Ed Fossey produced one of his greatest drives on the recent Roberts Garage Jersey Rally (12/13 October) as the 20-year-old mixed it at the very front of the field in Yokohama Peugeot 208 R2. Whilst running in an impressive fifth overall on the final day of the rally, an accident put the Bournemouth University student out of the event.
With the R2 Championship in bag after a stellar season in the MSA Asphalt Championship, Ed traveled to his home island to contest the Jersey Rally, and with the pressure off it allowed him to enjoy the lanes he grew up on.
Starting at car 18, the Channel Islander went into the two-day tarmac test full of optimism as glorious sunshine warmed the island roads. With thousands of spectators out in force, Fossey was determined to put his full-year of tarmac education into practice.
With the flag raised at the Ceremonial Start, Ed and Guernsey co-driver Will Rutherford along with the other 80 cars ventured into the opening six stages through Trinity and St Martin.
Straight out of the blocks the crew in the 208 R2 gelled and punched in the sixth fastest time on the opening run. By the end of the afternoon loop, Fossey was in a fine 10th overall and held a comprehensive class lead.
As the sun set, a further six stages would be played out under the darkness of Friday evening with 23 tricky stage miles through St Brelade and St Ouen to the challenge for the French pocket-rocket. With the spotlights bolted on, Fossey knew this would be his time to shine.
In a 1600cc car, Ed pushed hard to make up some time on the more powerful cars and more experienced crews around him. Setting the fourth fastest time in the darkness was a sign of things to come as Fossey chalked-up top five times all evening to leapfrog his way into a giant-killing fifth overall at the overnight halt.
As the sun broke on the Saturday morning, the 208 driver was on mission to maintain his impressive run. However, despite another blistering time on the first stage of the morning through St John, heartbreak was to follow on the opening Waterworks test. Clipping a pavement, a wheel was buckled on the Peugeot and with the steering hampered the crew ran wide on the following corner – hitting a bank in the process. With the crew ok following the accident, the car would sadly go no further and the giant-killing run was prematurely over for another year.
Q/A with Ed after his impressive run on the Jersey Rally
Was it a shock when that first stage time was posted?
“It was such a shock when that first time came through. My tactic for the whole weekend was to push really hard on the first run through each stage because with an underpowered car it was my only chance of catching people napping and take the most time I could. It was a good feeling throughout the stage and knew it would be good, but not that good! That then gave me the confidence to be running at that level at the front.”
Why did it gel even further at night?
“At night it was a combination of pushing hard on the first run through each stage and just attack as much as I could. By the evening I had a fair few miles in the car and everything was working perfectly – the car was on song, Will was brilliant and it was one of those where I wanted to just get through them and be safe but also claw some time back on some of the more powerful cars.”
And the cruel retirement on Saturday morning?
“I woke up early and thought we had to keep the momentum from the previous night and now with the daylight, some of the old boys eyesight will return so they would be getting a shift on! I came into a junction too quickly and was too gready on the inside and clipped a curb which dented a wheel and when we came to the next corner it didn’t handle right and we went straight into a bank. Thankfully Will and I are were ok and the car wasn’t too bad and can be repaired. It is one of the most disappointing times in a rally car as there was more to come from me and car and it would have been interesting to see where we would be on the overall leaderboard.
Despite the retirement this was an incredibly strong showing?
“I think so. We won the championship we were focused on this year and came into the weekend so relaxed which meant I could enjoy every moment. With no pressure I was really having fun and I think that is the key to the pace. I enjoyed every stage and every corner I was driving and the speed came naturally. When you are fighting and trying to hard that’s when the times don’t come to you. I was happy with all the stage times – I was matching Simon Mauger who is one of the most successful national rally drivers on the UK and multiple Jersey winner and that was amazing and to be sat right at the top. I had everything working as one with a great team, car and co-driver shows we can definitely fight at the front and hold my own and has given me great confidence going into next event.”