Below are reports from 2008 for rally teams sponsored by Luke Furse Earthmoving Ltd.
Lloyd Furse – Tempest Rally
TAKE OFF: Lloyd Furse & Rob Short literally flying around the Tempest Rally
Credit: Tony Harrison 2008 Tempest Photos
An exciting but friendly rivalry between two local rally drivers brought a welcome ray of sunshine to an otherwise rainy day in the forests around Aldershot at the recent Tempest Rally. Launceston-based Richard Fishleigh and Lloyd Furse pushed each other and their 250 horsepower, turbocharged Subaru Imprezas to the limit and, in their first competition since the Somerset stages in April, bounced back from the long lay-off to finish sixth and ninth overall, beating many of Britain's leading drivers in the process.
The Tempest Rally was the final round of the prestigious English Rally Championship and consequently, Richard and Lloyd found themselves in a high-class field that included newly crowned National Gravel Champion Marcus Dodd in his Hyundai Accent World Rally Car. Making light of any thoughts that they were 'up against it', the two drivers stormed through the opening stages to settle into strongly held places inside the top ten. In particular, Lloyd and co-driver Rob Short showed incredible commitment to fly flat out over an infamous jump in Ash forest, which has caught out many experienced crews over the years. "We were doing well over 100 mph at the time. Spectators have told us we were about four feet in the air," he said later.
A minor mistake at the following time control cost Lloyd a one-minute road penalty, which dropped him down the order, but he immediately fought back on the increasingly slippery forest tracks. Richard and co-driver Tim Young also lost time stuck behind a slower competitor and suffered a cracked windscreen. At the service area at Rushmoor Arena both drivers had climbed the leaderboard and thanks to frantic work by their crew of Ian Coward, Martin Waters and Shaun Dale they left for the remaining stages with renewed confidence.
In the afternoon, the rivalry intensified, with Richard and Lloyd never more than five seconds apart for the remaining miles. Lloyd's speed and consistency moved him into the top ten but eventually, Richard's experience told on the last stage, and he set fourth overall fastest time to pull away from his younger rival and finish the event in sixth place. At the finish, he paid tribute to Lloyd: "The conditions were treacherous all day – at times it was like driving through porridge! But we had to fight very hard to stay ahead of Lloyd and Rob and, although they have done very little rallying this season, they have the skill and enthusiasm to do very well if they decide to enter one of the major championships next year."
Richard and Lloyd will now give their cars a thorough check-over during the winter before deciding on their plans for 2009.
Writer: Ian Harden
Lloyd Furse & Rob Short at the finish
Richard Fishleigh & Tim Young in action
Credit: Tony Harrison 2008 Tempest Photos
Best-ever result for Furse on Somerset Stages Rally
It was a case of 'fun in the sun' for local rally crew Lloyd Furse and Rob Short at the recent Somerset Stages Rally, as they took full advantage of the good weather to produce a faultless drive and finish 19th overall and 4th in class, their best-ever result on the Minehead-based event. Holsworthy-based Lloyd and Rob, from South Molton in Devon, stormed through the dry, fast stages, picking off their rivals in handfuls and seizing their final placing with a stunning last-stage run to beat day-long rivals Chris and Jo Tooze (Subaru Impreza) by just seven seconds.
Determined to make amends for an unlucky non-finish at February's Wyedean Rally, Lloyd immediately 'put pedal to metal' in his Luke Furse Earthmoving-backed Subaru Impreza, powering through the opening three stages to emerge in 34th place overall, but being strongly challenged by a gaggle of Ford Escorts. At the first service halt, he sportingly paid tribute to his rivals: "Those cars are at least twenty years older than our Subaru, but they're superbly prepared, and the drivers are pedalling them flat out. It's incredibly tough just trying to stay ahead of them!"
