Wheels Magazine April 2001
Good job this publication doesn't go out every week. There'd be nothing to put in it. Motorsport grinds to a halt! There's going to be a lot of well fettled vehicles out there when it all recommences. That reminds me - must get Heepy washed!
Thanks, as always, to my regular contributors. Where would we be without you (reading more of Howie's waffle - that's what). There's a belated item from Tim Rodgers which missed the last deadline and a couple of gems from roving reporter Petchy - miss them and weep!
Speaking of which, I just must tell you one little story from my recent skiing holiday in Italy. I arrived in the resort of Sagnalonga (Max? - some of the older member's may get that one, eh Andy) at about 8.15 on the Sunday night, on the back of a skidoo. During the weekend, Mother Nature had dumped around a metre of snow in the area (Claviere, Sansicario, Sestriere and Sauze D'Oulx). There's a bubblelift over the top of the mountain that connects 3 of the ski areas called 'The Milky Way'. On the Monday the lift was closed, the official reason being a high avalanche risk. On the Wednesday we found out the real reason it was closed - they couldn't find it under the snow! During the week we could hear the French dynamiting their potential avalanches just over the border. The Italians don't do that, they have a different system altogether. They send a bloke up to the risk area with a shovel and he cuts out an inverted 'V' in the snow to check the different layers to see what they're going to do. What kind of a bloody job is that then! Akin to the life span of a bomb disposal soldier during the war (ask Potts about that).
Yes, yes, I know, this is a motor-sport mag. I'm getting on with it.
STOP PRESS. 6th April. The MSA announced that they will now be issuing permits for autotests on sealed surfaces on urban sites. Good news seeing as two ANCC events have already been lost due to the foot and mouth crisis. The following day Dave Mosey kindly rang to tell me Bolton le Moors had a set of regs on their website for the next event on 22 April. At the time of going to press I'm not sure what's happening with the next Larkspeed round, YSCC's autotest on 29 April.
What a way to start this copy of wheels. However this is the most important topic at the moment as the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease has taken a large toll on all motor sports events. The only events that have been allowed to take place are the major championships like the Touring Cars, the Power Sport series and the Formula 3000 races. Only now has the MSA taken steps to reintroduce some forms of motor sport back into the calendar. Autotests are now allowed providing that they take place on sealed surfaces in urban areas. This is fine as most events actually take place in urban areas on car parks where sheep and cattle do not usually graze. What it does not take into account of is that competitors may come from an infected area and inadvertently pass the disease on to another competitor who may park his car/trailer on farmland. The government have recently been trying to promote tourism back into the countryside as many tourist related industries have been hit hard by the crisis. The crisis has also hit many of the clubs who have put in a lot of time and effort to promote their events only to have the wool (no pun intended) pulled from under their feet. This has also affected those who provide medical and rescue support to events. I was talking to Dave Tattersfield from Pennine Rescue recently and he is affected by the cancellation of all the events. They have recently upgraded one of their units at a cost of £10k and need the income to service the unit and keep it fully functional.
Which brings me on to the Armstrong Massey Rally. At the time of writing this article it is increasingly unlikely that the Armstrong Massey Rally will be running this year because of the foot and mouth crisis. If by some strange miracle the MOD allows us to use Leconfield as a single venue event, then all the stops will be pulled out to run the event. However the authority finally has to be made at Whitehall and they are taking an extremely cautious attitude at the present time.
As a further result of the foot and mouth crisis, the final two 12 cars of the 2000/2001 season also had to be abandoned with the consequence that not everybody has had a fair chance to meet all the requirements of the championship. It is therefore proposed that the first two events of the 2001/2002 season are organised by the those concerned with the results from those events counting towards both the 2000/2001 and 2001/2002 championships. If anyone has any views on this or can offer an alternative way to making the results of the championships fairer, please discuss this with Matthew Atkinson, Ian Gibbins or myself.
The fact that the Westwood was out of bounds failed to prevent Ian Gibbins and myself organising the Easter Extravaganza at the Beverley Leisure Centre. 11 competitors entered the event with Matthew Atkinson eventually proving that he can play hockey, use children's catching toys, balance a ball on a wooden spoon, wang a welly and throw fan belts over cones form 5 paces.
Is he upset? No Howard SHE isn't.
Has HE a complex? NO Howard she hasn't. Howard at this time realised that in the gloom, Matthew and Andrea's' second child was in fact a girl. (told you I'd get you back. Howie).
