A Mini weekend in Yorkshire

I was expecting my first historic rally to be in June, but a message from Claire Gillies asking if I fancied the North Yorkshire Classic brought plans forward. A bit of a refresh on regularity in the week leading up to the event (I’ve only done it once, last year on a 12 Car) and it was time to head up north. Saints were playing away at Leeds on the Saturday and I was already planning to go, so having seen a 1-1 draw I headed over to Easingwold, near York, to meet up with Claire. She had been through scrutineering and so we completed documentation before doing the measured mile.

There was some navigation given on Saturday night, so having had dinner we returned to the room so I could plot it. With it down on the map, there wasn’t much else to do, ready for an early start on Sunday. From the start hotel, there was a short drive out to the first section. The navigation for this was given at the start hotel and I had it plotted by the time we arrived at the first regularity start so we were ready to go.

We seemed to be doing ok, a little early at controls but not too much and I was happy with our times and we found our rhythm, with me navigating, given speeds/distance, adjusting time as I felt necessary and pressing stopwatch buttons between us as needed. One regularity down, and it was time for our first tests. A bit of a challenge at the start, but we got sorted and round ok in the end. And then off for more regularities!

A clever bit of nav briefly caught me out in the third section, but we retraced our steps and found the difficult slot and picked up a code board, proving we’d made the right decision to go back as we avoided a penalty which we would have had if we missed the code board. The event ran a “joker” system, meaning we could drop our worst penalty, and I hoped we wouldn’t need it anywhere else in the event having dropped three minutes!

We were getting into a better pattern on the tests (Claire wanted things called slightly differently to what I’m used to – it’s always down to the driver and I took a little time to warm up!) and we were setting some top ten test times which were pleasing. We got to morning coffee after we should have left, and so quickly went to the toilet and made up as much time as possible. It was a similar situation at lunch; a quick toilet break, Claire got me lunch and I had been given more navigation to plot so I focussed on that. I could not get one bit to work, and of the 60 plus crews I only knew one other. I managed to find and ask them and it turned out they had the same issue (there was a mistake in the navigation). I’d plotted the only route I could make work with the information given which was correct, but it was reassuring to find out it wasn’t me. I didn’t find time to eat, but managed half a sandwich on the next regularity. Claire also kept finding flapjacks, both at coffee and lunch, and giving them to me – I never ate them but emptied my pocket of flapjacks late that night!

Unfortunately, the afternoon tests were to prove our undoing – and looking at the results afterwards, we were sat 2nd in class and 19th overall which for my first historic was very pleasing. Some tests in a quarry on gravel saw us lose our exhaust. We tried to repair it, and elected to miss a test and go slowly through the last one (the only way to exit the quarry) but it wasn’t to be. Thanks to the Ravens for some extra equipment to try and help us with our repair when we waved them down. We were only one test (out of thirteen) and two regularities (out of ten) from the end. So near, but so far!

We headed back to the finish, handing in our paperwork to say we had retired and loaded up. We both had a long way to travel home and had dinner before starting the long journey to our respective homes.

On test photo thanks to Phill Andrews, rear view photo thanks to the Ravens. Other photos by Claire and I.

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