Pirelli International 2017 Exclusive – Behind the scenes view.

By Barry Lindsay

Rallying is a lot more than a driver and navigator in a car going as fast as they can, anyone who wants to get involved in the running of an event is part of a big team of officials. Here’s an insight to only my small part of a big event.

Pirelli meetings start about September 7 to 8 months before when all it is,  is a blank note pad and a copy of Kielder map with a red line on it. Following the 2016 debrief it was obvious more chicanes were needed. So    I was to organize another 42 large bales wrapped and stored for winter. Along with another role I was appointed that first night; the role of Chief Marshal.

By December’s cold icy days, a route and format were decided and I went on a route survey choosing points we could have chicanes  where  a  marshal could man them and have a car parked at or near. The conclusion after this was we are going to need a lot more bales. Continue reading

Pirelli Carlisle Rally 2016 – Behind The Scenes.

By Barry Lindsay
Deputy Chief Marshal

When I was asked to join the Pirelli organizing committee 3 year ago, at first I tried to get out of it but eventually Eric Ritchie talked me round to go to one meeting. Barry Armstrong was working all the hours he could and was needing help with the marshal side so agreed to help.

2016 was my third year and back into the British Rally championship as well as the British Historic Championship, Aneccc and Northern Historic. We went back to 2 days of competition and twice the mileage to marshal on the Saturday than we did in 2015. Meetings started back last June when there was talk of a strong possibility of being in the BRC. At this point chicanes were mentioned and one of the criticisms on the 2015 event had been the pallets used to build them so 2016 had to be big bales.

At this point I probably should have engaged brain before mouth but I stuck both feet in, I seem to become in charge of Bales from that point. 40 Big Bales were bought and wrapped at Laversdale in the harvest season and stored ready for April. Continue reading

SMC Members Spreading Their Wings!

As some of you may known SMC member Jonathan lodge is teaming up with Jim Valentine to compete on the epic Peking to Paris challenge later this year. Jim is the driving force behind the ‘Saab Historic Rally Team’, many club members will have seen him competing locally on the Roger Albert Clark Rally in his 2 Stroke Saab 96. In a complete contrast to the 2 stroke they have chosen to take on the challenge of the Peking to Paris event in a 1968 V8 AMC AMX. After a great deal of time and effort the AMX looks ready to go. The AMX comprises of mainly JEEP parts and the roar of the mighty V8 engine has earned it the nickname ‘The Beast’.

As the Peking to Paris event crosses areas of extreme terrain such as Mongolia and Russia, Jim and Jonathan felt and extreme shakedown was necessary. As is it vital to identify and rectify any potential issues with the car, also giving them an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the route presentation and use of the GPS. After some thought and research they have opted follow the route of the 2015 Sahara Challenge (Madrid to Marrakech).

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“That’s it for another year!”

By David Love,

Have you ever wondered how a newly married wife feels when she has to feed her new in-laws for the first time. There’s the worry of what she needs to make the meal a success, then there’s the gathering together of all the ingredients, the preparation of the meal followed by the meal itself with all it’s associated stress and finally the clearing up afterwards with the feeling of relief that it all worked out. I stopped wondering that when I joined the Pirelli Rally organising committee because I discovered that helping to organise a rally is very similar, you go through the same ordeal and stressful feelings. So I thought I’d bore you with my actions in the week leading up to the meal, oops rally!

Monday evening started with Barry Lindsay, Chris Walker, Les Bellingham and I assembling the equipment for each of the stages. It was surprising to find that we filled 13 large bin liners with signs for only 3 stages, I think it was only 10 bags for 5 stages last year. The reason for the extra signs is all down to the new Safety Guidelines from the MSA and also being unsure of what the MSA Safety Delegate would expect. We also set aside the signs for the Service Areas and the spare equipment to go in the Chief Marshal and 000 Course Cars.

