2012 Results, News & Event Reports

Calendar and Results 2012

TRS (Essex) Ltd Brands Hatch Stage Rally - 22nd January 2012 - Press & Publicity Officer

South Downs Goodwood Stages - 11th February 2012 - 6th in class, 32nd overall - driving

Castle Combe Autosolo - 18th February 2012 - 13th in class, 37th overall - driving

The VK Rally - 14th / 15th April 2012 - 9th in class, 34th overall - driving

CMC Cadman Construction Honington Stages - 22nd April 2012 - 5th in class, 34th overall - dirving

OMC Bocardo Autosolo - Silverstone - 20th May 2012 - 17th in class, 46th overall - driving

CMC Javalin's Jumbo Jymkhana, RAF Woodbridge - 1st July 2012 - 6th in class, 24th overall driving and 4th in class, 18th overall navving

7oaks MC Autosolo - North Weald - 8th July 2012 - 3rd in class, 19th overall  - driving

Hutton Kitchens Brands Hatch Summer Stages - 27th August 2012 - Press & Publicity Officer

OMC Bullnose Endurance Rally - Buckinghamshire - 1st September 2012 - cancelled

OMC Carfax Stages - RAF Benson - 18th November 2012 - 6th in class, 42nd overall - co-driving

TMC / MCAC - Rockingham Stages - 8th / 9th December 2012 - 3rd in class, 25th overall and best Thame MC Crew

 

Event Report - The Rockingham Stages - 8th / 9th December 2012

We entered Rockingham partly because I’ve never done a two day rally and also because we’ve never done the event and so it would be a new event for us. We were running some winter road tyres which actually held up pretty well. We did debate changing part way through day one but decided the “known” factor was probably best.

Day 1 was a bit hit and miss. SS1 was the complete opposite of how you want your first stage to go! The intercom failed so we agreed on various hand signals. We arrived at a chicane around T1 of the oval somewhere only to find the Mini who was running in front of us had done a pretty good job of destroying it leaving bales and glass over the road. Then Matt got a little lost so it was time to drive off the arrows, but we got around. So, SS2 was our “bedding in” stage and things went much better. The real highlight of Day 1 were the night stages. I was slightly apprehensive as to whether the stages would be easy to follow but they were, and I was chuffed to catch the car which started a minute in front of us on SS6. Catching others isn’t something I’m used to. We only “properly” caught them right towards the finish so followed them in to the finish.

Onto Day 2, and I felt straight back on it on SS7 – I did wonder if it would take time to get back into it, but I was fine. I was getting more confident with the car and things started to feel better now. Wish I’d felt like that on Day 1 of course! I was amazed to go 30 seconds quicker on SS9 than SS8, which were the same stages. I knew on Day 1 my lines weren’t great in places and I was really trying to think more about this on Day 2 with the infield, and carry the speed through the corners. Of course my on-boards may not show this! On SS10 we caught the car who started 30 seconds in front and again, this is always an incentive to push on and feels good although again we were behind them towards the finish and there was nowhere at all for us to get past / them to move over. I didn’t expect to see them on SS11 as the stage was around 1.5 miles shorter but we did, and this time got past! Thanks to them for making it easy.

The main thing is, we finished, I felt confident and happy in the car by the end of Sunday and we both thoroughly enjoyed it! We finished 3rd in class, 25th overall and best Thame MC crew.

 

Event Report - OMC Carfax Stages, RAF Benson - 18th November 2012  

It had been a long break between events before the Carfax Stages, but I was looking forward to being back out competing - although somewhat apprehensive about being in the left hand seat i.e. co-driving in "my" car. The Micra had been through a number of upgrades during the Summer and so the event was a bit of a competitive test to see how she was. With Matt having sold his rally car, the Micra is now ours to share.

We had a fairly uneventful day, with the exception of a brake issue part way through but thanks to the help of the Humphris service crew, we just made it back out in time for the following stage. Unfortunately due to the curfew only one of the two planned night stages ran, but this was one of the highlights of the day - and it was nice to finally have a "proper" lamp pod as well! 

 

Event Report - 7oaks MC Autosolo, North Weald - 8th July 2012 

So, two events in two weekends driving Matt's car, but the conditions were very different. The gymkhana had been dry, but North Weald can only be described as monsoon conditions in the morning. The Rover Centre of St Albans had recently replaced the rear beam on Matt's Rover, which totally transformed the handbrake. Matt also played with the suspension settings, giving it some lovely lift-off oversteer.

The first runs went well and I enjoyed playing with the handbrake and sliding sideways around the course. I realised after the first test I was 3rd in class by 1 second, and so I decided to drive "properly" for the later tests. This worked, and I took a couple of seconds out of 2nd in class on the second test, but the time lost on the first test was too great. I stayed third in class for the rest of the day, eventually increasing the gap to fourth to 13 seconds. Overall a rather damp, but enjoyable day competing! 

 

Event Report - CMC Javalin's Jumbo Jymkhana, RAF Woodbridge - 1st July 2012

Having not competed for a couple of months, it was time for one of CMC's gymkhanas. The venue changed from Debden to Woodbridge a few weeks before the event, and Matt and I decided to enter his car and double drive.

I had driven Matt's car twice before, both on gymkhanas, but the last time I had driven it was three years ago [incidently the first occasion I'd driven it had been at Woodbridge, when I found a tree - the car still has the dents to prove it...].

The day went well both driving and navving - the car had a reasonably twitchy rear which in the past I wouldn't have enjoyed, but actually did on this event. Unfortunately Matt was given a wrong test giving us a maximum on one of the driving tests, and dropping us from 2nd in class and 10th overall, but we both enjoyed it. I was pleased to be happy driving his car, as I have also entered in it for the North Weald Autosolo next week!

 

Event Report - OMC Bocardo Autosolo, Silverstone - 20th May 2012

The OMC Autosolo at Silverstone was the first Autosolo I had competed on for a few months. It was a chance for a "play," albeit it in a competitive environment, and Matt was competing in his rally car as well as my Dad competing in his which meant a mini family class battle. The day went ok,  but falls into the category of "nothing special" results wise - Autosolos aren't really my thing, but it was good to see friends and be out competing.

 

Event Report - CMC Cadman Construction Honington Stages - 22nd April 2012

A week after the VK, and it was time for a tarmac single venue stage rally. I made a last minute decision to go to Middlesbrough on the Saturday night before the rally, with the hope of seeing Saints promoted, which wasn't to be on that evening. After a few hours sleep it was time to head to RAF Honington for the event.

I had Lizzie Pope co-driving for me, who I had done one event together previously but a road rally so completely different. I was looking forward to doing a stage rally again and building on the confidence built from the Goodwood Stages. The stages all went well with no real moments and confidence building throughout the day. It was good to catch cars which started 30 seconds ahead of us and bar a few moments trying to pass slower cars on different laps the day passed without incident.

We finished 5th in class [out of 13] and 34th overall which was a good result - the Micra is still in Endurance / standard spec but against modified cars in class so we finished higher than I'd hoped and I was pleased to have got quicker and built more confidence during the day.

 

Event Report - VK Rally, Derbyshire - 14th / 15th April 2012

A chance to rally on my birthday sounded fantastic - something I hadn't done before. The VK is a night rally, and started in Chesterfield. Unfortunately my original nav was ill the week before the event and so Georgina Clark stepped in at the last minute to tell me where to go.

We started just before midnight with an hour of pre plot time, before heading over to Steve Perez's property / land to do a couple of tests basically around his back garden. This was a great start to the rally, and thanks to him for allowing us to use his property.

The night went well, with not many moments and a good night on the maps from George. The route used a few whites and the route itself was a good one - the whole event was organised really well. We finished 9th in class and 34th overall, and whilst we dropped some time early on in the event, it would only have changed our result by a handful of places.

 

Event Report - Castle Combe Autosolo - 18th February 2012

With the Micra surviving the South Downs Goodwood Stages in one piece, it was on to the Castle Combe Autosolo the following weekend which was the first round of the Cotswold Motor Sport Group Autosolo Championship for 2012. We had done one round of this Championship at Silverstone in the Eunos a few years ago, but entered this event in our respective rally cars.
 
The courses used the paddock at Combe, and ran in both directions. With four tests and three runs at each test, and marshalling sessions, it was quite a busy day even with a rest session thrown in as well for each test.
 
For some reason the event never really seemed to get going / flow for me - I was running some free tyres, which were lacking in grip which really showed in the damp conditions in the morning and the heavy rain in the afternoon, but the pace never really seemed to be there - although that wasn't for lack of trying! The tests were tighter than I expected, but it was a well organised and run event - it was our first Bristol Motor Club event and everybody was friendly and helpful.
 
Although our original aim had been to compete in the CMSG Autosolo Championship in 2012, some new additions to the calendar and some date changes meant we would never have been able to complete the Championship with these additions and changes. It was good to do an Autosolo again, but I'm not sure when my next one will be - I may stick to the more local ones, at Silverstone and possibly Abingdon, for the rest of the year.
 

Event Report - South Downs Goodwood Stages - 11th February 2012

 2012 was my third year competing at Goodwood, but my first time in the driver's seat at the circuit. There was a little ice on the circuit, but not as bad as expected and there was certainly more grip than I was anticipating. I had Matt co-driving for me again, with my Dad servicing with some assistance from the Phillips family too - in particular 4 year old Aaron who helpfully inspected all over and under the car each time I came into service.

