By Barry Lindsay
The Pendragon is always a popular event with the Spadeadam crews and this year was no change. With the event over subscribed by 25 entries at one point. Peter Taylor & Andrew Roughead started at Car 1 following last years win, again in the Focus which was sporting new Border Caravans Livery. Barry & Michael Lindsay were at 12 in the 106. At 36 Darren Martin & Martin Steele brought their new Evo for a test to get some seat time in the new car. Geoffrey Harkness & Caroline Lodge wheeled out the Corsa following a summer rebuild, they started at 44.
A dry morning at Warcop as crews lined up to start the event, the tarmac was still damp but would dry quick and a warm autumn day followed. Peter & Andrew launched into the 8.5 mile stage but would soon come across ‘a sheep and three birds’ standing on the road looking at him! Sure they would soon move. They got 9m 14 after a steady start. Barry & Michael were taking a different approach, try and take some time from the front wheel drive rivals on the greasy opening stage. The 106 was on the edge of grip in several places but were happy with 9m21, 7 seconds behind the Focus in 6th Overall. David & Fiona were in trouble as they hit a black bale at the split, the damage looked minor but the impact had pushed the radiator back onto the fan, and not wanting to damage the engine called it a day. Stage two was slotted in at 30sec but only a few cars got through before it was cancelled when several cars were off in stage and one was blocking the split junction. Both stages 1 & 2 were now cancelled and crews returned to service and notional times given to those not competed.
Stages 3 & 4 were now dry as the sun broke through. Peter & Andrew now had a battle, they found themselves 35sec behind rally leader so a full on attack getting 12sec back on 3 and 31sec on stage 4 with 9m 46 & 9m 28 to get back into the lead. Barry & Michael were attacking for the front wheel drive award, but now it was dry 10m 34 & 10m 28 were enough to keep a good lead. Darren & Martin having not got a run on stages 1 & 2 got the feel of the new car and pulled over midstage to let Barry & Michael past and the followed there lines for a bit. On there first visit to Warcop, in the new car they were having brake problems and got a stage maximum on SS3 before pulling over in SS4 when the brakes went completely. Geoffrey & Caroline also didn’t get to do 1 &2 found the car to high geared for the hills & chicanes getting 11m51 & 11m33, and would then drop onto smaller wheels to try and lower the gearing for SS5&6.
Stages 5&6 was the opposite direction, Peter & Andrew extended there lead with 8m 53 & 8m 37 but were now minus a co-drivers window. Barry & Michael were now catching cars with the different layout, weren’t loosing time but it was interesting with some brave (silly according to some!) passing on the outside of bends.. 9m 33 and 9m 34 Still kept them ahead of the front wheel drive rivals. Geoffrey & Caroline got 10m35 & 10m25 were happy with the smaller diameter tyres but were also catching cars. The final two stages, Peter cruised to victory with 9m15 & 9m12. Barry & Michael were now still pushing but wanted to make sure they finished, and on the last stage came across there main championship rival off in stage and with only three wheel could afford to back off, ( not much though!!) getting 10m 21 then 10m20 (So they didn’t back off much!!!). Geoffrey & Caroline had now put some gear linkage trouble behind them after service getting 11m14 & 11m16.
Thanks to everyone who went and helped marshal etc on the event. Some of you I saw and others I knew you were there somewhere!
1st OA 1st Class Peter Taylor / Andrew Roughead Focus WRC
7th OA 1st Class Barry & Michael Lindsay 106 Gti
21st OA 4th Class Geoffrey Harkness / Caroline Lodge Corsa
RET Darren Martin / Martin Steele EVO
RET David Hope / Fiona Gourlay Subaru