November 12 Car (Mk III)

By David Love

It was a dark, wet and windy night but John’s 12 Car hadn’t been canceled so I arrived in Gretna to marshal in waterproof trousers only to have Caroline mutter something about incontinence and men of a certain age and offering me a couple of elastic bands. Amazingly there were more than enough marshals & 6 1/2 competitors.  Phil Jobson was looking for a volunteer to do the rally with him.  He must have been desperate cos he took me as a driver, which was preferable to me being a passenger and puking in his car.  He wasn’t sure himself how long his stomach would last and that if John had set the route to sort the men from the boys he was definitely one of the latter.  He needn’t have worried, as I’m not a competitive person, just want to enjoy myself.

We were a bit slow on the first section with not having a lot of time to get sorted in the car and then stopping to plot the out of bounds and quiet zones before getting going but we got to the first Control before some of the later runners, so that was a great start as far as I was concerned.  At this point in a report there would be a rundown of the route, no chance!  I didn’t know where the hell I was going or had been.  Can’t say I cared either, just glad to avoid walls, ditches and hedges.  I just went where I was told.  Phil said turn right, I turned right, he said turn left, I turned left most times.  I remember hitting several big puddles that turned into walls of water washing straight over the car, couldn’t see anything at all out of the windscreen for a second or two.  Phil felt he needed air at one point so put the window down, you know where this is going, don’t you?  Yes, we hit a big puddle and even I got splashed.  I had my doubts that buying a car with silver grey leather seats wasn’t one of my smarter moves and the next morning I realised I was correct.  The back seat was peppered with brown splodges and even the inside of the rear screen had caught it.  Lesson one learned!

Phil did a great job of getting us to the right controls the right way until the 2nd last section when even working together we couldn’t plot it!  Why?  We didn’t read the instruction properly!  Lesson two learned.  It read “Via 7 crossings and 1 touch of the national grid”  We read it as 2 separate instructions and I convinced Phil that it meant 7 water crossings.  You wouldn’t believe how many streams are in that area.  So we decided to cut our losses, take the shortest route to the next control and ended up approaching WD.  The last section plotted ok but was long and on some real nadgery roads.  Caroline used delaying tactics by sending us back up the road into a farmyard and a dead end forest road looking for a marker that didn’t exist.  I was starting to feel a bit off by then so we slowed & arrived too late at the last control.  I decided to give going to the Finish a miss and headed home for an Alka Selzer.  Sorry to disappoint you, Geoffrey and Caroline, I’m sure you had one or two caustic comments lined up.

Thanks to John for an interesting and enjoyable route on my first and probably last 12 Car.

Thanks also to Phil for getting me into the middle of nowhere and then back to civilisation while keeping his tea where it belonged.


November 12 Car Report (MkII)

By Paul Allen

After the first 12 car this winter being canceled, it was nice to get 7 entries for John Ross’ event, north of the border. It seemed a long way for me to be coming from Kendal, even more so for Tony from Bentham I guess, but we headed up wondering what might lie in store. We were rewarded with a very good slick event, nice and hectic, just how I like them.

We started in Gretna centre and looped up to Springfield via a NAM in a layby. Then after TC1 came the only white of the night. There was only one, but it was over a mile long! luckily, Tony was trying out his new knobbly tyres so this was heaven to him. We passed 2 cars along here alone and then turned south back to go anti-clockwise around Gretna. After Rigg, we approached Kirkpatrick Fleming and found John Ross himself at TC2. We were now 1st car on the road even though we had set off at car 6.

The first clue had been tulips, then grid lines, now we were faced with a CAR herring bone, so where we started it on the map was critical to it’s success. This took us round by Creca to just down the road from Kirtlebridge. Next was a join the dots by passing through a list of spot heights. This took us away up to Waterbeck and back toward Chapelknowe on the B6357.

The roads in Scotland were certainly proving to be just as good as the ones in England. Tight and twisty and only the occasional dog walker. The next clue was to cross grid lines 7 times and one touch. The way it was worded confused some navigators, looking for 7 river crossings or 7 spot heights. The correct route involved a loop to the east before finding a NAM triangle, but this section probably caused more missed codeboards than any other.

The final section was simply 4 grid refs, but they had subtle App and Dep directions that made quite an intricate loop up. We used sections of the old A7 around Canonbie before finishing along a yellow to the south east of Evertown. John Ross was marshalling again at TC7 to collect time cards in and we all headed off to Smithfield for refreshments. It was a windy night with lots of standing water and fallen leaves on the roads. There were also many twigs and even a couple of branches.

Apparently the route hadn’t been more than 9 miles from Gretna as the crow flies all evening. It was a lovely compact route, well thought out and very well organised on the night. We dropped time on 3 sections and were pretty close to our minute on the remainder. A big thanks to John Ross for all his meticulous efforts and the marshals for turning out and getting all controls exactly right.

