By virtue of taking maximum points on all of the rounds they have contested to date, David Guest & Paddy Robinson have secured the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Group N title. The Clonakilty / Donegal pairing have been impressive throughout the year, including finishing in the top ten on three International Rallies during the year. I caught up with David in the past few days to get his views on the 2016 season.
KOD: Was committing to a full tarmac championship Group N assault always in the plan for this year?
DG: Yes we were committed to doing the full championship from the start of the year.
KOD: Galway, the opening round was very wet and slippery, how did you manage to cope with the conditions?
DG: I enjoyed the event, it was my sixth time doing Galway so I wasn’t bothered at all by the conditions and we ended up taking full points there.
KOD: West Cork, the second round and your local rally, almost never happened due to pre event dramas, tell us a bit more?
DG: It was quite embarrassing really, I was bringing the car from my house to scrutiny which is a relatively short drive, and I was doing some adjusting to the seat belts when I went on the grass and hit a wall!
KOD: Was there much damage caused?
DG: Quite a bit! Headlights, bonnet, radiator, you name it! I worked well into the night to get the car right for scrutiny the following morning, and even at that it still didn’t handle completely right, but we managed to take full points there.
KOD: After two rounds with full points, you decided to skip the Circuit of Ireland?
DG: Yes, we had planned to skip the Circuit and use it as one of our dropped rounds as it was quite expensive to do. We moved onto Killarney and despite losing time with a turbo pipe coming lose early on, we managed to finish in the top ten and score another set of maximum points.
KOD: Donegal was next up, had you ever competed on it before?
DG: No, it was my first time competing on the event and it left a great impression, a brilliant rally. Because of the length of time involved in the rally a lot of effort was put in during the lead up. We spent some time testing and were very happy with the way the recce went. We eventually finished behind Aidan Wray whom we had a great battle with, but more importantly we took top points again.
KOD: The title was secured on the Ulster Rally, how did you find the event?
DG: I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been as I was late leaving work to go the event which meant a lot of pressure once I got there. As a result I was also very tired, and it was a tough, difficult event. However once again we managed to finish as top registered crew and that was enough to secure the Group N championship which was our aim at the start of the year.
KOD: The final round is the AceSigns Cork 20 Rally, more of a local event for you, are you planning to compete?
DG: Yes, it’s an event I enjoy so I will be doing it. I’m not sure yet what car I’ll be in, but I’m keeping my options open, so watch this space!
KOD: Have the new championship rules worked, and is there anything you’d like to see changed?
DG: Yes the new rules were a great idea and the championship has benefitted from increased competitiveness. I am not in favour of bonus points on the final round, particularly when you can now drop two rounds during the course of the year. I think the same number of points should be allocated on all rallies. All of the events are excellent and it’s been a very enjoyable championship to be part of.
I’m still not decided on what to do next season, but I’d like to go to Galway again and see from there. There’s been a great team effort this year to help us to get where we are and I’d like to thank Colm Grant who ran the car all year, Paddy Robinson who was brilliant as co-driver and also my sponsors Amari and Clonakilty Engineering.