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Costly freight ends Clendon’s run

Jackson Clendon in his Ford Fiesta Rally4. PHOTOS/FILE

MOTORSPORT

Jackson Clendon’s dream of competing in his first Rally of New Zealand at the end of next month is over.

Clendon’s badly damaged Fiesta from the South Canterbury Rally.

The promising rally driver had hoped to have his Ford Fiesta Rally4 back on the road for New Zealand’s first WRC event in a decade after it was badly damaged in June’s Rally South Canterbury when he misheard a pace note and took a corner too fast.

However, getting parts from Europe for the 2WD FIA rally car initially was difficult, forcing Clendon to miss last month’s Rally Hawke’s Bay. Now, the cost of freighting the parts is proving prohibitive.

He said the parts were costly – but the shipping charges were more than the cost of the parts.

Clendon hopes to have the parts in New Zealand by November or December so the car can be prepared for the first round of the 2023 national championship – the Rally Otago in April.

The premature end to his season is a disappointment for Clendon, who had won his class in his first outing in the Fiesta, the Rally Whangarei. He led the national championship at the time of the crash.

Now the 19-year-old plans on borrowing or leasing cars and competing in some club events such as hill climbs, and even trying his hand at some circuit racing.

Clendon is also keen to put into practice the learnings he took as one of eight attendees at the NZ Elite Motor Sport Academy in late June.

The intense week-long boot camp at Otago University focused on everything outside the car to make a well-rounded driver, from fitness, mental preparation, nutrition, sponsorship, and promotion.

It even included time in a heat chamber to determine the drivers’ reaction to extreme conditions.

“We were racing on a simulator, but they cooked us at like about 45 degrees Celsius. It was really humid, and we had all our gear on, and they measured how much fluid we lost, what our body temp was and that sort of stuff,” Clendon said.

“I was in there like for half an hour and I lost about 1.5kg of fluid.”

Although Clendon felt the boot camp was a challenge, he learnt a lot and is already practising some of the learnings, especially the physical preparation.

“Being in the gym and doing weights and cardio work and learning what I need to do to improve, I’ve started to do a bit of training, but I’m going to ramp that up going forward.

“Even like the nutrition, I’ve implemented that straight away, and that’s already worked a lot.”

Clendon’s involvement with the academy continues with a 12-month follow-up programme involving sports trainers, mental coaches, and nutritionists.

As for the crash that ended his season, Clendon was philosophical, saying he learnt a lot from it, and he was looking ahead.

“In a way, it was so bad, but it’s a bit of a wake-up call to focus on different things.”

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.

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