November 12 Car (Mk I)

By John Ross

For those who want to know where they should have gone MC1-TC1 was via a Tulip section without the balls Took crews out of Gretna and over the Border towards Longtown a quick left toward Solway Moss and back into Scotland to the first NAM in a lay-by just passed the railway bridge but before the roundabout, the left up the hill to the second marker on the roundabout at the top followed by a quick right into Springfield and immediately left and on toTC1 at the entry to Quintonshill white where there was an enormous amount of standing water down its full length.

TC1-2 was gridline with a lot of back and forward over the same lines. Back into Gretna Green and round by the Flosh over the A75 and down the yellows back to the edge of Gretna. Those on the right route had by now covered over 8 miles but were still less than 1/2 mile from where they started now was the time to move out into the country. A quick blast via Rigg and on to Kirkpatrick Fleming.TC2-3 involved a herring bone passed Bruce’s Cave to Blackyett the southwest to Broats along the B road to Stapleton crossroads to the control close to Stapleton Tower. 3-4 was a simple section of map symbols and spot heights taking crews round a 2 mile square to TC4 just off the old A74 by Robgill Tower. 4-5 via  a series of Spot Heights was to take the rally right the way round the Springkell Estate via Eaglesfield and Waterbeck to TC5 near Howgillside. 5-6 appears to have been the section that caught most crews out. The instructions said to cross seven times and touch once the National Grid (the main power lines which transport electricity above our heads) a simple black line with a V attached every centimeter all across the map. This took crews to Chapelknowe then SE to Corriesmill then north again to Milltown SW along the B road before turning north to Cadgillhead south through the twisty Cadgillburn before sweeping NW to Kennedys Corner and on to George braving it out on top of a windswept hill st High Stenries. From here it was again NE passed Barnsgillhead and round the triangular forest at the top of the map to a NAM with no board (my fault, ran out of time) then down to the A7 at the Hollows, North up the A7 and back south on the yellow that runs parallel, east to Claygate and on the Prioryhill and Canonbie and north up the yellow towards The Hollows again the back south on the A7 to Canonbie then west along the B road to Evertown and a final run into TC7 through Glenzierfoot and back to the Robin Hood at Smithfield for the final results.

I hope those of you who took part enjoyed themselves the total mileage was just over 70miles and at no point were you ever more that 9 miles from where you started. It has been more than 25 years since I last put on a 12 Car and I had forgotten the difficulties and yet the great enjoyment there is an putting on such an event. I still have things to learn, I never had to deal with Route Liason Officers last time I was organiser but they are there to help us, I made things more difficult for myself be deciding to run north of the border, but it gave those who did compete a new challenge as few had ever driven those roads. Let alone on a rally.

As an organiser it was heartening to see 7 crews turn up, it would have been nicer to see 12. I tried to make the navigation simple enough for all without having novice and expert route cards. It can be done, even the experts thoroughly enjoyed the plotting hopefully more simple navigation will in time lead to more people having a go, and lets face it motorsport in general needs more people starting at the grassroots to perpetuate itself.

Results are as follows:

1 Tony Harrison/ Paul Allen                          1 Fail  5 Min

2 Barry Thomson/Jerry Hettrick                 2 Fail 21 Min

3 Alan & Robert Blake                                     3 Fail 13 Min

4 Barry Lindsay/Neil Thomlinson                5 Fail 13 Min

5 Keith Taylor/Caroline Lodge                      6 Fail 24 Min

Non Finishers

Dave Love/Phil Jobson                                   OTL at TC6

Andy Westgarth/Mike Saunders before      OTL at TC5

***October 12 Car***

Thursday 14th October

Map 85 & 86

Start 86 / 564618

7.30 for 8.01FC

For an Entry Contact:

Jerry Hettrick

07966 027364(m)


12 car events :

these are navigational events held on public roads at night – all above board and legal.

As the name suggests they are limited to 12 entries, and can be done in a standard road car, the only equipment required is a map, a pencil, a light  inside the car and a sense of humour.

The navigator has to solve clues which reveal the route and ‘navigate’ their driver to the designated place within a specified time.

These events are usually 50 -60 miles long and cost just £7 to enter.


Summer Autotest & BBQ

By Barry Lindsay

The third autotest of the year was held at Longpark Farm, with a large stubble field at our disposal. The problem was what do we do with such a large area?! With all ten tests set up on the Saturday afternoon, it would ensure non-stop action on the Sunday afternoon. With brilliant weather it was shades and suncream rather than wellies (well, except someone!). 10 competitors took part with 9 tests then a BBQ, then the final test.
Test one, Barry was quickest with 55 seconds followed by Neil Thomlinson on 57 seconds, then Geoffrey Harkness on 59 seconds. On the rerun of this test times tumbled as the stubble scrubbed off to the compact surface. Barry was quickest on 54 seconds, then Neil T. and Phil Jobson on 57 and Geoffrey on 58.

