Monday, June 17, 2024
10.1 C


My Account

- Advertisement -

Clendon resumes charge for title

The slow arrival of a replacement gearbox from Europe has caused plenty of headaches and sleepless nights for promising Masterton rally driver Jackson Clendon.

The new transmission eventually arrived this week and, after a few modifications, has been fitted to his Ford Fiesta Rally4 in preparation for Saturday’s Daybreaker Rally Manawatu, the fourth round of five in the national rally championship.

A smoking gearbox ended Clendon’s charge in June’s Rally South Canterbury in the first stage, gifting the leads in the 2WD and FIA Category 2 Championships to Dylan Thomson.

With three months between events, sourcing the new gearbox from Poland should have been a breeze, but delays in NZ Customs releasing it meant it was only received by Clendon’s support team on Monday.

Despite the frustration, the 20-year-old remains confident that the car will be good to go for the Daybreaker.

“We’re pretty confident the car is going to be good. It’s a brand-new gearbox, and other than that, we haven’t had any issues with the car [well, not too many], and the car is probably the best it has been in a while,” Clendon said.

Clendon trails Thomson by 17 points in the 2WD and 23 points in FIA Category 2 with two rounds left to run and must win to stay in the hunt for the final round, the Rally Bay of Plenty on October 14.

Normally, with a full six-round championship, Clendon would have the benefit of dropping his worst round, but with the championships reduced to five rounds because of the cancellation of the Coromandel Rally due to damage from Cyclone Gabrielle, every round counts, adding extra pressure heading into Saturday.

“If we come second, we’re probably going to be second for the championship, and we need to get a win, and we actually need Dylan to get zero points in one of the next two.”

With that in mind, Clendon intends to take an aggressive approach to the rally.

“You can’t be conservative; if you back off too much and try and cruise through, you could lose a whole heap of time, and I’ll be going back into it pretty hard, and hopefully, I’ll get the rhythm back.

“I think the speed will be there, but we have been out of the car a while and getting back into it, the key will be in the first part of the day, trying to get back into a groove and trying to get a bit of a lead.”

In Clendon’s favour is that most of his opponents will have little or no knowledge of the roads, with the Daybreaker Rally not being held since 2015.

The rally starts in Taihape, and there are 150km of special stages on the roads in Rangitikei and northern Manawatu before the drivers finish with a super special stage around the Manfeild circuit.

Recently crowned European Rally champion and six-time national champion Hayden Paddon and Australian Supercar star Shane van Gisbergen head the field of 91 starters.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -
overcast clouds
10.1 ° C
10.5 °
10.1 °
98 %
98 %
10 °
12 °
10 °
11 °
12 °