 
With Goodwood being only my third stage rally as a driver, and having not finished the Longmoor Loco in December, I wanted to rebuild some confidence and ensure I finished. Having raced before I rallied, I loved the event being on a circuit as I found it made you think about lines more than say an airfield stage event, or somewhere tight twisty and narrow like Longmoor.
 
The first few stages went well and confidence and speed grew as the day went on. As expected, being in a standard 1400 rather than a modified 1400 meant I wasn't fighting it out at the front of the class, but nor was I last either. The stages include chicanes in places to slow you down, and the stages are run in both the normal circuit direction and the opposite way. I really enjoyed Madgwick, St Mary's and Woodcote when the chicanes were taken out and you could simply drive them - much more fun!
 
With 10 stages throughout the day, the event was longer than it has been previously and the penultimate stage was held in semi-darkness, and the final stage in complete darkness. Unfortunately the lamp-pod I've been building wasn't quite finished so I used the spots I normally use for Endurance Rallying instead. Having started rallying on night events, this seemed to help and pay off at Goodwood as I made up lots of time and a place on the night stages so all in all it was a great days rallying, good result, well run event and a fantastic location. I hope to be back in 2013!

 

2011 Results, News & Event Reports

Championships and Awards 2011

Jean Appleton Trophy [Best Lady Driver in the Endurance Road Rally Championship]

2nd overall in the Louise Aitken-Walker Trophy [the BWRDC Rally Drivers Championship]

Calendar and Results 2011

CMC The January Jaunt 12 Car, Essex - 14th January 2011 - Clerk of the Course

TRS (Essex) Ltd Brands Hatch Stage Rally - 30th January 2011 - Media Liason Officer

South Downs Goodwood Stages - 12th February 2011 - 4th in class, 29th overall

7oaks Scatter, Kent - 17th February 2011 - 1st overall

CMC Britvic Enduro, Suffolk - 19th / 20th February 2011 - 10th in class, 23rd overall and Best Team Award

7oaks 20/20, Kent - 26th / 27th February 2011 - Course Closing Car

CMC Gymkhana, RAF Woodbridge - 20th March 2011 - 4th in class, 17th overall as a driver and 2nd in class, 9th overall as a navigator

7oaks Scatter, Kent - 31st March 2011- 1st overall

The Great Bustard, Somerset Dorset & Wiltshire, - 2nd / 3rd April 2011- 4th in class, 10th overall [took home award for 2nd in class due to other class contenders' overall finishing positions]

CMC Gymkhana, Carver Barracks - 15th May 2011- 6th in class, 35th overall as a driver and 1st in class, 5th overall as a navigator

CMC Gymkhana, RAF Honington - 3rd July 2011- 5th in class, 24th overall as a driver and 1st in class, 2nd overall as a navigator

7oaks Autosolo, North Weald, Essex - 24th July 2011 - 4th in class, 35th overall

ERRC & ERA Training Day Autotest, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon - 31st July 2011 - 2nd in class, 6th overall

OMC The Bullnose, Oxfordshire - 3rd September 2011 - 14th in class, 34th overall

CMC Huttons Kitchens Woodbridge Stages, RAF Woodbridge - 24th September 2011- 5th in class, 36th overall

CSMA 12 Car, Bedfordshire - 7th October 2011 - 2nd in class, 3rd overall

CMC Gymkhana, RAF Woodbridge - 13th November 2011 - 1st in class, 12th overall as a driver and 3rd class, 17th overall as a navigator      

OMC Carfax Stages, RAF Benson - 20th November 2011 - 2nd in class, 35th overall

SCMC Longmoor Loco, Longmoor - 30th December 2011 - DNF

 

 

Event Report - SCMC Longmoor Loco, Longmoor - 30th December 2011

The Longmoor Loco was my second stage rally in the driving seat, and one I had previously co-driven on back in 2009. The venue itself is very unique, and is an active army base with service on the parade ground and using roads around the base, including through a mock village used for training.

The early stages went well however, during lunch which was after SS4, the rain came down heavily. SS5 was very slippery and unfortunately on the very last corner of the stage, a 90L, the car understeered badly, the handbrake didn't want to bring it round and although I tried to straighten before hitting the kerb, it was too late and that was the end of our day. It was disappointing especially as I had been trying to make up time on the Puma in the same class, and had managed to creep ahead of it after SS4. The wishbone is broken and the ball joint pushed back, but the remaining damage is still to be assessed.

 

Event Report - OMC Carfax Stages, RAF Benson - 20th November 2011

The OMC Carfax Stages saw a new venue for Oxford Motor Club and a return to the co-driver's seat for myself, navigating for Matt in his Endurance/ Stage spec Rover 214. RAF Benson is a large airfield, and the organising team had done well to introduce variation into the stages with some quick straights but some good use of the narrower tracks around to make it a challenge.

We were in a small class of only three cars and spent most of the day with a cushion of time either side of us. Although we were quicker than the class winning car on the final two stages the gap was too large, and so the key was not to make any mistakes and lose 2nd in class. We kept things together, and finished the event 2nd in class and 35th overall. It was an enjoyable event, and a benefit only being 40 minutes from home - leaving home after 7am and being home by 6pm was lovely, and something we're not used to! Our next event is the Longmoor Loco in December, where we will be out in the Micra with myself driving and Matt navigating.

 

Event Report - CMC Gymkhana, RAF Woodbridge – 13th November 2011 

The CMC Gymkhana was finally a chance for me to drive my Dad’s car – he had asked me to put the entry in for him whilst he was on holiday, and so I had decided to enter it with myself double driving – only fair really as he double drove my old Micra a few years back. We were entered in a standard Rover 214 which he uses for gymkhanas, autosolos and the like. I hadn’t driven the car until the first driving test and was unsure as to how I’d get on, but the day went extremely well.

My skills tests were poor, and cost me a top 10 finish, but I never seem to be able to get everything together and so I was pleased to have done well on the driving tests and extremely pleased to finish the event 1st in class – 65 seconds ahead of Keith Lane who finished 2nd in class, and 67 seconds ahead of my Dad who finished 3rd in class. 12th overall is my best result as a driver and I even managed to beat and match some of Matt’s times which is another first. It was a successful day out as he also won his class [for road rally cars up to 1400cc], and finished 6th overall.

 

Event Report - CSMA 12 Car, Bedfordshire - 7th October 2011 

Having not done a 12 Car in a while, we decided to enter a local event to see what it was like. I managed to persuade Matt Endean to navigate for me, so after a last minute maps order and emptying the car we were ready. The event started to the East of Milton Keynes, and saw many Endurance Rallying regulars out both competing and marshalling. We weren't sure how well we had done on the night, but seemed to pick up a number of codeboards so we hoped we hadn't missed too many. It turned out we finished 2nd in class and 3rd overall which was a good and pleasing result with 8 crews out.


Event Report - Huttons Kitchens Woodbridge Stages, RAF Woodbridge - 24th September 2011

After nearly a year of planning, it was finally time for my first stage rally in the right hand seat. The Micra had some work done on it by Humphris of Oxford after The Bullnose, including new rear bushes as some of them had gone. Unfortunately we still had to run the car at it's normal [ie Enduro spec] ride height as the springs didn't want to compress to remove the ally blocks, but it was still good to get out competing.

The first stage had a few moments [the normal cold tyres, cold brakes and not thinking sort of tankslapper moments!] but by SS2 I was getting more into the swing of things. I had Matt Endean [my husband] navigating for me and although it was his first stage event co-driving in over 6 years, he did a good job on the maps all day. Unfortunately, SS4 was cancelled due to an incident with another car blocking the stage, so we completed 5 stages [approx 55 miles] during the course of the event. I finished 5th in class and 36th overall, and was the only Endurance spec car out, all of the other cars in my class were modified 1400s. I am currently contemplating plans for the 2012 season but do plan to do more tarmac stage events both this year and next. Videos from all stages bar SS1 can be found under the videos section on this website.


Event Report - OMC The Bullnose, Oxfordshire - 3rd September 2011

The Bullnose is now a local event for us, and with the start venue under half an hour from home, it was lovely to have an event so close to home. This was to be the last round of the 2011 ERRC for myself as I don't have the necessary funds to compete on the Exmoor, and so that will be my dropped score in the 2011 ERRC.

The Bullnose was my first Endurance event as a navigator in 2009, and my first Endurance event as a driver in 2010. It had been my favourite event of the 2010 season, although ironically also my worst result [2nd in class, 22nd overall]. Unfortunately the trend of it being my worst result continued this year....

The event was going well, and seeded at car 25 it was a benefit to be running a little down the order especially over the tests on the stubble fields. The test at Cow Common which was a stubble field test was fantastic - a real mixture of corners and requiring some "ballsy" driving. Things were going well and I was settling back into how important it was to carry speed through on these surfaces, and Richard was doing a good job in the left hand seat, as this was our first event together in almost five months.

Unfortunately, things started to unravel on Green Down as part way through our second lap we picked up a puncture. We had just overtaken another car and were going really well, and had just made the call to limp to the end of the test as this would be quicker than changing it. However just after we had made that decision, the whole tyre came off the rim and shot across the field 45 right - not a moment you want to see! The time we lost here changing the wheel unfortunately cost us hugely, and we dropped to last in the field.