Matthew Blood organised a word search which must be a first for a Thursday night event. (the word search that is!!) Many moons ago these appeared in issues of Wheels sometimes with cash prizes. (2 groats for the 1st overall)
Mike Petch organised the Dog and Duck rallysprint with a rearranged Scalextric evening. By all events this sounded exciting and a report of the night activities can be found in the magazine.
Howard got everyone's brain cells working on the 1st March with a quiz for teams of two. By the results, not everyone entered into the spirit of things with results ranging from 0 to 87 points.
Matthew got 3 people to use one map to obtain a result for the Table top held on 29th March with Mike Petch coming home 1st ahead of Tim Rodgers and Andy Beaumont.
Films organised by Tim Rodgers.
Note this is a change of date.
The Piston Broke Treasure Hunt organised by Matthew Atkinson
Note this is a change of date.
Quiz organised by Tim Rodgers
Note this is a change of organiser.
Granddad Night organised by Ian 'Dad' Gibbins
Quiz organised by Geoff I'll check my shift patterns' Allison
Note this is a change of organiser.
Treasure Hunt organised by Graeme Potter.
This will be a walking treasure hunt starting at 7:00 from the Duke of Cumberland in Cottingham. Don't forget your Brollies!!.
Gymkhana organised by Ian Gibbins.
Pit Stop organised by Andy Beaumont.
In the Thursday Night Championships, Tim Rodgers is leading the way with Mike Petch some 18 points adrift. Howard Everingham Matthew Atkinson and Andy Beaumont are on 24; 23 and 22 points respectively. Looking at the graph, only 15 members have scored points in the championship out of a possible 25 membership applications. This goes to show that a hard-core of members attend the meetings and activities on a Thursday night.
That's all for this edition of Wheels.
If any of you have any items that you want putting in the magazine pass them to Howard or send them to me.
Fuels Rush In
Sunday 11 February
North Humberside only run their autotests from November to February and we often comment on how lucky we are to get so many cold, but bright days to compete on. Oh how we made up for it this time!
The day dawned cold, very wet and it didn't stop raining all day. I had to endure these conditions longer than the other competitors as I arrived early in order to run Heepy's new 1300cc engine in. My troubles started as I drove off the trailer. The engine sounded very rough and reluctant to run, eventually cutting out. I'd had it running quite a long time the day before trying to bed everything in. A peer into the fuel tank solved the problem - bone dry. Little did I know of more problems to come.
Robert Newlove had already set up the test area, but gave me permission to run Heepy up and down it - practising is usually strictly forbidden. The first thing that hit me was the power and speed of the new motor - it was awesome! The last time it'd been used in anger was about 18 years ago in the then current road rally Heepy complete with twin fuel tanks, a heavy, but effective roll cage and a not too dainty Oggy on the maps. The difference a lightweight shell made was absolutely mind - blowing. And I was trying to take it easy!
The rest of the usual crew rolled up during my running in period, John Taylor and Dave Short with their now fixed gearbox, Roy Heath, Rob White and Steve Young without his son on this occasion. There were some calls of 'practising' from the crowd, but Robert soon shut them up. I let Roy have a run to see what it was like having his head snapped back as he took off!
Not content with the sound of the engine, I decided to have a play with the timing. After slackening off the bolts, the dizzy was turned one way then the other 'til I was happy with the sound. Crude I know, but it worked a treat. The thing went even quicker!
Despite keeping the revs down, the three runs of the first test still gave me fastest time on them all. John was unlucky enough to suffer a 10 second penalty on the first one which set him back straight away. Shorty was next quickest over the three tests 4.2 seconds adrift, with Roy keeping him honest only another 2.2 back.
We were having fun, despite the constant rain, as we walked and learned the next test. For the first two runs I managed fastest again, with the nearest being an on form Shorty who got within 3 tenths during his second run. Then, on my third attempt, disaster! Halfway round the test the engine suddenly died. A stab at the starter button coaxed it back into life only for it to die again a little further round. This repeated itself for the rest of the test, but I eventually limped it over the line, avoiding the dreaded washout. It still cost me 22 seconds on my previous best time though and Shorty was still flying! He now led 3.1 seconds ahead of Roy with John third, not having made up his 10 second penalty yet.
Back in the paddock there were two furrowed brows as Roy and I pondered the problem. Roy suggested it was possibly a loose electrical connection from when we fitted the new engine. All the ones in the engine compartment were checked, but nothing seemed to be amiss. The fuel tank was topped up, we drove it around and everything seemed okay. I wasn't happy though, I never am if I can't find a definite fault. So we had lunch. Mr Reader had kindly opened up one of the huge truck storage buildings so we could eat under cover. The topic of conversation during lunch was the new 'Blue Book' ruling that we must now have, 'a bonnet or casing of metal or solid non-flammable material covering and surrounding the main engine structure.' Dave Cogan kindly brought this to our attention and many ways of conforming with the rule were discussed whilst pluffing crumbs around the garage.
