Todd was back rallying this weekend just three weeks after a major operation.
Todd navigated Tony Jardine to a successful 29th overall and 3rd in class at Galloway Hills Rally to keep Wales Rally GB dream alive.
Peta Todd, Help for Heroes patron and wife to one of the fastest cyclists in the world, Mark Cavendish, continued her own battle this weekend – to get her Wales Rally GB campaign back on track after a major operation to repair a collapsed lung.
The objective of Peta’s rally challenge is to compete at this year’s World Rally Championship in Wales (Wales Rally GB, 13-16 November). This was always going to be a momentous test for Peta, having never stepped foot in a rally car before, but after finishing a very credible 13th place overall at Trackrod Rally Yorkshire (27 September) things looked positive.
Unfortunately Peta suffered a collapsed lung and required an emergency operation before her second rally. As a result her challenge to become qualified as an international co-driver in time for Wales Rally GB is now compressed in to just a couple of weeks; leaving no room for error at Galloway Hills (26 October) or their next event, MEM Malton Forest Rally (02 November).
In addition to any expected nerves ahead of Peta’s second ever rally, the six-inch scar under her left shoulder blade from the operation was clearly causing her great discomfort and adding to her worries. On Saturday, before Galloway Hills training, Peta commented: “My friends and family think I’m absolutely mad to compete in this rally so soon after my operation, and to tell you the truth I’m not so sure myself. I’m still in a lot of pain; I have good days and bad days, so I’m really nervous how I’ll feel in the car.”
As the wet and blustery conditions in Scotland worsened throughout the day, Peta and Tony’s pace improved as Peta’s confidence and skill continued to develop. The slippery conditions made it incredibly difficult to stay on course and led to more ‘offs’, and resultant retirements, than usual – an outcome they simply could not afford. Sitting 42nd overall after two stages, they managed to finish the rally in a remarkable 29th position overall and 3rd in their class.
Peta said: “It was a really tough day. I was so nervous before about how much pain I’d be in but I just didn’t want to let the team down. It did hurt on occasions but I was so focused on my pacenotes that most of the time in the car I wasn’t thinking about it.
To come 29th overall makes it all worthwhile, and I wasn’t sick this time which is nice.”
Tony commented after the rally: “We both struggled this morning and we were a bit down, but despite the adverse weather in the afternoon she really turned it on and in the last two stages we were flat out. I told her she did a magnificent job today and she can be proud. To even consider taking part in this rally after her operation is a testament to her courage.”
Peta and Tony compete in their third and final national rally, before Wales Rally GB, next weekend at MEM Malton Forest, Yorkshire (02 November).