The rest of the tests went without major incident, and even a great job from Richard on the regularity section [we were joint 10th overall on this] could only see us claw our way up to 34th. Rallying is full of what ifs, but it would seem we would have finished around 18th overall without the demise of the tyre. A shame, but that's rallying!

 

Event Report - ERRC & ERA Training Day Autotest, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon - 31st July 2011

The ERRC & ERA held a training day and autotest at the Heritage Motor Centre, designed as training for current competitors and to encourage new competitors into Endurance Rallying and to show them what it was all about, including navigation and car prep sessions. The afternoon was split into two activities - a simple navigational exercise, or an autotest.

As the navigational exercise was aimed at novices, I competed in the autotest. For this event the Micra was triple driven, with both Matt Endean and Richard Brooks also driving! This was a production autotest which means you must have a navigator, and so the combinations were myself / Richard, Richard / myself and Matt / Lizzie [although Matt was also passenger for two other people!].

It was a successful afternoon, with the Micra winning overall in Matt's hands, and within the rally car class finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd - I was 2nd in class, and 6th overall, and Richard was 3rd in class. It was a fun and sociable event, and a good result too for both myself and the Micra.

 

Event Report - 7oaks Autosolo, North Weald, Essex - 24th July 2011

After almost ten months without having been to North Weald, it was time to return for the 7oaks MC Autosolo. A cold windy morning seemed typical of the airfield, although things brightened up for the final runs in the afternoon.

I was running a mixture of cheap [and rather tired!] tyres and just wanted to enjoy the event, but have a bit of a "play" with the car too. After the first run of the first test, I decided to try and stiffen the car up a little, just to get that slightly tighter feeling on turn in. This did work, however also introduced both oversteer and understeer - not ideal! Despite this, I still managed to knock a second off my time from run one to run two. I then softened the car slightly [although still stiffer than the first run] and this seemed to prove a happy medium, still with some understeer but much easier to handle than before, and I knocked another second off my time.

At this point I was sat at 4th in class, with a reasonable cushion either side of me, both to catch the car in 3rd and a "safety net" over the car in 5th [the class had 15 cars]. I was to stay in this position for the rest of the day, closing the gap to 3rd a little and increasing the gap to the car in 5th. The tests were typical of the tests I had experienced previously at 7oaks events and were both enjoyable and challenging, and it was good for both Endean cars to finish well, with Matt winning the class.

Videos:

 

Event Report - CMC Gymkhana, RAF Honington - 3rd July 2011

It felt like a long break between my previous event and the next Chelmsford MC Gymkhana, but eventually it came around! This event saw me competing with Matt Fowle for the first time, who is very quick in the driving seat and also very good in the navigators seat. He was in his 106 and I was in the Micra, and as he had won overall the last time out I really didn't want to make any mistakes navigating!

It was odd being the first car on the road which I am not used to [Car 1 retired near the start and we were running as Car 2] and bar a couple of small mistakes, I felt I did ok in the left hand seat. We finished 1st in class and 2nd overall which was a good result - 35 seconds behind the event winner, but luckily my slip-ups didn't amount to 35 seconds! Having Matt navigate for me was a good experience as well and I learnt a lot from both him driving and sitting next to him. The skills tests on this event varied - tests such as removing your tyre and presenting it to the marshal within a certain time frame - and more familiar ones, such as how sideways can you go on the skidpan.... [sadly for me a not so good handbrake and too much grip meant not very!]. I finished 5th in class and 24th overall driving and so overall it was a good day out.

My next event is not for a few weeks and in that time there are a few things I want to investigate with regards to improving the Micra. My car was also logbooked during the lunchbreak at the Gymkhana and so she is all ready to go staging in September when I plan to do my first stage event.

 

Event Report - CMC Gymkhana, Carver Barracks - 15th May 2011

The May Gymkhana saw a new venue for CMC and a return to Matt and I navigating for each other, which hadn't happened for a while on a Gymkhana. We were both out in our respective rally cars and a new venue was good fun, especially with the mix of gravel and tarmac.

The skills tests included challenges such as guess the width of your car, reverse slaloms and parallel parking, whilst the driving tests seemed to be a case of "how sideways can we go" - especially where Andy Manston of M&H Photography was photographing!

Matt came out on top over myself when the final results were out and with him driving the Rover and myself navigating, we finished 1st in class and 5th overall. I finished 6th in class and 35th overall [out of 65 entries], with Matt navigating for me. It had been a while since I had last competed and it's a bit of a gap now until my next planned event, another CMC Gymkhana, this time on the 3rd July at Honington, a venue I have competed at once before. I plan to be out in the Micra, and will hopefully have it logbooked by then as well, but my navigator is TBC.

 

News - The Britvic - New Video - 14th April 2011

A video of The Britvic Endurance Rally has appeared on Youtube. We feature at around 10:46.

 

 

Event Report - The Great Bustard, Somerset, Dorset & Wiltshire - 2nd & 3rd April 2011

The second round of the ERRC 2011 started at the Cattle Market in Frome with Richard Brooks navigating for me again, and with us seeded at car 23. Having had issues with both the clock and tripmeter on the last Championship event, the Britvic, both had been sent back to the manafacturers to fix prior to the Bustard. Unfortunately, on the way to the event, both started playing up again - not a good start! I decided to cut the power feed to the clock, incase that was interfering with the trip, but that still didn't solve the issues. We tried rewiring the trip and various things but still no joy and so we realised we'd just have to do the event without it - something we really didn't want to do.

The event started with two short, autotest style tests on tarmac at the Cattle Market, which were a good start to get into the event. The third test was at Keevil, and mid test the clutch started slipping which was a big concern so early on, especially not having experienced issues with the clutch since replacing it in April 2010. One of the following tests was very hillclimb-esque, and even though I was being very careful, the car really struggled with the clutch slipping uphill which showed with us setting the second slowest test time.

There were a number of regularity sections during the day over the gravel roads of Salisbury Plain which were good fun. I know a lot of people don't enjoy regularities, and it is a completely different sort of competiton, but I really enjoy the challenge of it on top of the "trying to drive as fast as possible" and navigational challenges also present during the event. For those not familiar with regularity, a basic explanation is you have to travel at an average speed of 24mph for example. You know that after 45 secs you should pass a byway on the left, and after 1min 27 secs you should pass two gateposts on the right etc so you are given landmarks to help. However, along the route there are "checkpoints" [IRTCs, intermediate regularity time controls] and if you have travelled at the correct average speed, you won't pick up any penalties, as you'll arrive at the IRTC at the correct time. However, the tricky part is not knowing where the IRTCs will be to know if you'll be on time. Having a tripmeter really helps, I run the Brantz Internation 2 Pro, as it gives you the average speed, however not having a working trip made this much more of a challenge!

In the late afternoon, we arrived at Worthy Farm for a 13 mile test. This was what I was most apprehensive about on this event - I'd heard so much about Worthy Farm - it's reputation for being a car breaker, for having tricky slots to find, for getting lost. I was extremely nervous on the start line, but settled into a rhythm early on and absolutely loved it and Richard being spot on with the nav really helped. Worthy Farm is more familiar to many as Glastonbury, and the test used the access tracks and included tarmac, gravel, mud, broken concrete and more. It was a fantastic test, and I knew we'd be visiting it again later and looked forward to it! Our second visit, in the darkness, was even better and it was really pleasing to have made up a minute on the car in front, and catching and overtaking them.

The event seemed to be going well, and we knew at the dinner halt [around 7pm] that we were sat at 14th which we were pleased with. After dinner, there were a number of other tests as the day leg of the event didn't finish until 1am. One of these tests was Henstridge, where I was extremely pleased to set the 6th fastest test time on our first visit there, and our 10th fastest test time on our second visit there. The Bustard was only my fifth Endurance event as a driver and it feels as though things are starting to come together, and being mine and Richard's second event as a crew, it felt like we gelled more as we both knew what to expect from each other which helps.

The night route started in the early hours of the Sunday morning, with tests in the forests. Forests and gravel have always been my weak areas previously, but we kept the early pace we had showed which I was really pleased with. Richard was spot on with his calls, and even with people wrong slotting all around us in the forest, he kept his nerve and did a top job on the maps.

Unfortunately, along with a number of other crews, we picked up a 30 minute penalty on the night route which did drop us a number of places. However, we finished 10th overall which was a fantastic result bearing in mind it was our second Endurance together and Richard's second Endurance navigating, and my lack of experience on Endurance Rallies too. We finished 4th in class, but due to the rule meaning each crew can only win one award, we took home the award for 2nd in class [other crews in our class picked up overall awards]. It's a long gap now until the next Endurance in September, but I'll still be doing some events in the meantime and continuing work on the Micra to make her stage legal, with the aim still of entering my first stage event as a driver in September.

 

Event Report - 7oaks Scatter, Kent - 31st March 2011

The end of March saw the last of the 7oaks Scatters until Autumn time. With the Micra needing some work after the Gymkhana [I'd perforated a brake hose and was still awaiting the new, uprated ones to arrive] I decided to use the road Rover [a standard 214]. Once again this scatter saw Daren Hall on the maps and with the possibility it was my last Kent scatter for a while, we wanted a good result! We found a couple of lovely whites on the night, and just managed to visit the 75% of clues required. It was another good turn out for a scatter, and at the pub at the finish we were pleased to find we had won the event overall. Thanks to Andy Elcomb for running another enjoyable, but challenging, event.

