By Barry Lindsay
The first event of the year on Otterburn was the Tyneside Stages, a round of the Reis Tarmac, North of England, Anecc and the Scottish Tarmak championships entries filled up. The event started with a full entry of 90 cars, it’s a first for quite a few years but it was reward to the organizers for keeping the event going through the lean years.
Three Spadeadam crews took part, Peter Taylor with Andrew Roughead took the Border Caravans Fiesta S2400 and were looking for their first Otterburn win. Barry & Michael Lindsay were out in the 106 but were in a tough class with 1600 crews from the Ries and some BRC crews testing for Ulster. Geoffrey & Caroline were in the same class.
Overnight showers had now been replaced with blue sky but the forecast was for more showers for later. Quite a few went for inters for the first loop then changed to slicks. Peter & Andrew were quick right from the word go, 2nd quickest on the first stage dropping 2 seconds to Damian Cole, tied with him on the second stage then beat him by one on the third to get back to service 1 second behind the leader. Barry & Michael gambled on slicks and it was a good choice. The dry tarmac wasn’t what they wanted dropping 8 seconds to a class contender on the first stage, another second on SS2 then 9 on the third stage after a high speed hairy moment knocked the confidence for a bit. Back to service 2nd in class was a good start but would need rain quickly.
Geoffrey & Caroline caught a car on the third stage and eventually got passed.
The next loop of stages took the crews over the same three stages and were now dry and everyone on slicks.
Peter & Andrew returned back to service with a 9 second lead of the rally ahead of Cole. Barry & Michael had dropped to third in class in 24th Overall and Geoffrey & Caroline were 6th in class in 49th Overall.
Stages 7 & 8 were majority of stages 1 & 3 so the newcomers to the venue were getting to know where they were. Peter & Andrew beat the bogie on SS7 then extender there lead to 12 seconds on SS8. Barry & Michael still held 3rd in class but dropped 23 seconds to the class leader.
Stages 9 & 10 were repeats, Peter & Andrew again beat the bogie on SS9 then another 2second on SS10. Barry & Michael pushed on in SS9 but still dropped 6 seconds but a misfire on SS10 dropped them 20 seconds but still held third in class.
Stages 11 & 12 were delayed and as crews qued the sky’s darkened and the heavens opened SS11 was tricky but Barry was confident and with the misfire sorted was hoping to get some time back. But as the 106 flew through the flying finish cars were parked unable to stop the 106 slithered down the grass and back onto the road and proceeded to the stop line. Darren Atkinson / Phil Sandham had had a massive roll through the flying finish and were half way over the field. The stage was stopped so some times were given as notional. But Peter & Andrews time stood with him taking another 2seconds. Stage 12 followed and was wet for the second half. In the dry it’s a flat out on the limiter between chicane sort of stage for the top cars but add a bit of rain it kept them from the bogie time. Peter & Andrew took another second to win the rally by 17 seconds – Well done.
Barry & Michael noticed a vibration on the road section to SS12 so along with the wet took it a little steady. It turned out a front brake disk had crack 6mm wide in it! Geoffrey & Caroline had been held but got to run both stages competitively and in the dry.
There was to be another run over the stages but they were canceled as the event was so far behind time they needed to be off the range.
1st Overall Peter Taylor Andrew Roughead Fiesta S2400
23rd 3rd in class Barry & Michael Lindsay Peugeot 106
46th 8th in class Geoffrey Harkness / Caroline Lodge Vauxhall Corsa