Despite missing out on the result he wanted, Garry Pearson is taking plenty of positives from the second round of the British Rally Championship.
Taking place in his hometown of Duns, the Jim Clark Rally is one of the highlights of Pearson’s season but there were plenty of new challenges to overcome on this year’s running (May 26/27).
Driving a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 run by Melvyn Evans Motorsport for the first time and competing with co-driver Daniel Barritt for the first time too, there was plenty for the Scotsman to learn.
But the new partnership gelled from the off and Pearson impressively found a set-up in the Polo that worked for him in the short shakedown stage, instilling confidence that he could achieve a solid result on home ground.
The first competitive stage, a daunting 11.8-mile run over the moors above Duns, was a tricky way to start but Pearson found his rhythm from the off, settling into an early third overall behind World Rally Championship driver Adrien Fourmaux and four-time British Rally champion Keith Cronin who was just 1.8 seconds quicker.
However, the second running of the stage run under the cover of darkness would be less kind to the 31-year-old who paid a heavy price for a small mistake.
Pearson and Barritt suffered a high-speed spin and briefly left the road, but cruelly were denied the chance to continue as their incident robbed the Polo of all of its headlights. Although the car was driveable, Pearson had no choice but to retire with no forward vision on the tricky stage.
Given the time lost for missing a stage of the rally, the decision was taken not to partake in Saturday’s action. Instead, Pearson used the time to treat his sponsors and partners first-hand to some VIP experiences.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t able to provide the result that we, the team and our partners were after, but it was great to spend lots of time with our loyal supporters over the weekend and offer them passenger runs, an in-depth look at the car, signed merchandise, a tour of the Jim Clark museum as well as plenty of spectating,” Pearson explained.
“From the sporting side, of course, I am disappointed with what happened – particularly considering it was my home event. It’s not been the easiest of starts to our British championship campaign, but we got on really well with the car and the team, and it felt like Dan and I had been in the car together for years.
“There’s just three weeks until we leave for Belgium so I am looking forward to gaining some serious experience over there.”
Round three of the BRC season, the Ypres Rally, will take place on June 22-24.
Pearson is supported by Billie Bowie Special Projects, Hankook UK, Asset Alliance Group, George Anderson General Builders, Solid Fuel Hub, Husqvarna, R.L Smith & Sons, Brick & Steel Construction and Morris Lubricants.