Time to try something new

Having experienced my first taste of regularity timing on the Cotswold Historic, a regularity 12 Car seemed a good chance to learn a bit more.

Matt had said he never wanted to do regularity (!), but he was happy to do an event as a one off to give me the chance to try it. A fairly early start for a Sunday saw us head over to Bury St Edmunds and I’d bought and or/prepped the necessary; Matt already had a GPS tripmeter and I had speed tables, some new stopwatches and instructions and help from Gavin.

My biggest concern was what to do if I needed to adjust the time (i.e. calculating our arrival time), and/or I didn’t spot when the marshal stopped their clock – or if I forgot when we were due to change speeds! Whilst I knew what to do in theory, I wasn’t convinced that in reality in the car, I’d manage it.

The route was all pre plot which really helped (and crews all double checked their maps with each other at the start) and the first control seemed to go very well – clean, or 0 seconds. The second control was ok too, at 7 early, but then we started to slip a little more (20e 20e 11e 31e 23e 11e).

With the benefit of hindsight, I think this could be to do with using a GPS tripmeter and I should have realised we were consistently early and adjusted our times accordingly. However, the organisers had a class for those with GPS trips and a class for those with normal/traditional tripmeters and I was really pleased to finish the event 1st in class and 4th overall.


Walkabout winners

South Oxon Car Club organised a “virtual walkabout” during one of the lockdowns (completed via google street view), but now it was time for a real walkabout around Abingdon. I don’t know the town and have only ever been to Dalton Barracks for the stage rally.

We were given a set of clues/questions including directions, a sheet of riddles and a list of treasure to find for bonus points and off we went. It was similar to the event we did a couple of months ago with Boundless, and again some clues were easy and some seemed very hard to find!

Some people do these for fun, but I do have a competitive nature so it’s always a bit of a game of trying to find the answer but not necessarily highlighting it to others taking part – but then when everyone is struggling, everyone tends to help each other out.

We felt we made it back to the finish pub in good time, with nearly all questions answered, riddles (hopefully!) solved and some treasure collected.

We were pleased to win the event, although it does now mean we’re organising in 2022!

Autocrossing at Much Hadham

We tend to make an annual trip to Much Hadham to compete on an Autocross, and this year we had friends getting married on the Saturday approximately 45 minutes from the venue, and the Autocross offered a one day entry on the Sunday so it all worked out rather nicely!

We dropped the car and trailer off on the Saturday on our way to the wedding, to save us doing extra towing and make life a little easier. We left a dry field, but overnight on the Saturday there was heavy rain and thunderstorms and so when we returned to the venue on Sunday, it was rather different.

Conditions in practice were tricky; my session was red flagged after someone spun in front, blocking the track. I got round him, but he was stuck and that run was aborted and we went again. The latter part of the track had a slight uphill and it felt painfully slow with little traction, but my times were ok; enough to have me 1st in class and 3rd overall at lunch. For some reason, the Golf and I seem to get on well in the wet.

It then started to dry out quite quickly, with a good wind helping. From then on, every run was at least 8 seconds quicker but as it dried out, my times weren’t quite enough and I was pipped on the final run, finishing 3rd in class and 5th overall.

A video comparing my best run to Matt’s can be found here.

Goodwood Stages in the sunshine

I’ve helped at a fair few Goodwood Stages over the years, and am used to the event being in February and wearing lots of layers, Dickies and once it even snowed! With the pandemic and lockdowns having impacted events, a sunny day at Goodwood was a pleasant surprise both for setup on the Friday and the event itself on Saturday.

For this event I was a Competitor Liaison Officer (CLO), alongside Ian Collings. Goodwood has strict noise limits and planning conditions so aside from dealing with queries from competitors, the CLO role can involve handing out noise tickets/warnings to competitors who have triggered Goodwood’s noise monitoring systems.

There were a few of these to hand out during the day, and I did a little marshalling too, but all in all a good day out and rather different to the winter rallies I’m used to!

First time at the Hatsford Targa

With less events running, we have been trying some new events and Hatsford was one of them. A popular targa rally based in Herefordshire on grass, with the MG still out of action we had changed our entry to the MG.

We spoke to friends both in advance and on the day to find out what to expect. There were lots of passage checks (stopping for a marshal to sign our time card) and clever use of the farmyard and linking fields together.

It was a very wet morning and we made it into the service area ok (some got stuck!), and after a slightly tense time at scrutineering (we were not alone on that front) we headed off to the first test. The wet conditions proved challenging and we caught an MX5 who was getting stuck pulling away from controls, before we ourselves struggled to make it from the last cone to the stop astride finish – which we also struggled to pull away from!

The organisers sensibly made some small adjustments to the tests and as the day went on, the course dried out which helped. Along with many other crews, we were confused with some loops around piles of conifers at the start of an afternoon test and picked up a wrong side. This was a shame as we knew it looked tricky, had gone through the map and tried to watch those in front but still got it wrong!

We finished the day 4th in class and 18th overall which was good, having picked up a few penalties and had a spin.

Photos by M&H Photography.

Cotswold Historic

A new event for 2021, the Cotswold Historic was run by Tavern MC. It was using some areas familiar to me, having moved to Wiltshire when I was 7, and some of the venues I’d been to a couple of months previously on the Kemble Targa.

For this event I was sat alongside Gavin Rogers in his Reliant Scimitar SE5a. Gavin was Clerk of the Course, and we were running as Car 0 on the day. Many years ago I’d done both course opening and course closing on the East Anglian Classic but it had been a while since I’d been on a Historic.

The event went well, with positive feedback from competitors etc, and we had a good day. It had been a while since I’d sat in a rear wheel drive car, and it made me realise I’d missed it! Whilst we had stuff we needed to do, we also managed to do a couple of the regularity sections. Having thought it was never something I’d be interested in, I may just be changing my mind… Watch this space!

Photos by M&H Photography.