Test Three, Neil T. was quickest with 1m 08s, then Ian Robinson giving the “new” Skoda a thrashing on 1m 09s, along with Phil also on 1m 09s. Simon Jobson and Barry both got wrong directions getting 1m 33s. The re-run Barry started the fight back, quickest with 1m 06s. Phil matched his first run of 1m 09s, then Neil T. on 1m 10s, then John Ross on 1m 11s.

Continue reading

Spadeadam Summer Autotest & BBQ – Sunday 15th August

Sunday Afternoon Autotest

Followed by a BBQ  (if wanted).

Spectators and Friends all welcome for a get-together.

To be held at Longpark, Scaleby. Autotest starts 1 pm.

What is an Autotest?

The aim of these events is to negotiate a planned route around various obstacles (usually traffic cones).

Although the test is timed it is more a test of driving skill than speed. Continue reading

July Club Night Autotest

By Barry Lindsay

The July club night was an evening of autotesting at Longpark, Scaleby. Two tests were set up on the grass field to keep competitors busy with two runs at each. Tests 1 & 2 were marshalled by Michael. Jerry was quickest on the first test with 1m 38, Barry on 1m 41, Nigel on 1m 42 then John on 1m 45. Three crews got a wrong test, Christine, Simon B & Simon J. On the second run Jerry was fastest again with 1m 36, Barry on 1m 37, Simon B on 1m 41 then Neil on 1m 45. Wrong test for Lindsay.

Running at the same time crews tackled tests 3 & 4 which were ran by Caroline. Test 3 Barry was quickest with 55 seconds ahead of John on 56, Jerry on 58 then Geoffrey on 59. Wrong test for Simon J. Test 4 Barry again got 55, Jerry on 58, Simon B on 59 then Simon J & John on 1m. Wrong tests for Christine & Lindsay

Robert Harrison

Robert Harrison

Positions after test 4

1st Barry Lindsay                 5m 08

2nd Jerry Hettrick               5m 10

3rd John Ross                      5m 37

4th Neil Thomlinson          5m 39

5th Nigel Harkness             5m 40

6th Simon Jobson               5m 43

7th Simon Brockbank        6m11

8th Geoffrey Harkness      6m16

9th Robert Harrison          6m42

10th Lindsay Harrison       6m50

11th Christine Ross             6m51

Continue reading

The Countdown Rally 2010

Please Note: This event has been Cancelled.

Thanks to all those who volunteered to marshall. Hope to see you next year.

Event Regs are now available for the 2010 Countdown Navigational Rally.


Put the date of the 4th/5th of September 2010 in your diaries!

Marshals are wanted for the event – if you think you can help please contact

Barry Lindsay.

Photos from the 2009 event can be found HERE

**** The Countdown Navigational Rally, incorporating The Rocket Historic Road Rally & The LaunchPad 12 Car Rally. ****

Treasure Hunt (3rd of June 2010)

By Ian Robinson

June club night saw the clubs annual event, a short route with only 20 questions however this still proved for some a bit of a trial generating a few tribulations. The act of traveling the route twice in the allotted time allowance for some did little to improve ones results.

Six intrepid crews gathered at Laversdale for the 7-30 start or it may be said at the moment kick-off! (Bloomin’ football, I am sick of hearing about it, 100k a week, can’t dribble, head, or cross. I have seen better efforts on the local playing fields, send them all home!) Visiting Scaleby, Smithfield, Kirklinton, Hethersgill and three horse shoes en-route within the two hours allowed was the makings of a leisurely evenings drive. Continue reading

Carlisle Motor Factors Autotest 2010

The first autotest of the year was run on Tim Finch’s fields beside his house. This came about due to having to cancel the autotest at Longpark when the weather was still wet.

With two different test routes set up in two different fields it was a perfect venue. The ground had a slight slope away from the start / finish, the grass was still wet from the overnight rain which would hamper the early runners.

Days before the test the club acquired the second car for members to use / hire. The Diahatsu Charade was a good runner after a bit of work with Bits bought off Carlisle Motor Factors.

Test 1 Geoffrey was quickest with 1m 44, followed by Tim on 1m 48 then Peter on 1m 49, then Neil & Sarah T on 1m 51.

Test 2 was a re-run with some of the grass rolled down times were quicker. Neil was quickest with 1m 37, Sarah, Geoffrey, Barry & Peter all got 1m 39.

Test 3 In the other field and marshalled by Caroline. This test involved forward and reverse. Sarah was fastest with 1m 07 followed by Rob on 1m 09 the Emily on 1m 10 then Barry & Neil on 1m 14.

Test 4 was a re-run, proving that women are the fastest at reversing Sarah went fastest again with 1m 05 equal with Geoffrey. Emily also showed it was no flook with 1m 07 then John and Tim on 1m 10. Continue reading