At the end of a week in which Bathgate’s Dario Franchitti has dominated the motorsport headlines after his second Indy500 victory another, younger Scot, Rory Bryant, is making his own presence felt for the first time.
The 22-year-old from Dalmeny village, parked snuggly under the towering edifices which form the Forth Rail Bridge, has arrived on the motorsport scene like a man — well, young man — possessed.
After dipping his toe in both the British and Scottish Ford Fiesta Championships last year, he has grabbed both series this year by not only the scruff of the neck, but probably more potently, the throat.
Driving his ICR Motorsport-prepared Fiesta, carefully tweaked and honed under the watchful eyes of Ian Cowie at Knockhill, Bryant has won all four opening races in the Scottish.
Not content with that, he started his British campaign with two podiums — a second and a third — at Lydden Hill, before dominating both races at Snetterton to take pole and his first winning double in the senior championship.
“Yeh, it’s a reasonably good success rate,” Bryant, who helps fund his racing by working with Edinburgh Leisure, said before heading south for the next British double-header a Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire this weekend.
“I finished fifth in the British Championship last year, having hardly done any rounds, and just missed out on the Scottish title by 20 points — there’s 25pts for a win — basically because I didn’t start the season early enough because of a lack of funding.”
Despite the lack of cash which forced him to sit out the opening three double-headers, Bryant — who won the Scottish Legends Rookie Championship in 2007 after receiving a scholarship — rattled off eight back-to-back Fiesta wins at the end of the season to dominate proceedings at Knockhill.
“With my four wins this year, I’m on a run of 12 straight wins at Knockhill,” the enterprising youngster, who leads the Scottish by 28 points, continued. “Hopefully I can keep that record going when we head back there at the end of July.
“This weekend though it’s the British, and it’s going to be another tough double-header. But I’ve improved a lot this year. Last year if I’d led the races, as I did a few weeks ago at Snetterton, I’d have become flustered. This year I’m more in control, confident and well-rounded in my driving.”
His growing success has, understandably, attracted sponsorship from a number of Lothian and Fife companies, including Scott & Co, Buckstone Roofing and Craigie’s Farm.
“That’s made all the difference,” Bryant, who intends to graduate to the British Clio Cup before making a name for himself in the British Touring Car Championship, admitted.
“Right through my karting days, from 2000 to 2006, I was strapped for cash to race. It’s nice now to be in a position where, though it’s still tough financially, we can make sure we have the car prepared the way I want it.”
If, as he hopes, he ends the season with both championship tucked into his racesuit, the fiercely competitive Clio Cup awaits next year and already he’s had his first taste of the action.
“I tested a Clio at Silverstone in April with Total Control Racing,” he explained, “ and though it took me a few laps to get used to the car, especially the brakes, as soon as I got the hang of it I managed to put in some very fast times.
“I know the team was happy with me and it certainly made me even more hungry to move up the ranks next year.”