The Jewson Isuzu D-Max Rally Team has finished the 2015 British Cross Country Championship with a second successive production-class season victory. Not only did the Isuzu UK-supported team rise head and shoulders above the other production competitors, it also held its own against a number of purpose-engineered, tube-framed custom rally racers, ranking seventh in the final overall standings.
Rally veteran Jason Sharpe and co-driver Richard Lester piloted the D-Max to its second consecutive championship win in Class 1B, which is open to production vehicles only, mandating a maximum engine capacity of 2,500cc and restricting motorsport enhancements.
The British Cross Country Championship season started six months ago and has since subjected entrants to a range of incredibly arduous and treacherous courses in six inhospitable landscapes across England, Scotland and Wales.
From the slate-covered surfaces in Myherin, the Welsh ‘Pikes Peak’, to the submerged rocky mud pools in the Radnor Forest and the fast gravel tracks of the Forrest Estate in Dumfries, the first three rounds saw Sharpe and Lester secure a firm grip in the competition with class wins and two top five finishes overall. But, while the fourth round in Wales’ Hafren Forest complemented the long wheelbase and turbocharged power of the D-Max perfectly, a clipped grass bank resulted in a dramatic rollover, causing the team to retire.
After a summer break spent repairing the D-Max, Round 5 at the MoD training ground in Bovington provided another stern test: damage sustained to the front axle meant Sharpe had to finish the round in rear-wheel drive only, but the team still finished top of its class.
The final round of the season, held at Walters Arena on the edge of the unforgiving Brecon Beacons, was a make-or-break weekend, since five of six BCCC rounds must be finished to complete the season. Despite a misjudged corner almost sending the D-Max over a precariously high precipice, Sharpe recovered from losing valuable time to secure class victory, seventh place overall and the class championship.
Sharpe commented: “This was a very positive season for us with excellent times clocked in the early rounds against much more powerful opposition. We were hampered by some unfortunate spins and collisions, but this second championship is testament to the resounding durability of the D-Max in some truly appalling terrain.”
Isuzu UK General Manager, William Brown, added: “I’d like to congratulate the Jewson Isuzu D-Max Rally Team on completing another impressive season. It has once again proved that the D-Max has the capability, durability and toughness to overcome the most gruelling challenges that it could ever face. Jason, Richard and the rest of the team should be very proud of their unwavering resilience throughout the season.”
|Class result||Overall result|
|Round 1: Myherin, Wales||1st||5th|
|Round 2: Radnor Forest, Wales||1st||7th|
|Round 3: Forrest Estate, Scotland||1st||4th|
|Round 4: Hafren Forest, Wales||DNF||DNF|
|Round 5: Bovington, England||1st||8th|
|Round 6: Walters Arena, Wales||1st||7th|
- Ends -
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