October Autotest

By David Garstang

On Sunday 8th October Helen Harkness and the autotest team of helpers put on a great afternoon of fun running a number of interesting challenging tests on concrete in a haulage yard just outside Longtown.

The tests were set up so that you ran each test twice and for those of us that are mentally challenged at remembering routes around an auto test they lettered each cone. Now this is what I am use to when competing on the classic and targa events so I found it much easier to remember what the route was around each test. They had set up the first test so that with either no moving of cones or moving one or two cones they were able to run a variety of test patterns in a very quick set up time.


16 entrants turned up on the afternoon with a vast mixture of cars from John Holliday’s immaculate midget, various rally cars, road cars and a car that looks to be used for drifting, with the ages ranging from 14years old to well I would not like to say how old. There was an interesting range of experience to watch. From the very revvy and perhaps a bit ragged to the smooth and very quick.

All afternoon the crack was good between combatants, spectators and marshals with much heckling and encouragement being given by all.

I have been using the autotests as a way to help improve my short term memory to hopefully improve my test times on the rallies that I also compete on, I am not allowing myself the luxury of a navigator when doing the auto tests. So far I have been getting better and by watching how the quicker cars are being driven I am learning how to make my car go quicker on the short complex autotests.

As the results showed it was a good day for most with some tight grouping of test times, congratulations to the winner Craig Stamper who managed a sub 8 minutes, then there were 5 people in the 8 – 9 minutes, 5 people in the 9 – 10 minutes, 3 people in the 10 -11 minutes and finally 2 people in the 11 – 12 minutes.