ASPIRING Borders rally star Sean Robson got 2011 off to the best possible start by scooping a prize in the Ecosse Challenge’s Rally Angels programme, writes Sandy Brydon.
Nineteen-year-old St Boswells joiner Robson netted £1,500 from the fund that sees some of the top names in Scottish rallying contribute their own money to give talented juniors a leg up.
Now in its second year, the Rally Angels scheme is open to competitors in the Brick and Steel Ecosse Challenge – the one-make championships catering for Honda Civic and Peugeot 205 cars.
At the end of the year, the top five Challenge drivers under the age of 25 are invited to present their plans for the coming year to the Angels. The young competitors then face a Dragons’ Den-style grilling on their plans and on their rallying skills and knowledge in general. At the end of the day, those deemed most promising in the Angels’ eyes walk away with the spoils.
This year saw the return of World Rally Champion co-driver Robert Reid, Scottish rallying stalwart Andrew Smith (represented by Gordon McIntyre) and Scottish Sporting Car Club (represented by David Robertson) to the Rally Angels panel.
Joining them were RSAC Motorsport – embodied by Garry Headridge – and The Scottish Sun’s Jon Doran.
Leading Scottish rally drivers Colin Smith and Stevie Brown were also on hand to chat to the Challenge drivers about life on the next few rungs up the ladder.
As well as the prize-winning pitch from Sean, the Angels also heard a first-class presentation from Duns teenager Garry Pearson, among many.
The standard of presentations across the board was very high, and even those that didn’t scoop the cash prizes left with plenty of advice to guide them through the coming season.
“It’s great to start 2011 on a high after ending last year by winning the 205 Ecosse Challenge,” reflected Robson, who took a stunning fifth overall on the Grant Construction Stages at Knockhill the day after the Rally Angels showdown.
“The money is really going to help firm up my plans for the year, but just as important are the contacts and opportunities it opens up for me.”