Aspiring rally stars Sean Robson and Jordan Black got 2011 off to the best possible start by scooping the prizes in the Ecosse Challenge’s Rally Angels programme. St Boswells joiner Robson netted £1,500 and Lanark plumber Black walked away with £500 from the fund that sees some of the top names in Scottish rallying contribute their own money to give talented juniors a leg up.
Now in its second year, the Rally Angels scheme is open to competitors in the Brick and Steel Ecosse Challenge – the one-make Scottish rally championships catering for Honda Civic and Peugeot 205 cars. At the end of the year, the top five Challenge drivers under the age of 25 are invited to present their plans for the coming year to the Angels. The young competitors then face a Dragons’ Den-style grilling from the Angels on their plans and on their rallying skills and knowledge in general. At the end of the day, those deemed most promising in the Angels’ eyes walk away with the spoils.
This year saw the return of World Rally Champion Co-Driver Robert Reid, Scottish rallying stalwart Andrew Smith (represented by Gordon McIntyre) and Scottish Sporting Car Club (represented by David Robertson) to the Rally Angels panel. Joining the Angels for 2011 were RSAC Motorsport – embodied by Garry Headridge – and The Scottish Sun’s Jon Doran. Leading Scottish rally drivers Colin Smith and Stevie Brown were also on hand to chat to the Challenge drivers about life on the next few rungs up the rallying ladder.
As well as the prize-winning pitches from Sean and Jordan, the Angels also heard first-class presentations from Duns teenager Garry Pearson, East Kilbride’s Steven Smith and Ayr driver Ruary MacLeod. The standard of presentations across the board was very high, and even those that didn’t scoop the cash prizes left with plenty of advice to guide them through the up-coming season.
“It’s great to start 2011 on a high after ending last year by winning the 205 Ecosse Challenge,” reflects Robson, who took a stunning fifth overall on the Grant Construction Stages at Knockhill the day after the Rally Angels showdown. “The money is really going to help firm up my plans for the year, but just as important are the contacts and opportunities it opens up for me.”
“This support means I’m going to be able to get out and continue competing, so I’m delighted,” adds Jordan. “Last year was only my second season of rallying and I feel I made real progress, so it’s great to have the opportunity to continue the learning curve.”