Fortunately for Lloyd and Rob, the next two stages were on the ultra-fast tarmac of Porlock Toll Road. Here, they used the additional power and grip of their turbocharged, four-wheel drive car to pull clear of their challengers and move up to 32nd, closing fast on Henri Grehan, Lloyd's rival for the 2007 BTRDA Under-21 drivers' title. They closed the gap further when the rally returned to gravel in the afternoon, even moving ahead of Shelley Taunt and co-driver Julie Murphy, the reigning BRC Masters national champions.
After a further service halt, Lloyd launched an all-out attack through the six mile-long final stage, Bats Castle. Emphasising his return to form, he finished 17th fastest, forcing the vastly experienced Tooze to relinquish 19th place in the overall standings. At the finish, a hot, dusty but thoroughly pleased-looking Lloyd said: "That's just the sort of result we needed to lay our Wyedean Rally 'ghost' to rest. The Somerset Stages Rally is my nearest event to home, but it's notoriously difficult. The stages are short and very tricky; you can't afford to make any mistakes as you need to be flat out from the start to get a good result."
The excellent result puts Lloyd and Rob in a strong position to retain their RallyingUK.com Yokohama / ASWMC Championship crown, as the series moves to the Quinton Rally, based in Llandovery, mid-Wales, in July.
Writer: Ian Harden
Lloyd Furse/Rob Short 2008 Wyedean Rally
Frustration for Furse after promising drive comes to an early end
A case of "three wheels on my wagon" gave rally driver Lloyd Furse a real fright at the recent Wyedean Rally. When a wheel suddenly sheared off at high speed, the Holsworthy youngster was left fighting to control a massive lock-to-lock slide, the resultant damage to his Luke Furse Earthmoving-backed Subaru Impreza unfortunately putting paid to a promising drive less than five miles from the finish.
Lloyd and his Burrington-based co-driver Rob Short are starting their third season together, hoping to defend their RallyingUK.com / Yokohama ASWMC Championship title and also contesting the BTRDA national championship's Under-25 series. The Wyedean Rally is the traditional season-opener, and attracted a field of top-level national crews to the start at Chepstow racecourse. In stark contrast to the snow that blighted the 2007 event, the day dawned dry and bright, making for speeds in excess of 100 mph on the narrow forest tracks. Taking full advantage of fresh Yokohama tyres – part of the prize for winning the 2007 RallyingUK.com / Yokohama ASWMC Championship – Lloyd threw himself into the event in determined fashion, emerging from the six-mile opening stage just 40 seconds down on the leader, Andy Burton and his awesome 300 horsepower Peugeot Cosworth. Throughout the morning, Lloyd and Rob made good progress up the class leaderboard, battling hard with experienced BTRDA campaigners James Harvey / Paul Arberry's Subaru Impreza for a place inside the overall top 30. High point of the day came on stage four, Piercefield, where a storming run netted overall seventh fastest time, just four seconds behind Burton and equal to the exact second with Martin Healer / Shaun O'Gorman's Ford Escort World Rally Car. "That's what makes rallying so exciting for me." beamed Lloyd.
After the service halt, Lloyd and Rob's hopes of further pressurising Harvey took a turn for the worse when, coming out of a tight hairpin on the famous Speech House stage – a favourite on old-style RAC Rallies in the 1970s – a halfshaft snapped, leaving them with drive to only three wheels. Despite losing time, they still beat many top drivers including BTRDA class champion Simon Tuckman in a Ford Escort.
Unfortunately, all hopes of getting their ailing car to the finish came to an abrupt halt on the last stage, when a stub axle broke without warning, allowing the wheel to come off. Although Lloyd controlled the resultant skid, the Cornwall / Devon pairing coasted to a halt at the side of the track and retired on the spot. "That was so disappointing to not finish, as we were really hoping to 'turn the wick up' this afternoon and challenge James Harvey – unfortunately it wasn't to be" said Lloyd after the rally.
Once their home-prepared car is repaired, the youngsters will turn their attention to chasing championship points at the next rally, the Somerset Stages in April.
Writer: Ian Harden