A visit from a spectating Alex Grundy brightened our day up. He wasn't really prepared for the lousy weather though and had to borrow my brolly.
Lunch over and back out in the still pouring rain, John seemed keen to get back into contention and pulled onto the line ahead of me for the next run of three tests. I sat watching him cross the finish line and prepared to go. A slight change in the engine note suddenly caught my attention and I hung back for another second. Sure as eggs the engine died. That's the closest I've been to avoiding another washout. Heepy was duly wheeled back to the paddock where Roy began removing one of the dashboard panels to check more wiring. He commented on how strange it was to cut out on the line whilst stationary. Still not convinced it was an electrical problem, I decided to take a peek in the carby float chamber. Bone dry! Bugger! Immediate thoughts were the mechanical fuel pump, but a quick spin of the engine had petrol spurting out the end of the pipe. attention then switched to dismantling the float chamber valve. As the needle was pulled out, a speck of dirt fell out onto the piece of paper roll laid out. That had been jamming the valve shut preventing fuel from getting through.
Feeling relieved to have sorted the problem I set about trying to catch up with the rest of the field. Shorty was having none of it though. He set the next three fastest times and everyone held station, not helped by a slight indiscretion on my part and dropping 2.5 seconds on my second run. Still twenty seconds behind Shorty was going to be a tall order with a diminishing number of test left in which to do it.
Some aggressive driving on the next three tests saw John finally pull ahead of Roy despite the latter putting in a storming time on his second run. Still languishing in fourth I was now 17 seconds off Shorty's lead, but with only 6 tests to go, something approaching a miracle was needed.
Test 13 didn't do me any favours along with the still persisting rain (cleaned that one up a bit!) A time 7.6 seconds off Shorty's made me think a hot bath, a nice tea with a bottle of home made wine seemed very inviting. Roy had also gone off the boil, allowing me to sneak through into third at last. But now I was back to being 22 seconds away from what seemed an impossible FTD. And Shorty was still flying!
The last test was set up and we walked it in preparation for the final three runs. Roy and I were learning it together and sharing ideas, as do John and Shorty. For some reason however, Shorty was walking it on his own. We noticed he'd walked across a line forward instead of backwards. The test diagram was checked, yep, he'd definitely got it wrong. Some banter was then exchanged across the test site with Shorty who, after waving some fingers at us, came back to the offending 'gate' and crossed it correctly amid a shower of friendly abuse from Roy and me. What Shorty didn't do was walk the rest of the test after the gate.
Whether it was the thought of going home and getting warm and dry or just the best test of the day to drive, but I managed to put in a time 11.7 seconds quicker than John. As we stood watching Shorty's run, we all noticed he crossed the line correctly that he'd got wrong on his practice walk, but then went the wrong side of the next cone following it. That was the bit he hadn't walked. He broke the unwritten rule of autotesting, if you make a mistake walking the test, do it all again. The washout penalty of 30 seconds was, just to add insult to injury, added to the fastest time for that test - mine. To say he was mad would be an understatement! The last two runs were academic The miracle had happened, much to my amazement. I stole FTD by 13 seconds from John who only just pipped Shorty by one second with Roy fourth after a sluggish finish.
Final results were:
Howie 678 seconds
John Taylor 691
Dave Short 692
Roy Heath 710
Rob White 751
Steve Young 788
Robert Newlove puts this event on close to the first Larkspeed Autotest event to hone up our skills in preparation for it. Even he would be surprised how much it would help!
'I'd been masticating for half an hour'.
Tim Rodgers waiting for Gibby to bring him some chips.
'You're supposed to catch it in your mouth.'
Danny Robinson after he threw a peanut to Jenny.
'It's not that big!'
Jenny, failing to catch a peanut in her mouth. Why is Danny tiling her kitchen?
'And those two couldn't drive a nail into a piece of wood.'
Martin Brundle describing the only two drivers behind Jensen Button after the Brazilian GP qualifying session.
Saturday 17th February 2001
Myself (Tim) & Andy Beaumont decided to put a last minute entry in for the Durham Dales Navigation Road Rally. I then thought better of the idea and tried to press-gang another navigator for Andy so I could do the event with Matt, as neither myself or Matt have done an event since Beaver 1999. We're hoping to do several rounds of the ANCC series and are in need of some practice!
With everything being a bit last minute it ended up hard to find someone to sit in with Andy so we reverted back to the original plan.
