By Barry Lindsay
The Northern Dales Production Car Autotest held at Eastgate Cement works in Weardale. Hexham and District MC ran 20 tests during the day, with 5 attempts at 4 different test locations. The event ran with 55 cars which kept the marshals busy all day. Helen and myself were starting at 19 which was quite a high seeding. Obviously after the 2nd in class on our first event, word had travelled to the north east for a good seeding.
The first 4 tests were back to back with no spare time between and the plan of steady run round lasted till about cone B on test 1!! However a close encounter with a massive concrete base for an electric pole, caused a large intake of breath from both of the Corsa crew while ‘Colin’ somehow breathed in to stop his side getting bashed…
During the 4th test the engine note changed and back in service Colin didn’t seem well. However a rock wedged between the sumpguard and the engine was removed and all was well again. Test 5,6.7,8 were repeats of the first four. Test 6 was the best so far, in a class of 23 crews were we 3rd fastest. After a lunch halt the weather was changing and the mist and drizzle set in.
Tests 9,10,11,12 were the same again. Test 9 was impressive, Helen got the bit between her teeth and attacked. It did amuse the marshal when I was asking her “What wound you up? Lets have some more of that!” as he filled in the time card. However the tests were getting slippier and it was a lottery of when we were on tests and we seemed to get the worst of the weather as it dried a little for the later runners.
A slight change of routes for the last circuits, but the rain had set in quite hard now and it was soon all very wet. At the end of the Spadeadam marshalled test we approached the stop astride line but slid just too far. Despite keeping Ian talking he recorded the time and said we were close. I couldn’t see, but then he marked the box fail… but we’re the wrong side of close. Damm! Final 4 tests followed and wet smooth concrete isn’t good, so a sensible run round to the finish.
Results Showed both Spadeadam crews tied on time, David Garstang (above) in the Fiesta was 7th Historic (6th in class) on 1564seconds the same as Helen & myself in 18th Modern (11th in class).
With both Helen & myself organizing the Blue Streak we shall have to see what’s next.