A night in the lanes

South Oxon Car Club were running a 12 Car based near Chipping Norton and with me wanting more plot and bash practise, it was a good opportunity to get out on a Friday night on maps. I was navving for Gavin and we were Car 1, so having met up we went off to the start lay-by but the heavy rain meant we weren’t very sociable with others and stayed in the warm and dry car.

There was a short run out to MTC1 (Main Time Control) to start. Once there, we had a few minutes wait before “checking in” on our due time (the event used RallyApp Live, reducing the need for marshals) and the app telling us the first section of navigation to use. It was crossing grid lines and I plotted as Gavin drove, and we reached the next control on time.

The next section was tulips, and took us through Traitor’s Ford, before a couple of map references. So far so good, we were on time (average speed of 30mph) and we had all the passage checks and code boards. The next section was longer, with spot heights, and although we were always moving whilst I plotted we dropped a minute in this section. The next section saw us go through various grid squares, and we were on time, before a section of navigation neither of us had seen before but had been mentioned in the finals, “4Y, 3Y, 1Y2R” etc. I couldn’t get it to plot at first but as always we kept moving at a steady pace, and then it clicked. We dropped two minutes here, although we were only three seconds into the second minute (I’d kept trying to check in and pressing the button but not quite quickly enough).

From here it was a herringbone (one of my least favourite types of navigation!) but we worked through it together and then it was onto grid lines, a good type of navigation for the section as the vertical and horizontal numbers were the same which always makes things harder. A quick pause to discuss and we were sorted without dropping any time. The final section had 12 grid references and we decided we’d be better off stopping so Gavin could read them as I plotted them. This worked well, as it can be hard plotting accurately whilst in a moving vehicle. We had only dropped three minutes throughout the event but we dropped six minutes here, taking us to nine minutes in total. That was good enough for 3rd in class and 3rd overall but more importantly, we’d got the practise I was after and it was an enjoyable event.

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