Co-Driver Kaz Watts has already clinched the Millers Oils BTRDA 1400 Championship, along with Proton driver Darren Pinchin and the BRC Challenge Ladies Championship in 2011, with driver Becky Kirvan. Not wanting to rest on her laurels, she is now embarking on the ultimate test, whilst fulfilling a lifetime ambition – competing on Wales Rally GB, the British round of the World Rally Championship.
If we roll back a few weeks though, it’s not all been easy for Gloucestershire based Co-Driver, Kaz Watts. Since securing the Millers Oils BTRDA 1400 Championship back in July, Kaz and Darren Pinchin, in their Gibsons Forest Trading Post and Castlewoodcraft backed Proton Satria, were looking forward to a good, clean run on the Ludlow based Woodpecker Rally. The pair needing to pick up as many points as possible to help in their MSA Swisher English Rally Championship and Welsh Clubman Championship campaigns.
The event got off to a good start, swapping times throughout the day with rapid rival Justin Lawson, in the Vauxhall Nova. Heading in to the last stage, Ludlows infamous Haye Park, the pair were just 8 seconds behind.
“We were really confident we could take the win” said Kaz, “but just one mile in we broke a driveshaft. We ended up continuing through the stage as fast as we could but haemorrhaged too much time.
“We were obviously pleased to have got to the end of the event, picked up some needed points in the English and Welsh championships but were disappointed not to have put a big seal on our BTRDA 1400 crown.”
Again, having been crowned BRC Challenge Ladies Champions on the last round of the British Rally Championship, The International Rally of Northern Ireland, Kaz, together with driver Becky Kirvan, had looked strong and confident going in to the final round of the season, the Trackrod International Rally Yorkshire in the KC Rally Team Ford Fiesta.
The North Yorkshire based event is notorious for its super fast forests and fierce competition – it’s also driver Becky’s home event. Getting off to a good start, the pair were lying within touch of 10th spot after three stages.
“Stage 4 was the long one of the event so we wanted a big push to take 10th in the Challenge” explained Kaz. “I had my head down, reading the notes, when I heard Becky on the intercom say we had no brakes. Heading in to a fast downhill square right, Becky was doing everything she could to slow the car down but we left the road and hit a tree. We landed upside down in a ditch but thankfully we were both okay, a bit sore and bruised, but eager to get the KC Ford Fiesta fixed and back out.
“The car’s going to need a lot of work but Tim Rodgers, our team manager, does a great job and will get us ready and back out in the Fiesta ST on our next event.”
Kaz is due to contest the final round of the BTRDA Rally Series, the Cambrian Rally, based in Llandudno, with Darren Pinchin in the Proton Satria. It will the perfect opportunity for Kaz to gain some experience of the Wales Rally GB stages, which Kaz has just announced she will be contesting.
“It’s been a life long ambition to compete – I watch the rally every year, either on TV or out in the stages, but to actually get in the car every morning and compete is going to be something I’ll never forget.”
Kaz will be back alongside Becky Kirvan in the Ford Fiesta ST, competing in the British round of the World Rally Championship, with support from Cristal Global. The Stallingborough based company employ nearly 4,000 people on five continents and they are the second largest titanium dioxide producer in the world, the largest producer of merchant titanium chemicals and the leading manufacturer of specialty titanium products.
“It’s great to have support from such a large company. The pair of us are looking forward to bouncing back from the Trackrod and really putting on a show for the spectators and our sponsors.”
You can follow Kaz’s progress on her website at www.kazrallying.co.uk.
– Credit: RallySport Media/Picture by David Benson of RallySport Media.