The weekend started very well with a brilliant weather forecast. We had to have the car scrutineered on the Saturday evening to make sure it was safe to use. This scrutineering is over and above the usual MoT check, and covers things like roll cage, electrical isolators,full harness seat belts, seats and fire extinguishers etc. This was in preparation for the 8 o’clock start on Sunday.
As the stages were so dry and dusty we were very apprehensive about catching the cars in front. Our fears were very well founded as, sure enough, we couldn’t see a thing, we had to back off loosing some time in the process, but we could not risk going off. This was a problem we had to cope with all day.
We used stage 1 to find our feet, not only with the stages but the car, as we had not driven it since the Premier Rally last October. The next stage was an exact re-run of stage 1, and we flew! We were both very pleased with our time, stopping the clock almost 30 seconds faster than the first run through.
Then came stage 3. . . . . almost a disaster, with the stage having changed slightly, we were caught out by a tight right left kink. We were off into the undergrowth, hitting a tree stump sticking out of the ground by about a foot!! The car struck it with the front right hand corner, bending some bodywork and the anti roll bar, ripping off the sump guard (a flat steel plate to protect the underside of the engine) flattening and punching a hole in the exhaust. We struggled through to the end of the stage, loosing over 2 minutes to our competitors. We only had a very short break before we were due to start stage 4 so we quickly inspected the car, and as the damage wasn’t too bad we decided to carry on and take a risk by running without a sump guard.
From then on, we just grew in confidence, the car appeared to get faster, and we started to make some time back. We finished 12 overall out of 49 starters, and were the highest placed Mid-Derbyshire Motor Club crew.
We will be out next on the Dukeries Stage Rally, starting from Southwell race course and running through Clipstone, Sherwood, Blidworth and Theives Wood on the 12th June 2010, so keep a look out for the little white rear wheel drive Fiesta, give us a wave!! Please see the Dukeries Motor Club web site for more spectator information nearer the time.
Many thanks to Don and the Adrenalin Jungle for their continued support this year, as without their help things would be much more difficult.
Thankyou, Drew & Rob