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Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams set for Trackrod Rally Yorkshire
10:26am Saturday 21st September 2013 in Sport
BRITAIN’S only Winter Olympics gold medallist in almost three decades will further her latest ambitions at the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire next weekend.
Amy Williams, who sped to victory in the skeleton bobsleigh at the Vancouver Games in 2010, has swapped to a different kind of crash helmet in her bid to take part in the Wales Rally GB – Britain’s round of the World Rally Championships – in November.
In order to compete, the 30-year old self-confessed “adrenaline junkie”, who gained an MBE and the Honorary Freedom of hometown Bath in the wake of her Olympic success, must finish at least three National standard rallies, and the Trackrod event in Ryedale, which takes place next Friday and Saturday, will be her second.
She has teamed up with public relations expert and Sky television motorsports analyst Tony Jardine in a Honda Civic, and the duo’s debut ended in a class win at the Merrick Stages in Scotland earlier this month.
“I will get the chance to experience a recce for the first time on Friday morning, which will be a great chance to learn to write pace notes from scratch,” said Williams.
“I know some of the stages will be in the dark, which for me will be a very new experience and a good chance to practice for Wales Rally GB “It will only be my second-ever rally and it is my birthday on September 29 (next Sunday), so it would be lovely to finish on a good result and have a double celebration at the end.”
Williams was a leading 400-metre runner before switching to the skeleton with historic results. Not since ice-dancers Torvill and Dean in Sarajevo in 1984 had a British man or woman stood on the top step of the Winter Olympic podium until her track record-breaking success in Canada.
Williams is therefore no stranger to high speed action – hurtling down the skeleton runs at up to 80mph, with her head just inches from the ice, on the way to her Olympic gold.
Since retiring from the sport in 2012, she has been doing the celebrity rounds as well as becoming co-presenter of long-running BBC television programme Ski Sunday.
On the opening evening of the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, round five of the MSA British Championship, she will get her first experience of navigating in a rally car at night – speeding between trees lit only by the bank of spotlights on the Honda’s bonnet.
She said: “I hear that the Rally Yorkshire stages are renowned as being among the fastest in the country and therefore quite daunting with long straights sometimes leading to difficult hairpins.
“I am very new to this sport, so I see it as a huge challenge to see how fast I can learn the skills.
“I am hoping that my background of skeleton racing will help me on the faster stages and my quick reactions will take over and that I will be able to keep up on the pace notes.”
The Trackrod event, which continues throughout the Saturday, is based in Pickering and features many of the classic North York Moors forest stages made famous by the RAC Rally – forerunner of the Wales Rally GB.
In addition to being part of the British Championship, the weekend rallying festival also includes rounds of two other national title races – the popular BTRDA (British Trials and Rally Drivers Association) Series and the West Wales Rally Spares RAC Championship for historic vehicles dating back to the 1960s, plus numerous regional championships.
Special spectator privilege packs, including admission, parking, programme and souvenir pen, can be pre-ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or at the rally website www.trackrodmotorclub.co.uk/index.php/rally-yorkshire/ry-spectators-information/tickets-privilege-packs until tomorrow midnight.
Further details on the rally are at www.rallyyorkshire.co.uk
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