Watersplash woes

25 May 2024

Osian Pryce’s challenge for the 2024 Probite British Rally Championship crown is far from over for despite retiring from the Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally (24/25 May) he has dropped his mandatory two scores and can now add every point he scores to his Round 2 victory, including his yet to be decided bonus points joker round, and still take the title.

Things would have been very different on the Jim Clark had it not been for a mysterious problem at the watersplash on the Langton Mill stage. The first time through his Dom Buckley RSC-prepared Ford Fiesta Rally2 spluttered and coughed its way out of the water crossing, leaving the 31-year old Welshman down in 120th place after the short opening stage. 

Time would be quickly made up for Osian and co-driver Rhodri Evans as they set the fourth fastest time on the much longer Abbey St Bathans stage (SS2) to rocket back up to seventh – a position they held going into first service in Duns after SS3.

Next up was the repeat of Langton Mill, and this time there was no escape from the watersplash as the car’s engine cut out and refused to restart. The car was eventually pushed back into a nearby field, where Osian and Rhodri watched in disbelief as every other car drove through the water without a major problem. 

In the race for the British Rally Championship title, Osian is one of three drivers who have won an event this year – and with his bonus points scoring joker still to play he has lost nothing yet, has a maximum score in the can and four remaining rounds in which he could potentially add four more maximum scores to his final five scores from seven round points tally.

“I’m still positive about our position in the British Rally Championship because we have a maximum score in the bank and everything to play for,” said Osian.

“We were very unlucky on the Jim Clark. Firstly, we started the opening loop on medium compound slick Michelin tyres, which was a brave choice and one that would have worked tremendously well for us had there not been a short shower of rain just as the leg began which made the conditions a little too damp for those tyres. 

“Given that we were on the wrong tyres and got bogged down coming out of the watersplash the first time through, I thought that we would have lost a lot more time than we did on the opening loop. We came into first service after three stages in seventh position and from the pace that we had shown I knew that we could fight for a top result from there.

“We don’t know why the car stopped at the watersplash the second time through, but there was absolutely no way the engine was going to restart and that was it. It’s just a shame that we never got the chance to fight back like we knew was on the cards.

“We are fortunate that there have been three winners in the first three rounds, ourselves included, and that there is no runaway leader in the BRC. That still gives us a chance on the remaining rounds, and things are not as bad as they may look. 

“I just hope that all of our bad luck this year is over, because from now on we need a good clean winning run, like we had on the Rallynuts, to put us right back in contention.”

Osian is supported by The Leading Edge, Michelin, Demon Tweeks, Bell Racing helmets, OMP race suits, Hills Ford, DL Jones Pontrobert Ltd (coach and taxi hire), MotoFit (performance training), Redkite Glass, Cwmni Diogel (Security and Event Management), Kitchen Door Changer, Speedy Sofas, Gorsaf Betrol Tymawr/Rheidol, and his own family-run specialist building firm G+M Pryce.