| 5.8°C Belfast

I won't be nearly man and miss out on British Junior crown again, vows fired-up Creighton

 

Close

Title focus: William Creighton will start his BRC bid in Wales

Title focus: William Creighton will start his BRC bid in Wales

Title focus: William Creighton will start his BRC bid in Wales

William Creighton has won many titles on his climb up the motorsport ladder but he has had to look on as a trio of fellow Ulster drivers have captured the British Junior Rally Championship ahead of him.

Callum Devine, James Wilson and most recently Josh McErlean have all pipped him to the BRC award and while they all move up a gear, switching from the front-wheel-drive cars of the Junior series, Creighton has decided to give it one more go.

"I'm not going back to be the bridesmaid again, I'm going for the win," said the 22-year-old Moira driver, who begins his bid in the Cambrian Rally's Welsh forests this weekend.

Creighton wouldn't be human if he didn't feel a touch of envy as he sees McErlean, in his R5 Hyundai, join the likes of two-time overall champion Matt Edwards, Tom Cave, Rhys Yates and Osian Pryce at the top of the entry list.

But Creighton has made the calculated decision to chase the Junior title and the €60,000 prize on offer even though it means a switch from his regular 208 Peugeot to a Ford Fiesta.

"We explored all the options available to us and it would have been easy to consider a switch to R5 but we laid all our cards on the table and thought of what is ultimately best for my career," explained the business studies student. "We decided to take the plunge with the Fiesta.

"Winning the €60,000 is the best possible chance I would have at contesting, say, the Junior World Championship next year and having one more season in the British series under my belt would ensure I'd be prepared for whatever lies ahead."

Although he won the junior titles in the Irish Tarmac and Forestry Championships, Creighton not only lost out to McErlean in the British series but also in the Billy Coleman award, Motorsport Ireland's lucrative Young Driver of the Year competition.

And the 20-year-old from Kilrea will use the MI windfall to fund his switch to the top R5 category in an R5 Hyundai and a full BRC campaign, which includes the West Cork and Ulster rallies on this side of the Irish Sea.

McErlean sampled the Hyundai on Wales Rally GB and at the Monza Rally Show towards the end of last season and put in impressive performances in both.

"We had a great season in 2019 and the opportunities to drive the Hyundai in Wales and Monza were fantastic," he said.

"I certainly grabbed hold of both chances and made the most of them as if that was the last chance I had to drive one, I'd be able to say that I had done my best.

"But winning the Billy Coleman award changed everything for me overnight and has allowed me to put together this British Championship programme."

McErlean is joined in the front-running R5 category by Cathan McCourt, the 2019 Irish Forestry champion who makes his BRC debut along with his brother Conor, both of them driving Ford Fiestas.

"This season is all about getting the experience as we also have an eye on a full attack in 2021 if everything goes to plan," said Cathan.

"There are some quick guys out there so we want to be as close as we can, learn the formats and stages and by the Galloway Hills we want to be knocking on the door."

Other Irish drivers making the trip to Wales include Alan Carmichael, Niall Henry, David Kelly and Shane McGirr.

Belfast Telegraph