 

Event Report - CMC Gymkhana, RAF Woodbridge - 20th March 2011

The CMC Gymkhana saw the Micra being double driven by myself and Claire Abrey. We were using up some old tyres which I had lying around so were nothing special. For once, I did far better on the skills tests than normal, and was 3rd overall based on the skills tests. Claire was very good at throwing tennis balls into a box whilst I drove slowly around in a large circle and that certainly helped. It was my best gymkhana result as a driver, as I finished 4th in class and 17th overall and I really enjoyed both the driving and navving, and had a good laugh. Claire pedalled the Micra really well and finished 2nd in class and 9th overall. It was a good event, and I'm looking forward to the next Gymkhana in just under two months time.

 

Event Report - 7oaks 20/20, Kent - 26th / 27th February 2011

Having not competed on a 20/20 before, we decided to offer our services as Course Closing. The navigation seemed it would be beyond our ability hence offering to help out instead, and although the Micra has a reasonable repair list after the Britvic it wasn't anything to stop us using it on the 20/20. I made the start, albeit later than planned, having rushed back from Southampton [Saints beat Swindon 4-1....] and decided to let Matt drive my rally car and get some more practise at navigating and calling the road etc. Unfortunately I had forgotten my Kwells and did suffer from mal de nav early on, and throughout the whole event! It was a good route, and sitting in the left hand seat was definitely good practise for me. It was also beneficial to get Matt's feedback and thoughts on the car as although he preps it he rarely drives it. Now it's time to get onto the To Do list ready for the CMC Gymkhana in a few weeks time.

 

Event Report - CMC Britvic Enduro, Suffolk - 19th / 20th February 2011

The Britvic Enduro was the first round of the 2011 ERRC and my first true event in the newly built Micra, and with a new navigator for 2011, Richard Brooks. The event started near Bury St Edmunds and a long day route was planned before the night section, which included night time tests as well.

Having completed scrutineering and signing on, it wasn't long before it was time to start the first test. Both myself and the car struggled on the early tests, with neither of us particularly liking the boggy mud and we seemed to spend most of our time going sideways which didn't feel so productive. It felt like a long event and a true Endurance. and I had fun trying to scare Richard during the day having a number of moments….

During the afternoon and evening, we got onto the airfield tests which were far more to my liking - it definitely showed in the test times. Unfortunately we spent a while stuck in a field, when I realised I was going to hit a car at a PC as we weren't going to stop. The alternative option to hitting the Puma was the field, but it was frustrating to be stuck there for a while - next time I'll remember to put the tow rope on rather than letting the red mist descend and deciding I can drive out! 

Unfortunately, the post event damage list is reasonable - I punctured another Sportway [and tried to remove my finger tip in the process…], have scrubbed one out and one has a big egg in it. Also managed to bend another wheel too, and experienced various other things playing up, however nothing that cannot be fixed.

Matt seems to think as he preps the car he can nick bits off mine and I won’t notice but he was spotted in the rear view mirror before appearing at the window with the line of “you know I really love you so can I please have your wiper blade….” – men! Apparently a tree "ate his" when he was having a bit of a cut...

We finished the event 10th in class, and 23rd overall and took home the Best Team Award having entered a team called "Shoes Glorious Shoes" comprising of myself, Owen Turner and Matt Endean. It was another learning experience, and an enjoyable event.

 

Event Report - 7oaks Scatter, Kent - 17th February 2011

It had been a while since I had competed in a scatter, and Matt and I had both decided to drive on this event as a shakedown for the Britvic Endurance Rally a couple of days later, and so I enlisted the navigating services of Daren Hall.

It was an extremely foggy night and a challenging one, and whilst we hoped to have acheived a maximum score, we didn't quite manage it and was sure someone else would have cleaned the route. It was a a surprise therefore, but pleasing, to find ourselves top of the results, ahead of 11 other crews [including Matt who was 2nd overall]. An overall win is always a good feeling, no matter what the event....

 

Event Report - South Downs Goodwood Stages - 12th February 2011

The South Downs Goodwood Stages was our "proper" stage event in a year, having had an early bath after only a couple of stages on the Essex Charity Stages in July. I was co-driving for Matt in his Endurance / Stage spec Rover 214 and we were both looking forward to it, having not finished a stage event in a year....

Having lost it on the first corner of the first stage on the 2010 event, I gave Matt a big lecture prior to the start of SS1. However, true to form, he lost it on the first corner of the circuit on SS1 again this year! Luckily the damage was far less severe than it could have been, with the only damage being a smashed spotlight and the chicane having been demolished.

As in 2010, we started the day off slowly than hoped for. We were aiming for 4th in class as expected to be beaten by the Micra Kit Car, and Nova and Puma which were both modified, but having had a good battle with the KA in 2010 we were hoping for the same this year. As in 2010 the early stages were damp but they dried out during the day. Again, as in 2010 the KA pulled time out over us on the early stages [35 seconds over SS1 and SS2] but as it got drier, we started to pull back time on them, and finished the event 29 seconds ahead of them, and 4th in class and 29th overall. It was an enjoyable event and I hope to be back in 2012 - although next time in the driving seat....

 

News - Micra Build Update

The Micra is now back on the road and in use after it's recent updates. It now has a full cage, which was done by Mike Thomas of Cyclone Motorsports, and new [stage spec / FIA approved] bucket seats amongst other things. I was given a number of parts for the car for Christmas, so hope to be out and doing a stage rally in her ASAP. She was back on the road and being driven just after the TRS (Essex) Ltd Brands Hatch Stages which was a great event - fingers crossed it is back in 2012!

 

News - TRS (Essex) Ltd Brands Hatch Stages - 30th January 2011

Stage Rallying is returning to Brands Hatch for the first time in nearly 20 years on Sunday 30th January. I will be there as Media Liason Officer, and am really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford to compete and the Micra is not quite ready yet but with an oversubscribed entry it should be a great day out. You can keep up with the action at http://twitter.com/#%21/trsbrandsstages where we will be posting results, updates and photos during the day.

 

News - ERRC Stand at Autosport International, 13th - 16th January 2011

The ERRC are displaying information on this year's Championship on the Gaz stand, stand 7665, at Autosport International at the NEC, Birmingham. There is a picture of the Micra on the stand from the EACS Endurance Rally held in October 2010.

2010 Results, News & Event Reports

Championships and Awards 2010

CMC 12 Car Winter Series Overall Champion 2009 - 2010 

7oaks Boadecia Bowl [best lady, for 2010]

7oaks Stage Rally Co-Drivers Championship

Calendar and Results

  • The Carpetbagger, Devon - 23rd & 24th January 2010 - 4th in class, 18th overall
  • CMC 12 Car, Essex - 29th January 2010 - 1st overall!!!
  • South Downs Goodwood Stages - 6th February 2010 - 2nd in class, 27th overall
  • B19 Car Trial, Chapmans Field - 14th February 2010 - 4th in class, 14th overall and Best Lady
  • 7oaks Scatter, Kent - 18th February 2010 - 2nd overall
  • CMC 12 Car, Essex - 19th February 2010 - 1st in class, 3rd overall
  • CMC Gymkhana, RAF Woodbridge - 28th February 2010 - 1st in class, 12th overall as a navigator. 5th in class, 27th overall as a driver
  • CMC 12 Car, Essex - 19th March 2010 - 2nd in class, 5th overall
  • 7oaks Car Trial [ASEMC round], Stoneacre, Kent - 21st March 2010 - 2nd in class, 7th overall
  • 7oaks Scatter, Kent - 1st April 2010 - 2nd overall
  • MMKMC Car Trial [ASEMC round], Stoneacre, Kent - 11th April 2010 - retired, mechanical [clutch went]
  • CMC Gymkhana, RAF Honington - 25th April 2010 - 7th in class, 13th overall as a navigator. 10th in class, 32nd overall as a driver.
  • 7oaks Sprint, Crystal Palace - 30th May 2010 - 18th in class, 76th overall
  • 7oaks Evening Grass Autotest, Farningham, Kent - 3rd June 2010 - 8th in class, 16th overall
  • CMC East Anglian Classic - 12th June 2010 - n/a, course closing
  • 7oaks Evening Grass Autotest, Farningham, Kent - 17th June 2010 - 1st in class, 14th overall
  • WAC Essex Charity Stages - 4th July 2010 - DNF [mechanical, shell split]
  • The Drystone - 17th July 2010 - 8th in class, 35th overall
  • 7oaks Autosolo, North Weald, Essex - 25th July 2010 - 3rd in class, 19th overall
  • 7oaks Sprint, North Weald, Essex - 29th August 2010 - 4th in class, 53rd overall
  • The Bullnose Endurance Rally [ERRC round], Oxfordshire - 4th September 2010 - 2nd in class, 22nd overall
  • 7oaks Autosolo, North Weald, Essex - 26th September 2010- 2nd in class, 17th overall
  • ERMC Mercury Trial [ASEMC round], Sussex - 3rd October 2010 - 2nd in class, 6th overall
  • Exmoor Endurance Rally [ERRC round] - 9th & 10th October 2010 - 3rd in class, 15th overall
  • CMC Gymkhana, RAF Woodbridge - 17th October 2010 - 7th in class, 24th overall as a driver. 2nd in class, 25th overall as a navigator.
  • CMC 12 Car, Essex - 22nd October 2010 [now marshalling]
  • EACS Endurance, Suffolk - 30th October 2010 - 3rd in class, 17th overall
  • 7oaks Car Trial [ASEMC round], a field somewhere - 7th November 2010 - cancelled
  • 7oaks 12 Car, Kent - 12th November 2010
  • The Third Annual IST, Birmingham - 13th November 2010 - missed due to illness
  • MMKMC Trial, Stoneacre, Kent [ASEMC round] - 21st November 2010 - cancelled 19.11, condition of field [too wet!]
  • CMC 12 Car, Essex - 26th November 2010- 6th in class, 10th overall
  • Harvest Endurance Rally, Cornwall [ERRC round] - 27th & 28th November 2010 - cancelled 17.10.10

