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2016 Junior 1000 Rally Challenge (Northern) Ireland

Posted: January 26, 2017 10:59 AM - 3228 Hits

James Wilson (Right) & Kyle Diffin (Left) collecting their awards from Robert Harkness at the ANICC Prize-giving
Photo: Sperrins Photography

Junior Joy in NI Rally Championship for James Wilson! Serious Season Ahead in 2017

Posted: January 26, 2017 10:59 AM

James Wilson and co-driver Kyle Diffin, from Keady, County Armagh lifted their Junior Championship category winning trophies on Saturday night at the Association of Northern Ireland Car Clubs glittering prize-giving at the Armagh City Hotel. 22 year old James in his first full season of rallying took his Peugeot 106 Cup Car to the honours after some stirring performances on both tarmac and gravel. Now for 2017 James will take delivery of a new Peugeot 208 R2 machine for an assault on Ireland's premier rally series the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

"We are very excited about the year ahead, especially with the new car coming" said the young Keady engineer. "We will probably have to use the 106 initially and it has served us well. To score the victory in the Junior category in the N.I Rally Championship meant a lot and hopefully we can build on that." The Road Tankers Armagh supported 106 Peugeot has served James well since 2011, when he graduated from winning the Alltrak Junior series in 2010. Early promise showed with a second overall finish at the Moneyglass venue in the more powerful Peugeot, before embarking on his first special stage rally in 2012- the two day Wexford event. In 2013 he collected third in class in the Irish Forestry Championship, gaining valuable gravel experience, but one experience to forget was an accident which required a re-shell of the Peugeot and with a busy work life, and engineering course it would be 2016 before James was back onto the special stages.

With support from his father Trevor, Uncle Glenn, Nigel Wilson, Phillip Gillespie, Andrew Cummings and Luke Wilson, the team with new co-driver 28 year old Kyle Diffin from Markethill embarked on a 2016 ANICC NI Rally Championship mission. With added backing from James Wilson Garage Services, Hendron Electrical, D.C Drive, and Hills Ices-Markethill the family run 106 was wheeled into action. "We had a few issues with the new car on the opening round at Kirkistown and only scored sixth in class, but on the Circuit of Ireland we had a great run and took third in the class, behind the more modern cars. The Tour of the Sperrins was next in the forests, and we took fourth in class after a steady day helped amass the points. On the tarmac Mourne Rally we really got on the pace, but a power steering failure on the last loop cost us time and it was another fourth." By mid-season the Co.Armagh pairing were challenging their more experienced and higher powered rivals, running third in class on the Tyrone Stages before a drive-shaft failed two stages from home. Next up the Ulster International Rally, and it was here that James stunned the opposition by leading the top British Rally Championship and N.I Championship front wheel drive runners after the first loop of slippery stages. However a time penalty and a trip into a hedge on day two cost time, but they still took a fine third in class. Back into the forests for the Omagh based Bushwhacker event, and the boys mixed it with the leaders before another fourth in class finish. The final Down Rally round was a bit of a downer for the crew- as they aquaplaned on stage one after catching the car in front and broke a drive-shaft, but still had done enough to lift the Junior crown.

"We learnt a lot in 2016, and our aim for 2017 is to attack the R2 class in the Irish Tarmac Championship, starting with the Galway International in February. Ultimately we would also like to progress onto the British Rally Championship with the car and see how far we can go in the sport" said the new NI Junior Champion. Certainly if 2016 is anything to go by the Keady driver will be one to watch as he enters one of the most competitive categories in UK and Irish motorsport.

Championship Rounds

Posted: December 19, 2015 6:33 PM

  1. 500 MRCI New Year Stages Rally - (Sat) 23 Jan 16
  2. Kirkistown Stages - (Sat) 13 Feb 16
  3. BDMC Bishopscourt Junior Stages - (Sat) 12 Mar 16
    Kirkistown Junior Rally [Reserve C'ship event] - 19 Mar 16
  4. EMC St Angelo Stages Rally - (Mon) 2 May 16
  5. BDMC Bishopscourt Summer Sprint - (Sat) 9 Jul 16
  6. MCMC Dogleap Rally - (Sat) 6 Aug 16
  7. Solway Coast Junior Stages - (Sat) 13 Aug 16
    Kirkistown Junior Rally [Reserve C'ship event] - (Sat) 24 Sep 16
  8. BDMC Bishopscourt Stages - (Sat) 12 Nov 16

Topics: Junior 1000 (NI) 

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