By Barry Lindsay
The Pirtek Lindisfarne Rally was the second of three events on Otterburn, this one organised by Tynemouth MC. It was the penultimate round of the AS Performance, North of England tarmacadam championship, of which the three Spadeadam members are all registered Peter Taylor & Andrew Roughead (6) Myself & Michael (10) and Geoffrey Harkness & Caroline Lodge (25). I was in a good position to clinch the title at this round only needing to finish ahead of or just behind stunt driver Paul Swift. But if we didn‟t finish, we still had the next round to fall back on. I had done the Recce with Caroline on the Saturday using a disguise. Caroline had obtained David Robinsons highly tuned Recce Car. Well not quite. A 1.2 Micra S !! I did get a bit of stick on the Sunday morning, but I think they believed me when I said it was Caroline‟s pride and joy….lol. (Hmmmmm will get you for that one Barry, Ed.) The morning dawned cool but there were clear blue sky‟s over Otterburn as crews got ready in the service area on the airstrip. However as we lined up at the first control the black clouds appeared over the hill. We were on slick tyres with little cuts in but other crews (our class rival being one) had time to change to intermediates.
The 6mile road section gave time for me to weave about and get some heat into the tyres but the drizzle was now starting to dampen the tar. In the first stage we had noted in the recce that the roads were dirty and quite mossy in places, “sh*ty” was Caroline‟s interpretation in the notes (Well it didn‟t look like moss and I never heard you describe it as moss on the recce, tell it like it is. Ed) The first few miles the rear tyres had cooled and struggled to get grip, I thought we were loosing time but it turned out were 10th fastest, 6 seconds behind class leader Gareth White in a C2 max.
The second stage was the short Riverside stage. A stage where the army‟s big guns are aimed at and the road is littered with holes where they hit! A short twisty stage and had a couple of moments but were 4th fastest. Stage three things started to go down hill. Half way through a front wishbone bolt came loose making a knocking noise when cornering. I backed off a little 8th fastest dropping 5 seconds to the C2. Stage 4 was nearly 12 miles and took us to service. Just after the start the gear linkage developed a lot of movement. Very concerned not knowing what it was I reduced the gear changes hoping that it didn‟t come apart dropping time. But there was a really dirty corner mid stage and when I recced with Caroline the day before we noted it “ Very Sh*ty” was written in both sets of notes… Gareth had put the C2 off here and taken the rear wheel off. Geoffrey & Caroline had a big moment here almost joining the C2. Geoffrey recovered while Caroline laughed at the situation, (As if! Actually I said “told you it was slippy‟, Ed.)
At service Peter / Andrew were 2nd Overall but already a 1min 10 sec behind the leader, we were 8th. Leading the class and with Paul Swift behind it was kind of going to plan, Geoffrey & Caroline were 17th 4th in class. The gear linkage was checked and a bush had been lost but it wouldn‟t get any worse but couldn‟t be fixed so long gear changes were here for the remainder of the day. Stages 5,6,7,8 were a repeat and no major incidents on a mainly dry surface with the odd drizzle shower.
Back at service Peter / Andrew had gained lead when the leader rolled out. We were up to 6th also benefiting from a couple of cars going off with Geoffrey & Caroline up to 15th A quick 10mile stage then back to service. We came across bits of tyre on the stage, more tyre, then a headlight then bits of yellow plastic then a wing with Border Caravans on it! Peter & Andrew had got a puncture just after the start which dropped them 1m 20 but were still 2nd Overall. Two 14 mile stages remained with a quick service in between. We were still on the slicks for the first but the rain was now getting heavier and after a big moment near the end of stage 10 when we got back to service I opted for a safe final stage and put on the intermediates.
The final stage was wetter and our safe choice got us round and back as North of England Champions with one round remaining and won our class by 30 seconds. Geoffrey & Caroline had a interesting last stage, they were caught by the car that set off 30 seconds behind as they nursed the car home with an engine using or loosing both oil and water!! However the car that overtook just disappeared in a sequence of corners until they noticed it away in the heather off the road. Peter & Andrew battled to regain the time but came 11 seconds short and the win went to Richard & Edwin Cook, there first rally win and well deserved.
2nd O/A 1st Class Peter Taylor/ Andrew Roughead Clio 1h22m 10s
5th O/A 1st Class Barry & Michael Lindsay 106 1h26m 08s
13th O/A 4th Class Geoffrey Harkness / Caroline Lodge Corsa 1h30m 03s