By Barry Lindsay
The Xmas stages is a popular event run on Croft racetrack between Xmas & New Year. 80 Entries for the event on the tarmac track and thankfully no snow but it was wet and cold.
The first round of the 2013 North of England Championship saw us seeded at 11 behind last year’s NE champion Paul Swift. Geoffrey Harkness & Caroline Lodge were at 68.In very light rain I decided to go with wets all round and it was the right choice for the first stage with some standing water. 8m 22 was 5th Overall time just behind championship rival Chris Anderson. Geoffrey & Caroline got 9m 35 going on Slicks all round. But catching cars was the problem and loosing time. Stage 2 was a repeat, I changed to cut slicks. We went 1 second slower but the tracks was drier and were now leading championship crew and were up to 4th Overall and leading the class by a minute. Geoffrey & Caroline also went slower than there first run. They caught more cars then when they did get past them the Corsa crew spun and they got back past.
Stages 3 & 4 were very similar but took out the garden section and added a big chicane. Stage 3 was the last of the wet stages despite good runs dropped to 5th then down to 7th after Stage 4. The more powerful rear wheel drive cars now had an advantage. Geoffrey & Caroline had climbed up to 41st after following the cars earlier.
After the lunch break four stages remained the same routes we had done but the opposite way round. Stages 5 & 6 were in the day light and we were safe in 7th, taking time out of the following crews. Geoffrey & Caroline were stuck in 41st. Stage 7 & 8 were in the dark and also it started raining a little. Stage 7 was Ok, miss judged a stack of tyres on the end of a wall and rippled the door and wing but no time loss. The soft slicks were about finished so opted for more tread depth on the final stage and had to use harder compound. The final stage we had 30 seconds in hand to the next crew so a good clean run. Geoffrey & Caroline were gaining places in the dark climbing to 37th.
7th OA 1st Cl Barry & Michael Lindsay 106 1hr 04m 12 sec
37th OA 10th Cl Geoffrey Harkness / Caroline Lodge Corsa 1hr 11m 51 sec
(Images © H. R. Gibbon / Spadeadam Motor Club 2013)