We got the Final instructions faxed through to us on the Friday afternoon and were amazed to find that there were only 20 entries, we required 3 maps for a 100 mile route, and that the first car was due to start at 18.30! Of the 20 crews more than half were Historics so Andy was a bit upset that we were out in the Proton, the Escort being away for major mods….
We made a makeshift plotting light and wired in the Poti before a mad afternoon dash up the A1 to the start at Oakley Service Station in West Auckland (nowhere near Bishop Auckland according to Andy!). We were greeted by a small Mitsubishi Dealer on the outskirts of the town which had a showroom only big enough for 4 cars, one of which was an Evo6 Tommi Makinen. Oh how I was moist!!!
Scrutineering was interesting and noise was done by listening to the cars as they arrived! A quick check of the lights and then the most important item, did we have a warning triangle or not! They didn't bat an eyelid when a multi-coloured Saab or a Big Winged Mk1 Escort pulled up! How bizarre.
We only received our time card and paperwork about 2 minutes before the first car was away and the drivers briefing was just idle banter between the crews. Several brown envelopes were issued at the start, these contained the route and each had to be produced unopened at the relevant control to get a tick in the 'unopened' column on our time cards. Very trusting!
We set off as car 19 at 18.47 (earlier than our 12 Cars!) the first section being roughly 10 miles which seemed to be the norm for the rest of the evening. This was just spot heights and were all in the first 3 miles bar the last two which took a bit of locating. We came across our first Route Check (the usual number plate type) which was obstructed somewhat by an overhanging bush, the next half way round a very tight hairpin bend followed by one hidden about 20 foot off the road in a lay-by on the drivers side! What the f*** was all this about then? This continued to be the order of the night with us both looking in hedgerows, lay-bys and up in the trees! (so that's what the banana's were for - Ed.)
I was finally SICK after about 23 miles - not bad for me. We dropped a little time in the third section as Andy was feeling a little conscious of my illness. It was a shame really because the roads were fantastic, despite being a bit icy in places, with some great 'fresh air' hairpins.
We dropped a little more time on the second time card through a combination of Andy's steady driving to fit around my illness, looking for the hidden Route Checks and the ice on the down hill hairpins (Andy can tell you a couple of stories!). Also the last section dropped off the bottom of the map so the photocopy handed to us at the start to show where the finish was had to be hastily retrieved and used to plot the route!
We finally finished at about 22.30 and made our way back to the pub for some soup and a roll. We had to wait until midnight for the results and finally left at 00.30 with the organisers arguing over who gets what trophy!
We finished 5th overall with 53 minutes of penalties (30 for missing two route checks).
A rapid race back to Hull down the A1 with a couple of stops for a nap saw us back in our beds by 03.00 (that's usually petrol at half way!).
A rather surreal night we both agreed!
Thanks to Matt & Danny for the loan of their navigational equipment.
I Don't Believe You Wanted To Do That!
Sunday 25 February
Drifting aimlessly around Leeds looking for the Elland Road football ground. It must be Sporting Escort Owner's Club Larkspeed autotest! Why do I get lost every year? Is it my abhorrence of ball sports (some excepted!), or just the directions they issue every year - there was a mention of the M61 which is somewhere over in Lancashire isn't it?
Anyway, I'd already visited one football ground in Leeds and some very large men gave me directions, by which time the 08.30 opening time for scrutineering had long passed. Plodding down a dual carriageway, I was suddenly aware of another car to my right. Looking over I recognised the smiling driver as Lorraine Leeming, a real angel in disguise. Acknowledging my wave she suddenly took off! There then followed a maniacal chase through the back streets of Leeds with Heepy bobbing along behind. He seemed to be enjoying it judging by his smile in my rear view mirror - should I get out more? Should I go back and offer to pay for all the door mirrors?
I barely had time to thank Lorraine as we arrived at a very busy venue. The change of class meant that I'd now be the last to run, but the tests still needed to be learned. On the way out from home I'd followed a gritting lorry, testament to the conditions of the previous night - snow followed by a big freeze. A minor six wheel drift through the Raywell complex convinced me to stay behind the gritter! The venue wasn't much better. Most of the tests were covered in thick ice or snow and the low winter sun wouldn't get high enough to clear the nearby buildings to melt it. The Goodyear G800's had been loaded, but I wasn't sure if they were the best way to go. Tyre choice had never arisen in autotesting before. The urgency was to walk the three test sites, so the re-cut A008 Yoko's were left on for the time being. A passing Rob White said he didn't think chunkies would make any difference anyway.
