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Monday, 28 July 2014

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South Cumbria rally ace McClure gearing up for new challenge

YOUNG race ace Aaron McClure will climb the next step on the ladder towards the British Rally Championship this year.

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ON TRACK FOR SUCCESS Aaron McClure, from Flookburgh, competing in the Grizedale Stages Rally back in December CHRIS WEST REF: 50041854B010

The 18-year-old Flookburgh driver will battle for the BRC Challenge, racing on the same events and stages as the country’s top competitors.

The Challenge, described on its website as ‘an excellent championship for young up and coming drivers, as well as established clubmen and women’, will see McClure go hell for leather in his Ford Fiesta ST.

Stages wills be held on both gravel and asphalt, allowing the South Cumbrian youngster the chance to put the skills he learnt in his first year in the forests in 2012 to good use.

“It’s going to be a bit different to what we have been doing,” McClure said.

“The events will be a lot bigger and I’m really looking forward to it.

“We are looking at making the step up towards the BRC. Coming from the juniors, then there was a year in the forest and now this.

“The BRC Challenge is mixed surface, so it’s the next step to get into the BRC itself.

“Last year was the first year in the forest and I took to it really well, better than I expected.

“If we didn’t have the mishaps with the car, we might have won last year, but we still finished second in the Rally First Championship and first 1400.”

McClure’s feats last year were rewarded at the Association of North Western Car Clubs presentation night this month.

There, he picked up three trophies – for finishing third overall, first novice and first front-wheel drive – adding to the Morecambe Car Club stage championship and the Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club best forest performance.

His drives also saw him finish second in the British Trial and Rally Drivers Association Rally First championship and first in the 1.4RF class, as well as coming third in the MSA English Forest Championship.

The first race in the BRC Challenge will be the rally North Wales Challenge, with seven further events taking drivers to Scotland, Northern Ireland and across England.

McClure added: “The ambition is still to go on to the BRC, but I’m happy to do this for a year.

“Because we will be running on the same stages, I get to go out and learn the events before going on to do the full championship. The Challenge entry is quite big and I can also compare my times against the drivers in the full BRC as well.

“They’re running a Fiesta Sport Challenge this year, which is just for my type of car, and I’d like to go out and win that.

“Last year’s winner has re-entered again, so there will be some strong competition and there are a few experienced people in the Challenge – including the overall winner from last year (Richard Sykes) – to make it a big test.”

Before the start of the championship, McClure will be racing closer to home in the Malcolm Wilson Rally through Grizedale Forest.

The youngster put his Fiesta through its paces on the course in the Grizedale Stages in December, having competed in the upcoming event in his Nissan Micra 12 months ago.

He is looking forward to the test and said: “I’ve put my Malcolm Wilson entry in and Grizedale at the end of the year is probably another event we will look at doing.

“Racing there is good. I really enjoy Grizedale, it’s the best forest I’ve been through and we are quite lucky with it being so close – it cuts down on costs a little bit and we get to go out and enjoy it.

“There is a strong entry every year and it is a good event to take part in.”

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