Paul Swift battles to third place Jack Frost Stages Rally finish

by Vince Pettit

Paul Swift took to his local roads and circuit this weekend as he recorded a third in class in the Darlington and District Motor Club-organised Autogas 2000 Jack Frost Stages Rally.

The Darlington local’s last outing at the Swift Signs Christmas Stages Rally saw him take a class victory and he was out to emulate that in his Ford Escort Mk2.

Unfortunately there was problems before the rally had even kicked off with a slight misfire being detected en route to Croft. The JBM team worked hard to fix the problem but Swift would finish the first stage in 54th place overall.

With SS2 cancelled due to snow, Swift and wife-to-be co-driver Jessica Bell struggled on the third stage when the car wouldn’t rev above 4000rpm.

SS3 was cancelled due to Croft’s compulsory lunchtime noise restrictions and Swift found himself in 64th overall heading in to the afternoon. The lunch break provided the team with some valuable time as the checked over the car, eventually finding a loose connection in the potentiometer.

It was back to business for the afternoon where Swift was free to push the Escort to the limits in the wet slushy conditions working his way up to 26th overall and a third in class finish.

“Firstly, thanks to all the marshals and organisers for their heroic efforts in keeping the event running and for standing out in the cold, they looked frozen.” said Swift.

“Our day could have been better as we really struggled in the morning but got things sorted for the afternoon and once we had the car running right and the right Pirelli tyre combinations, it all started coming together.

“We fully anticipated some teething issues with the new car but now we have two events under our belts, we can fully concentrate on developing its full potential for when we take it out next.”

Swift’s attention now switches to a national tour with Top Gear Live where he will perform stunts as part of the Top Gear team.

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