The Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally, round four of the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship, marked another career step for twenty year old Jordan Hone, from Claudy, Co. Derry. Driving the Rallyhire Group N Mitsubishi Evo 9, Jordan with father Paul in the co-driver’s seat recorded a fastest overall time on stage three, on their way to a fabulous result of fourth overall and first in Group N. “It was a superb event, really exhilarating stages and we were very pleased with the end result, and also about scoring a fastest stage time. That was something to be proud about. We had no real issues all day, just minor brake fade on the first loop which was quickly cured at service and then that was it. It was a good result for the Valvoline championship chase too, as going into the rally there were three of us tied on points, but now we have a narrow lead in the Group N category.”
With two rounds to go in September, the Enniskillen based Lakeland Stages, and Omagh based Bushwhacker Rally, Jordan is coming to the fore in the series and in four wheel drive turbo machinery, which was virtually all new this year. For his home International event, the Ulster Rally, just two weeks away, on 18th-19th August, Jordan has more exciting news.
It’s back to front wheel drive, for the reigning BTRDA 1400 Champion, and an R2 machine, in the white hot competition of the British Rally Championship (BRC) and Irish Tarmac Championship (ITC) which the Ulster Rally all embraces. “We are hiring a Peugeot 208 R2 from Melvyn Evans Motorsport. It’s a virtually new car, and we will first sit in it on the shake-down for the rally so there’s some learning to be done! I will also have a new co-driver for the event, Aaron Johnston from Fintona in County Tyrone. Aaron has quite a lot of R2, and BRC experience which I think will be invaluable, so it’s extremely exciting. I can’t wait!”
It’s not Jordan’s first time in an R2 machine, having competed on a couple of occasions with an R2 Fiesta, and the rally is based in his home county, but the engineering student is realistic about his chances. “It’s a big step, and the competition is fierce especially in the BRC. A lot of guys who have driven their R2 cars all season and maybe last season will have a lot of experience of them, whilst we will not be so familiar. Also it’s actually been three year’s since I competed on tarmac, on the 2014 Circuit of Ireland National, but in saying that I think this is a good event to pick and our aim is to finish, and finish as close to the top as we possibly can. Its two days long, the weather can play a part and the stages can be tricky with surface changes and bumps and jumps, so there’s a lot can happen.”
It’s another sign of the commitment Jordan, supported by his father Paul are placing into rallying in 2017. With backing from Premier Car Parts, Rallyhire and Ryan Motorsport Insurance, it’s all helping the twenty year old aim for the next step in rallying.