By Barry Lindsay
The Cheviot rally was the final round of the North of England Tarmac championship. Six crews went to the Otterburn based event with a chance of taking the title. SMC’s Barry & Michael Lindsay armed with their 106 were in the mix. The 106 crew trailed Durham’s Chris Anderson & Chris Thurling by one point. So the calculations were with a lot of permutations but basically SMC crew had to finish ahead of Durham Crew. Simples…. If they both crashed out…. Then whoever was best of the 4 would be champion.
Recce was two runs over the stages, Barry was happy with the wet stages and with his nephew Graham reading and altering the notes everything was ready for the showdown.
As the sun rose on the morning, it then disappeared again. What is happening, the hill beside service was disappearing into fog! Yes!!
First two stages saw Barry & Michael return to service 10th Overall and 18 seconds ahead of rival, going to plan so far. Peter Taylor & Paul Hughes were the only other SMC crew at the event were in 2nd Overall, 7 seconds behind Leader Damian Cole.
Second run over the same stages. First one a power stage with straights & chicanes and hills saw the 106 drop 3 seconds but then the twistier stage they took the 3 seconds back, despite slightly being held up by a Subaru which had overtaken the 106 on an uphill straight but then the 106 got right back onto its bumper on the narrow twisty downhill. On the Twisty downhill Peter had gone off, catching Cole but then got caught out on a cautioned bends on the side of a ravine. The Focus landed up well down the bank with damaged suspension and no chance of regaining the road.
Stages 5 and 6 were technical stages but then 7 was the straight blast and chicane again. Barry & Michael dropping 2 seconds on the first two but 8 seconds on the blast! The 106 was still 10 seconds ahead but the blast stage was to be used another 3 times so it wasn’t looking good. The advantage had gone but wait it was starting to rain. Stages 8 & 9 were wet but the bad news Chris was still quick on the blast and was now 10 seconds ahead.
Stages were changed for 10 & 11 but 11 used ‘the blast’ after a tricky gravel section loop.
On stage 11 the braking on wet concrete before turning onto gravel turned out to be tricky. Michael had backed Barry off for it but photos show how near the fence they were but title rival misjudged it, clipping the strainer fence post which didn’t flex and took the rear wheel off the Wide Arched Fiesta.
Barry & Michael who were running in front didn’t know about it until after the stage so at service the 106 was checked and brimmed with fuel and some spares put into the car. They only need finish.
Final two stages and the heavens opened. Who wanted rain – That’s enough now!! SMC marshals & Barry Armstrong stage commander would wonder what was going on as Barry drove away from the start line reducing the strain on shafts & gearbox and leisurely driving the stage but due to the rivers of water it was tricky keeping the car on the road and still had several lockups and were convinced if they had still been pushing would have gone off.
Result was enough to be crowned North of England Champion and 8th Overall on the Cheviot rally and winning the 1600 class by 11 min.
Thanks to all the marshals & organisers.
(Images © H. R. Gibbon / Spadeadam Motor Club 2013)