2018-2019

2018 & 2019 would be critical years in Matthew’s Masters degree. As well as working full time and completing the course, the decision was taken not to commit to any championship with going out to compete as and when the calendar permitted. This however turned out to be a fruitful move as it left open opportunity to try different machinery.

2018 would open with running zero car on the Cambrian Rally. Matthew has been involved in the organising side of the Cambrian for many years, taking up the Assistant Safety officer role. A Renault Twingo R1 was kindly lent to him by rallycarsforhire.co.uk for the event.

April 2018 saw a breakthrough event, one of which Matthew was fortunate to be able to compete in. The first closed road tarmac event in England was held in Clacton on Sea. With the ever trusty Micra converted to tarmac specification, the event started steadily, but with a strong 2nd in class position. After some fastest times in the class, the battle for the lead was well and truly on, until the gear linkage snapped leaving the car stranded. Gutting for the whole team.

The new opportunities didn’t stop there in 2018 however. An incredible offer from Pete Smith, Swift Caravans & Greenlight Sports & Entertainment presented the chance to compete on the Woodpecker Stages in a Ford Fiesta R2. The FIA R2 category is the most competitive category for any young driver to compete in and that is no different in the UK. Having very limited time in the car before the event, the aim was to build the experience and the confidence as the event went on and maximise the opportunity. By the first service half, Matthew held 4th in a class of 18 starters, knowing there was plenty more to come. Into the afternoon, the pace was increased and the gap to the leaders reduced. However unfortunately, with just 2 stages to go, a technical fault with the engine of the car forced the crew to pull up and put them out of the rally. A huge shame, but an amazing experience nonetheless.

The year was rounded out by being invited to be part of the Wales Rally GB National Safety car team, driving the Zero car for the event. A very tough but rewarding job, working as part of the whole team ensuring the stages are safe and ready to run for the following competing cars.

2019 would follow a very similar pattern. The first event of the year was once again driving the Zero car on the Cambrian Rally, this time back in the trusty Micra. This would be however, the last time Matthew and the Micra would be seen in public with the car moving onto a new home shortly afterwards.

After the premature end to the first R2 outing the previous September, an opportunity presented itself through Matt Edwards to use a Fiesta R2 on the Rallynuts stages in April. Again the opportunity was grasped with both hands and Matthew, with new co-driver Rhys Stoneman set about righting the R2 experience.

After using the first few stages to get back into the swing of things and getting used to a new co-driver, 5th in class was a satisfactory position at the midday service. A 2nd and 3rd fastest stage time would see the pair move to 4th position in class by the finish, a promising and rewarding result considering the experience in the car.

2019 would again be rounded out by driving the zero car on Wales Rally GB National. This time, Matthew had acquired his own Subaru ready for the following season. With the hugely experience Ryland James alongside, it was a very successful weekend, setting things up nicely ready for 2020.

 

2018:

 

Cambrian Rally - Zero car

Corbeau Stages Clacton - DNF - Gear Linkage 

Woodpecker Rally - DNF - Engine

Wales Rally GB National - Zero car

 

2019:

 

Cambrian Rally - Zero car

Rallynuts Stages - 29th O/A 4th in class

Wales Rally GB National - Zero car 

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