On to Tuesday, after finishing work early I headed to the Cumbria Park for our final committee meeting before the rally. At this meeting most of the time is taken up with assembling the packs for officials such as Stewards, Scrutineers, Course Cars, etc. We were also going to print Map Books, Media Books and Seeded Entry Lists on a colour photocopier provided by our long time supporter Danwood. Unfortunately the photocopier didn’t want to talk to my Mac Book, it seemed it preferred the inferior attentions of a Windows laptop, no accounting for taste. Once we eventually got it up and printing, it produced the map book at the scintillating rate of one every minute and a half. This was more than a little bit worrying, as we had to print about 170 books. We gave up this unequal struggle at 11pm. Continue reading

Greystoke Thanks

By Phil Raffel

Many thanks to the Sprite team’s invite to marshal on the Greystoke stages.

The weather was hot and sunny, and the dust was taking about two minutes to settle after the cars had passed.  There were a few close calls at our junction and a retirement due to electrical fault. Stages where stopped for a while due to a Car Rolling at Junction three stage one.

We also had a car go off at our junction (16) into the scenery and setting fire to the dry grass! But after the efforts of the Marshals and spectators we managed to get them back into Competition.

Two gallons of water put the fire out..

See you again soon.

The Disorganised Organiser – Pt 2.

By David Love

Where was I, oh yes, three weeks until the rally and starting on the Goodie Bags.  The Stage Commanders meeting would be held on the following Sunday so on the Wednesday night I got together with Chris Walker and Les Bellingham to make up the stage packs containing over 300 arrows, 400 plastic signs, 350 tabards and 12 kilometres of safety tape between seven stages.  We make a list of the equipment going to each stage so that the S C’s know what they’re getting even if they don’t collect the equipment at the meeting.

 Friday the 13th was the first closing date for entries with the 20th being the closing date for late entries.  If any rally organiser is honest he will admit to accepting entries up to close of scrutineering as very few rallies are getting maximum entries.  After the first closing date for entries we have a better idea of entry numbers for each event and can decide the highest competitor number in each event and if I’ve guessed correctly I’ll have ordered enough rally plates, numbers, etc, if not mild panic will ensue.  Although most people talk about the Pirelli International Rally we do run five separate rallies each with its own competition number range.  The International Rally starts at 1, the Tour of Cumbria, which runs behind the International, starts at 51 followed by the Land Rover Rally at 91.  The Historic Rally starts at 101 with the Challenge Rally at 201. To complicate things further the International uses WRC type door plates and large hi-vis numbers and the other rallies which run under a National Permit use the larger traditional door plates and smaller hi-vis numbers.

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The Disorganised Organiser

 By David Love

Have you ever wanted to be a member of a rally organising committee?  No!  Sensible person.  The word committee is a big clue, it means that you have to be committed but I think it’s more likely you should be committed.  After 20 years or so of marshalling on the Tour of Cumbria/ Pirelli International Rally I was invited to join the committee.  This was not because I’d excelled at the job but due to the fact that my friend and SMC stalwart Alan Bateman felt he could no longer manage due to cancer.  I hoped that it would only be temporary and Alan would recover and return the following year.  Sadly it was not to be.  So I took over the roles of Equipment Officer and Start/Finish Co-coordinator without the foggiest idea what I was doing.  I’m still not sure that I yet know!

From the beginning of February I spend on average 2 hours a day on rally business and for the two weeks before the rally it’s nearer 5 hours a day minimum.  That’s a lot of time especially as I’m only one of 15 people on the committee who all have different responsibilities but I do the most work, wish I could keep a straight face when I say that.  Some have more than one responsibility and overlap with other committee members.  We have a Chairman & Sponsor Liaison, Route Planner, Entry Secretary & Treasurer, Safety Officer, Communications Officer, Webmaster, Chief Marshal & Deputy, Service Area Co-coordinator, Clerk of the Course, Rally Secretary, Media Officer, Programme Editor & Distributor, Rally Promotion, Accommodation Organiser and my deputy & me.

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Behind the scenes on the 2012 Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland.

By Eric Ritchie

4 a.m. and alarms are going off all over Carlisle and Brampton!  Me, I’m tucked up in bed in my Newcastle hotel room, with another hour to go before I am also rudely awakened. Our rendezvous, Newcastle Airport, at 6 a.m. on Thursday 5th April. It sounds like something out of the Apprentice. The “we” is, Alan Cathers, Rob Grant, David and Bev Love, Heather Grizedale and of course me.  Thanks to Lord Sugar, aka John Parker and Nick aka Brian Kinghorn, we are off to Ireland to spend the Easter weekend with the guests, dealers, VIP’s, directors and staff of Skoda, as they compete in the 2012 Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally.

