By Barry Lindsay
After being announced ANECCC Champion and after the hard fought battle of 3 drivers all season I finally got my reward. The Jack Frost Stages were to be the SG Petch Prize drive and after a very interesting conversation was told it wouldn’t be the Evo that I had last year. So for 2016 I was to have the one that Steve Petch himself drove and had a more powerful engine, bigger brakes and a sequential gearbox. WOW that could take some driving I thought… Panic, for a minute. Then they agreed a test during the week before to get me comfortable with the car.
Testing.. Tuesday the week before. Teesside was the venue for the test 10am Myself, Dad & Caroline went over. Caroline was to miss the Jack frost for an important Rescue training course, so as 2nd placed Co-driver Caroline would get the honor of (have to put up with) quite a few laps of Teesside in the Evo with myself. I didn’t hear any complaints!
Seat fitting took a short while as ‘Short Arse’ wanted the seat forward, then up! Then to top it all when the seat was up & forward the seat belt had been trapped, so the seat was to slacken off again.
Once comfortable instructions were given on how to use the two levers in the middle. One goes back and forth. The other when you pull it the car goes round to face where you come from… Got that. Diff settings, Anti lag not allowed that (hmmm so they say) How to start it!
With Dad strapped in, so he can just see out, we ventured onto the track to warm it up and the tyres then 4 or 5 laps getting the hang of LHD.
Back in for a quick break and let them check some stuff then Caroline was strapped in. Another 4 or 5 laps and was getting the hang of it managing to get it drifting through a 90 left into 90 right over a crest.
Back into the service area Richie wanted us to go back out on new slicks and bed them in, they’ll be what you’re using on Sunday now that you’re up to speed in the car. I said I’d like to do some handbrake practice in the tight twisty go kart infield…Oh not with these.
So 4 steady laps later back in the pits they bolted the old tyres back on. Go and do your infield test! More play time… Handbrake and tight stuff was fun drifting round hairpins etc. but after a while it was time to call it a day before damage was done!.
The day… After an afternoon of snow the day before, getting to the rally looked like it could be fun but I was getting there whatever. Arriving at Croft for the meeting time, the car had been scrutineered so we went and signed on then had a quick look round bits of the track before getting ready. Tyres we had lots of options but settle for an Intermediate that would warm up quickly. First stage, surprised how much grip I had braking for the first two corners but then accelerating hard out of the third in front of the spectators the back came out to quick and we were facing the field a quick hard brake and spin it 360 and we were away now the tyres were warm! The rest of the stage was good, clear track no cars. Turned out to be third fastest only 5 seconds down and “ If Only… we hadn’t spun” Dad was impressed, shaking at the end but I’d been warned. Don’t get used with this.