By Barry Lindsay
The Greystoke Stages were round 7 of the SG Petch ANECCC Championship which two Spadeadam crews were registered for. Myself with Caroline Lodge along side for my first forest event in tow years and in a different car. I got a Peugeot 206 earlier in the year to do a few forest rallies but due to mechanical problems this was the cars first loose event. They seeded us at 16 for this event probably looking at my tarmac results… With event running on OS maps, the reason for Michael Lindsay sitting out this event. Darren Martin and Martin Steele were seeded at 20 in the Subaru, but problems following the Scottish meant they wheeled out Tim Finches latest hire car – a Ford KA. James Coxon was navigating Mark Shaw in the Sunbeam at 34. David Coleman and Kyle Gass brought out the Skoda and were at 53 ahead of George Edminson and Peter Johnson on George’s first ever rally in the 1000cc Micra at 55.
Recent hot dry weather left the forest tracks bone dry and very dusty. Due to the layout of the route normally some stages slot in at the start of stages on 30 seconds gaps but then turn off to a different finish. But on safety grounds these were extended to 1 minute this would delay the event quite considerably and meant the awards weren’t presented until 7pm.
Stage 1, myself and Caroline along with Mark and James equalled on time with 3m 58 and both lead the 1600 class, Darren and Martin got 4m 40 in the Ka which had a lot less power than the usual Subaru. David and Kyle got 4m 53 another crew lacking in power. George and Peter got 5m 21 on his first stage and first time driving on the loose.
Stage two was the same start but after a couple of miles split off to a longer second part to make a 6 mile stage. I was happy to have got one stage complete and now knew what to expect from the car. The longer stage went better but the final section wasn’t quite as map. This was something quite a few navigators would be talking about at service. 7m 36 for the 206 put us into class lead ahead of Mark and James who got 7m 44. Darren and Martin got 8m 31. David and Kyle 9m 17 then George and Peter.
A long lunch time service and time for Neil and Joe to remove the wheels on the 206 and spanner check before making adjustments for the afternoon’s 3 stages while Martyn & Graham tried to clean some dust off.
After a service crews went back to do it all again, we went quicker than the first run by 5 seconds, but Mark and James were only 1 behind us, but on the longer stage we went 12 quicker than the first run which was 13 quicker than Mark and James. However we thought we had suspension damage though as the wheel was catching. At the finish all it turned out to be was a bit of plastic wheel arch liner catching the wheel!!
Stage 5 was anti clockwise, quite a wait at the start meant most crews due to the heat were struggling to keep awake (us included!). When eventually it got going myself and Caroline extended our class lead by another 13 seconds, while George and Pete had a spin mid stage and after a three point turn they were left with a slipping clutched and dropped them more time but were grateful to get out of the stage.
Stage 6 was a repeat we went 4 seconds quicker over the same stage to get another 15 seconds over Mark and James.
Stage 7 the final one. A light change of route but with the same start and finish. Looking at the map during the wait Caroline put down the severity I while recalled two years ago that section wasn’t as map… so caution would be taken. The class lead was extended by a further 16 seconds from Mark and James who had seen the 206 exit the finish when on their road section and some they were hoping it didn’t…
David and Kyle pushed on to finished 42nd ahead of George and Peter glad to make the finish after their slipping clutch.
Awards were presented and again they came from M-Sport. Used gears from a Fiesta / Focus mounted on a piece of slate. That’s a dog ring and a 2nd gear I’ve got… If I carry on eventually I’ll have a Focus gearbox!!
18th 1st Barry Lindsay / Caroline Lodge 206 44m 15
23rd 2nd Mark Shaw / James Coxon Sunbeam 45m21
39th 5th Darren Martin / Martin Steele Ka 52m01
42nd 7th David Coleman / Kyle Gass Skoda 54m40
43rd 8th George Edminson / Pete Johnson Micra 58m16
(Images © H. R. Gibbon /N. Harkness / M. Petry / Spadeadam Motor Club 2013)