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Snapped by a broken bearing

Jackson Clendon has again been dogged by bad luck, with a broken bearing ending his Daybreaker Manawatu Rally and costing him any chance of a late charge for national rally championship glory.

The Masterton driver had dropped to second in the 2WD and FIA Category 2 championships to Dylan Thomson after a blown gearbox forced him to withdraw on the first stage of the previous round, the Rally South Canterbury.

With a new gearbox fitted, Clendon was confident of a good showing on Saturday and was sitting second after five stages, about 20 seconds off the pace of championship leader Dylan Thomson, when the driveshaft carrier bearing snapped on a touring stage.

“I’m pretty sure it happened just after we pulled out of an intersection, and then down the road, it was driving all weird, and we just limped into refuel where we could have a look at it and see what was wrong,” Clendon said.

“The driveshaft had popped out from the gearbox. We only had one-wheel drive essentially, and we had lost a bit of gearbox oil. That was the main concern with a brand-new gearbox, and we didn’t want to risk damaging it.

“We don’t know why that happened because the part that snapped shouldn’t, and there’s no reason why it should break.”

The failure left Clendon and co-driver Tania Cresswell frustrated as they had taken a conservative approach to the morning stages with the plan of charging hard in the latter stages.

“We compromised a little and were saving our tyres for the afternoon because there were some longer stages, and we were planning to have a push in the afternoon. We didn’t get to do that.”

The DNF dropped Clendon to fourth in both championships, with no chance of catching Thomson, who finished fourth after spinning off into a gravel trap in the final stage on the Manfeild race track and then taking more than 20 minutes to get out of it. Despite that mishap, Thomson has an almost unassailable lead over Bryn Jones, with one round left to run, Rally Bay of Plenty on October 15.

Clendon’s best prospects could be third, with Tim MacKersy only seven points ahead, although he intends to take a relaxed approach into the season finale.

“There will be no pressure, and we’ll go and have some fun and not worry too much about championships and positions,” he said.

Six-time champion Hayden Paddon strengthened his grip on a seventh overall title, winning by more than three minutes from Australian Supercar star Shane van Gisbergen.

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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