What? More ‘Them Were The Days’!


Don’t blame Helen, if you wrote something for the newsletter she wouldn’t have to print my ramblings and you wouldn’t have to skip this page.

The stage plan of the February 1992 B.H.P. Hallburn Stages made me think back to March 1992 when five of us from Spadeadam went through to Workington to compete in the Cumbria MSG Quiz. This was an annual Motorsport quiz competition entered by most of the Cumbrian motor clubs. The honour of the club was resting squarely on the shoulders of Mike & Barry Lindsay, John Ross, Nick Hayes and me. I remember the individual round, you know the one, where all your team-mates get questions that you know the answers to but your question may as well be in a foreign language as you haven’t got a clue what the quizmaster is talking about let alone know answer is. The questions for each team came from a different sealed envelope so even the quizmaster didn’t have a clue what was coming. Anyway it was Nick’s turn and he was asked, ” Who sponsored this years Hallburn Stages”. Nick’s answer of “Me” surprised some but it was correct as he ran B.H.P.   I wish my question had been as easy. Amazingly Spadeadam won the quiz more than once, even without Richard and George’s participation.

When we came out of the quiz that night we were greeted by 6″ of snow, very worrying for the others as I was driving. Thankfully at the time I had an Audi 90 quattro, permanent 4 wheel drive with a 50/50 split front & rear. It also had rear and centre diff locks, not bad for a 1986 car. For us it was a relatively stress free journey home, more than ample grip to drive round the Volvos struggling and failing to get up the slightest slope. Just after Wigton we caught up with a Princess, the British Leyland car not royalty, and I decided to pass him on the straight before Micklethwaite. I’ve had better ideas! When we were alongside him I hit a thicker bit of snow and got a bit of a wobble but skillful car control (dumb luck) got us past safely. “Phew, that was close” I said. “Yes” said Nick ” we were that close I could see the dirt under his fingernails as he gave us the fingers”.

I don’t think my passengers would have been very relaxed if they’d realised 2 of my wheels had come off Richard Clark’s rally car. I got them at a very reasonable price because they weren’t round in the places they were supposed to be round. Half an hour with a ten-ton Enerpac hydraulic cylinder jack got them more or less round. You might just have realised from the above that an SMC member rallied a quattro, Richard had an 80/90 quattro back in the day, as they say. Sorry I can’t find a photo of it.

Another club member, John (Fats) Liddle started his rallying in a Beetle, I sure I’m correct when I say that his roll cage was made from scaffolding poles. You can also curse John for me writing this as he pursued me to join SMC in the early 80’s. When I was only a teenager, we’ll I can dream, can’t I? John’s brother Stuart also rallied an unusual car, it was a front wheel drive Ford Escort XR3i that had been converted to rear engine, rear wheel drive using a 5 cylinder Audi engine. Stuart called it a Faudi XR5i, the best I can remember was that it’s handling was interesting. After the Beetle John then progressed to a boring car, a MkII Escort, reg number SNO 700M, you might recognise the number. Before Phil got his hands on it and after John parted company with it Snowy was rallied by club members Neil Routledge & David McCubbin. I suppose you could say Snowy has a long history as an SMC member.

Well enough of my reminiscing time to look to the future and the Pirelli.