Blue Streak Targa Rally – August 2018

By Jonathan Fowler / Ben White – Mk2 Escort

I first met Ben about 9 years ago when I was in the early days with CarSpeed Autoparts. He worked on repairing vans and over the years we have got to know each other and have become good friends. Latterly he works as a Plant Machinery mechanic specializing in electrics and has become well known for his modified Mk6 Transit which now appears with Carspeed at the Cumbria Auto show.

Being cockily confident (and I owed him a favour after he looked after the stand at the show) I thought he would do well navigating on the Blue Streak Targa rally, so I asked him if he was interested. He jumped at the chance, saying, “No probs, ah can do that, eeezzzee!

Roll on August, entry in, accepted, time is passing, and I keep saying,

We need to have a bit of a run out and practise

No probs, it’ll be eeezzzeee” “My side, your side, eeezzzeee” is the reply. Continue reading

Garage Woes – The White Heather Targa

By David Garstang

So what’s been happening in the garage you may be asking? Has the fiesta lost any weight? Is the car any shinier? Was the underside painted? Did it get serviced and the gear box oil checked? Was the puncture fixed? What progress on the Spitfire.

All good questions which I started to think about the week end before the White Heather Tests, so it was a case of prioritising the things to do. The weight loss programme has been put on hold as I think a layer of fat around me will keep me safe during the Beast from the East, should I  get stranded in a snow drift I will last better than a skinny person. Due to the cold it’s been too cold to paint the underside of the car I will perhaps now put this off until spring. I did manage to get the engine serviced and adjust the rear brakes, however the cold had affected the oil in the can that I was going to use as I was pouring it out it was coming out in globs of jelly like substance. I decided not to put it in the car until I had put the can of oil on the radiator in the house to warm through and become like normal oil again. I tried to disguise it with a tea towel but I was soon found out when the aroma of hot engine oil started to waft out of the kitchen. I then quickly put it in the engine and topped up the gearbox. So car serviced time to sort out the tyre which I dropped off at my local garage who kindly repaired it for me. So the Fiesta was now ready for the first event of the season only 7 days to wait and see if the snow will melt so that I could get the car out of hibernation and give it a test drive.No such luck due to the snow and work so it was a case of load it on to the trailer on Friday night the evening before the event start on Saturday and hope for the best. Continue reading

Garage Woes

By David Garstang

Well it’s getting to the time of year when the rally season starts for me, so I had better get my finger out and start going through the little fiesta in preparation for the first event in March, the White Heather run by Wigton Motor Club.

So during the winter months since the last event I have been mulling over how to make the car go faster and what jobs need doing before the first event of 2018. I have been looking at the power to weight ration of the Fiesta and looking to see where I can lose a few kilograms of weight from the car. I have found a source of carbon fibre bonnets, Perspex windows, fiberglass front wings and then generally stripping as much surplus weight and unnecessary gear out of the car. I then started to tot up the bill for all the light weight parts and stupidly left the sizeable estimate out on my desk. Where, the good lady of the house found it, and pointed out that she could make the car far lighter than what I was considering, and actually save me money. Mystified how SHE knew better than me I asked her to prove it. “Simple” she said “I will put you on a diet, I can get a good few stones of weight out of the car by making you lose weight, this will also mean we spend less money on food, therefore saving money every week”. Continue reading

Solway Classic & Targa 2017

By David Garstang

Sunday 15th October was forecast for Storm Ophelia to hit the UK, and it also happened to be Wigton Motor Club’s Solway Classic and Targa Rally based around Whitehaven and Maryport. Wigton MChad managed to gain a new test venue at the disused Alcan site just down the road from the rally start at Energus Lillyhall. This meant that they could put on indoor and outdoor tests as they had the use of the old factory buildings and grounds.

It was an early start so that I could get to scrutineering nice and early and then settle down and have a crack with the other competitors, a number of the quick crews were still in Mull as they had decided to do the new Mull event instead of the Solway, but not Andy Beaumont who finished and won outright the Mull event on the Friday and was also competing in the Solway looking to get the double. Spadeadam had a total of 4 crews out, Helen Harkness & Barry Lindsay in a Corsa, John Holliday & Allan Cathers in John’s immaculate Midget, Jonathan & Nicholas Fowler in their Mk2 Escort and myself and big brother Mk1 Fiesta.

The first test was at the start on a nice tarmac car park with a simple auto test set up the fastest time was Chris Hunter in his Mazda MX5 on 30 seconds, out of the Spadeadam crews Harkness/Lindsay did a 33, I managed 34, Holliday/Cathers 35 and Fowler/Fowler 38. Continue reading

The Northern Dales Classic Trophy 2017

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…

Continue reading

Lake District Classic Rally 2017

By David Garstang

Well after a disappointing retirement from the Berwick Rally due to a broken CV joint after about 2 hours on the second day of the event I was looking forward to a great day out in Cumbria.

