Mauger road work a cause for celebration

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His first victory came after having led the field overnight after Friday night’s evening stage on Victoria Avenue.’Winning means a lot to me,’ he said afterwards, ‘it is one of the best wins of my career, even though I think we chased a chicken on the roads, somewhere in St Ouen.

‘I knew that the Fosseys were pushing us hard on Saturday morning, but after they took a half-spin, I felt that they wouldn’t be able to catch us.

And, if we’d had to, we could have gone even quicker.’ With his father and brother also in the race, he said it had been a ‘family affair’ although ‘we seemed to be running like granny on the very last lap!’.

By then he, and his navigator, had built up a solid two-minute lead ahead of the Fosseys who had made a slow start on the Friday but had tried to up the pressure on the leading car on the Saturday morning.

‘We were second going into today’s race,’ Stuart Fossey explained, from his Ford Escort Mk II on the Esplanade on Saturday evening.

‘Then half a spin nearly cost us the race entirely, when we lost half a minute and nearly collided with a wall in St Martin but, if anything, that made us more determined than ever.

In the afternoon we tried to push them harder but, on the day, Simon won because he proved himself to be the better driver.’ Last year’s winner Chris Le Bonniec with navigator Richard Hollick saw his chances evaporate during the first stage of the rally on Friday night, when a small stone flipped up and broke the rear suspension arm of his Ford Escort II.

‘It meant we were out of that stage, as we had to get it welded,’ he said.

‘Looking at the times we’ve done today, if that hadn’t happened, I feel we could have won it.

It’s just one of those things.

We’ve hit bigger stones today (Saturday) which have led to nothing.

But, hopefully, we’ll be back next year.’ Jeremy Baudains with navigator James Ollivro finished third, while there were some remarkable hit and miss stories, from the likes of Rob De St Paer, who ‘lost the back end and ended up in some trees somewhere in St Martin’, before he also had to change a puncture on the Friday night.

De St Paer, with navigator Jeremy Phillips, finished 13th.

Meanwhile UK driver Dave Edmunds with Dom Jeans as navigator, in his fifth Jersey rally, drove one entire section of the race in second gear after his clutch cable broke on his Honda Civic SIR.

‘It was a bit hairy at times,’ said Edmunds, ‘but I was pleased to finish first in my class and 20th overall and, like many of the other drivers, I’ll be back next year.

Some of the roads are extremely narrow, but it’s a lovely course to race over.

St Ouen, in particular, is a favourite part of the course.

From 75 entrants, 37 finished the course.

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