Taking the scenic route (Bath MC 12 Car)

As Dave Whittock put in his results email, “Gavin and Suze took the scenic route around Nempnett Thrubwell dropping them down the leader board” and I can’t sum it up much better than that.

The event was 45 miles of Somerset lanes, and we started ok dropping 3 minutes into the first control, as did most other crews. We picked up the secret check and all codeboards/manned marshal points and had dropped a few more minutes by the time we reached TC5, but were happy enough. We were doing the event for practise and the Scimitar had a “new” engine which hadn’t been used for 15 years, which Gavin had installed to make sure everything worked.

The next PC was our sticky point near Nempnett Thrubnell – the road forked, and I had the PC plotted on the right-hand fork but we could see the codeboard on the left hand fork. We got the codeboard, but it threw me and we spent a little time working out what had happened and exactly where we were as I’d started to think I was a junction out on the map (I wasn’t, as it happened, but there weren’t many features to help work it out). At the pub at the finish, I wasn’t the only one who had it on the right fork but I should have realised what had happened sooner and this dropped us time.

We carried on, picking up all the boards and manned marshal points and only stopped to plot in the last section (everything had been plot ‘n’ bash until then, me plotting whilst Gavin drove). The last section had some tricky staggered crossroads with clever loops in, and I can find it hard to plot map references accurately in a moving car on bumpy lanes! We needed to ensure we got the right route, so stopping to plot cost around three minutes, as well as the difficult nature of the lanes.

It was a bit of a night of “what ifs;” we finished 5th overall, six minutes behind 3rd and two minutes behind 4th. A sharper night on the maps would have been good but we got round, worked together to overcome various challenges, didn’t miss any secret checks/boards/marshal points and got the seat time we were after.


Returning to Rushmoor

Having won the Rushmoor Targa on the previous two occasions, we didn’t think we would make it a hat trick – but it was worth giving it a try! We had entered with Matt driving and myself navigating, and myself driving with Matt navigating, both in the MG.

Driving to the venue, Matt told me the forecast was not looking good and the closer we got the worse it became. Having arrived at Rushmoor, we found the service area was more of a river and it was pretty grim. Before too long, it was time to go off to the first test and as we were running Car 1 we needed to make sure we were always ready on time.

Matt was driving first which went well, followed by myself, and I went a couple of seconds quicker than him (only to later find out I had a ten second cone penalty). I found a bump on my first run, which was cautioned and I thought I had taken steady, but not steady enough judging by the bang! Due to the heavy rain, there was a significant amount of standing water which made driving conditions challenging.

Test 2 came and went (with no penalties) with Matt 1 second quicker than me with a new section on gravel, and then it was time for Test 3 which felt good, only to find I’d got 30 seconds (3 x 10 seconds) of cone penalties. This was frustrating, I thought I might have clipped the base of one of them but I didn’t know what I was hitting or where, and I was trying to be neat and tidy. I’d been sitting comfortably in the top ten (53 starters) but this dropped me down into the mid teens.

Test 4 saw the course direction reversed and I found 3 seconds against Matt’s time, although a cone penalty added to his time (meaning the results show him at +13) whilst I managed a clean run. Around this point, we were tied on time so it was all to play for, but a mistake on Test 5 (which Matt decided not to correct, giving a significant penalty of slowest test time plus 20 seconds) gave me a bit of a gap – although I managed to find a cone giving me another 10 second penalty.

Test 6 was the final test for the event and Matt was five seconds quicker than me, although I managed a clean run which was something that had been evading me during the day (I had 50 seconds of penalties).

I was really on it on the last run, which for me was in the dark (running at Car 1 Matt had more natural light), and I knew it was all to play for with the overall result. On the start line for Matt’s run the starter motor had failed so I had to push to bump start her. I needed a clean run and not to stall, but I managed both and had climbed back up the results to 6th in class and 7th overall – a very pleasing result considering my penalties. The conditions were challenging, but helped to make one of my favourite sets of photos from M&H Photography.

Photos by M&H Photography.