The Spencer Sport Rally Team kicked off its season over the weekend with an impressive performance in the opening round of the Welsh Clubman's 2WD Forest Rally Championship, the Red Kite Stages Rally. After being caught out by the wet and slippery conditions on stage one, driver Jamie Jukes from Llandysul and co-driver James Morgan gathered pace during the day's remaining four stages and went quicker than all other championship contenders on stage three, a performance that signals their potential as title contenders.
Starting and finishing in Llandovery, the competitive element of the event took place in the forests of the Brecon Beacons, with all of the gravel roads proving to be wet and slippery following the rain of the past few weeks. The first stage started well, until about three-miles in when - in top gear - Jamie and James came across a stretch of standing water. Deeper than expected, the large puddle slowed their progress so rapidly that it dragged the front of the car around, which spun them into a wet and muddy ditch. Unable to extract the Suzuki under its own steam, a group of friendly spectators kindly helped them get the car out of its boggy predicament.
With no damage done, except for the loss of time, once back on the road Jamie and James continued to the end of the stage without issue. Although not the start the team was hoping for, in some ways it took the pressure off and meant that, with the chance of a debut victory gone, the rest of the event could be spent developing the car and gathering experience - which is exactly what they did.
Stage two went well and then, on stage three, Jamie and James set the fastest overall time, the result boosting their confidence. Even so, Jamie felt there was more to come and at the service halt following stage four, the team made a few adjustments to the car's suspension.
The change in set-up made a significant difference and, on the fifth and final stage, Jamie reported he felt even more confident with the Suzuki's handling. However, the tricky conditions intervened for a second time and consequently, about a minute was lost as Jamie tried to restart the car following a small spin.
Putting aside the two delay inducing incidents, the whole Spencer Sport team was pleased with the outcome of the day, with the car running faultlessly and the stage times showing that there’s potential to challenge for the title. Provisional results revealed that the team now lies third in class and fifth overall in the championship.