By Andy Westgarth
That’s the weekend at the Tyneside stages, held over the Otterburn ranges finished. I would like to start by saying a big thank you to Darren Riley for sitting in with me and giving great directions through the stages. I would also like to say thank you to John Goff and his team for the servicing.
I have to say that was the most fun I’ve had behind the wheel of the Skoda Felicia. We started the day with some lucky escapes in stage 1&2. Doing some off road driving, then the clutch started to slip in stage 3, nothing could be done to fix the clutch issue, but managed to drive around the problem for the rest of the day. Stages 4, 5 & 6 went well, beating my own times we had already set earlier. After service we went out to do stages 7, 8 & 9 which again went well until stage 9, when we started getting a knocking noise from the passenger front corner. Then coming into a chicane the brakes went.
In the next service we found that the brake pads were down to metal and the front strut pinch bolts were starting to strip the threads! So in went the new pads and nothing could be done with the bolts so we put the wheels back on an headed out to do the last 3 stages which were in my eyes the best driving I had done all day…. until on the last stage coming into a really tight right I lost control of the rear end under breaking and put the car off the road. There was a moment where it suddenly felt that the car was going to roll – it came back to me and we got back on the tarmac! We carried on to the end though with a terrible vibration.
In the end we made it with a couple of little battle scars finishing 8th in class, and 51st overall. Finally thank you to the marshals an organisers because with out them there would be no rallying.
Time to sort the car an get another event booked!