Despite the test diagrams being an exact copy of last year's, they were using a different car park so new tactics had to be planned for each test, mostly to avoid the large cracks and holes in the concrete. Being late, there wasn't a lot of time for that, and standing up on them wasn't exactly easy. Watching the first three classes negotiate the tests pointed out where caution was needed. After what seemed an age it was time to put the pedal to the metal - or not, as the conditions decreed. Test one was half in the sun and just wet, with the other half sheet ice. Mike Staves in his Nova 1300 took fastest time with an on form Shorty 2nd. I'd watch many competitor's slide past a forward to reverse 'gate' on the ice and promised myself I wasn't going to repeat their mistake. Oh how wrong!
I handbraked very early, selected reverse and had the front wheels spinning backwards as I watched the gate sliding past behind me. The nearside door mirror was required to just sneak across the line without hitting the cone. My 7th quickest time didn't bode well for the rest of the day. Nor did my visit to the other two test sites. Not even in the top 6, and Shorty was still tiptoeing around and getting good times.
Penalties were coming thick and fast. It was so easy to slide into a cone or get three wheels over a line. With 33 entries there was a lot of time to think strategy in between runs. Mine was to fit the G800's. They'd always been a godsend in my road rallying days when the ground was white. Despite their high profile and Heepy's lowered suspension, they did fit. Time to tackle the second of three runs at these tests. I was surprised at how much grip they gave on the clean parts of the tests. However, to my horror my times were slower on two out of the three tests! It seems the ice had polished up to give everyone a slower run. Didn't make me feel much better though. As I watched everyone else, they all looked much smoother and quicker than me. Panic set in - there were Larkspeed points at stake here and my lone entry against those of other clubs made me feel even more vulnerable.
One thing I don't do at events is to check the scores through the day. My fellow competitor's know why and occasionally wind me up by telling me how well I'm doing. This sometimes has the desired effect of forcing a mistake out of me, so I try to avoid knowing how I'm doing and just concentrate on driving my best. Had I bothered to check the positions I would've learned that I was 3rd overall after two runs and even popped in a fastest time for test 9 before we adjourned for lunch.
Lunch in the winter sun was very pleasant, but still the tests were mostly in the shade. Tyre choice and relevant pressures dominated the conversation over lunch. Soon it was time to learn a new set of tests. I'd been looking forward to the next lot as they were much more technical than the first. I remembered John Taylor stopping on one of them in 2000 to have a think and hoped I'd make up some time on everyone else. Wrong!
The first one was going very well until a long and fast reverse across a line. Flat out in reverse, which must be approaching 30 mph, I switched from looking over my right shoulder to my left, with disastrous results. The front end suddenly got a wag on which left me almost parallel to the gate. The resultant 'shuffle' cost me around 10 seconds and didn't improve my temper!
It was about this point that Ilkley's Richard Wood began popping his head into the car to ask how I was doing - not good timing on his part! I exchanged pleasantries as much as my mood would allow, but he must've mistaken this as a more friendly gesture.
My sudden run of bad luck persisted on the next test, line marshal Emma Cunningham gave me a 10 second penalty for a line indiscretion to further blacken my day. I redeemed myself somewhat on the third test with a fastest time, but Shorty was still there plodding away. By this time I was up to 2nd overall, some 9 seconds down on Shorty with John Taylor waiting in the wings another 16 adrift. I still thought I was somewhere near the back!
Well into the afternoon by this time, I was keeping an eye on the ambient temperature along with the state of the tests. The second test site, which never seemed to get any sun all day, suddenly appeared clear of snow and ice. A quick check of the other two confirmed that the temperature had certainly risen by a few degree's and everything began to look different. I made a snap decision to switch back to the cut Yoko's as there was a lot of grip to be had out there. My actions didn't go unnoticed. It was like a flurry of F1 pit stops, all trying to outdo each other! Before I'd even got Heepy jacked up, Shorty and John were scurrying around digging out their Yoko's - and grinning across at me. No advantage there then.
I was determined not to repeat my mistake on the first test when Heepy got away from me. The second manoeuvre on this one was reversing parallel to a gate at speed, dipping the back wheels over the line whilst swinging the front end round, grabbing first and driving off again, all without the car actually stopping. It felt like a good test 'til I got to the finish and the marshal marked a 10 second penalty on my card. Seems I'd only got one wheel instead of two over the 'dipping' line. My skin was starting to turn green and suddenly my shirt was too small!
