Christmas Stages Rally 2013

By Barry Lindsay

The annual Xmas event always attracts a good entry and with 90 crews lined up to start the 50 mile event on Croft Racetrack and side roads. The event was the first round of the AS Performance North of England Tarmacadam championship. SMC members at the event were, Peter Taylor with Jack Morton in the Focus WRC at 3. Barry & Michael Lindsay in the 106 at 15, and Geoffrey Harkness & Caroline Lodge at 61.

Following the overnight gales the morning dawned dry and quite calm. The track was cold & damp as crews took to the start. Geoffrey & Caroline were in trouble before the event started. Whilst at Scrutineering they checked the fire extinguisher pull cable and the handle came off. With a new one fitted and the scruitineer happy they made the start.

Stage one Peter got 7m50 (5th Overall) while Barry & Michael were really happy with the 106 running on wets on the drying greasy track getting 8m07 (16sec class lead) then Geoffrey & Caroline also on wets got 8m 50.

Peter Taylor

Stage two was an exact repeat, Peter found some grip and got 7m32 (2nd fastest), while Barry & Michael couldn’t improve by much and 8m 06 partially due to following a car which was quick on the straights but then slow in the twisty stuff. Geoffrey & Caroline were happier with 8m 25.

Stage three was slightly different and now a lot drier. Peter got 7m 25 (2nd fastest) with Barry & Michael on 8m03 now on slicks. Geoffrey & Caroline on 8m23 also changed to slicks.

Barry & Michael Lindsay

Stage four was the last in the clockwise direction. Peter getting 7m05 (fastest overall time and moving him into 2nd overall) Barry & Michael got 7m53 and the class rival broke a shaft putting the 106 into a 2min class lead. A heavy rain shower passed over Croft hampering Geoffrey & Caroline who were out on track on slicks. 8m35.

Stage five after an hour break gave time for the sun to dry the track. Peter hit trouble on his first lap when the throttle motor cut the power. Forcing them back to service early and retirement followed.

Barry & Michael were now battling for the 1st front wheel drive honours and extended that lead to 30+ seconds over the x-works Nissan Almera with 7m41. Geoffrey & Caroline getting 8m03.

Stage 6 was the last before dusk Barry & Michael getting 7m 33 dropping 11 seconds to the more powerful Nissan. While Geoffrey & Caroline were getting aggressive. Overtaking a 205 then struggled to get the corsa slowed for the following corner, which resulted in the 205 thumping them up the rear! The 205 now lacked lights heading into the dark stages. 7m50 Saw them in 4th in class.

Geoffey Harkness & Caroline Lodge

For the final two stages lights would be required and a new faster layout with less tight corners and chicanes. Barry & Michael were happy with 7m 26 but the Almera was now 15 seconds behind while Geoffrey & Caroline were dropping time in the dark getting 8m 07.

Final stage. Barry & Michael caught a slower car and Barry getting frustrated in the narrow twisty garden section went for an adventurous overtaking maneuver which worked out.. They got 7m 23 which meant 1st Front Wheel drive by only 3 seconds.  Geoffrey & Caroline went quicker with 7m 58.



12th O/A 1st   Barry & Michael Lindsay                         1hr 02min 12sec

33rd O/A 5th  Geoffrey Harkness/ Caroline Lodge         1hr 06min 11sec

Retired  – Peter Taylor / Jack Morton

(Images © Helen R. Gibbon / Spadeadam Motor Club 2013)