David Henderson is returning to the Protyre BTRDA Asphalt Rally Championship in his Keco/PAR Petroleum-backed Ford Fiesta Rally2 – and as last year’s event winner, he is aiming for a strong start on the opening round of the series, the Reed Group East Riding Stages Rally (26 February).
Co-driven by Chris Lees, David is likely to be a serious title challenger, having also scored maximum points on last year’s Dunoon presents Argyll Rally.
David’s motorsport background goes back to his childhood, following the exploits of his rallying father Fred.
David himself started circuit racing in Formula Ford in1993, before graduating into Formula Renault – winning the Formula Renault 1700 class title, before racing in the UK and Europe in a 2-litre car.
Having raced Renault Spyders in 1998, he made his rallying debut on the Christmas Stages in a Ford Ka, before doing the Ford championship for the following two years, finishing runner-up in 2000.
“I moved into the Ford Puma Championship after that, won the title and beat Guy Wilks and won the Christmas Stages in an Evo too,” explains Henderson.
After continuing with occasional outings in the Evo and Puma in 2002, he contested the Christmas Stages again in 2003, finishing fifth, before taking a 15 year break from the sport.
“I came back in 2018 and ‘19 racing in Caterhams and then bought Alan Kirkaldy’s Escort Millington towards the end of 2019.”
In 2020 wife Katie joined him on their only outing on the Jack Frost Stages, finishing fourth.
“I had already started looking at R5s when Covid hit, but carried on with the Escort until the middle of 2021.”
He scored class wins at Snetterton and on the BRC round at Oulton Park and set a fastest stage time at Oulton Park.
He gave his Ford Fiesta Rally2 its maiden run on the Pendragon Stages and enjoyed three more outings before the end of the season.
“We were fast but had a few niggles and had some work to do on the car over that winter, after a roll on the Trackrod.”
His partnership with co-driver Chris Lees starting on the 2022 Riponian.
“I wasn’t confident starting that, but we scraped out a third place.”
At Snetterton he proved unbeatable, setting him up nicely for the inaugural East Ridings Stages.
“We started the rally well but didn’t look at times until we had done two stages and we had a five second lead. We didn’t look again until lunch time, then it was head down for the rest of the day, as there was some tough opposition.”
So what are David’s thoughts looking back on the rally?
“It was my first time in the lanes since Ulster, Manx and the Jim Clark twenty years ago, but I think it was similar to Flanders in character, but without deep ditches and big cuts. It’s a very fast and flowing, brilliant rally.”