I joined the queue for the next test which gave me time to ponder that last mistake. A face appeared to my right - Richard Wood. His words are blurred now, but they followed the lines of, 'I don't believe you wanted to do that.' He's an okay guy is Richard, but his blow by blow account of how far off the line I was on the last test didn't go down well. I remained as polite as possible under the circumstances and moved on as soon as the cars in front would allow.
Keeping an eye on Emma Cunningham and my lines, I popped in a fastest time on the next test which made me feel only marginally better. The third test was two parallel lines of 4 gates and just needed to be crossed alternately. My first attempt had been quickest, my second one was not! Halfway through it the throttle began to jam open. The thought of revving a brand new engine up to about 6,000 revs or more filled me with concern. Trying to deal with this and finish the test, I was suddenly aware of being in the wrong gate. Hoping that BTRDA rules were applying I retraced my route back to the gate I should've been in and finished the test, albeit with a stall on the way, thanks to the recalcitrant throttle. That little episode cost me another 10 seconds. A happy bunny I was not! Meanwhile Shorty was still plodding on. Happily though, no other competitor was doing consistently well.
I spoke to Dave Sowman who was driving one of the 3 Specials on the day and he told me he had 120 seconds of penalties so far - wow! No, it didn't make me feel any better.
The big entry gave me some much needed time to effect a solution to the jamming throttle problem. A small spring was employed to stop the spindle from sliding across on full opening which was causing it to jam.
The next three runs passed without incident apart from Richard sticking his head in the car again to ask how it was going. Selecting first gear and roaring off probably wasn't the most social thing for me to do. I really must apologise to him next time.
As is becoming usual practice now, SEOC decided to run the last three tests one more time rather than set up new ones, with time running short. The first one being a bit messy for me along with a piece of carpet, used to dry our shoes, coming adrift from the inner wheel arch and getting tangle up in my feet! The better grip was now coming in and almost caught me out. A 360° manoeuvre round the last cone on the last test saw Heepy suddenly tighten his turn. I was looking at the cone and at one point swear the base of it must've been under the car. The marshal said it was the closest he's seen anyone get to a cone without actually hitting it. The extra grip we were getting allowed many of us to pull some time on Shorty, but all too late.
A long wait for the manually produced results allowed much speculation to buzz round the waiting competitors. I was a little surprised when Shorty told us he thought he'd got FTD, but then he'd gone all day without any penalties which fits my philosophy of a clean run always giving a good result.
Sure enough, when the results were finally declared, Shorty took the well deserved win. He's never won a big event before and his face was a picture - he was on cloud 9! While the rest of us had been throwing everything at the tests to get quick times, Shorty had just been steadily plodding cleanly round. My 2nd overall and first in class, 11.5 seconds behind, was a surprise and relief to me, but I lost valuable points in the Larkspeed and ANCC championships due to Shorty being in the same class. John Taylor was a somewhat distant 3rd 26 seconds further back, but still in there to steal more Larkspeed points for NHMC. My old pal Dave Goodlad picked up the award for the 1100cc Mini saloon class, Andrew Varley took his in the larger front wheel drive class and unsurprisingly Chris Leeming took the class C award. I can't say I enjoyed the day, it was rather bizarre with the prevailing conditions, but glad to come out of it reasonably well.
Monday 26th February 2001
Organised by Carl Briggs
Starting at the side of the A1079 beyond Barmby Moor, Carl had put on a great route taking us well into Map 100. Matthew and I set off at Car 1 in the recently acquired Renault Scenic FPV (Family Picnic Vehicle). Behind us at car 2 were Gavin and Mike in the Peugeot 205 GTI. Matthew quickly plotted from the start, allowing us to get straight off into the first section. We were surprised not to get caught by Gavin, as great care had to be taken due to the handling characteristics of the new vehicle.
Matthew was nearly falling out of the seat on most corners, being unable to brace his feet while sat up so high.
We were eventually caught near Barton-le-Willows as we slowed to check that we were correct, no code boards for ages being worrying as we weren't 100% sure. Gavin and Mike were in a similar predicament as they declined my offer to let them pass on the way to the manned level crossing competitively towards Kirkham. A good job only 5 crews had entered as the poor man had to keep opening and closing the gates.
Onto the A64 south, we quickly realised we were wrong and 'U' turned back to a missed slot. We saw Gavin and Mike keep going so quickly re-checked the route and carried on, well towards Yearsley Moor before heading back and down to Castle Howard, cleaning the section by nearly 10 minutes. In fact we arrived just as Carl was putting the boards up. We waited for our time and set off, nobody else having arrived yet. We only just cleaned the next 4 minute section, struggling to cross the A64 between the trucks, then a quick run to the finish at North Grimston. As Gavin and Mike had gone wrong, second spot went to Tim Rodgers and Matt Blood, Matt now moving up to the Semi-Expert class. Pete and Sam Bennett were third ahead of Gavin and Mike, with Andy and Danny retiring due to ill health.
