By Barry Lindsay.
The Cheviot rally was the third and final rally of the year on the Otterburn ranges. It was also the final round of the AS Performance North of England Tarmac championship. Two Spadeadam crews were out on the event, Peter Taylor & Andrew Roughead had the Clio R3 and were seeded at 5. Barry & Michael Lindsay were at 10 in the 106. The usual format of Recce and scrutineering on the Saturday followed by the rally on the Sunday. The Sunday morning dawned damp but the forecast was for it to dry up.
The organisers only had the use of half of the range but managed to run an 83mile route and all ran to time.
The first stage, partially manned by Spadeadam marshals and with Barry Armstrong as Stage Commander. The stage was wetter than thought and Barry & Michael struggled on the cut slicks, recording a time of 9m 25. Peter & Andrew were quicker with 9m12 (11th Quickest). There was only a ½ mile road section before stage 2 which was a blast back to service, Peter & Andrew got 3m11 (6th fastest) while Barry & Michael dropped bucket loads of time on this section which would be used 6 times on the day!
The 106 could only manage 3m 20 and arrived at service third 1600 10 seconds down. Stages 3 & 4 were repeats, Barry & Michael were happier with wets on the back going 18 seconds quicker. With Peter & Andrew getting through the third stage but would go into stage four and not come out of it. The Clio approached a chicaine positioned just after slippy section of concrete and after bouncing through the bales landed buried deep in a Otterburn ditch even with the help of the Spadeadam spectators they couldn’t extract it and were out. Barry & Michael again lost time on this one, but moved up to 2nd in class behind David Conley’s Avenger when the R2 of Mauger went off.
Stage 5 was a shorter stage and now raining harder. Barry opted to try new wets. 6 seconds quicker than the class leader made them one second behind. Now followed a longer service and it had brightened and was drying up. 7 & 8 were similar to 1 & 2 but the opposite way. Barry went back to cut slicks which was the wrong choice but having just paid for tyres couldn’t justify the risk of wrecking the wets, together with the “power” stage, 7 seconds were lost. The following twistier stage was also still wet but only dropped a second.
Another run over them but Barry had almost given up realising that dropping 8 seconds each time over a section used 6 times there was no way the time could be clawed back. Stage 9 the twistier one Barry & Michael did actually take 5 seconds back but that was it.
Stages 10 & 11 were both 14 miles (most of 8 & 9 joined different finish) but were treated as a ‘get to the finish’. The result would hopefully be enough to clinch the Champion of Otterburn award within the championship, and also help Spadeadam MC clinch the inter-club challenge. Thanks to all the other SMC members who scored points during the year.
Thanks also to the Spadeadam marshals.
(Photos © Y. Petry / N. Varah/ Spadeadam Motor Club)