Luke Furse Earthmoving Ltd has an established track record of sponsoring local events and sporting enterprise. A successful company now in its 32nd year, the directors are delighted to be able to give something back to the local community. Recent support has been given to rally drivers Lloyd Furse and Richard Fishleigh, and a number of local events including the Holsworthy, Launceston and Ashwater Agricultural shows, the Holsworthy and Launceston Carnivals and the Bradworthy ploughing match.
In particular, driver Lloyd Furse and co-driver Rob Short were confirmed as British Trials and Rally Drivers Association Under 21 Champions for 2006 at the September Woodpecker Stages Rally in Shropshire, greatly assisted by the help and support of Luke Furse Earthmoving Ltd.
As Lloyd and Rob entered the last stage of the Woodpeckers Stages Rally, they were joint leaders for the award and both the young drivers knew what was required of them. The stage was in excess of 8 miles with difficult and dangerous driving conditions due to earlier torrential rain, but as Lloyd commented afterwards "We were totally focused, the conditions suited us as I really enjoy loose gravel and forest rallying in the wet and we both felt we could not have driven any better".
Lloyd and Rob are often up against teams with substantial sponsorship and more sophisticated world rally cars, some costing many tens of thousands of pounds. Lloyd and Rob, both 20, only teamed up in February, and immediately showed their potential by becoming runners-up for the Michael "Beef" Park trophy at the Wyedean Forest Rally later that month. This was an impressive performance in its own right, as the lads were only narrowly beaten by 'Stars Of The Future' Carwen Harries and Gareth Roberts also driving an Impreza for the day and professionally sponsored by Suzuki. Lloyd and Rob beat the same pair into second place to take the title at the Woodpecker Stages Rally for 2006!
Phil Mills, co-driver to Petter Solberg, of the Subaru World Rally team was particularly impressed with their performance at the Wydean Forest Rally and asked to meet the duo. He commented that he will be following their progress with keen interest and be looking out for them in the future.
Lloyd started his driving career at a very early age cutting his teeth on the controls of the swing shovels and dump trucks of the family business. Showing a natural talent for the driving and an equally important eye for the engineering skills required, Lloyd progressed naturally to Banger Racing, an amateur blend of rallying and circuit racing in which modified cars are raced around grass tracks. Following success in his self built cars Lloyd had his eye firmly on a full rally drive so with the help of mentor and family friend Richard Fishleigh and Luke Furse Earthmoving Ltd, the seeds were sown for Lloyd to develop his own rally spec race car.
Following one false start, Lloyd, accompanied by Richard, flew to Aberdeen to inspect another Subaru Impreza. Following a successful test drive in nearby Forestry and a thorough inspection of the vehicle the deal was done and the following week the car arrived in Lloyd's workshop. The Irish car has proved very reliable with a 100% finishing record – testimony to the Subaru build quality and the team's preparation skills and attention to detail.
Lloyd works closely with his co-driver and long term friend Rob Short. The duo met at Shebbear College, and shared an immediate interest in all aspects of motorsport. Lloyd plays a major role in assisting his father Luke to organise and run the business. Rob currently works as a mechanic for South West Highways and helps to run the family agricultural and seed merchant business, J Pickard and Co Ltd of Burrington, North Devon. The two young drivers have developed an impeccable trust between them, Lloyd can only drive as fast as he does by relying entirely on Rob to tell him about the severity of the angles of the corners and obstacles ahead, sometimes closing at speeds of over 100 miles an hour!
A close friend of the Furse family and also enjoying great success in his own rally car, Richard Fishleigh has been associated with the business for many years. Starting off working for his father, Richard naturally progressed to working full time for Luke Furse, not only as a skilled driver in his own right but a naturally talented motor engineer as well. This became more apparent as Richard helped to support the business by repairing, servicing and improving the equipment worn out in the day to day running of a busy plant hire and agricultural contracting business. Richard now has his own business 'Launceston Car Centre'.
Richard's rally driving skills are self-taught. He first competed in 1996 in a self prepared mark 2 Escort, then moving on to a Subaru Legacy and culminating in his current car, again a self prepared 2003 Subaru Impreza – bought as an unfinished project which took him a further year to complete, stripping the car down again and rebuilding it piece by piece – the only way a driver can truly trust his equipment.
As testament to Richard's own impeccable mechanical skills, this car has also had a 100% finishing success rate. The rebuilding and improving of the car continues apace with upgrades to the gearbox being fitted ready for the next rally.
Richard co-drove for the first two races of Lloyd's career, taking an astonishing third place overall in the second rally, the Audi Stages in 2005. Lloyd returned the favour by taking to Richard's passenger seat for one rally, just to see what it's like from the other side of the gear stick!
In November 2006 both teams Lloyd Furse and Co-Driver Rob Short and Richard Fishleigh and Co-Driver Tim Young along with their skilled and dedicated service team Adam Parkhouse, Andrew Cann, Harvey Kendall and Martin Waters travel to Aldershot to compete in the South of England Tempest Rally to gain more experience and build on their success.
Lloyd and Rob with Phil Mills of the Subaru World Rally Team after the Wydean Forest Rally
Ashwater FC - Sponsored by Luke Furse Contractors
Lloyd Furse and Rob Short at the finish line of the Woodpecker Stages Rally where they were confirmed as British Trials and Rally Drivers Association Under 21 Champions for 2006
Lloyd Furse and co-driver Rob Short in action at the Woodpecker Stages Rally
Richard Fishleigh and co-driver Sean Dale in action on a stage of the Somerset Stages Rally