A Busy Few Weeks For Caroline! – Dmack stages – 22nd June

By Caroline Lodge

I teamed up with Jimmy Hall again for the first running of the Dmack Carlisle stages. It was quite nice to be doing an event so close to home. On the night before the rally I finished work and made my way to Murrays yard for scrutineering, we had to push the Peugeot in as the radiator had gone whilst Jimmy had been loading the car onto the trailer. That went OK despite the scrutineer appearing to have a complete sense of humour and personality bypass. I know it’s an important role but, perhaps the scrutineer’s handbook should include a paragraph on being civil and when a crew says ‘Hello’ the usual response is ‘Hello’. Grumble over, he is actually in the minority and most scrutineers are fine.

With a start time of 11.15am, there was plenty of time to waste in the morning, actually it’s worse than an early start, as you just want to get going. Anyway, the clock finally ticked round and we set off. The route of 3 stages done twice was nice and compact, also we had used some of the roads on the Pirelli, Jimmy appeared confident and happy so off we went. Arthur’s Seat, Newcastleton and Kershope, all went well, Jimmy was driving really well, and we only had one ‘moment’ on a hairpin. Jimmy told me off later for laughing during this, claiming he was actually trying to scare me. He’ll have to try harder than that!  Through all 3 stages we kept ‘catching the dust’ of our minute man. Jimmy mentioned this, to be told ‘just get on with what you are doing, if we catch him then we’ll sort it out’.Back to service and, where are our service crew?????? We had the wheels changed and the car fuelled before they arrived. Apparently they got confused on the way back down watching us through one of the stages.

Jimmy Hall & Caroline Lodge

Off we went again, this time Jimmy was determined to catch our minute man, which is not always a good thing. Our times were quicker on the second run 15 sec on SS4, 9 sec on SS5 and 41 secs on SS6. The stretch of stage along the river in Newcastleton was great fun, I don’t usually like that stretch in either direction, as I’m often navigating off maps, in the dark and that bit really is not fun. But in the day light with notes, we had a blast along there.

We did catch the Corsa on the last stage, I caught sight of him in the distance, Jimmy’s driving definitely changed. As did my notes which went along the lines of :- R4 Lg/C        L1 170 – ‘concentrate on what we are doing’ – R6 + L4 – ‘settle down Jimmy’. I didn’t have to resort to the pencil in the thigh manoeuvre, but it was ready. There were a few whoops in the car and a big grin from Jimmy as we finally passed him.

Back to MTC in one piece and smiling to be greeted by the SMC welcoming committee plus junior members. We were pleased to find we’d picked up 2nd in class.

Peter Taylor won the event with Andrew Roughead navigating in the Focus, Tapio Laukanen and Glenn Patterson took 14th o/a, and Darren Martin and Martin Steele came 24th o/a. Unfortunately Clive Alcock and Richard Hortin did not make it to the finish after an argument with some scenery!