Abingdon CARnival Rally 2018 has come around, all cameras & batteries are checked, packed & I’m off to Abingdon in Oxfordshire. This year it would be a touch more special for me…not only was it to be R Kid, Nick driving the Escort. This year would see the first appearance of Motorsport Sponsorship on the car. My Ian Skelton Photography logo would be proudly on the Escort for the first time!!!
Motorsport Sponsorship can work in many ways for both the team & the sponsor. Sometimes it is merely a helping hand to a team with the expenses in exchange for the name on the car. Or in exchange for services provided free to the team. Other times particularly in higher levels of motorsport, F1, BTCC, WRC etc it is used to promote the company involved. Company name & logos will be seen in various publications, online, social media & TV coverage. To be associated with a successful team is a huge marketing tool. All kinds of dynamic ways to use that sponsorship… Staff incentive awards, Client entertainment days, Corporate Events.
After his successful return to rallying after 15 years out of the driving seat at the Cadwell Park Stages Rally. Nick & David Vardy were looking to build on their new partnership in the car. The car had been prepared by Richard at ITG Motorsport & was looking really nice when I arrived. Nick had been seeded much better this rally after his results from the previous rally. He was running as car 27 & so should not be held up by slower cars.
Abingdon Airfield is an operational military airfield that every year plays host to 2 days of motorsport. Saturday was the Race Sprint events & today is the Special Stage Rally held around the roads of Dalton Barracks. Dalton Barracks is still operational & so the access for spectators is limited to a small area behind chain linked fencing. Great for watching but sadly not so great for photography. Shooting through fencing can create slight lines across the image… but we have to make best of what there is!
The top 10 cars absolutely tore through the first stage. These cars & drivers are so quick right from the start. Nick was on the pace too & looked to be pushing hard for his first visit to Abingdon. Stage 2 was a repeat of Stage 1 & Nick was visibly quicker through the spectator section.
The next pair of stages went well & the times were getting faster. Modifications on the car from the last rally to solve a vibration were working well. Nick & David were flying & running in the top 25. A change to softer tyres for more grip & the Escort left Service for the next batch of stages. The times reflected the change in grip & they started to take more time off the cars around them. Often catching cars on the 2nd lap & having to find a way past them on stage without dropping too much time.
Drivers were starting to get used to the stages. People were trying hard now…. Sometimes too hard!!
Even R Kid picked up a few ‘Trying marks’ cutting chicanes tight but nothing that a bit of T Cut won’t put right. It was all worth it though. Nick & Dave brought the car home in a well driven 15th Overall & 7th in Class. I think he’s enjoying his return to the Driver’s seat!!!