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Multiple rally champion Matt Beebe successfully defended his Class R2 British Rally Championship crown when he triumphed on last weekends grand finale, the 3 day long Wales Rally GB.
Nuneaton based Matt, who has won at least one title every year since he began rallying, experienced a truly character building event. This year the overall rally was split into two points scoring events for the British Championship contenders. Despite winning Fridays rally and taking maximum points Matt didn't have an easy time on the opening leg. Whilst driving none competitively through the cancelled first stage the brake calliper collapsed. Fortunately Matt, who is a qualified service technician, was able to strap the offending item up but still admitted to driving cautiously, expecting the brakes to disappear at any moment. Once the car had been refettled during the mid day service he was back on the pace and ended the day 22 seconds clear of his nearest championship rival. Even more impressive was the fact that Matt was the leading 2wd car as well!
Day 2 began with Matt in a slightly stronger championship position than at the beginning of the weekend. However he knew that he still had to keep pushing. The first stage of the day saw the top 3 in class separated by 3.6 seconds! Then, despite breaking a pipe leading to one of the rear dampers Matt still set top 3 times before returning to midday service leading his class once more. However all this hard work from a team running one of the tightest budgets in the championship would be shattered when the diff failed in the next stage, forcing Matt to super rally. This wasn't the end of the road, but it certainly wasn't making life easy. And then, en route to the first stage of the final morning the alternator destroyed itself, cruelly bringing Matt to a halt.
At this stage the distraught crew thought their rally, and the championship, were over. But when their close rival James Wozencroft ran into problems of his own it was time to bring out the calculators and work out all the notional times for the last day. Matt would eventually be classified thirteenth in the British Championship and clinched enough points to take the title by 1 single point!
Wow. Speechless. I really thought everything was lost when the alternator blew up. I feel sorry for James but after all the hard work and effort everyone has put into this year it's nice to reward them with another title.
I'd like to thank everyone who has helped, from my parents who have always supported me, to m3motorsport, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, Eastern Airways, Crash.net, Garwood Motorsport Services, PIAA, AVO and Quadro Services, the erection specialists, everyone has been a massive help! And a final mention to my pregnant wife, who has supported me every step of the way!
As icing on the cake Matt was also awarded the prestigious Pirelli Star Driver award. This sees him go head to head with the award winners from the previous 5 rounds later this month.