With less than a week to go until the start of the new season and with a new title sponsor on board, the 2012 NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge (NGK BRCC) promises to be as good as ever.
Last year’s finale in Yorkshire saw the title race go down to the wire as both Jack Rowe and Simon Moore battled it out over the course of all six events. Rowe, who managed to pip Moore to the 2011 crown, has taken on the task of competing in the MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) while Moore returns to its popular support series.
Alongside his ever present co-driver, Emma Morrison, Moore’s return surely puts him amongst the favourites this year. The Renault Clio driver has proven pace on both gravel and tarmac while his experience of being so close last year will add a determination to succeed.
One man looking to steal the limelight himself is Richard Archer who has the credentials to back up his plans for the top spot. With several rally wins already under his belt in the BRCC, including last year’s thrilling final stage victory on the Jim Clark Challenge Rally, Archer will be confident of adding to his total. Known as a tarmac specialist, and one of the quickest to boot, he intends to convert that pace to gravel this season.
Former BRC entrant Richard Sykes returns too after an unlucky end to 2011. He and Simon Taylor led more than one rally last year but fate played its part and relegated the likeable midlands businessman to nearly man. But he can pedal a car on both closed roads and forestry tracks as well as anybody and will be a serious threat this season.
The Fiesta SportChallenge always provides close exciting action as well as potential overall winners, the runners and riders this year will be led by Damien Smith and Tony Simpson. Both return to the NGK BRCC in a quest to put their event knowledge to good use and get among the title contenders.
With no Isle of Man round again this year, it’s good to keep the islands tradition with the championship alive in the guise of Manxman Kevin Vondy. Last year’s RC2 class winner returns to defend his title alongside co-driver Nick Kaighin.
Russ Thompson and Mathew Jackson continue their development in rallying with another season in the MSA British Rally Championships support series, alongside newcomers James Ford and Gareth White.
They battle not only for the title of NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge champions, but a prize which could help the eventual winner progress to the MSA British Rally Championship. The overall champion driver and BRC Star of the Future will win support funding relating to entering the international series in 2013.
The Rallye Sunseeker Challenge event provides the opening round test for the first time this year for the NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge, as the new event cements its place at the head of the championship calendar. The new event could see some potential upsets to the form book as the competing crews get to sample this south coast event for the first time.
Voted last year’s rally of the year, Rallye Sunseeker has gained a reputation for its media profile and unique stages based in several of the forests of Dorset and Hampshire. The quayside start at Poole offers the very best of opportunities for all competing crews to highlight their sponsors and meet the public.
To follow the trials and tribulations of the NGK BRCC sign up to the official British Rally Championship Twitter feed @britishrally or alternatively the official website at http://www.rallybrcchallenge.co.uk