By Neil Thomlinson
With an offer from Phil Jobson of co-driving on my first stage event it seemed like I could not refuse, although with only doing 12 cars, a couple of road rallies and only ever looking at notes once then it was looking like I was going to need some assistance. With this in mind I had a word with Barry Lindsay and he put me in the direction of Spadeadam’s co-driving instructor Caroline Lodge.
Luckily, with only 2 weeks until the event, I found some accommodation for the Friday night only 5 minutes away from the start, borrowed the suit off Jonathan Lodge and borrowed the helmet of Caroline Jobson.
With the route notes, DVD, OS maps and regs printed off it was then that I needed the help from Caroline to make sure that I actually knew what I was doing.
The Friday came round quicker than expected and off up to Aberdeen we went, with John Ross and Barry Lindsay as service crew.
A repair on the car saw us pass scrutineering at the 2nd attempt and once we were signed on we could all go and relax at the b&b which was also conveniently a pub and restaurant. With a little help from Barry the route note amendments were made and with a double check I had everything sorted I felt ready for the day ahead.
Next thing it was Saturday morning and we were in the queue for the start, away from TC0 at 9:18 and my first stage rally was underway. Next thing was stage 1, it seemed like seconds between the countdown and the flying finish, as did stage 2 and stage 3. Both Phil and I were happy and the car was performing well… up until towards the end of stage 3 where Phil was experiencing difficulty in selecting some gears, with a quick visit to Barry to report on the problem we went to the re-group then onto service, with help from a few marshals to push start the car at the end of re-group due to a wire coming adrift from the starter motor. Onto service and the wire was put back on the starter and the difficulty of selecting gears was put down to the clutch this was adjusted until it was okay. With these problems we used some of the lateness out of service and then onto stage 4. Unfortunately the clutch did not last the road section and we were forced to retire.
Hopefully I will compete in more events in the future as I really enjoyed this one. Thanks to all involved in helping me to compete on my first stage rally.
(Image © B. Lindsay/ Spadeadam Motor Club 2012)