By Barry Lindsay
The final round of the AS Performance North of England Championships. The championship winner had been confirmed as Paul Swift at the previous round and with second place Chris Andersons car not repaired neither of these crews were there. Spadeadam members were there though. Peter Taylor was debuting the new Citroen DS3 and was seeded at 5. Barry and Michael Lindsay were seeded at 12, Dee Addison was navigating Alistair Tough who was at 34. Caroline Lodge was navigating Jane Beebe at 55 in an MG ZR.
Recce on the Saturday afternoon, crews were shocked to discover that the first few miles on Stage 1 was white with snow then the remainder of the stages were very wet and with a lot of water running across the roads.
Clear skies overnight and the temperature had plummeted to -4˚C. As crews picked a tyre they thought would work in the conditions word spread there was to be a drivers briefing half an hour before the start. The talk was also about whether the event was going to run! Certain drivers were doing all they could to get the event cancelled on safety grounds and some were trying to make a pact together to not go out.
Crews queued to start but the event was being delayed and Stone and Indri were still trying to convince each other not to go out, while Fenwick had already started to pack up. Eventually (35 minutes late) the event started as the sun climbed in the clear sky.
Peter decided his seeding was too good for the conditions so parked on the road section and used his lateness to let the other crews clear the road of ice for him. The leading crew were still trying to delay the start by hanging back on the narrow road to arrival.
Stage 1, 17 miles of mainly thawed ice apart from the shaded sections which were ice. Barry & Michael were soon settled into the conditions, catching the car in front by the end of the stage, who had caught the car in front of them. Only one major moment over a crest with no braking into a left hander saw the 106, all four wheels on the grass going alongside the trees for 100m. 17m 06s was third fastest. Peter was 4 seconds behind on 17m 10s. Alistair & Dee got 19m 28s. Caroline had made a dramatic exit. With the MG rolling twice and coming to rest with the wheels pointing in all directions! But thankfully OK after over some large rocks.
Stage 2 brought crews back to service, Barry & Michael getting 3m 31s, with Peter on 3m 34s, and Dee on 3m 35s.
Next two stages were repeats and now less icy apart from the shaded wood edge and the flying finish which was catching crews out trying to stop. Peter upped his pace getting 15m 45s, with Barry & Michael on 15m 58s. Then on the next stage Peter on 3m 13s and Barry & Michael on 3m 19s. Dee meanwhile had also been caught out. The MkII ending up below road level partially in a stream.
Stage 5 was 7.5 miles using a section not used for a while in that direction downhill. Barry forgot how fast it was with three almost flat jumps over crest with the 106 actually getting to its limiter in top. The two Spadeadam crews were having a battle, with Peter getting 6m 51s, only 1 second ahead of Barry & Michael. The results were showing Peter 2nd overall and Barry & Michael 3rd overall.
Stage 6 is always one that hampers Barry. Starting at the bottom of a hill and is a double width road ideal for 300hp and 7 gears, not a 106!!! Peter getting 3m 32s and Barry 3m 36s. Stage 7 was 9.4 miles and Barry made some time back on the narrow stuff. 8m 58s was 2nd fastest and moved them to 2nd overall in the rally. Peter suffering brake problems near the end of long stages and with 9m 30s dropped to 3rd overall.
Stage 8 was 14.5 miles with the wide and fast joined to the narrow stage. Barry & Michael were getting 13m 47s ahead of Peter on 13m 52s, again loosing the brakes near the end.
Going into the last stage, a repeat of SS8, Barry & Michael were 2nd overall, 54 seconds behind and Peter was 4th, 20 seconds behind. With the stage now 95% dry but still with a section of ice and a section of wet. Barry & Michael weren’t for backing off 2nd overall time with 13m 36s , 2 seconds ahead of Peter on 13m 38s who had caught a car.
3rd Overall (1st in Class) Barry & Michael Lindsay 106 1h 26m 43s
4th Overall (1st in Class) Peter Taylor / S McAuley DS3 1hr 27m 05s
Rtd – Off SS4 A Tough / Dee Addison MkII
Rtd – Rolled SS1 J Beebe / Caroline Lodge MG ZR
(Images © M. Petry/ Y. Petry/ N. Harkness/ H. R. Gibbon/ Webspics.co.uk/ Spadeadam Motor Club 2012)