By Barry Lindsay
The P&R Benn Greystoke stages were ran by West Cumbria Motorsport Club in July. With entries oversubscribed two weeks after the regs were published back in April. 55 cars started the single venue forest event a round of the SG Petch ANECCC championship amongst others. I had asked Caroline Lodge to navigate the maps only event at the start of the year and had entered long before the 206 was wrote off against a Hamsterley tree. On the run up to the event I first said find someone else. Then I got a donor shell to swap all the good bits into. But then the shell had to go right back to a bare shell and that wasn’t going to work. So option 3, was to hire a 4wd, but it landed back to the 106. I said it was only going to do tarmac but recent events on tarmac I had damaged three doors, two wings and a rear panel and umpteen mirrors. So with it lifted and having got a set of DMACK’s finest bolted on I was ready for a quick test. With the track dry, loose but only needed a couple of runs for the smile to be on my face. Yes the 106 and the DMACKs worked together.
At Scrutineering on the Saturday everything went to plan all signed on and other class contenders informed me about getting heaps more power, but quietly I kept confident we could be up there.
Darren Martin with Pete Johnson in the map reading seat were at 23 in the Evo. James Coxon was navigating for Mark Shaw in the Sunbeam at 29. Mark Goodfellow & Kyle Gass had the JD Motorsport Subaru at 48. Jon & Kieron Stynes were on their first rally having got a 205 were raising money for Breast Cancer research and had completely wrapped the car in pink for the event. Dave Coleman & Dan Hurst were at 57 in a hired Skoda Felicia also from JD Motorsport.
Overnight rain was much needed to settle the dust and meant the event would run to time and the 30sec starts for the first 4 stages would work OK.
We set off into SS1 and 106 was weaving abit on the fast straights something the other 106 had done then spectators started waving us down, couldn’t see anything, more spectators waving see nothing then on the 90 right an escort half blocking the track. 3m 49 was the time, 3rd in class only 2 seconds off the pace. Darren and Pete got 3m 50, Mark & James 3m52, Mark & Kyle got 4m06, Jon & Kieron 4m42 then Dave & Dan on 4m52.
Straight into SS2 slotted in at 30 seconds. Tuned into the rapid fire instructions and trusting her every word the 106 was on fine form 7m 12 seconds was 4 seconds quicker than anyone in the class and took the lead in a class that 5 crews were only 4 seconds. Darren & Pete had got the Evo into max attack also getting 7m 06, Mark & James got 7m27, Jon & Kieron got 8m12, Dave & Dan 9m 06 then Mark & Kyle on 13m 30 a stage max when a prop shaft broke on the start line.
Quick service then the same again. There was now a clearer line and drying very quickly. Stage 3 felt good later braking and left foot braking to keep it pulling. 3m33 was good but had dropped to seconds in the class. Darren & Pete just behind in 3m35. Mark & James on 3m41, Mark & Kyle on 3m54, Jon & Kieron on 4m07 then Dave & Dan on 4m45.
Into SS4 went well apart from a driver error coming into a chicane been left foot braking and was for the chicane then realized I needed left foot on clutch and right foot on brake! In the split second it took to change we had traveled vital yards. 106 was thrown at the gap but we hit sideways, that’s a wing & rear quarter…. Caroline asked if the brakes had gone, I replied just ran out of feet for three pedals at the same time!! Time was 7m00 16 quicker than first run and 2nd quickest But held an 8second class lead at halfway. Darren & Pete had been quicker with 6m45, Mark & James got 7m15, the stage was then stopped due to an accident needing medical so Jon & Kieron, Mark & Kyle, Dave & Dan all got a notional time.
After a service SS5 was a mid-section change to SS2&4, The new section was very loose and with the DMACK’s swapped over at service the 106 was on form, as quick as its been on the loose then going into a slightly rutted chicane I pushed it into first gear something I don’t normally do then bang, bang bang as we exited and we weren’t increasing speed much, then a bigger bang and silence I looked in the mirror and there was the remains of a driveshaft and as it had come out, the diff wouldn’t grip we were grinding to a halt in a bit where M-sport had banked the edge to stop cutting. Darren & Pete were next car and spectators were pushing us to a junction as they squeezed by. Hope it didn’t drop you too much. We got it into a layby and tried to repair / change but it was the long one and time ticked away and I had to surrender….
Meanwhile Darren & Pete got 6m 16 and were in 13th OA as the stages were changed in direction for the two final stages. Mark & James got 6m 39 taking them to second in class. Mark & Kyle got 6m54 then Jon & Kieron with 7m06 followed by Dave & Dan on 8m03.
Final two stages the other way round. It was drying and dust clouds started to rise. Darren & Pete had good runs on both climbing an extra place to 12thoverall with 6m55 then 6m56. Mark & James held position despite going 20sec slower on the last stage with 7m 19 then 7m 40 netting them 22nd OA 2nd in class.
While Mark & Kyle were climbing back up after their maximum getting 38th OA with 7m42 then 7m30. Jon & Kieron were climbing also up to 35th OA and raising money for Breast Cancer with 8m12 then 7m55. Dave & Dan were waving their way through and having a good time with 8m50 then 8m42 finishing 40th OA 5th in class.
Thanks to the Spadeadam members that help marshal spotted at various locations during the day!
(Images © H.R.Gibbon / F. Love / G. Petry/ Spadeadam Motor Club 2014)