Nine years since I first competed on the Carpetbagger, as a driver, it was time to return but this time as a navigator; my first time navigating on a road rally.
Having met up with Rich, we headed for scrutineering and then to the start. Having signed on there was plenty to keep my busy with plotting, and getting my head around the navigation had been one of my pre-event concerns. Whilst I was kept busy, and with a few pointers from fellow competitors, I managed to get everything down and sorted even if it did take me a few hours.
It was our first event competing together and I was annoyed to miss a slot early on, meaning we missed a control. We started to settle into things but for the first time ever the thing I’ve always dreaded happened; I was sick! I was wearing travel bands and had Kwells with me, but I understand I wasn’t the only one to feel a little worse for the wear.
We decided to cut to petrol, but I could see we could try and collect some controls and boards on the way and we managed to get those (thereby reducing penalties). Having filled up with fuel, we headed off for the second section, and it seemed we weren’t the only crew to cut; it was going to be a long and tough night.
The second section felt like it was going much better. Having settled in to things, we were finding all the slots and things felt like they were going well. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, and we ended up having to retire with car issues just before 4am in the morning. Thanks to the other competitors who stopped, and the marshals nearby and Rich’s Dad, Brian, who came and picked us up with the trailer.
We headed to the finish where I waited for Matt, who was also out competing (I’d turned down navigating for him!). He finished a respectable 12th overall and once he’d had his breakfast and packed up, we headed home.
A disappointing end to the event, but we’ll be back!