By Barry Lindsay
Getting to the start of this event was a race against time as the 106’s disastrous year continued. Following needing a complete side and rear suspension following the gatepost indiscretion on the April Warcop. The Tyneside was short lived. A bump on a cattle grid on a quick corner saw the 106 rear pitched into the air and landed on the loose road edge then grass and saw the 106 head first into a bank then spinning down the road. Coming to rest on what was left of the suspension and only two wheels blocking the road. With only three weeks to the Pendragon could it be repaired? Oh, and the club’s Blue Streak to help organise which would remove one of the two weekends.
The stripping started as soon as the car was dragged off the trailer into its garage. Early diagnosis was I should withdraw the entry. Both chassis legs had moved, boot floor was twisted, and the floor and tunnel had moved where the seats were mounted. Then there was the bolt on stuff Bumpers that the paint was hardly dry on! Trims, radiator, panels, lights, complete rear suspension the list went on and on.
So, with panel beater ‘Squirt’ arranged and my annual weeks holiday booked, the Monday after the Blue Streak would be the start of straightening. Before then Jonathan and I had to get it stripped almost to a bare shell at nights.
However, a week of 10 – 15hour days, then every night the following week, the car made it onto the trailer for Scrutineering.
Warcop dawned dry for the first stage but it soon changed to the forecasted wet day. Rallying is a cruel sport and doesn’t matter how much checking something can still break. The car was handling ok and going well then after a few miles a driveshaft broke. Driving on one shaft with reduced pace and the remains on the driveshaft flailing about doing damage the only option was to only complete one lap to stay in the event getting a stage maximum. Gutted was an understatement after all the effort.
Limping back to service in 76th Overall (AKA Last!) and 17th in class. What do we do now? Trailer was the easiest option. However, was there a suspension alignment problem that caused the shaft to break…So thanks to Jonathan amongst the oil the shaft was changed, and we left now armed with worn wets as the weather closed in. A delayed start and rain catching some out on slicks. We got a 9m41 which was a top 10 time and equal quickest in the class, but the maximum was 6m40 slower than the class leaders of SS1.
The day just followed on going through the motions trying to get as many places back as possible but without doing anything silly. However, an incident on SS3 where another crew needed rescued saw that stage cancelled after half the cars, and stage 4 cancelled. It all hindered the fight back through the field when we gained very little. Stages 5 & 6 were top ten times and got us a few places. Final result was 27th Overall 7th in class.