My final planned event of 2022 was the Phil Collings Memorial South Downs Stages at Goodwood. In recent years, I’ve been part of the organising team but this year it was time to be back out competing, co-driving for Gavin Rogers in his other Escort, DVY. I hadn’t realised it had been 11 years since I’d last co-driven at Goodwood (although only four since driving there) but it’s a familiar venue.
I’d taken the Friday off work which made for a nice leisurely start to the weekend and gave the chance to meet mid-afternoon to walk a “new” section that’s not quite as map through the trees, just off the circuit. It was first used in the summer 2021 event, but whilst we’d both been at that event, neither of us had competed so it was good to have a walk through that and look at the split before being able to set up in Service.
There were quite a few Tavern MC crews out, who we were servicing with, and we had a sociable dinner before an early start on Saturday. Through scrutineering, and noise, and then it was time to wait around for our start time. We were seeded at Car 9, so it wasn’t too long before SS1. Although we’ve competed together before, it was our first stage rally, so we’d discussed on Friday evening how Gavin wanted things called and all seemed to work well. SS2 was a repeat of SS1, and we went 16 seconds quicker.
SS3 saw the stage continue in the same direction (i.e., not reversed), but with some changes to the stage layout. This saw our only real moment of the day, but it was slight at that, arriving at a chicane a little out of sorts (as shown in the onboard here). We reached the stage finish, and link section, with marshals pointing at us and discovered we’d collected a cone which we’d taken for a trip round with us. SS4 was a repeat of SS3, and we found another 11 seconds.
SS5 and SS6 saw the stages reversed and these passed without any dramas (onboard here from SS6), again improving on our time on our second run, after an enjoyable sociable lunch break seeing various friends and family we knew who’d come to watch. Goodwood always runs into the dark and this year was no different, so it was time to fit the spotlights and find an extra light for me. Some people don’t like rallying in the dark, but for me I enjoy it as the early rallies I did ran in the dark so it’s something I’m used to and like whether driving or co-driving.
SS7 had tighter chicanes than we’d been used to from earlier in the day, but we made it through, went quicker again on SS8 and had the finish and shakedown for DVY we were aiming for. An enjoyable event and weekend!
Photos by M&H Photography.