Alan confident in the fact that he met the sales director of Easy Jet at a boozy bash earlier in the year, decided to test the strength of his new friendship  by taking on board two items of hand luggage. Despite the fact that this could have cost him over £2000 in excess baggage charges, he boldly marched through security as the rest of us were strip searched. What is it about airports in the early hours of the morning that bring out the best in the “jobs worth’s”? However, after our short flight we were greeted at Belfast International Airport by BK and big brother Stephen and the lovely Diane.

First stop, after the traditional Ulster Fry breakfast, was to pick up the vehicles we would be driving for the next few days. Courtesy of the Donnelley Group, the event sponsor, we would be driving a fleet of VW Caravelle’s and very nice they are to be sure. At around £45K each so they should be! Mine still had the polythene wrapping paper on!

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Hexham Historic Rally – A Marshal’s Ramblings

By Dave Love

5pm Satruday 19th of November, Chris Walker and I are headed over to Humshaugh to sign on then man 2 controls on the Hexham Historic / John Robson Navigational Rally. I’m sure getting to signing on is part of the event, as I can’t remember it being the same place twice in the past few years. I thought we might have trouble finding the village hall but the half mile line of cars parked both sides of the road gave us a clue. First it was Alan & Rob Blake out for the first time since John Ross’ 12 car last year. Then I bumped into Phil Jobson who had Jerry Hettrick on the maps. Time was pressing on so we thought we’d better sign on. When we did we were given 2 envelopes with TC instructions, 2 meal tickets and a bedside alarm clock! Didn’t realise we’d have time for a nap. The fact that the organisers were using these clocks isn’t as strange as you first think, they had big numbers, were backlit and were radio controlled so they would al be on the same minute and second- theoretically.

Off we went to our first control, TC3, at Portgate, ten mins along the B6318 and got the car safely parked on the verge, when we looked at the control instructions which told us we had to ensure that 2 gates half a mile before us were open and secured. Although there was 40 mins before car 1, I thought it best we didn’t go WD. I said to Chris, “We’ll go back along the B road, pop down that white, open the gates and be back here in 10 mins”. I should really listen to what I’m saying, “Pop down that white”. It was a little bit rough at the start but nothing the Audi couldn’t handle, no wet grass Geoffrey. Round a corner there was ‘wet grass’, and potholes, then there were wheel ruts and a very narrow part past gorse bushes on the passenger side, which made a noise along that side of the car, similar to fingernails screeching down a blackboard. Next up came a crater the width of the track. It was pretty deep with a step down to the water. We decided that hitting reverse was the best course of action, especially when Chris said, “You get stuck in there and I’m not pushing you out!?”. It was back past the gorse bushes , which made the same noise. At least it was the same side of the car getting the punishment. Slowly we made our way back to the B road, of for a pair of Cibes on the back bumper. We then sped WD to find them both opened AND manned. ***@@@$$! Once we were back at the control Chris inspected the scratches on the paddneger side and declared that it was now time to trade in the Audi – in the rain.

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A Different side to rallying.

By David Love

Most if not all of us will have been at a Spectator Special Stage in the grounds of a stately house at one time or another and have seen people being dropped off at the house. They then disappear inside only to reappear, glass in hand, to take their seat in the grandstand that’s blocking your view of the stage 5 minutes before the first car. These lucky souls are hospitality guests who are being wined, dined and getting the best views free of charge. On the Rally of Scotland I was one of them, in a fashion.

It all started with a phone call from Brian Kinghorn who, when he discovered I wasn’t marshaling on the rally asked if I fancied a couple of days driving Skoda guests around. He was working with John Parker setting up forest testing locations for Skoda and arranging transportation for their media and dealer guests during the rally.  He said he needed capable drivers with a good knowledge of rallying but as he couldn’t find any more I would do.   As the local contingent included Chris Walker, Allan Blake, Eric Ritchie, Rob Grant & Alan Cathers it sounded interesting.  Skoda had invited approximately 140 Dealer guests and 30 Media guests so Brian and John had recruited 20 drivers for the weekend.

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