 

News - New Rollcage - December 2010

The Micra went off to Mike Thomas of Cyclone Motorsports, Wickford for a few days in the middle of December. With the legality of OMP cages in Micras proving to be a bit of an issue, I decided to remove the rear cage and doorbars currently in the Micra and go for a full cage, which is also part of building the car towards stage spec.  Mike has done a fantastic job on the car and I am really pleased with the job he has done - I can highly recommend him, and the quality of his work. Now all that's left is to prep and prime the cage ready for painting and fitting both seats [Mike also welded in the seat mounts] in time for the next event in the middle of January.

 

News - Testing - November 2010

At the end of November, Matt, I and a number of others spent the day at Bradwell on Sea. The main aim for me was mainly refining the Micra's set up as well as getting some help and advice as to where I can make up more time, and getting more seat time in the car. There were a variety of surfaces including tarmac, broken concrete, mud and gravel and it was a good and highly beneficial day. The Turners were there and it was good to be driven by both of them as well as driving them and picking up hints and tips.

 

Event Report - CMC 12 Car, Essex - 26th November 2010

Having originally agreed to marshal, a relatively last minute change of plans saw me move to the left hand seat for Paul Ashmore in his Rover 214. It had been a few months since I had last navigated but I ordered up the maps in preparation. We had similar issues to a number of other crews on the first section with lots of crews going round in circles and in different directions. Unfortunately we managed to pass some codeboards without spotting them which meant we picked up a number of fails and didn't get the result we'd hoped for, but it was good to be out competing again.

 

News - BARs passed

I passed my BARs today at a very wet and cold Brands Hatch. It was my first time driving a 206 and we used just the first stage for my test / driving assessment. I really enjoyed it and so will be applying for my Stage Rally National B license when I renew my current license towards the end of the year.

 

News - Upgrades and rebuilding starts

Now the 2010 Endurance season has finished, upgrades and rebuilding the Micra is being fitted in around other events. The MOT is due in a couple of weeks and a lot of welding work is needed and so it's booked in for it's MOT and the welding to start on the 14th November. Bucket seats [and mounts] have been ordered ready for the car to have a full rollcage and be built to stage spec during the 2011 season.

 

News - Endurance Road Rally Championship 2010

The results are now on the ERRC website after the last round of the Championship. I'm pleased to have finished 2nd in class and 11th overall for my first year in the Championship and hope to build on this  in 2011. Full results are available here.

 

Event Report - EACS Endurance, Suffolk - 30th October 2010

As the Harvest, scheduled for the end of November, has been cancelled the EACS was the last round of the 2010 ERRC. I needed to ensure I finished to keep second place in the championship and it was good to be competing on the event having run as Course Closing for the last couple of years.

The event was once again based at the Holiday Inn at Ipswich with tests at Woodbridge, Bentwaters, a couple of farms and some local forests with a mixture of day and night selectifs. There were a mix of surfaces including gravel, sand, mud and tarmac. I was running Sportways for the first time, which whilst worked, I didn't like as much as the Colways. Unfortunately I punctured one which suddenly let go with a big hiss on the startline of the last test, although having had a local taxi driver drive into the back of the car between scrutineering and signing on [luckily at 2mph and no damage!] I was pleased to have got away with that!

We were sat between 16th and 18th overall all day, and finished 3rd  in class and 17th overall. I learnt a lot again and the car was great with no issues. I'm not competing in the Micra for a few weeks so it gives us a little bit of a breather to check her over before getting her ready for the next event.


Event Report - CMC 12 Car, Essex - 22nd October 2010

Having missed the first round of the CMC 12 Car Winter Series, we weren't sure whether to marshal or enter the second round. A few factors led us to decide that marshalling was going to work better for us, primarily with me being concerned about getting home from work in time. Matt, Mark [my brother] and I headed out at 9ish on the Friday ready to marshal TC7. Unfortunately the entry wasn't full, which was a shame as Andy and Chris always run a good event, and with John Conboy having experienced "car issues" during the event we only saw 9 cars and crews who had all dropped time. Everyone seemed happy though and seemed to enjoy the event.

News - Harvest Rally Cancelled

Unfortunately the Harvest Rally, run by South Hams Motor Club and due to be starting in Bodmin at the end of November, has been cancelled. The event was due to be the last round of the ERRC. The club had said they needed 35 entries by 16th October but had only received 9, two of which were from Matt and I. This means the EACS Endurance run by Chelmsford will be the last round of the championship in a couple of weeks time.


Event Report - CMC Gymkhana, RAF Woodbridge - 17th October 2010

The CMC Gymkhana was my first event competing with my Dad, with him navigating for me in the Micra and me navigating for him in his Rover. I'm not sure either of us were fully sure what to expect but we were both looking forward to it. The convoy run showed the tyres on the Rover were useless and had no grip, and this was shown up even more on the tests! The Micra was in the same spec as I had run earlier in the year on the sprint and autotests and after the first run of tests it felt really good. I was really pleased to see therefore we were sitting 10th overall after the first run of tests - better than I could ever have hoped for! On time, I was quicker than Matt and 7th overall, but having picked up a cone penalty I dropped back slightly.

After the next round of tests, I had slipped to 14th overall, but I was still pleased with how I was doing. However, before this I had to swap the front tyres to the rear as I had ruined them. This, and a "lack of skill" in the skills test, saw me slip abck to 7th in class and 24th overall at the end of the day. Whilst this was disappointing, I still took a lot away from the day and am pleased with the result, but I do need to learn a "tyre preservation" driving style. Whilst I had a "good" set of tyres at the event, I needed these to ensure I could drive home legally. The Dunlops on the car have now gone in the bin!

I had a good time navigating for Dad, and for once the daughter got to shout at the Father when he wasn't listening to what I was calling. I finished around 30 seconds ahead of him, and he was 2nd in class and 25th overall.


Event Report - Exmoor Endurance Rally - 9th & 10th October 2010   

It felt like forever since my driving debut on the Bullnose and I was looking forward to the Exmoor. I had another new navigator, this time Paul Barrett, and having left work early I met him near the office to start the journey down to the start at Minehead. Driving down the M4 a slight vibration started. Thinking it was because the road surface had changed we carried on however it got worse. We pulled over, checked all the obvious things including all wheel nuts etc, but still couldn't find anything. We carried back on only for it to become undriveable and so we pulled over once again. Again we couldn't see anything and looked at a few other things. Paul then thought that the front offside tyre didn't look quite round. Without any other ideas, we decided to change it. As we were packing the car back up Owen Turner and Andrew Dadswell pulled over to see if they could help. They offered to follow us to the next junction where we could pull over and they could have a look and help.

Praying that changing the wheel would have sorted the issue, we pulled out back onto the motorway again. Paul was right - the tyre, a Colway, had gone slightly "egg" shaped and had been causing the issue. We signalled to Owen and Andrew who carried on their way and we eventually caught up with them again in a bar in Minehead later in the evening. By the end of the weekend, Paul and I became very good at changing tyres - having changed the first on the M4, we got a puncture on the long test at Bats Castle, had another Colway go egg shaped on the A303 on the way home, and then had one delaminate on the M3. I am glad I bought some extra road tyres in Minehead as a precautionary measure!

The event itself felt like a true endurance, with some interesting and challenging forest tests during the day and a night rally where Paul really shone and got us the good result we achieved. I struggled in the forests with no gravel experience which really showed, but loved being back on tarmac and the run up the Porlock toll road. The night route was 90 miles and challenging, and Paul's ability on the maps pulled us up 10 places or so. I was very surprised, but pleased, to finish 3rd in class and 15th overall and beat Matt who had experienced a tough day. The next round of the Championship is my "home" event, the EACS Endurance, at the end of October.

 

Event Report - ERMC Mercury Trial, Sussex - 3rd October 2010   

The RMC Mercury Trial was another new event for us, and a round of the ASEMC Car Trial Championship that we are both doing. Unfortunately both the National B and Clubsport events were poorly supported with entries, but it was a good event with interesting hills and variation with some tricky tests in the woods as well as in the open areas.

