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Clendon beats brakes scare

Jackson Clendon and co-driver Katrina Renshaw after winning their class at the Hoddle Rd rally sprint. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


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Promising Wairarapa rally driver Jackson Clendon overcame a major scare to win his class from a strong field at the Hoddle Rd rally sprint near Otorohanga last Sunday.

The 17-year-old Wairarapa College student was in the first run over the 9km course when he lost his brakes in his 2005 Ford Fiesta.

“We were coming down in fourth gear and I went to brake and the pedal just went straight to the floor, so I panicked a bit. But I just had to pull the handbrake and throw it into the corner and somehow we made it out of the corner but it was bloody lucky,” he said.

Clendon and co-driver Katrina Renshaw from Palmerston North cruised to the finish line before some hasty work in the service area to get the car ready for the remaining three runs.

It wasn’t until the final run that Clendon finally found his form, and returned a very quick six minutes, 42 seconds, to win the two-wheel drive class more than eight seconds ahead of Bryn Jones.

His time was ninth fastest in the strong field.

“It’s a bit higher level than what I’ve been doing. It’s a step up in competition and it was against a lot of national championship level drivers, so it was good to come out with a first in class.”

Clendon said having a professional co-driver such as Renshaw made a big difference.

“Just the timing of the pace notes and even outside of the stage, just keeping calm and keeping me calm, and everything just ran a bit smoother.”

Clendon has only been driving competitively for about 18 months and has rallying in his blood.

His parents Pete and Kath competed at national championship level, and his second cousin was the late great Possum Bourne, a world championship driver who was killed while driving on the Road to the Sky circuit near Wanaka in 2003.

Clendon is targeting Rally Bay of Plenty on October 17 as his next event.

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