By Barry Lindsay
The final rally of 2014 was the Xmas Stages held on Croft. The event attracted a full entry as usual for this event over the festive period. A good entry from Spadeadam Members with 4cars. Barry & Michael Lindsay had the 106 at 18. Geoffrey Harkness & Caroline Lodge were at 65 in the Corsa, Michael Lawson / Pete Johnson at 76 in a Sierra, George Edminson / Helen Gibbon at 88 in the Micra.
Sunday morning at Croft and its -3, the wet track was now sheet ice almost everywhere as drivers wondered what tyres to use as the sun eventually rose over the pit garages.
Barry & Michael who needed to finish to get enough points for the ANECCC Championship went out on wets and were happy tip toing around and catching and passing cars so felt happy the time was ok. 10m 42 was 3rd quickest of the crews that had done the stage up to them. But then track thawed in places and times tumbled. Geoffrey & Caroline went well getting 10m 21 2nd in class and just outside the top ten. Michael & Pete got a maximum for not doing the stage, while George & Helen were out. They had a spin on the shaded tower bend which was still icy and as they rejoined were hit by an out of control Puma. The impact severely damaged the Micra, pulling the suspension & driveshaft off and twisting the body shell.
Stage two Barry & Michael needed to claw some time back, they were 10th in class which was the lowest they could be to be safe in the championship, and they were 50 sec down on the leader of the class. Stage was the same and went 2min quicker over 6.4mile!
Geoffrey & Caroline though had been going well but had broken the diff leaving them on stage with no drive and retired. Michael & Peter had an entertaining stage getting 11m01 despite a spin or two and had lost the rear bumper.
Stages 3 & 4 were now damp, 90% thawed and had a couple of slight changes to the layout. 7m57 and 7m 38 for the 106 crew now with a knocking noise from the suspension / gearbox that couldn’t be traced at service. Michael & Pete would get 8m 19 & 8m23 now that they could get some grip, but were still rubbing the bodywork on the stage furniture.
A lunch break ahead of another 4 stages but it was almost 3pm when the restart. At least two stages would be in darkness. 5m 30 and 5m 26 for Barry & Michael who despite were taking it easy on right hand corners were up to 2nd in class 2 seconds behind. Michael & Pete got 6m 18 then 5m47 getting the hang of the car, and after 17years away from the sport it was all coming back. The final two stages were in the dark with lights going all ways at the venue with two laps and 30 sec starts there was plenty of dazzling going on. Barry & Michael got 5m40 then 5m45 enough to win the class (13th Overall) and winning the SG Petch ANECCC Championship quite comfortably in the end. Michael & Pete got 6m05 then 6m14 finishing them 56th Overall (7th in class.