Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

By Caroline Lodge

Jim Clark Rally 2012

I was really pleased when Phil asked me to navigate for him this year and  was really looking forward to this rally. After a nasty hiccough before we set off to scrutineering,  (Thanks Barry for your help that day). We got sorted and got ready for a couple of laps of Duns on the Friday night, before the ‘proper stages’ the next day. Duns was a blast and we were both laughing when we got to the stop line. Snowy was running and handling well and we set a good time on our first run.

John Ross and Neil Thomlinson – our service crew came to say hello before our second run, this was held up by drunk locals having a fight and a woman going into labour! The second run was just as much fun, and we went to park ferme. (after changing a wheel due to a puncture we’d picked up on the road section). The we were off to our very nice digs in Jedburgh, the ‘boys’ went in search of food and dined on whatever the local Turkish place had left – goat burger anyone?

We had a couple of problems to sort at service before the first stages on Saturday, but were feeling confident as we headed to Abbey St Bathans, an absolutely excellent stage. Things started to go wrong as we headed to the first chicane I heard Phil say ‘no brakes’, just before we whipped between the bales without any mishaps. Phew. (would we have gone that fast with brakes?) Then the gear box started to give problems, we made it to the finish but had to retire and limp back to Kelso.  So it was a very subdued ‘Team Snowy’, that headed home that day.

Severn Valley June 9th

Both Jonathan and I were asked to join the Historic Saab Rally Team for this event. Jonathan was in with Jim Valentine in the Saab 99 and I teamed up with Manx man Steve Higgins in the Saab 96. With 5 cars in the team we were set for a fun event.

Firstly we had to make our way down to Builth Wells in south Wales, with severe weather warnings for the south and Wales we thought that actually getting there may be our first challenge.  John Ross was also joining the team for the event. On the way to meet Jonathan at Penrith the radio kept telling us about major hold ups on the M6, in fact from Preston down the M6 was more like a car park than a motorway. So we bailed out at Lancaster and wove our way down via some ‘lovely’ areas of Liverpool, and through some pretty nasty weather. Arriving at Builth quite late we said hello to Jim and got some rest before the rally.

On the way to SS1 I discovered that the trip meter was WAY out and had to do a lot of calculations with the distances to ensure that we actually got to the stages, we couldn’t follow anyone as we were running at the back of that part of the field. This only caused real problems on the way to the finish but after a little detour in the middle of nowhere we did get back with 5 secs to spare! We did some fantastic stages, including  Crychan, Halfway and Route 60. The stages were clean and fast (well if you can ever use the word fast in relation to a 2 stroke Saab!) I did remember that calling ‘big jump’ is not really worth the energy as the 96 doesn’t do jumping. Also can anyone tell me what ‘bad bit’ means in the notes?

The Builth ‘super special’ stage wasn’t super and nothing special, it also included the note ‘slalom’ which should have read, ‘a bit if a wriggle between some barrels. David Stokes came to grief on there as his reason for retirement was stated as ‘did not follow defined route’ i.e. he shot up the hill and clobbered a boulder head on.

The rain stayed away and we had a good day with major problems (except for the tripmeter incident) Steve and I got a class win and I don’t need reminding that we were the only crew (idiots) out in a 2 stroke Saab. Jonathan and Jim came in 17th o/a.

The only Saab crew not to get to the finish were Debbie and Hugh Myers, out for the first time in their ‘new’ which developed and expensive sounding rattle before it completely lost all drive.

All there was to do then was to have a quick (soft) drink and set off on the long drive home. Thanks to John for all his help.

The Turnbull Trophy Rally – Albermale 24th June

Spadeadam was well represented with, Barry and Mike Lindsay, Richard and Simon Clark, Peter Taylor with Andrew Roughead and Geoffrey and I all competing on the event. Again the weather was not good to us with some horrendous down pours. Tyre choice was a bit of a gamble, and at some points in the day an outboard engine may have been beneficial.

With double and triple laps they packed 85+ stage miles into the day, plus a few more with the sliding about and overshooting. The organisers had made it known that crews would be charged for any cones they destroyed on stage. Hope they don’t hold us to that as there were mashed and mangled cones all over the place at the end of the day! The water was causing problems as crews aquaplaned around some of the stages.

In the Corsa there were one or 2 conversations which went a bit like this :-

Caroline: ‘get over to the right’

Geoffrey: ‘I’m trying’, as the car was drifting towards a banking on the left.

And on seeing an Scooby shoot straight past a square left,

Caroline: ‘don’t do what that car just did’,

Geoffrey: ‘ooops’. We also collected a few feet of tape during one of these incidents.

I also included a few calls of ‘well held’ in the day

Unfortunately Barry and Mike bust a shaft on SS6 Geoffrey and I hung on in there, Richard and Simon were still making good time, Peter and Andrew were setting some great stage times in their Renault and started the penultimate stage only 3 sec behind Glendinning in his Imprezza. Glendinning retired with gearbox problems and Peter took the win. Geoffrey and I got the class win and 21st o/a with Richard and Simon 12 seconds behind at 22nd o/a.

We made our way home through the deluge and some VERY big puddles, only to find that there had been a little bit of drizzle for a short while at home!

No plans to be out again until August, let’s hope that summer has actually arrived by then.