TonySimpson

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tony simpson

Rally

Background

Tony Simpson had his first taste of Motorsport at the age of eight, in the 1980’s watching the Lombard RAC

“I was hooked. Everyone I knew wanted to be a footballer, I wanted to be a rally driver!”

Tony was introduced to Rallying at Clubman level in 1997 by John Goff of rallyschool.co.uk

“I owe a great deal to John for giving me the help and advice I needed to get started in Rallying”

Tony began competing in his own Vauxhall Nova and after achieving the fastest stage time and finishing 4th overall in class in his very first event, Tony continued to campaign the little Nova for a further 2 years before the chance came to drive one of the rallyschool.co.uk cars on the 2001 Astra Stages his first event on gravel his car was a hired Vauxhall Astra GTE. He suffered a snapped drive shaft and a puncture but Tony still managed to drive home an admirable 24th overall and 8th in class.

2002 – 2003

For 2002 and 2003 Tony joined forces with new and experienced co-driver Bill Robertson both signing with VW racing to competed in the Castrol sponsored, Polo Challenge class of the British Rally Championships. This was the dream situation driving a factory entered car in a one make series it introduced Tony to 3 day rallies, testing PR work and having full time team mate such as Roger Anderson Swedish National Championship and Mark Thompson Mitsubishi Australian was a great inspiration for Tony, he also embarked on private coaching from the late great Pentti Arikila and Geoff Jones on his driving style. Cruel luck on the final 2 events of 2002 robbed Tony of a chance of a shootout to drive a Polo Super 1600 on Rally Deutschland.

2003 – 2004

2003 was a new Polo car and co-driver Stefan Arndt, it was the strongest start to a season Tony had made leading the Pirelli Rally on their first event together only to have the little car completely loose its brakes twice during the day meant the pair had to fight to keep the car on the tough gravel roads getting their Polo home in 6th place at the end of the tough 2 days of rallying. This was nothing compared to the following event Red Dragon Rally where again the team was pushing and the car let the road and rolled some 15 meters down the side of a mountain it wasn’t coming back from there! Budget wise this was a disaster as anyone in motorsport will tell you, an accident is never really factored in to the seasons budget and thus one final steady run on the Scottish International Rally after the car was rebuilt and a sponsor going into receivership meant the Volkswagen deal was over.

2004 – 2005

In 2004 and 2005 Tony returned to rallyschool.co.uk team driving their group N Polo in the BTRDA national series with young up and coming co-driver Robert Fagg contesting 5 rounds of the championship. Working hard with the team to develop their Polo, Rob and Tony put together a string of fastest stage times and class 2nd’s and 3rds over the handful of events they did together. In 2005 rallyschool.co.uk team who were running the MG Sport & Racing rally program at national level asked Tony to drive one of the MGZR 1400 group N rally cars for the team. Returning along side Tony was Stefan Arndt who had been with the Tony in his last year at Volkswagen Racing. It was an exciting year for the pair a 5 round deal and the brief was to make sure it was top three in its class on all the events they did. Three 2nd places and 3rd before the project was put on hold as MG Sport and Racing where closing their doors finally.

2006 – 2007

2006 and 2007 was the teams return to the British Championships , firstly with a Group A Skoda Felicia winning its class first time out but in the process damaging the engine and thus starting a very challenging year for Tony and his own team. The car was moved on after two events on tarmac and Tony returned to rallyschool.co.uk team for the final event of the year in one of the ex Factory MG’s leading the class by a couple of minutes on the Trackrod Rally sadly the MG’s engine gave up the ghost and cruelly robbed the team of a much needed boost at the end of a very tough 2006. A one off drive in a fully SNT Group supported MGZR on the opening round of the British Rally Championships in 2007 netting the team a highly credible 3rd in class with no prevent test and a very nervous new co-driver was a good solid result.

After this Tony decided it was time to focus on his business which had recently become part of the Delivered On Time group, the company is a full logistics provider for many World Rally Teams such as Ford, Subaru and Proton and also working with many F1 teams and suppliers.

2008 – 2009

2008 and 2009 was a very mixed couple of years signed to be a development driver for new clubman specification Citroen C2 in the British Rally Championships with support form Silverstone Tyres the team really battled to find the pace and the handling to match the class of the field ironically one of Tonys old cars from his Volkswagen days a Polo GTI. After finally getting a class win in the C2 , Tony and Stefan left the team and was then brought back into the rallyschool team fold doing two events for them, one in their rally first specification Micra with a steady 5th in class finish and the final event in high revving Ford Focus B9 class car with a high credible 12th overall in the 1400 class.

2009 – 2010

With no plans in place for 2009 and his work in the World Rally Championships starting to take more and more time, it was felt a year off was on the cards until Tony a chance to drive another Volkswagen Polo GTI. A deal was struck and Tony would do the final round of the British Rally Championships the Trackrod Rally, again this rally bit Tony and claimed the drive shaft on the little Polo thus ending Tonys return to action. Not to be defeated there was still one rally left the Cambrian Rally which was the final round of the BTRDA national Championships, Tony and Stefan went out and won their class.

2010 – 2011

In 2010 Tony and Stefan stayed with the Polo and dominated the 1.4L class of the BTRDA national championships. Winning 4 of the 7 rounds and 3rd on another, losing the championship on the final round due to suspension failure.

In 2011 Tony and Stefan have formed their own team of close allies both in and out of the car, in order to contest the Fiesta Sporting Trophy in the British Rally Championship. Also looking after Tony’s well being are the guys at Rydal Boxing gym in Liverpool who have been regularly putting Tony through his paces most days.

2012

After trying for a number of years of trying Tony finally secured a championship win. On the final round of the Fiesta Sporting Trophy running winthin the British Rally Championship Challenge, Tony secured the championship win. Also must have been a record for co-drivers used, Stefan Started the season with Tony and due to work comitments couldnt continue so the role of thanks to those that filled in and helpped secure the win reads as follows Robin Hernaman, Glynn Thomas, Jamie Edwards and for teh final round Robin again. Outside of the car special thanks to Martin Davies, Colin Ridgway, Garry Jones and Steph Rowson each and everyone one of them played their part.