Jason Pritchard
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  • BAD LUCK HALTS PRITCHARD’S IMPRESSIVE RAC CHALLENGE November 17, 2017

    The 2017 Roger Albert Clark Rally was firmly there for the taking last weekend but Jason Pritchard’s challenge was sadly and abruptly ended by a broken half shaft at the start of the Twiglees stage in Southern Scotland on Sunday and the third day of the epic rally.

    Leading at the time, the Welshman’s rally was cut short whilst holding a 46 second lead over eventual winner, Marty McCormack, understandably it was this moment of bad luck that Pritchard had hoped he wouldn’t be talking about after the four-day rally:

    “I’m so gutted to be talking about a broken half shaft and not what could have been, I loved every minute of the event and the challenge we faced. I felt confident from the word go and I really believe if I had managed to cross that finish line on Monday, it would’ve been as race winner.

    “It was so close between myself and Marty on the Sunday, it was a proper battle and we were both driving so well. Unfortunately as I went into second gear off the line during stage 21, the half shaft broke and I lost drive. Credit to Marty as he was the first person to let my father and team know the news at the stage finish, saying his heart sank when he went past me.

    “Marty drove so well and I want to congratulate him and the team on a fantastic drive and victory.”

    The four-day event, which returned this year after a two-year hiatus, saw just under one hundred classic rally cars take on stages across England, Scotland and Wales in an attempt to relive the original RAC Rally from the 1970’s and 80’s.

    Crews were faced with over 300 miles across 32 stages and Pritchard impressed from the word go and was always competing for top-spot:

    “It was a great experience to be involved in a rally of this kind, over a number of days and over such a long distance. We started really well in Wales on day one and led after the first couple of stages, we finished up day one with a nine second lead.

    “Running first car on the road day two was difficult as you have to clear the road of loose gravel and leave lines for others to follow, however it didn’t stop us from extending our lead by just under a minute at the end of the second day.

    “It was really hard at the start of day 3 as the stages had frozen overnight and this did catch a number of drivers out, but again, we were setting the fastest times and still holding top-spot and we were leading up to stage 21 until the incident that forced us to retire.”

    A total of 91 crews started from Brightwells in Leominster on Friday morning and a remarkable tally of 61 finished at Kielder Waterside on Monday afternoon. Even though Pritchard was one of those unlucky enough not to finish, he can still take a number of positives away from the event:

    “I’m really proud of how the first three days went, to be leading at the time of retirement is still a fantastic achievement, especially as I’ve not driven on most of the stages and the conditions we faced along the way.

    “I would like to thank the organisers and the marshals for putting on such a successful large event, there was a great atmosphere all weekend and it was well attended.

    “Huge thanks as always to Phil on the notes, he always puts so much preparation into each event and I hope he knows that his effort doesn’t go unnoticed.

    “I would like to thank the service crew for the hard work and long hours, Viking Motorsport for preparing the car and Sherwood Engines and Martin Jones Transmission for your continued support.

    “And, finally, I want to send a big thank you to all of my sponsors who helped me compete in the rally, without them, I couldn’t have done it: North Road Garage Builth Wells, FCS Laser Mail, Professional MotorSport World Expo, Pirelli, Harkness Competition Tyres, Brian James Trailers, Leominster Car Auctions, Brace’s Bread and Brecon Motor club.”