Unfortunately, due to Foot and Mouth, this may well have been the final round this year. By the time we can run any more, the next season will be starting.
Next year, let's have a bit more support for people's hard work when putting events on.
DRIVER NAVIGATOR CLASS SCORE OVERALL CLASS
Mike Petch Matthew Atkinson Expert Clean 1 1
Tim Rodgers Matt Blood Novice 9 mins 2 1
Pete Bennett Sam Bennett Novice 11 mins 3 2
Gav Smith Mike Ogram Expert 13 mins 4 2
Andy Beaumont Danny Robinson Novice Retired 5 3
AREN'T THEY GREAT
Aren't parking bays great. With just a little effort you can fill at least two of them with one car (especially if you handbrake into it! - Ed.).
22nd March 2001
With Foot and Mouth disease spreading across the country and severely affecting the running of Motor Sport events, as well as being inconvenient to a number of animals and farmers, the 12 Car Rally scheduled to run on March 22nd had to be postponed due to the MSA not issuing any permits.
It was also interesting to note that yet another airfield venue may be potentially lost to Motor Sport as it is being dug up to house the more severely affected animals. Fortunately, as this is in Cumbria, it should not affect the Armstrong Massey Stages Rally, which is due to run in July.
As an alternative it was decided to run a Rallysprint event on a closed circuit at the Dog and Duck in Walkington, so as not to spread any further germs across the countryside.
The practice session allowed all the entries to try a selection of vehicles over a compact twisty circuit, the favourite choices being the Toyota Corolla WRC and Subaru Imprezza WRC, which was actually an ex-Colin McRae vehicle that had been rebuilt in compact form. Two drivers only opted for the ex-Touring Car Laguna, bargaining on its race-bred handling being superior to the Rally Cars over the tarmac circuit, none choosing the beautiful nostalgia of the ageing Audi Quattro's. Shame! I'm sure if Andy Beaumont had entered he would have chosen a vintage model.
Qualifying was to be held over two sessions, each allowing three timed laps. This was to determine the events seeding, top seeds to compete against the lower seeds in the first heats, held in a 'Super Special' style head to head format.
The first qualifying session saw Phil Burton first away clocking in at 25 seconds over the three laps in his own Toyota Corolla WRC, one of only two drivers using their own vehicles. Mike Petch in his Subaru Imprezza and Matt Blood in another Corolla WRC both took a huge five seconds off that time. Next away, Tim Rodgers, 22 seconds and Howard Everingham on 21, both using Corolla WRC's, this proving to be the most popular choice of vehicle. The two drivers opting for the Laguna Touring Car failing to keep pace with the Rally Cars, Ian Kirk turning in a slow 26 seconds, only just behind Steve Cooper on 25 seconds (some people just can't drive a Laguna quickly enough!!!). Paul Hutchings was a non-starter, being unable to choose a car he liked, and a final late entry saw Ian Gibbins turn in a careful run at 25 seconds, borrowing Mike Petch's Subaru Imprezza WRC.
After a quick break where most competitors opted to dine on Howard's nuts, Qualifying Session 2 began with a poor run by Phil Burton, unfortunately managing to put his Corolla on its roof in the first lap, but pulling back plenty of time in laps 2 and 3. Second away was Mike Petch, having adjusted the suspension settings on his Subaru during the break put in a very quick run on 17 seconds closely followed by Matt Blood's Corolla WRC on a very respectable 19 seconds. Tim Rodgers effectively aborted his second run after numerous excursions from the circuit and the only driver left who actually improved on his first run, was Steve Cooper, slicing a second off his previous time at the controls of his ex-Alain Menu Laguna Touring Car.
SEEDING FASTEST TIME
Mike Petch Subaru Imprezza WRC 1 17 seconds
Matt Blood Toyota Corolla WRC 2 19 seconds
Howard Everingham Toyota Corolla WRC 3 21 seconds
Tim Rodgers Toyota Corolla WRC 4 22 seconds
Steve Cooper Renault Laguna 5 24 seconds
Phil Burton Toyota Corolla WRC 6 25 seconds
Ian Gibbins Subaru Imprezza WRC 7 25 seconds
Ian Kirk Renault Laguna 8 26 seconds
Mike Petch easily beat Ian Kirk, who had dropped the Laguna in favour of a Toyota Corolla after a poor qualifying session, feeling that the Toyota would be more competitive. The Subaru Imprezza WRC of Mike Petch not missing a beat over 6 laps of the dry circuit. The drivers had been hoping for a dry run, unlike the spectators who had been hoping it would be more wet producing more electrifying action.
