Latest News  Le Mans challenge has dazzle and drama
Friday, July 8, 2011


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Leading rally co-driver Rob Fagg fulfilled a lifetimes dream last weekend – he became a Le Mans 24 Hour driver in his ‘other’ motorsport role of kart racer!

Rob, who was backed by www.rallyschool.co.uk, N A Fargher Newsagents and Northern Tyre and Exhaust Centre, has been racing for two and half years, and this was easily the biggest challenge of that short kart career.

He formed part of the four-driver Dazzle Capital Kart Endurance Team for the event that took place on the Circuit Alain Prost, with Castletown Advocate Hock Chan, a former Island kart champion, Wayne Hargreave who is also a former champion, and novice racer Justin Sullivan from the UK.

The team travelled to the most famous venue in all of motorsport in the middle of last week, ready for two practice and qualifying days ahead of the race starting at noon on Saturday.

Chan had the team up to 22nd place of the 40 entrants in the first part of qualifying, but Fagg was literally in dazzling form when he took to the wheel, putting the team up to a start spot of 17th on the grid.

It left hopes high of a good result, though there was plenty of apprehension ahead of such a daunting challenge too.

Chan began the race in hot humid conditions, driving a stint of one and three quarter hours. When he pitted to hand over to Rob he had team Dazzle in 22nd place.

GOOOOO time with Fagg at the wheel!

Well yes, but sadly it took less than twenty minutes into his stint before disaster struck. Flat out on the fastest part of the track he found he had no brakes and had to make a split second decision. Fortunately he was able to take evasive action, avoiding a tyre wall and taking a trip through a gravel trap before coming to rest.

Some work to be done! Rob cleared the gravel and started the engines up, and began to tour back to the pits to have the brakes repaired. It was just two hours into the 24.

Unfortunately, even at a relatively slow speed, it became a struggle and he was carrying was too much pace for the pit entrance, going off the track once again, though this time with far worse consequences. The kart made contact with the wall, damaging the rear right of the kart and also the steering column, though he did eventually get it to the teams pit area.

Despite the huge disappointment, with an immediate sense that their challenge for a top result was gone, the team nonetheless set too with repairs.

The kart was next back out on track with Hargreave at the wheel, but only after thirty minutes were lost dropping them to dead last. But, the fight back was on!

Taking it in turns to complete two stints each the team continued to progress back up the leaderboard as the sun fell and darkness arrived with the team in 32nd place.

Hargreave and Fagg kept up the pressure, undertaking the testing night stint from midnight to 6am sharing the driving duties. They’d moved up to 26th place by the time a shattered Rob handed over the driving to a refreshed Chan.
The drama wasn’t over yet however, Fagg discovering that teammate Hargreave was not well while Sullivan had suffered bruised ribs due to seat having been widened in the earlier crash. With both drivers out of action, Rob was required to complete a further stint with Chan down to do back to back stints before a final half an hour.

Midway through Chan’s stint though Sullivan declared he was fit to drive but on the side of caution the team decided to send Rob out next followed by Sullivan to give Chan a chance to refresh should Sullivan’s ribs not hold out.

Rob completed his now final stint and handed the car over to Sullivan and Chan to finish the event which they did without further drama, brining the Dazzle Capital entry home in 23rd position. Not a bad result, even if there was a sense of ‘what might have been’.

“It’s great to make the finish of this event – an achievement in it’s self but when you suffer a set back so early as we did, for the team to keep the motivation and continue is something else” commented Rob on his return to the island, “The incident we had is just a freak one although I am a little embarrassed with the pit wall altercation, but the damage could be repaired and the kart felt great.”

Rob is also all too aware that the result could not have been possible without the help of many people.

“I must thank those that supported me to enable me to take part – N A Fargher Newsagents, Northern Tyre and Exhaust Centre and www.rallyschool.co.uk have been great helping towards the cost” explained Rob, “But not to be forgotten are those that kept the kart running, Chris Howland and Paul Whitmore did a great job pre and throughout the event and also a big thank you to the MS Lucas team who dived in to help in our time of need. Thanks to all.”

Attentions now turn back to rallying with the Pokerstars Rally on July 22nd and 23rd where Rob will hope to get his Manx Rally Championship campaign back on track.

Rob is supported in 2011 by Cannon Tech. (Scotland) Ltd (www.cannontech.co.uk), Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors, Synergy IT (www.synergyit.co.im), Cable Design Services (www.cdsl.net), Holton Homes (www.holtonhomes.co.uk), Nicky Grist Motorsport (www.nickygrist.com) and Fastime Stopwatches (www.astopwatch.com)