Cave's Cambrian win - Pearson's BRC victory

Garry Pearson secured the final round of the 2023 season a Motorsport UK British Rally Championship by taking second overall - first BRC registered driver crew - on the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally, 28 October. The Duns driver and co-driver Hannah McKillop pushed overall rally winner Tom Cave throughout each of the event's five tests, to take their Pirelli-shod Volkswagen Polo GTi to Pearson's maiden BRC victory and more importantly, sealed second place in the championship behind title holder and absentee, Adrien Fourmaux.

Once again the Llandudno-based event provided some world class stages, that are characteristic of the North Wales forests and have witnessed some epic World Rally Championship title fights played out over the decades. The unforgiving and technical nature of the topography, together with tricky and damp conditions existing on tests such as Cloc and Brenig, meant there was no margin for error.

Whilst Fourmaux had secured the 2023 title in Yorkshire, Pearson still had the pressure of requiring a finish to secure second in the championship and that alone was a big ask in the brutal and world-renowned forests tests. But Pearson's season has gone from strength to strength and the Scot was one only a handful of drivers to emerge from the morning loop of stages with no dramas. His relaxed and calm approach throughout the afternoon, plus a scratch time over the final stage, ensured he could claim his first BRC win of his career.

The return of Ollie Mellors and the Proton Iriz Rally2 to the BRC proved to be a fruitful one, taking second spot, although not taking points away from the remaining championship contenders this weekend. However, a finish was looking unlikely at the halfway point, as the Michelin-backed Iriz pulled into the stop line of the Brenig test with the car driving at unfavorable angles. That was courtesy of a heavy impact with a log pile and Mellors admitted to being surprised that the car was still drivable after the hit on the rear corner. But the team repaired the issue back in service, ensuring Mellors and co-driver Ian Windress could secure their best BRC finish to date.

Steve Waugh and Mark Broadbent had already sealed the BRC4 championship at the Trackrod but were eager to gain experience of the North Wales stages ahead of next season and brought their Fiesta R2T home for yet another solid finish. Also competing on the Cambrian with a championship under his belt was Alan Carmichael in his Hyundai i20, taking back-to-back National Rally Titles thanks to his Yorkshire win. But co-driver Claire Williams wasn't assured of the same crown so the pairing headed for Wales to ensure they Williams could seal the deal, and they duly did, handing her the championship with a solid run.

With many titles already decided, the focus for the weekend was undoubtedly on the Junior British Rally Championship contenders, which was a head-to-head fight between Kyle White and Kyle McBride, with White just needing a finish to claim the crown that he had been trying to secure since 2021. McBride's pace was impressive, but White returned a mature drive over the remaining tests, doing all he needed to do to take the Junior BRC title back to Northern Ireland, even after his Peugeot 208 Rally4 had suffering a boost issue on the very first stage, expertly resolved by his service crew!

With the 2023 season done and dusted, the BRC award winners will have the opportunity to collect their silverware at a presentation at the Autosport International Show in January 11-14 January 2024 and attention now turns to next season and the reinvigoration of the series, as Probite steps forward as title sponsor and an exciting all-new six-round calendar heralds a new look to the championship.

29th October, 2023