Osian Pryce & Kerry’s Noel O’ Sullivan become 2022 British Rally Champions
- They secure the crown at Trackrod Rally Yorkshire while Keith Cronin’s quest for a fifth title falters
- Eamonn Kelly ensures co-driver Conor Mohan lifts the Junior BRC honours
- Alan Carmichael and Arthur Kierans secure the National Rally Champion title
A three-time BRC runner-up, Pryce called on all his previous experience to return a flawless performance across the tricky Yorkshire stages in his Melvyn Evans Motorsport, Michelin-shod Volkswagen Polo GTi. He and co-driver Noel O’Sullivan secured the all-important win and more importantly, sealed the title bid they had been so desperately seeking.
After taking the lead in the 11-mile Dalby test under the cover of darkness on Friday night, Pryce was never headed. Despite having the weight of a title tilt on his shoulders, the 29-year-old brushed it aside with aplomb, winning four of the six stages to return to the Filey seafront finish to add his name to the coveted BRC trophy, joining the likes of Colin McRae, Ari Vatanen, Stig Blomqvist and Hannu Mikkola.
“I have always wanted to have my name on that trophy,” said an emotional Pryce.
“It has been such a long process to make this happen and I have to say a huge thank you to everyone who has made this happen.”
“We have been patient, the hunger never faded so I’m so glad we persevered and kept at it. I’ve tried to do this for many, many years and I’ll forever be in debt for people’s generosity, kindness and support, I just hope this repays them because I’m very proud of them and proud of what we have achieved.”
Much like the five rounds before, the race for the title saw a ruthless battle between BRC regular Pryce and four-time champion Keith Cronin. Cronin made a comeback to the British Championship tour in a quest for a record-equalling fifth title and could well have been instrumental in stopping Pryce’s charge at the weekend.
But an overshoot in his Pirelli-backed Polo GTi on Friday night would set the tone for the remainder of the event. Despite salvaging two fastest times over the final loop, Cronin and co-driver Mikie Galvin would fall short of Pryce’s pace and could only salvage second. Cronin’s unwavering desire for that fifth crown would need to wait another year.
Rounding out the podium was Ruari Bell and Max Freeman in their Skoda Fabia. Bell has shown bucket loads of promise so far this season but hasn’t yet bettered third spot. Yorkshire would not offer that opportunity either. Despite being Pryce’s closest challenger for much of the event, a spin on the final stage meant another third step of the podium would be all he could salvage.
James Williams and Dai Roberts were back in the older specification Hyundai i20 for the gravel of Yorkshire and would improve during the weekend to take fourth, whilst Garry Pearson and Dale Furniss would be another crew to change steed for the weekend, reverting to their 2021 National winning Hankook-backed Skoda Fabia in fifth.
National Rally Champion
After being a National Rally Champion runner-up three times, Alan Carmichael finally sealed the title as he and Arthur Kierans endured a dramatic finish to their event, cooling issues in their Hyundai i20 forcing them to stop on the final test. Nursing the car back to Filey, a finish was all that was required to seal the crown.
Craig Jones and Ian Taylor also suffered in the tricky Yorkshire forests, with bumpers missing on their Fiesta 4×4 they did enough to secure a maximum points haul despite gravel not being their preferred surface.
Junior British Rally Championship
Eamonn Kelly wrapped up the Junior BRC title in Ceredigion but came to Yorkshire to ensure co-driver Conor Mohan could also claim the honour, and it was mission accomplished as the Fiesta Rally4 pairing were head and shoulders above their fellow contenders and take their fourth win of the season.
After Ioan Lloyd and Sion Williams were dispatched with sheared wheel studs on their Peugeot 208 Rally4, Johnnie Mulholland and Eoin Treacy took second in their Fiesta, albeit over two minutes down on the victors.