Heavy rain during the day meant that at the lunch break the organisors decided to call it a day. Cars were having to be pushed out of most tests although Matt managed to get the Micra so stuck a tractor had to tow him out as the 4 x 4 couldn't and also got stuck! I finished 2nd in class and 6th overall but am still trailing Matt in our class in the championship.


News - Eunos fixed

After some initial issues with the woman who drove into the Eunos refusing to pay for the damage privately or claim through insurance, and her failing to realise I could go to the insurers at any time, Churchill [her provider] settled for the damage at the beginning of September. The car went to Colin and Kevin Smith of C K Autos, near Chelmsford, after they did such a good job on the rally car and once again they sorted out the issues to a high standard. It's good to have the car back again now and looking smarter!


Event Report - 7oaks Autosolo, North Weald, Essex - 26th September 2010  

Having landed back from Mauritius late on Saturday night, we'd left the cars ready to go for the Autosolo the following day. Having enjoyed the heat of Zambia and Mauritius for two weeks, North Weald was a shock! It was a much smaller entry than the previous event in July but once again I knew it would be tough to get a good result.

Richard Olsen was out in the AX and we spent the day trading times - occasionally we finished on the same time, and some we were within a few hundreths of each other. Matt was out in the rally Rover for this event and although I was close to him on a few tests, he took the class win by a fair margin. I beat Richard by just over 4 seconds over the course of the day but he pushed me very hard and really made me try! I finished the day 2nd in class and 17th overall.

 

Event Report - The Bullnose Endurance Rally, Oxfordshire - 4th September 2010  

Having done The Bullnose as my first Endurance Rally the previous year, as a navigator, it was time to make my driving debut. Brian Jaggs was navigating for me on this event and I was really looking forward to it. We travelled to my parents' in Wiltshire on the Friday night to save travelling down early on the Saturday morning. The Bullnose uses a mixture of tests but mainly grass and stubble fields with most people's favourite being Green Down. 

We started the event well and beat Matt on the first test. Whilst we weren't setting either spectacular or awful times, it felt like we were going well and interim results showed as sitting in the mid twenties or so. We kept on pushing throughout the day and by the dinner halt we had improved by a few places. The night section was Jogularity which was a new experience for me, and one of the reasons I had invested in a decent tripmeter prior to the event! We completed the night section, dropping a bit of time, and finished the event 2nd in class and 22nd overall. I would happily have taken this at the start of the event so was really pleased with our result and felt I'd really learn a lot as well throughout the event. There are 3 rounds of the ERRC left, with the next being Exmoor in mid October, so I'm really looking forward to these now!

 

Event Report - 7oaks Sprint, North Weald, Essex - 29th August 2010 

A month has passed since the 7oaks Autosolo and it was back to North Weald for a Sprint. The class included Matt in the rally Rover, myself, Jim Pullar in his Micra, Chin in the Corsa and Andrew Actman in his 205 Rallye. I had left the Micra with the same setup as I had run on the Autosolo in July and again this seemed to work well. It was a close battle between Andy and Matt all day for the win, with Andy pipping Matt, and Jim and I spent the day battling over 3rd. Having traded times throughout practise and the timed runs, Jim beat me by 5 hundreths. I must try harder next time!

Here is a video of one of my runs:JZnZDWyXLlk

 

News - Rover fixed

After the damage sustained on the Essex Charity Stages the road Rover is now back with us and fixed, as well as having had some extra work done. The work was all done by Colin and Kevin Smith of C & K Autos near Chelmsford, so a big thanks to them.

 

Event Report - 7oaks Autosolo, North Weald, Essex - 25th July 2010  

This event was the first chance to "properly" try the Micra with the new suspension on tarmac having done a few events in it. Matt was out in the [still damaged] Eunos and I was in the Micra in a class with 12 others. Normally at Autosolos I'm fighting for 4th / 5th in class and I really wanted to do better than that but I knew it would be touch as there are some really quick people in the class.

The day went well, and I was relatively on the pace from early on. Richard Olsen in the AX and Jim Pullar in the Micra were fighting it out for top honours. I was a little further off but very pleased with 3rd in class which I managed to hold on to until the end of the day. Maybe if I'd been a little quicker off the mark [my Test 1 times were off compared to the later tests where I was matching / close to Jim and Richard] I would've done better but it was still an improvement and a very good result and I think I've found a good tarmac setup.

Here are a couple of videos of my runs:lDJlHsqKAyY

7EgRpIjClF0

 

Event Report - The Drystone, Derbyshire - 17th July 2010 

A text message from Lizzie Pope asked if I was interested in doing this event. The answer was yes, I was very interested, but I wasn't sure if Matt would want to do it, or be able to find a nav, and so I didn't want to "ditch" him for the weekend! However after the Essex Charity Stages him competing in the Rover wasn't an option. We decided I would do the event in the Micra with Lizzie and Matt would marshal and borrow Dave Leadbetter's car to get around and to save us taking two cars.

Derbyshire felt a bit of a trek, but it was worth it! There were a couple of tests in a quarry which were great. It was my first time on gravel and I was definitely more confident the second time round. There were a number of muddy / rutted whites as well which were also good. Lizzie is a very good navigator and it was a good event, and also my first event as an all female crew. We finished 8th in class and 35th overall and after a cooked breakfast and a brief doze at Dave's house headed back down South.

 

News - Eunos damage

Unfortunately whilst parked outside our house, someone reversed into the Eunos. Whilst they had driven past it to drop off their friend [our neighbour], they "didn't see it" and when reversing back past it drove into it. There's a reasonable dent in the nearside rear quarter panel, lots of green paint, the swage line has popped out, cracked paint and damage to the alloy. Fingers crossed it can be sorted quickly....

 

Event Report - WAC Essex Charity Stages - 4th July 2010 

Having competed on the Essex Charity Stages in 2009, we had both really enjoyed the event and really wanted to do it again. It had been 5 months since our previous stage event and I was looking forward to getting back in the left hand seat.

Like last year, we decided to head to Bradwell on the Saturday evening for scrutineering. With that successfully completed we headed home to meet my Dad who had come up to service for us. I spent the evening highlighting the roadbook using my notes from the previous year and the amendments picked up at signing on, and we were ready to go! We got to Bradwell bright and early, and after the usual waiting around in Service, it was time to get going. The organisors said the stages were a lot less rough than previous years, although I am not convinced! Stage 1, running down the Bradwell sea wall, felt very very rough and we had a few moments but got around in a good time.

Stage 2 had the same start as Stage 1 but a split and went down the sea wall in a different direction with a different finish. This stage went well, and we were the fastest car in our class [which included a couple of other Rover 200's and a Proton]. However, once we'd finished the stage and had our timecard etc chipped, Matt pulled over saying something was wrong with the car. At first he thought we'd just done a front strut, but further investigation showed that the shell had split......! After a bit of time out of the car, we headed slowly back to service as our day competing was over. We then headed out to one of the other sea wall stages in the afternoon to marshal before heading home. It was a disappointing day, and I'm not sure we'll do the event again in one of our cars due to the damage we [and seemingly most finishers] experienced but at least I have now done it once!

 

Event Report - 7oaks Evening Grass Autotest, Farningham, Kent - 17th June 2010 

Having enjoyed the earlier autotest we returned to the field near Farningham once again for another evening autotest. I moved classes for this one, deciding to "play Chin's game" and joined him, a Locost and a Kitten in Class D. It was another good evening, made even better by the fact I won the class by over 4 seconds, which was a surprise! There were a similar number of cars out as on the previous autotest and I was pleased to improve my overall position slightly to 14th.

 

Event Report - CMC East Anglian Classic, Norfolk and Suffolk - 12th June 2010 

We were asked if we could do Course Closing for the EAC and whilst Matt is familiar with the event, I had never done it before or had any experience of any HRCR events. An early morning drive to the start venue near Norwich saw us collect our paperwork ready to set off following the cars around the route. The tests were good fun and varied and it was a good experience to get more driving time in the Micra especially since the recent changes and updates. The competitors seemed to enjoy themselves too! At the finish, whilst we were having dinner, I had a call asking if I could co-drive on the Abingdon stages the next day. I was sorely tempted but as it was late and I hadn't been well earlier in the week, I unfortunately decided to give it a miss.

 

Event Report - 7oaks Evening Grass Autotest, Farningham, Kent - 3rd June 2010

Having not competed on either of the two earlier rounds of the SDMC Summer Series, we both had our cars ready for the 3rd round of the series. Class B, for FWD cars over 12 feet, was well supported with a number of different car types out - myself in the Micra, Matt in his [rally] Rover 200, Polo, 205, Corolla, Charade, Fiesta and more. It had been nearly a year since I  had done a grass autotest but it was quite slippery and good fun! It was a tightly fought class and I finished 8th in class and 16th overall - not one of my best results but I was a little rusty!

 

Event Report - 7oaks Sprint, Crystal Palace - 30th May 2010

Sevenoaks & District MC have worked hard over the last few years to get Motorsport back to Crystal Palace. After a lot of hard work the event was on over the late May Bank Holiday weekend. As the classes were done on year of manafacture without capacity breaks, I decided to enter the Micra as it wouldn't make much difference to the overall results which car we entered as none would be particularly competitive.

