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News Archive > Sport > Dan is back in the hot seat

Dan is back in the hot seat

By Sharon Sullivan 2nd October 2020

Dan is back in the hot seat
Truro’s Danny Gibson, top left, and co-driver Frankie Hillman came 14th in Sunday’s CAR-nival Stages rally in Oxfordshire

Truro’s Dan Gibson made the trip up to Oxfordshire over the weekend for his first rally of the year and came away with an impressive top 15 finish.

The Abingdon CAR-nival Stages, part of the Motorsport CAR-nival weekend at RAF Abingdon, has raised in ex-cess of £300,000 for various charities over the last 22 years of running.

Gibson, who is a member of Truro and District Motor Club and works in the city, wheeled out his Darrian T90 for the first time after under-going major repairs. 

When his gearbox gave out last May, subsequently fol-lowed by his 2.0 litre engine, the 2017 South Western sealed surface champion decided to bite the bullet and install a high-revving 2.3 motor, giving him more power but jumping him up a competition class at the same time.

Taking on some of the coun-try’s top drivers on Sunday, Gibson and co-driver Frankie Hillman were initially seeded at 34, but the pair showed their pace with a 14th overall finish and an eighth place in class.

Speaking to the Voice after the final stage, Gibson said: “It was my first rally of the year, first time with a new en-gine and new gearbox, and the car’s even been freshly painted. 

“I haven’t took part in a rally since the TSH Stages at RAF Portreath in May 2019, when we were fourth overall and the gearbox gave up 200 metres from the finish. Then, we had the engine blow up while testing at the start of the year. 

“It was a tough field, because of Covid-19 it had pretty much the country’s best tar-mac rally drivers coming down. We were seeded 34 and we finished 14th overall, so from that perspective, we’ve done incredibly well. 

“We’ve beaten rally cars worth hundreds of thousands of pounds and all that jazz, which isn’t bad for a car that’s over 20 years old!”

Despite the uncertainty of whether the new engine would hold out, and after so long on the sidelines, Gibson was quick off the mark and was up to 14th by the third stage. 

A rear tyre change midway through the day paid off, as the Cornish racer went tenth fastest on a short and punchy stage five, and held his place as the day wore on. 

The event was ultimately won by former British Tar-mac champion Simon Mauger with co-driver Matt Faulker in their Lotus Exige. Mark Kelly and Neil Colman were runners up by 17 seconds in their Ford Fiesta R5, while Chris West and Keith Houn-slow battled back to finish third in the Porsche GT3.

While the outbreak of Covid-19 has put paid to many rally events across 2020, the CAR-nival Stages, which is not a spectator event, was able to go ahead - although racing crew were asked to wear masks while driving.

Gibson added: “It was a weird experience, wearing a face mask in a rally car, but it had to be done and it meant we could have the event, so I was pleased about that. 

“I was a bit nervous, having rebuilt the car, so everything was different, but it was fan-tastic to get out. Will there be any more tarmac events this year? Probably not, so hence the long trip up to Oxford.”

By Sharon Sullivan 2nd October 2020

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