Have you ever fancied sitting alongside one of the world’s best as they put their Rally1 car through its paces? Seeing that commitment first hand, experiencing that speed, that trill, that excitement.
Of course you have.
Well, now you can. A ride in Craig Breen’s M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 on a pre-event World Rally Championship test is up for grabs all thanks to Junior WRC title contender Jon Armstrong.
Armstrong is currently in the thick of a JWRC battle with reigning champion Sami Pajari, Robert Virves and Lauri Joona that concludes on next month’s Acropolis Rally Greece – which is a double-points round in Junior WRC.
Everything is to play for, but Armstrong currently has little to play with as he’s facing a budget shortfall to make it to the event.
He needs your help. But he’s willing to help you out in return, with an array of unbelievable prizes being auctioned off to the highest bidder this Saturday (August 13).
“For sure there’s some awesome items, some things that I would love to get my hands on myself!” Armstrong told DirtFish.
“I’ve got a few people back home in Ireland who are helping organize it, they’ve been involved with auctions and stuff before for other drivers so they had a good idea of what things would be good, but yeah it’s been really surprising the support and generosity that we’ve received.
“It’s full credit to the people that have come forward and offered these things at basically no cost to us, but we’ll obviously be able to get the benefit out of it.”
And these really are prizes you don’t want to miss out on.
Junior WRC Fundraiser 🗓
Proud to reveal we will have a night in the MayFly (Kesh) to celebrate an all-Fermanagh crew heading to Greece's final round shootout for the 2022 Junior WRC title!
— Jon Armstrong (@JonArmstrong84) July 25, 2022
The highlight is unquestionably the passenger ride with Breen, but if you’re a fan of M-Sport there’s plenty more that will intrigue you. How about a VIP tour of the team’s impressive facility in Cumbria? Or a signed fireproof top Breen has worn throughout the 2022 season? Both could be yours.
There’s a signed Aaron Johnston Toyota Gazoo Racing cap to be won with signatures from Kalle Rovanperä, Elfyn Evans, Esapekka Lappi, Takamoto Katsuta and team boss Jari-Matti Latvala and a WRC cap featuring the scribbles of eight-time champion Sébastien Ogier among others.
But if getting more hands on is your thing, why not hop in alongside Mikko Hirvonen in his modified Ford Escort Mk2 as he tests for next month’s Wexford Stages in Ireland? Or channel your inner rally driver by grabbing a test 750cc Cas-Kart.
You can even try your hand at co-driving. 2013 Irish Tarmac champion Garry Jennings, 2014 champion Declan Boyle and current series frontrunner Cathan McCourt will all have you call the notes for them on next year’s May Day Stages Rally – you can’t say fairer than that!
Thrillseekers may also be tempted of a helicopter ride for two watching next weekend’s Ulster Rally – the finale to this year’s Irish Tarmac Championship season – while a luxury spa trip and even a signed soccer top can be claimed.
“The more cool experiences we can offer the better and we’ve got a great variety of auction items between passenger seats and stuff from drivers, merchandise and other experiences like a test session in a buggy that I drove recently as well,” said Armstrong.
“The Craig Breen top is really good and obviously now he’s offered up a passenger run with him on a test ahead of a WRC rally in the Puma, and we’ll provide flights and accommodation for that experience as well.
“For sure that’s a really, really cool experience and something that money can’t usually buy but can in this instance.
“We’ve got a raffle as well for those people that can’t afford some of the auction items, and we’ve got lots of really cool items in that too including some model cars, some special edition WRC merchandise, vouchers for various different hospitality experiences and luxury getaways and some of my and other drivers’ merchandise as well.
“There’s lots of stuff for everyone. It should be a really good night.”
The auction will be hosted by Irish rallying legend Andrew Nesbitt, while other special guests will include current frontrunners Josh Moffett and Alastair Fisher – a week before they both compete for the title.
Hosted in the Mayfly in Kesh, County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, proceedings will begin at 7pm with rally cars displayed outside, live music and various talks throughout the evening with some of the special guests.
But don’t worry if you can’t make it on Saturday and you want to bid on an item in an auction, you can call or send a message – either to Willie on 0044 7739 508 700 or Barry at 0044 7775 535 174 – with your highest bid and that will be taken into account on the night.
What have you got to lose? These are some truly once in a lifetime opportunities that you may not get again. And if you win, you can enjoy safe in the knowledge that you’ve helped an aspiring rally driver compete in a do or die championship finale.
“It’s definitely a massive chance and I think it really has to come off for us this time, otherwise it’s hard to say what my future will be,” Armstrong said.
“I’m very keen to do the best job we can and try to win the championship. It’s wide open and whoever wins the rally will probably win the championship.
“It’s going to be an interesting one, I think it’s going to be hard to pick a strategy to go with but thanks to the generosity and support of the rallying community and those around us, we’ll be able to go and give it our best shot.”