Back to a targa rally at Debden

It’s been over six months since my last targa rally at Debden, and for this event I was teaming up to double drive with Cath Woodman for the first time. We’ve known each other for a long time, and she’s a very good navigator, so I wondered when I was navving for her what tips I might pick up!

I was driving first in the MG, and we had a good first loop, picking up all the code boards and secret checks which the organisers had thrown in to keep us on our toes. Then it was my turn to navigate for Cath in her BMW, and being back in RWD made me smile. We had a clean run as well and got round happily.

My driving runs were fairly clean; I had a half spin, but I was happy with my pace. Debden is a mix of tarmac and gravel and it was one of those days where the MG and I felt nicely in tune with each other. Cath was spot on with all her calls and it really helped to give me the confidence to push on. For our first time competing together, it just clicked which was great.

Going into the last loop of tests driving, I knew it was very close to make the top ten overall. Although I tried hard, we didn’t quite make it and finished 8th in class and 11th overall, just two seconds off a top ten finish. I almost made a mistake a couple of corners from the end on the very last test but a shout from Cath to get me going the right way (she’d called it correctly originally, I just had listening issues!) sorted us out for a good day’s rallying.

Photos by M&H Photography.


Double driving at Kemble

I’d never driven at a Targa Rally at Kemble, but have driven on an autosolo and navved as course car on a historic and competitively on targa rallies. This was a single venue event and part of the ASWMC targa championship, so I’d entered navigating for Mike Thomas and also as a driver with Rob Thomson alongside. Rob hadn’t competed on a targa before but I’d persuaded him to marshal on both the Exmoor and the Bath Festival, so it was good to give him the chance to try one.

I was driving first with Rob alongside, and we got around ok with a couple of pauses to ensure we went the right way. Then it was my turn to nav for Mike. We were about half way through the test, hit a bit of a bump and something was clearly wrong. It turned out the top arm in situ adjustment had ripped the thread out (or in simpler terms, the suspension arm was damaged and we had a wonky wheel!). Less than two minutes into the rally, and we retired.

As a driver the day was a little better. Kemble tests are very busy with lots for Rob to call and code boards and passage checks as well. We had a wrong side of a cone in the afternoon (20 second penalty) and finished 4th in class and 7th overall.

On display at Coventry Transport Museum

In 2021, I saw that Coventry Transport Museum were planning an exhibition on women in motorsport for 2022.

Having spoken to the curator, Liz, I shared the information with fellow female competitors, volunteers and officials who I’ve got to know over my years in motorsport. I was pleasantly surprised to find I know over 50 women and many of them contributed to the exhibition.

As well as putting people in touch with the museum and providing some information on my motorsport involvement, I loaned a couple of my items to the exhibition. I’d never been to the museum so it was a good day out; slightly surreal seeing myself on display but interesting to learn more about transport history, too, with lots of interesting vehicles on display. My Great Grandfather worked for Francis Bennett motorcycles in Coventry, which added another interesting family angle.