse. Co-driver Ashton became violently sick with suspected food poisoning. At one point the Teams' Management Car had to Navigate the road sections as Simon was in no fit state. "I couldn't give up even though I felt really ill. The Team had put so much hard work into re-preparing the car and building a new engine since it blew on the last event - I just couldn't let them all down. Ian did a really good job on the stages and didn't get fazed by it all even though I was struggling to read the pacenotes. Fortunately I was only actually sick on the road sections so at least the car didn't smell too bad!"

As Simon started to improve during the afternoon, Ian began to lift the pace again but they lost the class lead on the twelfth stage. Going into the final stage, things got even closer as Class Champion Steve Head closed to within 0.2 seconds. It was so close that as Ian and Simon went over the finish ramp, they were presented with the second in class trophies only to discover on a re-count that Head had beat them on the last stage snatching second by 1.4 seconds.

"I think at the end of the day, we were both relieved just to finish. We've had a terrible run of bad luck retiring from the last three events, then Simon fell ill whilst we were leading the class for the first time," commented the nineteen year old Roger Clark Award contender. "I think we can look forward to the Manx now with renewed confidence."

Sunday 16th July 2000