Jason Pritchard
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October 5, 2016 by admin

PRITCHARD WINS BACK-TO-BACK BRITISH HISTORIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIPS

Jason Pritchard won his second 2016 Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship last weekend (30th September – 1st October) to become only the second driver to win back-to-back British Historic Rally Championships.

The 28-year-old and his co-driver Phil Clarke successfully defended the championship they won last year with a 4thplace finish on the Yorkshire forest stages during the last round of the Championship.

Pritchard and co-driver Phil Clarke got their season back on track with victory in the last round out in the Isle of Man and knew they would clinch the Championship with a finish in their Ford Escort Mk2 over the weekend.

Retaining the Championship was a long way from Pritchard’s mind when he failed to finish three rounds in a row after a perfect start, the Welshman won the first two rounds, but he always kept confident in his ability and car:

“With there being nine rounds, I knew it wasn’t impossible to still clinch the Championship after not finishing rounds three, four or five. We had made the perfect start winning the first two rounds and I had to try and regain this form after the three failed finishes.

“I had the self-belief to keep going and aim for the top and having such a fantastic team around me was a huge factor in us managing to win the Championship for a second time.”

Pritchard had all sorts of problems in those failed finishes, hitting ice and sliding off the road in Carlisle (round three), getting stuck on the side of the road on the final corner in Radnor on the Seven Valley (round four) and he was comfortably leading the Harry Flatters rally on Epynt (round five) until his engine failed to leave him out of the race.

It was that moment on Epynt, when Pritchard felt at his lowest:

“I remember that moment so well, it was one of my lowest points in my rallying career. I walked back up the hill to try and find some phone reception and I remember just holding my head in my hands and wondering what I had to do to finish a rally.

“However we went to round six and ended up finishing second and just three seconds of top spot, having finished the rally and being so close to victory allowed me to build up confidence and our victory in the double header out in the Isle of Man meant we were back in the running to clinch our second Championship in a row.”

Even though Pritchard and Clarke needed to just finish over the weekend to defend the title they won last year, Pritchard only had to look back on this event last year where the pair ended up off the road and out of the race to keep his mind focused on the task ahead:

“Going into the last round and knowing I only had to finish, should’ve made things easier but it turns out it was one of the hardest events I’ve faced.

“I knew there was nothing to race for but there was so much to lose! I took a cautious approach but the memories of those failed finishes in previous rounds meant I had to keep a steady pace to ensure we got the car across the finish line. After the last stage and with 20 miles until the finish, both of us didn’t congratulate each other until we went over the ramp – anything can happen on that last leg, and I know from experience!”

Pritchard was incredibly thankful for the team around him and the continued support he receives from everyone involved in helping him achieve such fantastic results:

“I want to thank my sponsors for all the support they offer across the year: North Road Garage Builth Wells, FCS Laser Mail, Viking Motorsport, Pirelli, Sherwood Engines, Martin Jones Transmissions and Lively Race Graphics.

“A special thank you to all the team at Viking Motorsport for supplying me with such a superb car, it was great to see them in person on Friday night and for their support.

“My parents have always been 100% behind me in everything and I’m so grateful for the opportunity they give me to compete in the sport. Without them I wouldn’t be able to do this and also all the team that travel with me and keep the car going across these rallies – they are a talented crew and I would be lost without them.

“I would also like to give Phil Clarke a special mention, he’s been sensational this year, through the good times and those bad times. It’s a joy to sit next to him in the car and we always believed in ourselves and believed we could clinch the title this year, it’s not just a pleasure having him as my co-driver but also an honour as I know there are many others competing who would love to have him but he always puts me first. Thank you Phil”

Pritchard is now already beginning to plan for 2017 and hopes to continue his fine form.

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