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.