Charlie Payne's emphatic victory in the 2012 Team GMF Wyedean Forest Rally last February was the highlight of the Yorkshire farmer's season. With well-known motorsport travel agent Craig Thorley reading the route notes in their Ford Focus WRC, Payne's winning margin after 45 miles of competition over the snow-covered tracks in the Forest of Dean was a massive three minutes 18 seconds. As the first round of the BTRDA Gold Star Rally Championship, this result gave them cautious optimism for the remaining seven events in the series.
However, a retirement in Cumbria on the Malcolm Wilson Rally was followed by a 'did-not-start' on the Minehead-based Somerset Stages Rally after the car developed a problem as it was loaded on to the trailer. The only other finish came on the Plains Rally when, after spending three minutes in a Welsh ditch, Charlie and Craig scraped home in 20th place. Any chance of a podium finish had disappeared and the pair withdrew gracefully.
Now, with a new season comes another chance to aim for the coveted Gold Star trophy which has, thus far, eluded them.
For more stories in full please see this week's Ross Gazette.