RUGBY rally driver Ashleigh Morris has had plenty of reason to celebrate, after recently wrapping up the 2018/19 MSN Circuit Rally Championship, in which she finished second in her class.
Alongside co-driver Jamie Mactavish, the pair achieved a runners-up placing Class B, racing in a Ford Fiesta R200 all over the British Isles during the eight-round Championship.
Morris admits that their final ranking has come as somewhat of a relief, following a challenging campaign.
“We’ve had a few disappointing rallies this season so it’s great that we’ve been able to finish second in class,” she said.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me this year; Jamie for doing a brilliant job on the notes; TnS Rally for looking after the car; and my family and friends for all their support.
“A massive thank you as well to our sponsors Cirrus Research and Real Systems Controls – we couldn’t have done it without them and are so grateful for their support.”
She believes better fortunes lie in wait for the 2019/20 season, and can’t wait to get back on the track again.
“Our pace has definitely improved this year but unfortunately a couple of mistakes and some mechanical issues meant we were unable to win our class.
“We’re looking forward to the awards dinner in June and we’ll be competing in several events over the summer in preparation for next season.”
Each event is contested over approximately 50 stage miles, where drivers take on a number of challenges during the course, ranging from crests and jumps to water splashes.
The team started the season slowly after a disappointing opening round at Oulton Park, in which clutch issues forced them to retire despite starting the race strongly.
Round two at Cadwell Park brought better fortunes, before an accident at The Cobble Shop Knockhill Stages Rally in round three retired them from the race once more – when their car flipped and rolled after clipping a tyre.
But following the determined efforts of TnS Rally to mend the car during the mid-season break, the duo of Morris and Mactavish were able to return for round four at Brands Hatch after Christmas – finishing sixth out of 18 starters.
Snetterton was next up in February, where a broken gearbox failed to ruin the day, as the pair managed to get the part welded in time to finish the event and pick up crucial championship points.
Round six at Donnington resulted in a fifth place finish, followed by a second at Anglesey – a venue Morris has often found success at in the past, which propped the team up in second in the standings going into the eighth and final round.
However, a poor showing at Cadwell Park dented their hopes of topping the standings, after a retirement was forced upon them for the third time in the season.
During stage six, after running slightly wide, the car clipped some tyres and a gate, flipping the car onto it’s side and damaging the steering – ending the race and the title hopes of Morris.
The team are seeking additional partners for next season, and invite enquiries regarding sponsorship by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone on 07770 250000.
Morris and Mactavish’s focus for the 2019/20 season is firmly set on winning the class, with the latest updates prior to and during the upcoming season available online at www.ashleighmorris.com/blog