The Micra had been having a lot of work done on it, including all new suspension and changing the clutch after it had gone on the Car Trial back in April. All seemed well, however within 48 hours of the event the car developed an awful misfire. We were due to be helping with setting up on the Saturday but had to cancel this whilst late nights and long days were spent in the garage trying to find and fix the problem. A number of things were changed, including the throttle body which had caused issues before, but nothing worked. Matt tried some rewiring and this seemed to do the trick, but I was still nervous before the event....

The car drove to the event without any problems, and the misfire did not return during competition. As suspected neither of us were competitive in class - we were in a standard class from 1977 onwards which was mostly Ferraris and Evos! However, we had a good day and it was fantastic to compete at a track with a family history - my Great Grandfather George Denton had commentated there back in the 1930's. I finished the day 18th in class and 76th overall before returning on the Bank Holiday Monday to marshal and display the Micra on the SDMC Club Stand.

 

News - Huntsman Cancelled - 15th May 2010

Unfortunately CDMC have cancelled The Huntsman which was due to be my first Endurance event as a driver. Although the Championship organisers have tried hard to get them to reconsider, this has not been successful. This now leaves a very long wait until the Bullnose in September! The car building / prep is, touch wood, going well and on track for the Crystal Palace sprint at the end of May.

 

News - First SDMC Summer Autotest - 6th May 2010

The first Sevenoaks & District Motor Club Autotest for the Summer Series was a rather dusty affair! As we didn't have either car fully ready to compete we went along to marshal instead, although we both did "test" a couple of the tests. It was a good evening and a good start to the Summer Autotest Series.

 

News - Chelmsford MC 12 Car Winter Series 2009 - 2010

As the CMC 12 Car Winter Series has now finished, it's with some surprise that I have won it overall! Matt and I have had some good results throughout the series which started in September but I didn't expect to win it overall. Having marshalled, organised, driven and navigated during the series I've really enjoyed every aspect of it. Thanks to all the organisers and marshals etc. Results are here

 

Event Report - CMC Gymkhana, RAF Honington - 25th April 2010

As Matt had managed to get to the bottom of the electrical gremlins which had been causing issues with his car, we entered in his rally car for this event, once again double driving. I hadn't driven the rally car for over a year, and it was the third time I'd used it to compete in so I wasn't impressed when it started raining - another variable to contend with!

Once again there were a variety of skills and driving tests. As the day went on my confidence in the car grew and I was pleased to put in a top 15 time. We finished the day 7th in class and 13th overall with Matt driving and me navigating, and 10th in class and 32nd overall with me driving and Matt navigating.

 

News - Car Upgrades - April 2010

 

We've recently paid a visit to Matt Humphris, of Humphris of Oxford, and picked up some new parts for my rally car. Shortly it will be upgraded to Spax adjustable forest spec suspension, hopefully in time for the sprint at Crystal Palace in May.

 

Event Report - MMKMC Car Trial, Stoneacre, Kent - 11th April 2010

Having spent a week in the USA and getting back the previous afternoon, we were rather tired for this event!  This was another round of the ASEMC Car Trial Championship and so once again we were using my rally car, the Micra. All seemed to be going well, with Matt and I fighting it out for top honours in our class with not much between us. Unfortunately though, part way through the afternoon the clutch went and that was the end of the day for us.

 

News- Navigator found for the Endurance Championship - April 2010

Having been looking for a while for a navigator for the Endurance Championship, I am pleased to have now found one! Brian Jaggs, who is the Chairman of Chelmsford MC and a very experienced competitior, has agreed to navigate for me for all of the Championship rounds this year. Having missed the first round as I was on holiday, I'm now looking forward to the Huntsman at the end of June.

 

Event Report - 7oaks Scatter, Kent - 1st April 2010

Another new navigator for 2010 for this event was Daren Hall - in 3 months of the year I've got through 4 navigators, oh dear! I don't think I'm scaring them off, but different people are available for different events and as Matt was at the CMC committee meeting for this event Daren Hall agreed to step into the left hand seat. The evening went well, and we managed to clean the route so we knew we should be on for a reasonable result. However, Dave Town and Ben Greenfield had also managed to clean the route but in a shorter time than we took, and so they finished worthy winners with Daren and I 2nd overall.

 

Event Report - 7oaks Car Trial, Stoneacre, Kent - 21st March 2010

This was the first round Matt and I could enter of the ASEMC Championship, and it was the first National B Car Trial for both of us. We entered the road rally class of this event and the championship, which is a relatively small class for cars built to road rally specifications. The event went well, with Matt winning the class and me finishing 2nd in class and 7th overall, one of my best results on a Car Trial.

 

Event Report - CMC 12 Car, Essex - 19th March 2010

With Matt still unable to figure out what was going on with his rally car, I offered to let him use my rally car for this event - it was rather strange navigating in my own car! This was our first event as Novices [based on the navigator's experience] as due to our previous results I'd been moved up from the Beginners class. The main difference is that as Beginners you get pre-plot time, whereas as Novices you don't so you have less time to work out where you are going, but the same amount of time to complete the route in.

The event seemed to go well, though we had a few empty boxes for codeboards. Having found that some of them were missing anyway, I wasn't so worried, although it turns out we did miss one which was disappointing - especially as it was on the first section! We finished 2nd in class and 5th overall which was still a good result.

 

Event Report - CMC Gymkhana, RAF Woodbridge - 28th February 2010

A late swap to Matt's road car for this event was necessary. His rally car had been parked up in the garage since the 12 Car 9 days previously, but when he came to start the rally car it didn't want to know and started doing all sorts of strange things due to some unknown electrical gremlins. I was quite pleased though to be using his road car, having driven it a lot more and having more confidence in it!

The event itself was as expected, with a variety of driving and skills tests - just a shame it was so damp and miserable which always seems to be the way on airfield events! We were double driving for this event and finished 1st in class and 12th overall with Matt driving and me navigating, and 5th in class and 27th overall with me driving and Matt navigating.

 

Event Report - CMC 12 Car, Essex - 19th February 2010

This was my third event of the week, and having had a couple of good results, I [selfishly!] wanted another! Having done well on the last CMC 12 Car we didn't think we could match that again but still thought we'd give it a go. We were doing really well, until we got a puncture which lost as a fair amount of time - looking at the timecards now, we might've been able to pick up 2nd if not 1st overall, but rallying is full of what ifs! It was still a good achievement to finish 1st in class and 3rd overall having lost time. We finished behind Kevin, my nav from the previous night who was driving on this event and won, and Andy and Daren who had beaten Kevin and I the night before... Our result on this event means we will move up a class, from Beginners to Novices, for the next event.

 

Event Report - 7oaks Scatter, Kent - 18th February 2010

The 7oaks Scatter saw me out in the Micra again, but this time with a new navigator, Kevin Ablitt. A few frantic phonecalls before the start to let Kevin know I was delayed [the Dartford Bridge and a very long wait at a railway crossing not helping] meant I arrived at the pub after the event had started! I was only a few minutes late, and Kevin quickly got to work plotting and planning a route for the evening. It seemed to go well, and this was shown by finishing 2nd overall so thanks to Kevin for a good night on the maps.

 

Event Report - B19 Car Trial, Chapmans Field - 14th February 2010

What better way to spend Valentines Day than competing together? After a break after the Bagger it was the Micra's turn to compete again with Matt and I double driving. The field was covered in snow when we arrived, and we were pleased the event was running as we weren't sure it would earlier in the week. Having done a few B19 events now the courses were quite similar and familiar. A good day saw me finish joint 4th in class, 14th overall and take home the Best Lady award, as well as surprisingly beating Matt for the first time on a Car Trial.

 

Event Report - South Downs Goodwood Stages - 6th February 2010

Having heard a fair bit about this event, we decided to enter with Matt driving and me co-driving, especially as neither of us had competed at Goodwood before and wanted the opportunity to. Dad once again agreed to service, and even brought my Mum along to watch, and it was a great atmosphere with lots of spectators there including some friends and other familiar faces.

It nearly all ended on the first corner of the first stage however.....coming into the first corner, we were carrying too much speed. It started to go sideways, and I remember having enough time to look at the tyre barrier and think "that's where we are going in backwards." Luckily, there was a strip of tarmac before the barrier [slicks and wet grass weren't helping us slow down at all...] and I think it was this which saved us. Andy Manston was of course there to photograph it all! Back into first, and off we went - with a slight caution for that corner the next time round...

A Micra kit car was in our class, and was far faster than us, or the Ka also in the class. We had a good battle with the Ka all day. Going into the final two stages we were 3 seconds behind it, however managed to take 16 seconds out of it over the final two stages to finish 2nd in class, and 27th overall. Another good event and result.

 

Event Report - CMC 12 Car, Essex - 29th January 2010

This event went better than either of us expected it to....a re-route at the first control left me slightly flustered and  trying to make sure I knew where we were going and what we had to do. I was navigating again for Matt as, although in many ways I prefer driving, we seem to do better with me on the maps and I've still got a lot to learn. The night seemed to go well, with no missed boards and only dropping 3 minutes. We got back to the pub, hoping to have done well but still expecting someone to have done better.We were pleased, and surprised, when we were announced as the overall winners! This was a great result for us. I'm currently doing well in the CMC 12 Car Winter Series so the points for winning will obviously help in that too.

