It’s the day after a long rally weekend competing on the Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton, England's first ever closed road stage rally.
It was amazing to be a part of rally history and it’s been one of those magical weekends that make you forget all the long nights in the garage, standing out in the rain and depressing DNF’s.
Everywhere we went, the people who live in the area welcomed us. They were in their front gardens waving as we did the first road section at nine o’clock in the morning, they were out alongside the stages cheering us on, and the same people were there applauding us as we finished the last loop of stages.
The sun shone all day, and to top it off both our Team Howlett cars finished, with Ben and Simon Howlett in their Peugeot 306 finishing 15th and taking a class win. Bradley Howlett and I in the Citroen C2 were 31st, a huge improvement on our seeding of 86, and took 3rd in class.
The organisers, Chelmsford MC, should be very proud of themselves. They were under a lot of pressure to prove this rally could be run safely and successfully and they smashed it. I don’t think I have ever done an event that had such a buzz about it. Sincere thanks to Tony Clements and all the organising team and all the marshals who travelled from all over the country to make this happen.
It was a brilliant demonstration of how the rally world can come together to showcase our amazing sport. It makes me hopeful for the future of the sport. This rally has done what I have long hoped closed road rallying in this country would achieve, which is to make the sport accessible for thousands of people who would not otherwise have seen it.
When’s the next one?