Jerseyman Ed Fossey enjoyed a successful trip back home as the Yokohama Peugeot 208 R2 driver claimed the Trophy Rally victory last weekend on the Roberts Garages Ltd Jersey Rally (11/12 October).
Fossey and Guernsey co-driver Will Rutherford teamed-up once again to contest the tough and demanding Jersey Rally. The Channel Island crew faced two days of intense competition with over 100 stage miles through the iconic lanes – with the most southerly rally in the British Isles providing a challenging final event of the season.
Starting at car 14, 21-year-old Fossey was to face a tough first day with the opening loop of stages through St Martin and Grouville. The roads in the east of the island provided a start-stop, ‘point and squirt’ composition – perfect for the more powerful cars around him and not ideal for the underpowered Peugeot. However, Fossey knew it was all about ticking the stages off and keeping himself in the hunt for the night stages and second day – with the faster, flowing stages enabling Ed to keep-up the momentum in the 1600cc machine.
Hustling the little French pocket-rocket in the top 20, Fossey and Rutherford would see their hopes disappear on the Grouville stage. Whilst negotiating the tight hairpin at the bottom of Queen’s Valley Reservoir, the car cut-out with a faulty sensor to blame for an early bath. The pair managed to reset the car and fire it into life, but with too much time lost, Fossey elected to return to service and spend the evening with his team working on eliminating any other potential gremlins.
Ed and his fellow competitors who retired on the opening day were able to compete in a separate event on the Saturday – the Trophy Rally. Fossey and the 12 other runners faced a wet and slippery set of stages through St Ouen, Greve de Lecq, Trinity and Longueville.
Battling the elements, Ed and Will got into their stride and by the half way point were enjoying a dual with the vastly experienced Gary Le Coadou in a Hyundai i20 World Rally Car – one of the most powerful and certainly most state-of-the-art machine on the entry list.
Come the afternoon stages, Fossey had the measure of the four-wheel-drive car in his front-wheel-drive 208 and on Saturday afternoon, the Jerseyman leap-frogged the WRC car and shot into the distance – pulling out a 14.7 second margin to seal the Trophy Rally win.
“We got off to a bit of a slow start on the opening day which was to be predicted after a season on the gravel,” explained Fossey. “On the first couple of stages we took our time and when we did get into the swing of things the throttle sensor problem came to the fore which put us out for the rest of the day.
“We ironed all of the problems out that evening and we thought we will use the second day as a test day. It was great to get another day in the car, and we have been able to change various bits on the set-up to see how the car reacts. Our stage times on Saturday showed we would be running quite well in the main field, and we are disappointed not to be in the main event but that is rallying at times.
“If you can’t win the main rally you have to give the Trophy Rally a good go, as everyone starts with zero on the clock and you have to try and win it. We had a good day, and I am really happy to have won the Trophy Rally. To got into battles with the more powerful machines and be in front of them is confidence inspiring.”
After another season in the UK, Fossey thoroughly enjoyed his season finale on home soil.
“It always feels different for me to compete in Jersey. It will always be a favourite event of mine. I wake up different, I feel a different energy when I am here and it’s something I want to try and take with me to events no matter where they are. It works really well at home and I want to now translate that on events abroad. 2019 was another great event and I would like to thank all the organising team and marshals for standing out in all elements to make this rally happen and to Chris West and Robbie Hannah on the overall rally victory.”
The Roberts Garages Ltd Jersey Rally was the final event of the season for Ed Fossey and his team. Over the winter, plans will be formulated with 2020 news to come in due course.
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