Jackson brothers quickly get to grips with Wyedean course

Matthew and Jonathan Jackson began their rally season at the Team GMF Wyedean Forest Rally in conditions more akin to the Swedish round of the World Rally Championship.

Icy conditions greeted the Warwick brothers and their 180 fellow competitors as they began the 45-mile, seven-stage BTRDA Rally Championship event at Chepstow Racecourse with snow tyres quickly becoming the tyre of choice.

However, budget constraints led to 19-year-old Matthew and co-driver Rhys Price beginning the event on the usual forest tyres, ones which they had already used for the final event of 2011.

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Despite a costly spin into a bank less than two miles into the first stage, 22-year-old Jonathan and driver Ben Friend lay a comfortable second in class entering first service, while Matthew struggled to pull his Super 1000 specification Micra through the first loop of stages to lie fifth place in his class.

The afternoon sun made little impression on the sheet ice, but despite an overshoot on the shortest stage of the event, Coventry University student Matthew came home unscathed to finish the championship opener fourth in class.

“It really was a case of bringing the car home to the finish,” admitted Matthew.

“After deciding against blowing the budget completely on two snow tyres, we just had to drive sensibly and not take any risks on the ice.

“It seemed to work, the car’s got no major bumps or bruises, so we’re happy with that.

“I’ve never been so relieved to see a finish line.”

Despite an altercation with a solid earth bank during stage four, Jonathan and 17-year-old Friend, who was driving his first gravel event, finished the final stage of the event to take third in class.

The result also ensured that Jonathan leads the Rally First Junior co-driver category.