Steve Wood aims to restart the defence of his Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship title on the Manx National Rally (12/13 May) after he retired so early on the opening round of the 2023 series that we never even got a chance to take a photograph of his car moving!
The cold and slippery conditions at the start of the Reed Group East Riding Stages were extremely tricky and they contributed to the Aberystwyth driver’s early demise as he attacked the first test with a bit too much gusto.
Driving his new liveried Trailhead Get Jerky-backed title-winning Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Steve and co-driver Mark Glennerster set off at a mighty gallop – but it all came to an abrupt halt in SS1.
“I just out-braked myself coming into a chicane, bounced backwards off a hay bale and landed in a ditch,” explained Steve.
“I was trying a bit too hard and once I touched the brakes I was just a passenger.
“There was only a bit of damage to the front bumper and bonnet, luckily it was all superficial.
“We wanted to go out and do the afternoon stages, but the event organisers wouldn’t let us.”
Despite very little experience of rallying on the Isle of Man, Steve clinched the Protyre Asphalt title by scoring second-placed championship points on the 2022 Chris Kelly Memorial Manx Stages.
And that will fill him with confidence, as this year’s Manx National is a double header, with full points awarded after Legs 1 (Round 2) and 2 (Round 3). And a good result on both could put Steve right back in the hunt for back-to-back Protyre Asphalt titles, despite his non-score in East Yorkshire.