Daventry’s Chris Williams and Towcester’s teenage rising rallying star Jack Didcock battled against torrential rain on Saturday’s Red Dragon IT Stages, the third round of the Kingsway Insurance Heart of England Rally Championship.
The duo finished a solid 29th overall out of the 79 entrants at Down Ampney on the Gloucestershire and Wiltshire border.
The Daventry Auto Services-backed crew, who were competing in their 1600cc Peugeot 205 continued their fine form this season, maintaining their 100 per cent finishing record and continually improving pace and results.
During the morning, conditions were amongst some of the most challenging ever seen at the venue, with torrential rain making the roads resemble streams, rivers and lakes.
On a morning where a canoe would have been more suited, Didcock and Williams had no wet weather tyres and struggled with aquaplaning proved by a slight excursion when the pair slid straight on into a rocky mound. Their bad start was compounded when another competitor, following them on that stage, did exactly the same and slid into that same rocky mound just as Didcock was reaching for reverse.
This resulted in a collision with Didcocks Kumho Tyres backed car.
The damage was extensive, and Didcock/Williams had to complete the stage with the sump guard hanging off.
In only a short space of time, the DMD Motorsport Engineering mechanics worked a miracle to get the car repaired keeping Didcock and Williams in the rally. Throughout the morning, the rain continued to fall but Didcock applied himself to the conditions with a mature head to get through the worst and by the afternoon, conditions turned to warm and dry.
Didcock then continued his climb up the leader board to finish 29th overall, and sixth in class, in what was after all only his third ever rally.
Didcock said: “They’re the worst conditions I think I’ve ever driven in.
“We really struggled this morning. I think we were the only crew here who didn’t have any form of wet weather tyre and we also don’t have a differential (referring to his standard running gear Peugeot 205) so it was really difficult.
“But I’m delighted with the result, and another finish. We’ve learned a lot again today.
“There’s some work to get the car right for the next event but we’ll be there.’
Experienced Daventry co-driver Williams added: “Jack drove with maturity far beyond his experience.
“He drove with his head and to the conditions and we’re both delighted with the outcome.
“It’s more championship points in the bag which is also important.”
Didcock and Williams’ next outing together will be the Hinckley based Rally of the Midlands on June 20-21 and will be Didcock’s first ever multi-venue event.
Williams however will be out in the Welsh forests on Saturday when he co-drives for Alex Allingham, the current Welsh Rally Champion, on the Severn Valley Stages based at Builth Wells.