By Barry Lindsay
Round two of the SG Petch / ANECCC championship and also the final round of the Northern Forest Winter Challenge. The challenge was based on four rounds, Caroline Lodge and I had won our class on the previous three as had two other contenders. It would come down to this round and the number in the classes. Mark & Amanda Talbot also made the journey over to Thirsk for their second rally in the 106.
We got off to a bad start before the event began, whilst waiting for noise test I started with early signs of a migraine day. Not wanting to believe it was going to happen but blurred vision and not been able to focus is the early signs. After signing on we got ready and discussed whether to carry on. There was a town centre start and a long run out to the first stage so we would go to the first stage and see what had happened by then.
First stage now with a ‘bad head’ but able to focus on driving the 206 went into the mixture of concrete, grass, gravel stage around an old farm it seamed like. A new stage to the 206 crew and were happy with a 2sec class lead even though they hadn’t enjoyed the stage.
Stage two after a road section to get to the stage start we had to drive across a farmers grass field… in February and told not to damage the grass… However the first half of the stage was a forest road somewhere below all the grass & mud with 7 bridges in a mile. Another 5 second gained but I was wondering what was still to come judging by the stages so far.
Stage 3 was solid ice for the first couple of mile and quite quick along the edge of a hill. Although very little grip it was a better stage but dropped a couple of seconds. Management service was followed by another two proper forest stages but a couple of big moments one caught on camera. A bump on the inside of a fourth gear corner launched the car. However it paid off 21sec faster in 4 mile. The next stage had ice on it also so could only equal with the opposition.
Back to Thirsk for a service and new tyres before doing it all again. Thankfully the migraine hadn’t been a bad one.
The re-run through the stages it was amazing how the conditions had improved and felt much quicker but everyone else was also. Stage 8 we caught the Subaru that went in 1min ahead but we got ahead of him before the next stage after management area. The final two stages were the best and the dry gravel tracks and low sun were a contrast to the mornings icy stages. Final stage puncture didn’t slow us much and finishing the day with a one & a half minute class win. However the win wasn’t enough to win the Northern Challenge. This was won by Stephen Petch ahead of Matt Smith both picking up more points. Thanks to Caroline who was great on the notes, Geoffrey, Kenton & Dad for servicing.
Mark & Amanda had a day of catching cars and getting the hang of route notes. Well done for getting round a tough multi venue rally on your second event.
14th OA 1st in class Barry Lindsay /Caroline Lodge 206 47m09
44th OA 2nd in class Mark & Amanda Talbot 106 53m26