Matt Blood was next up against Ian Gibbins, Matt this time opting for the Subaru, despite qualifying well in the Toyota Corolla, whilst Ian had to swap from the Subaru into a Toyota for his run at the circuit. Matt easily taking his place in the Semi-finals.
The Subaru of Howard Everingham alongside Phil Burton's Toyota put on a close fought heat, with Howard coming home ahead.
The final heat saw Steve Cooper keeping faith with his Laguna Touring Car (I bet he would have been even quicker with an estate car), but still being beaten after a storming run by Tim Rodgers, firmly putting his Subaru Imprezza into the last remaining place in the Semi-finals.
The first 8 lap Semi-final saw Mike Petch lining up in his Subaru Imprezza WRC next to Tim Rodgers' Toyota Corolla WRC. The start was delayed as a protest was put in by Tim Rodgers questioning the legality of the Subaru alongside him. This may well have had some validity as Mike Petch very quickly agreed to change his car, bringing out the spare Corolla WRC instead. Mike still went on to win anyway (did anyone doubt it? - Ed.), thus securing his place in the 10 lap 'A' Final.
The second Semi-final was another all Toyota affair, as the organisers had decided to impound the Subaru in Parc Ferme to be inspected after the event. This left a possible exclusion hanging over Mike Petch should it prove to be illegal. Matt Blood was pitched against Howard Everingham with both Toyota's fighting a close race, Matt taking the win and his place in the 'A' Final.
The 'B' Final for third and fourth places saw Howard Everingham edge out Tim Rodgers into 4th, leaving just Mike Petch and Matt Blood to fight it out for final glory.
In the 'A' Final, a long close race saw Mike Petch emerge the victor, but a further protest from Tim Rodgers (he never stopped wittering all night! - Ed.) made the results provisional, subject to investigation. Apparently the track conditions were suggested as being in favour of Mike Petch due, apparently, to better grip on the racing line at his side of the circuit. After some discussion, the organisers agreed to run the heat again with the drivers swapping lanes, but the result proved to be the same, with Mike again taking the Chequered Flag from Matt. All that remained were the results of the scrutineer's inspection of Mike's Subaru which proved to be totally legal. The results were finally declared, confirming Mike Petch as the overall winner.
DOG AND DUCK RALLYSPRINT RESULTS CHAMPIONSHIP
1ST MIKE PETCH 6
2ND MATT BLOOD 5
3RD HOWARD EVERINGHAM 4
4TH TIM RODGERS 3
5TH STEVE COOPER 2
6TH PHIL BURTON 1
7TH IAN GIBBINS 1
8TH IAN KIRK 1
BRITISH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
Apr 28/29 02 Pirelli Rally........POSTPONED (FOOT&MOUTH)
BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Apr 15/16 01 Brands Hatch
Apr 15/16 02 Brands Hatch
May 06/07 03 Thruxton
May 06/07 04 Thruxton
May 19/20 05 Oulton Park (Island circuit)
May 19/20 06 Oulton Park (Island circuit)
Jun 02 07 Silverstone (Intern'l circuit) (night race)
Jun 02 08 Silverstone (Intern'l circuit) (night race)
Jun 16/17 09 Mondello Park (subject to improvements)
Jun 16/17 10 Mondello Park (subject to improvements)
Jun 30/Jul 01 11 Donington Park (National circuit)
Jun 30/Jul 01 12 Donington Park (National circuit)
BRITISH AUTOTEST CHAMPIONSHIP
Apr 08 01 Foxley Autotest......POSTPONED (FOOT&MOUTH)
Apr 22 02 Bolton at BAe Lostock (Bolton le Moors CC)
Jun 03 03 Kent Driver (Maidstone & Mid Kent MC)
Jun 16 04 Tarmac Northern (Scottish Sporting CC)
FIA FORMULA 1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Apr 29 05 Spanish GP (Barcelona)
May 13 06 Austrian GP (Spielberg)
May 27 07 Monaco GP (Monaco)
Jun 10 08 Canadian GP (Montreal)
Jun 24 09 European GP (N=FCrburgring, Germany)
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
May 03-06 05 Rally Argentina (Cordoba, RA)
Jun 01-03 06 Cyprus Rally (Nicosia, CY)
Jun 15-17 07 Acropolis Rally Greece (Athens, GR)
Jul 19-22 08 Safari Rally Kenya (Nairobi, EAK)