Pearson “immensely proud” of 2016 season
Garry Pearson and Robbie Mitchell claimed second overall in the 2016 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship in their Ford Fiesta R5, but for much of the year looked as if they would become the fourth different champions in as many years.
Whilst Mitchell did claim the co-drivers title, Pearson missed out on the overall spoils by just a single point, with Castle Douglas ace Jock Armstrong taking his second consecutive Scottish Rally Championship title.
However, despite losing out on his first national title due to a melted rocker cover aboard his Fiesta, Garry is still holding his head up high in what was a remarkable first season in the car.
He said: “I speak for us both in saying we’re immensely proud of what we’ve achieved this year. After all Robbie and I couldn’t have done any better. Mechanical problems can happen in motorsport and all crews know that only too well.”
Coming into the season, the 2012 British Junior Champion had next to no experience of four-wheel-drive machinery so he had modest expectations going into the season, despite driving a very competitive car.
“Our aim at the Snowman was a top 10, at the Border Counties it was a top 7 and we exceeded both. Winning the Speyside was a real eye opener and that was when we considered that there was potential for the championship.
“I think it was at the Scottish, against the crews who had done a pre-event recce, where we realised our pace was improving and that we had a chance if we remained consistent for the rest of the year.”
The Duns driver claimed two wins and a further two second places throughout the six events of 2016, but says the highlight was watching his times improve, in a car he reckons is pretty closely matched with his rivals.
He said: “The highlight would have to be the enjoyment of improving throughout the season, we really are rookies in four-wheel-drive and after seven events in the category we feel we can go and challenge for wins, and that’s a great feeling.
“To be honest we’re not sure how much more competitive the R5 is compared with Jock’s Subaru. We know when David [Bogie] was competing in the R5+ he had a bit in reserve but Jock has spent some hard cash on his Subaru and it’s going very well.
“The standard R5 doesn’t have as much poke as the Plus but we have kept Jock at bay all year.”
Despite coming so close to winning the championship, there will be no second stab at it for Pearson, at least for the time being.
Garry said: “The SRC has been great and I’d highly recommend it, but I’ll be moving on in 2017. I’d like to come back at some stage, but for now it served a great purpose as a learning year for us and that’s what we set out to do.”
Pearson added: “Special thanks to all the organisers of the events, the marshals, doctors and the SRC team and big thanks to all my sponsors and supporters, and Dom Buckley RSC for running the car.
“We’ll see everyone at the Awards doo!”
You can keep up to date with the SRC via the website www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk or through Facebook and Twitter (@MSA_SRC).