My navigator decided to give this event a miss due to family commitments so I had to find another navigator, in stepped the WIFE, as Grandad was competing Granny was commandeered to look after Will our little boy (if you ask Will he was Granny siting) for the day and Heidi strapped herself into the navigator’s seat.

I believe that there were 5 other Spadeadam crews competing on the event, Murry/Ross in a Mini Cooper S, Holliday/Cathers in a MG Midget, Myself/Wife (Garstang/Garstang) in a Mk 1 Fiesta, Harkness/Lindsay in a Corsa, Fowler/Hamilton in a MK2 Escort and Graham/Sutton in a Ford Puma. If there were any other Spadeadam crews my apologies for not mentioning you.

Test 1 Truckstop

This is always a quick test on concrete usually 3 slalom’s through lines of wagons. Graham/Sutton set the pace on this one for the Spadeadam crews (which he continued to day for the whole day) with a time of 49 seconds just 1 second behind the fastest time of Beaumont/Fish (Sunbeam Rapier H120) 48 seconds. Followed by Garstang/Garstang on 53, Harkness/Lindsay & Fowler/Hamilton on 57, Murray/Ross on 61 and Holliday/Cathers on 86. Continue reading

Lake District Classic & Targa 2017

By Helen Harkness
(N.B. You might want to get a cuppa & a biscuit, I tend to waffle on a bit)

All ideas have to start somewhere, even the daft ones. This idea started on the Doonhamer targa rally last year. After a quick run through a test to check everything was in place, I thought to myself, “I’d quite like a go at this sort of thing for real.” I did happen to be sat next to Barry Lindsay at the time, so it was a very quick, and tidy run through! At that point I was thinking about doing a targa as a navigator, so later managed to persuade Kenton Pattison that it would be a good idea for us to do Hexham’s single venue targa together that November. It was really good fun and as you may remember from his report, not without excitement or incident, but there was still an idea in the back of my mind  that maybe, just maybe, I’d quite like to have a go as a…. driver!

Months  went  past,  and  I  had  another  brilliant  idea – to  get  Colin  the Corsa (the black one on the front of this newsletter) sorted and MOT’d, and it was at that point that the two ideas suddenly merged:

I would like  to do a targa rally in Colin, mwahahaha!  *insert flashes of lightning and the sound of rolling thunder*. Continue reading


By Kenton Pattison

After the #Saxobeast’s debut at the Peth, I wasn’t looking forward to the long wait till the New Year’s Eve autotest. When Barry Lindsay came up with the idea of doing the Northern Dales Classic Trophy event up at Weardale in mid November, it sounded perfect; single venue, 16 tests and you didn’t need a MOT or insurance, etc. Plus I was easily swayed by the fact that if I wasn’t competing, I’d have been marshaling – it’s warmer in a car. The week leading up to the event, all the weather forecasters were talking about was the snow, snow and more snow. Barry was also kind enough to offer the services of his trailer and Helen Harkness had agreed to navigate, so early Sunday morning, we set off up towards Alston hoping that we could get through all the snow drifts. In the end, there wasn’t a flake to be seen on the road and after a slight detour to the wrong quarry, we turned into the actual venue, a large disused cement works.

The first test of the day was scrutineering. As the Saxo didn’t actually have an MOT, I was a little worried that we’d fall at the first hurdle. So we pulled up with the passenger side window next to the scrutineer and asks “what the craic?”. He asked what car number we were, then walked round the back of the car to driver’s side window, and said go to signing on! Feeling hard done by that scrutineering wasn’t as stringent as we thought it should be, as he was walking away Helen felt the need to shout that we had a spill kit in the boot. However, I was hoping that it wouldn’t inspire him to be more thorough, so I headed off to signing on. We signed our lives away, picked up our number 13 sticker and the test diagrams. Continue reading

Solway Classic Rally 2014

By Richard Clark

With the start based at Rowrah Kart track, this rally whose slow pace, laid back scrutineering, and straightforward navigation made it more of a catch up with blasts from the past. This time we were competing in a 1964 Mini Cooper S, owned by Nigel Hepburn.

The first test on the kart track itself led to a half spin, but otherwise good. The second test in the pits posed no problems at all. The road sections used tulip diagrams and distances to junctions, not that hard, as it’s a mini, the mileage is easy to read thanks to the speedo being in the middle! On the road sections we also had to collect markers.

Next test we did, was at the motor bike track, slightly rough, but good all the same. Then it was on to the Lillyhall autotest, this was in the car park of Gen2. Most tests were similar to S.M.C. autotests.

We then headed to the quarry, this was a good test. A start half way up, then stop, then restart. Same on the way out.

It was more of a fun day, with lots of laughing and chatting, remembering rallies of by gone years (must have been all the old cars!).

Then on to a more tests in various car parks, and lunch stop back at Gen2.

We then repeated that test, with more laughing and yes, me being sick!

All in all, a very good day, and looking forward to the next outing!

(Looking forward to the Blue Streak!)

Richard Clark