By Caroline Lodge
Late last year team ‘Mull Daves’ decided to have a crack at the Grizedale stages, unfortunately, but rightly, the event was cancelled so we focused our efforts on a run on the Malcolm Wilson Rally.
Dave has never done this event before and it’s a while since he last competed on a forest event, but we got our entry in and plans got under-way. It would be interesting to see how the Grizedale roads were after having a ‘year off’.
Other SMC members out were, Phil & Caroline Jobson and Peter Taylor with Paul Hughes in the navigators seat.
On the way to MTC 1 at M Sport the Astra gearbox seemed a bit ‘resistive’ but was put down to it being cold. We Kissed Bob Hill ‘bye bye’ at Dovenby Hall and made our way to Cockermouth town centre to have Bob Molloy ‘take the mick’ out of us (me) on the ceremonial ramp.
SS 1 Comb going uphill, there was a bit of a hold up there as there had been on off near stage start. The wait doesn’t do the nerves much good, we wanted to get going an settle in to a rhythm with the notes etc. Away we went, the start was an uphill scrabble as we found that the super deal tyres we were on were not so super after all, getting grip was proving very hard. We also started to have problems with the gears, getting down into 2nd became difficult, which obviously lost us time on the tight corners. We got through in 9min 16sec, OK considering the problems. Peter did it in 8m52s, however, the initial results showed Phil and Caroline as 7m16s’ that was 16s faster than Bird and only 10s behind Hunter! – Hmmmmm
Hobcarton was short, fast and rough, still with the grip and gear issues. We didn’t have time to sort anything before Greystoke, but Dave had sussed out how best to cope with the problems we were having. A spot of ‘banking spanking’ on a tight square left in Greystoke had us up on 2 wheels (witnessed by at least 1 SMC member). The long straights in there are REALLY quick – flat out in top, about 125mph (very nice).
Back to service to ‘change those b***** tyres’, and for Sib to try and fettle the gears. We also had time to have a natter with Barry and Mike. We had trouble getting it into gear to get out of service but the problem seemed to clear and we made the long trek down to Grizedale. It’s always a bit disconcerting when there are 2 cars in front of you on the road section and they go opposite ways at a junction! We stuck to ‘our route’ and got there in good time. The stages were in good condition with exception of a couple of really mucky bits in Grizedale south, but we had been warned about these in no uncertain terms. In these stages we found that the gear problem was still with us, and getting worse as the now Astra would not change down into 1st either, also the intercom had developed an intermittent fault. I wasn’t sure if Dave could hear me clearly and hope I didn’t yell too loudly in his ears. On the road section we narrowed the intercom problem down to the adapter, so I had a quick ratch about in my ‘Mary Poppins Rally Bag’, and produced another adapter which worked perfectly. Shame there wasn’t an Astra gearbox in there too!
Second service and the lads fought to solve the problem, however with only a couple of minutes until out time, the car wouldn’t start, we had booster packs out and tried bumping it, Sib worked some magic under the bonnet and we got to the control with 8sec to spare – that was a close one.
The interim results showed that Phil and Caroline’s time for stage one had been corrected – they’d done it in exactly the same time as us. So Phil was not flying faster than a Bird!
Back to Greystoke for a reverse run of the mornings stage, Dave was still fighting to get down into 2nd and 1st, but 5th gear was still good and we made the most of it on the long straights.
Off to Wythop, we nearly didn’t get into thearrival control as 1st gear just didn’t exist for a while. We said hello and had a brief chat to the SMC start marshals and were away. That stage was short but quite rough, again we were losing time on any tight corners especially the uphill ones, but Dave battled the Astra through. We then went to say hello to the SMC stop line crew. We were VERY pleased to see them.
Then onto the ceremonial ramp to be ribbed again by Bob Molloy, and a very happy crew then went to load the car for home.
Peter Taylor/Paul Hughes 3rd in class B10, 49 o/a
Dave Edwards/Caroline Lodge 4th in class B11, 58th o/a
Phil Jobson/Caroline Jobson 5th in class B10, 62nd o/a
(Photos © B. Lindsay/H.R.Gibbon / Spadeadam Motor Club)