Father-and-son motorsport duo Steve and Seb Perez, of Chesterfield, took the Welsh and Scottish forests by storm when they attacked the grit-gruelling Roger Albert Clark (RAC) Rally.
The event, which is named in honour of the famous driver who won the world rally championship back in 1976, aims to recreate the historic RAC Rallies of the 1970s and is limited to vehicles released before 1992.
Veteran Steve took part in his rare but ever-popular Lancia Stratos HF car, while 18-year-old son Seb competed in a classic Mk2 Ford Escort dating back more than 40 years.
And although Seb’s engine blew up halfway through the event, forcing him to switch to a borrowed car and change from the Super Rally classification to the Clubman’s Rally, both drivers successfully finished the four-day event and were praised for their determination. Seb actually won the Clubman’s, while Steve bagged a top-20 place in 18th overall.
Dad Steve said: “We both made it! It was a long, tough rally over 1,000 miles and 300 stage-miles. I had an incredible six punctures and changing the wheel on one of the stages cost us a place in the top ten. But we are happy to have finished.”
Seb said: “It was unfortunate I had to retire on day two with a blown engine, but being given the chance to compete in the Clubman’s event was a real learning curve. I managed to set seven fastest times, and we owe a big thankyou to our Chesterfield-based team, Dansport, for keeping our cars going to the end.”
Rallying is not new to the family because Steve used to be a championship driver, while Seb was a junior rally champion before moving on to circuit racing, where he is really making a name for himself. The duo faced more than 90 other starters, who all tackled 30 special stages not without adventure and misfortune.
The rally opened with the famous Shelsley Walsh hill-climb course in Worcestershire, where the Perez pair enjoyed a cat-and-mouse duel. And then it was full steam ahead into the forests of Wales, and a classic stage at Radnor. Seb moved into 18th spot, with his dad back in 36th, but the tables were turned in the next stage and by the end of the first day, Steve was 29th overall and Seb a fantastic 13th.
More tricky forest stages followed as the rally moved from Wales into Scotland, and Seb was still 13th when forced to retire and change classifications.