Now an annual event on the Spadeadam Calendar is the NYE Autotest at Pirelli Carlisle. This year increased in popularity with 29 entries if everyone turned up. All of which had competed on SMC events during the year so popularity is increasing.
12 tests were planned during the day and two tests were set up side by side to get maximum runs done. Hampered slightly by an abandoned car meant out area was squashed slightly making tests tighter than planned.
Test one. Peter Wright was joint quickest with 40sec in his nimble mini ideally suited to the layout the same time as Chris Hunter in his MX5. Drew McLean was next on 41sec showing that rear wheel drive MX5’s can compete with mini’s on tight tests. Next was Barry Lindsay in the 106 with 42sec. Quickest Junior was Jamie Barnett using the club car on 49sec. Wrong tests for Mark S, Colin Trotter, Kieron Stynes.
Test two was the rerun. Chris was quickest with a 39sec. Peter matched his first time a 40sec then Phil Hodgson on 42sec then Drew and John Holiday on 43sec. Quickest Junior Jamie on 47sec. Wrong test for Mark, John Ross.
Grizedale-James Coxon navigated Mark Shaw to 14th OA 1st in class in their Talbot Sunbeam. Barry Lindsay & Caroline Lodge were 16th OA 2nd in class in the Peugeot 206. Rob Graham & Helen Harkness were 33rd OA 4th in class in the Mk1 Escort. Phil Jobson retired with gearbox problems in SS1. Darren Martin & Pete Johnson retired on SS4.
Xmas Stages– Barry Lindsay & Caroline Lodge finished 10th Overall (2nd in class) in the Peugeot 106. Barrie Thomson / Jerry Hettrick finished 20th Overall (12th in class) in an Evo. Nigel & Helen Harkness Retired on stage 3 with a blown engine. Darren Martin & Martin Steele also retired on the same stage with mechanical issues.
Only a week after Grizedale this year due to resurfacing on Croft the Christmas stages were brought forward (and the Jack Frost has moved back to February).
Several Spadeadam crews were at the event and as always, the weather added its Christmas sparkle, this year in the form of ‘Ice rain’ the day before. Getting to the event proved challenging with Stainmore closed some had to travel via Newcastle.
After a week of getting the 106 ready, by swapping dated items such as seats, belts, fire systems from the gravel 206 to the tarmac 106 Caroline & I were seeded at 12 out of the 90 crews tacking part. Barrie Thomson & Jerry Hettrick were at 29 in an Evo9. Nigel & Helen Harkness were at 82 in the Corsa followed by Darren Martin & Martin Steele at 90 in an Escort Cosworth. Continue reading →
Grizedale has been the final forest rally of the year for many a season for local drivers. A lot of memories amongst most drivers of the forest of 1000 corners. Caroline and I took part this year despite having already won the ANECCC championship of which this was the final round. Caroline’s local event from before she left her home town. Whilst I have memories from my first year in 1993 in a Sunbeam, then my first class win on a rally in 1998. Things have moved forward a lot in 20 years from when I competed in a Peugeot 205 1600, that year was extremely icy, and we finished 11th O/A.
Back to 2018, the top twenty were almost all 4×4’s and the weather wet. Phil Jobson & Mark Casey were seeded at 29 in ‘Snowy’ the Mk1 Escort after its summer break since the Pirelli while Phil took to tarmac events in his Mk2. Caroline & I were in the 206 seeded at 31. Darren Martin & Pete Johnson were back at 67 this time using a Mk2 Escort. Rob Graham & Helen Harkness were at 70 in the immaculate Mk1.
Following the ceremonial start in Coniston crews entered the forest half way down the water side. The stage then worked its way around in the forest heading south then north, west then east more north, then west. The result was a stage 17 miles in length and used most roads in the complex!
I was due to go across to the Isle of
Man in September to co-drive for my old friend David Mylchreest in his 1963 MG
B, unfortunately Rally Isle of Man had to be cancelled. We immediately
decided to enter the Pokerstars Rally which would run on the 9th and 10th of
November. Although it doesn’t really have a proper Historic class, we entered
anyway to compete in the same class as Classic Mk 1 and Mk 2 Escorts and an
Avenger Tiger. Reminds me of competing with Colin Rowntree on 12 cars in his
Tiger lookalike in the mid 1970s!
Having competed many times on the
Island with David, I was able to produce a set of descriptive pace notes for
the six separate stages, to use for the reconnaissance. With the information
supplied by the organisers I was also able to factor in the chicanes and
artificial tightened junctions, of which there were many.
Wednesday 7th I headed for Heysham and the 4 hour sail on the Benn-my-Cree. On
board I bumped into Stuart Egglestone and Brian Hodgson also going to the
rally, we had good crack going over and the journey really flew.
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 →
With the SG Petch Championship sown up the week before Caroline & myself were still to make the start of the Malton Rally. The car was prepared ready before Cheviot and the entry was in and paid weeks before. Malton stages despite being very similar each year I’m not really getting to know them. Only when were committed to a corner that I realize Oh its that bit! However, this year has pretty much been a year of concentrating on the notes and doing what I’m told.
Leaving Carlisle at 4am to head over to Thornton le dale for scrutineering at 7, drivers briefing at 8 then start the event just before 9.
With all the pre-event checks done. Our service crew Jonathan & Kenton doing chase with Michael in main service which would be visited 3 times at Addistone Field. Continue reading →
The October autotest was held at the Peth, nr Longtown, but this year, instead of the concrete of the main yard, we were in the lower yard on the gravel and mud. We had 15 starters, including 11 newcomers and 4 juniors.
Test 1: Helen (me) was fastest on 46 seconds, followed by three members all on 48 seconds – Nigel Harkness, newcomer Mike Burke who’d swapped the MX5 for a Yaris, and an excellent start by junior member, Martyn Petry.
Then we had newcomers Mark Salisbury, Carl Barnett, Rob Glendinning and junior Sam Trotter on 49 seconds. This might be a close-run day!
Test 2: A repeat of test one, and joint fastest time on this test went to Martyn Petry and Mike Burke with 46 seconds. Followed by Nigel and Helen on 47 seconds. Sam Trotter was hot on their heels with 48 seconds. Then the MX5s of Drew McLean and Phil Hodgson, and John Ross in the club car, all on 49 seconds. Continue reading →
This event had followed a summer break in the SG Petch ANECCC championship. Caroline and I had done the Pendragon a non-counting round to check the 106 was straight following its rejig after the last visit to Otterburn. So, with championship in mind I had worked out that between the next three rounds I needed an average finish on one, but Caroline needed two good scores if the opposition won his class on the remaining three. However, when I said to Caroline we need to finish this one she replied ‘yes but were still going to push on aren’t we!’ In my head I thought we might be 4th in class as it was a really strong class entry. Phil Jobson & Jerry Hettrick had entered in the tarmac Escort to see if the electrical problem was sorted before the bad weather sets in.
To the event the Saturday recce we altered more notes than normal adding bumps, holes and corners we could cut but the route was the same roads as Tyneside so majority of the opposition had done them in the summer. Continue reading →