 

Event Report - The Carpetbagger, Devon - 23rd & 24th January 2010

"The Bagger," as it's known, is classed as one of the top 3 events of it's type. An all night event, the start was in Honiton which was a fair trek from home. As Matt also wanted to drive and compete on his first event of 2010, we both needed to find navigators and Andy Elcomb agreed to sit in the left hand seat for me. We set off from our house early on the Saturday afternoon, with Andy and I stopping in Grays for a good hour or so to get all of the Micra's wheels balanced as there was a really bad vibration. Once this had been sorted, we head off for the long drive down to Devon.

Having passed noise and scrutineering, it was on to a local pub for a very good dinner, signing on, briefing etc until our start time of 2322. A doze in the car before the start, and our start time came around and we started the event. I didn't quite know what to expect, apart from a tough and challenging event, which it certainly was! We had to cut slightly in the middle section but we were pleased not to have to cut anywhere else. We had no idea how we were doing, so to get to the finish the next morning and find out we'd been 19th o/a at Petrol 2 was very pleasing. We finished 4th in class and 18th overall in the end, which was fantastic. Andy hadn't navigated on an event like this for a good few years, and it was only my third event of this type, so we were both really pleased - and I beat Matt, who finished 21st overall, so even better....!

 

News - 2010 Plans

Having had another fun, and varied, year of competing in 2009 my calendar for 2010 looks relatively similar. This year I will enter the ASEMC Car Trials Championship, as well as the Endurance Road Rally Championship as well as hopefully a few stage rallies and other club level events.

2009 Results, News & Event Reports

2009 Results:

  • 25th January 2009 - CMC Gymkhana, RAF Bentwaters - 1st in class, 3rd overall as a navigator. 3rd in class, 20th overall as a driver
  • 8th February 2009 - B19 Car Trial, Chapmans Hill, Kent - cancelled
  • 15th March 2009 - 7oaks Car Trial, nr Bearsted, Kent - retired (mechanical)
  • 28th March 2009 - CMC EACS Endurance Rally, Norfolk & Suffolk - n/a (course closing car)
  • 2nd April 2009 - 7oaks Scatter, Kent - 1st overall
  • 5th April 2009 - 7oaks North Weald Sprint, Essex - 3rd in class, 34th overall
  • 7th May 2009 - 7oaks evening autotest, Farningham, Kent - 6th in class, 9th overall
  • 9th / 10th May 2009 - Miglia Quadrato, London - 63rd overall
  • 21st May 2009 - 7oaks evening autotest, Farningham, Kent - 8th in class, 21st overall
  • 4th June 2009 - 7oaks evening autotest, Farningham, Kent - 6th in class, 9th overall
  • 7th June 2009 - CMC Gymkhana, RAF Honington - 7th in class, 11th overall as a navigator. 16th in class, 30th overall as a driver
  • 18th June 2009 - 7oaks evening autotest, Farningham, Kent - 8th in class, 13th overall
  • 2nd July 2009 - 7oaks evening autotest, Farningham, Kent - 10th in class, 21st overall
  • 5th July - WAC Essex Charity Stages, Essex - 2nd in class, 23rd overall
  • 16th July 2009 - 7oaks evening autotest, Farningham, Kent  - 14th in class, 29th overall
  • 26th July 2009 - 7oaks Autosolo, North Weald, Essex - 4th in class, 22nd overall
  • 5th September 2009 - OMC The Bullnose Endurance Rally, Oxford - 9th in class, 11th overall 
  • 25th September 2009 - CMC 12 Car, Essex - 2nd in class, 6th overall
  • 10th October 2009 - CMC Stage Rally, RAF Woodbridge - 4th in class, 22nd overall
  • 11th October 2009 - OMC Autosolo, Silverstone - 4th in class, 48th overall
  • 18th October 2009 - B19 Car Trial, Chapmans Hill, Kent - 6th in class, 19th overall and Best Lady
  • 23rd October 2009 - CMC 12 Car, Essex - 2nd in class, 3rd overall
  • 13th November 2009 - 7oaks 12 car, Kent - 3rd in class, 10th overall
  • 27th November 2009 - CMC 12 Car, Essex - n/a, organised this event
  • 5th & 6th December 2009 - CMC, The Preston, Norfolk & Suffolk - 4th in class, 23rd overall 
  • 10th December 2009 - 7oaks Scatter, Kent - we never made it, traffic, the A13 and the M25....
  • 28th December 2009 - SCMC, Longmoor Loco Stages - 5th in class, 32nd overall

Championships and Awards 2009

  • 7oaks Summer Autotest Championship 2009 - 6th in class, 23rd overall
  • 7oaks Road Rally Drivers Championship [for 2009]
  • 7oaks 1200 Trophy [for cars up to 1400cc competing in any type of event, for 2009]
  • 7oaks Boadecia Bowl [best lady, for 2009]
  • 7oaks Basil Elkington Trophy [services to Acorn or website, for 2009]

 

News - 2009 season plans 

During 2009 I want to build on my acheivements in 2008. The Preston Micra is pretty much in one piece, and so this will be used on some events and hopefully on The Preston 2009. The green Micra will also be used on occasions, as well as the standard Rover 214 and the enduro / stage spec Rover 214. Hopefully, I will compete on a stage rally as a navigator and maybe find some other events to compete on too. The Preston Micra may change spec and have some further developmental work done to it, but we shall see!

 

Event Report - CMC Gymkhana, RAF Bentwaters - 25th January 2009

A new venue for Chelmsford MC, and a very enjoyable event. We were using Matt's standard Rover 214 and were double driving so we both had a go in both seats. It was a cold, damp day with a variety of surfaces - sand, mud, tarmac and gravel, and so it was good fun. Matt was driving first, and having been warned there was a "jump" on the first test on the sandy part, he still managed to spin....we didn't lose much time, and it did get better from there.

The day comprised of driving and skills tests - the skills tests included having to drive at exactly 30mph through a pair of cones, a Highway Codes test and completing a slalom whilst the navigator held a cup of water, and having to complete it in a set time without spilling any water. It was a real variety, and good fun. I had a good day driving and finished 3rd in class and 20th overall which was my best result to date. Navving for Matt, we finished 1st in class and 3rd overall meaning we took home both the 1st in class awards and the Top Crew award, so a very enjoyable day of cheap, top class motorsport.

 

Event Report - 7oaks Car Trial, nr Bearsted, Kent - 15th March 2009

The first car trial for us of 2009, as the Borough 19 event was cancelled due to the snow and the field subsequently being very waterlogged. We were using The Preston Micra and it was the first time I had driven the car since The Preston itself. There were 18 hills, and up until the start of hill 13, everything was going well. It was close between Matt and myself, and at lunch he was battling for 1st in class whilst I was 5th, so doing well for me.

 Unfortunately, right at the start of hill 13, things went wrong. At the beginning of the course, it went downhill steeply before going uphill steeply. We were the first car to try this hill, and were the ones that found out just how rough it was, as it took off both the front and rear bumpers. The course was changed after that as it was realised it was damaging and too steep, but unfortunately by that point it was too late for us. We decided to retire as didn't want to risk any further damage to the car, and so headed home.

 

Event Report - CMC EACS Endurance Rally, Norfolk & Suffolk - 28th March 2009

As we didn't have a suitable car ready to compete on the CMC Enduro, we offered to marshal / officiate instead. The event started in Ipswich and so it was an early start to get there for 8.30 on the Saturday morning ready to do signing on, and we never really stopped until the finish that evening. Having signed all the competitors on, it was time for all the crews to clock in, and when they'd finished it was time for us to leave as we were running as Course Closing Car.

It was a good route, with tests at RAF Woodbridge, RAF Bentwaters, some local farms, and in the evening some forestry. It was a long day with only very short breaks for lunch and dinner, and it was a good feeling to get back to the bar at 11pm ish and have a large glass of wine! We used The Preston Micra again and apart from the tyres being absolutely awful and having no grip on tarmac let alone mud / gravel / sand etc, the car went well. Matt and I split the driving between us and I learnt how to use a tulip roadbook for the first time. Having run as course closing, I'm now quite keen to compete on an Enduro myself, so have to see what's on!

 

Event Report - 7oaks Scatter, Kent - 3rd April 2009

My first scatter of 2009, and as Matt wasn't available to nav, I had Daren Hall on the maps. We'd done a scatter together once before and come 3rd but this time really wanted to win! There were 35 clues, and you had to visit 26 to clean it. At the beginning we were one of three crews all following each other round, but after a while we lost them. Time was tight, and we weren't sure we'd done enough - we'd visited 25 clues, but one was missing, so had 24 clues written down plus one we guessed [we were looking for the surnames of former F1 World Champions or runners-up and, as we hadn't seen Villeneuve we decided to stick it in all the empty boxes, and it worked!).  We finished on 245 points - 250 points for correct answers, minus 5 points for being one minute late back to the pub.

I didn't think we had done enough to win, but we did, so a really pleasing result. The next crew were on 230 points so we did have a bit of a margin, and there were 11 crews out so a good turn-out. I hadn't won as a driver for a year, when I won a MMKMC scatter, so was pleased to win again!

 

Event Report - 7oaks North Weald Sprint, Essex - 5th April 2009

My second event of the week was a sprint at North Weald. A small class, with Matt and I double driving his road Rover, a heavily modified Mini and a Singer Chamois, meant I thought at best I would finish 2nd in class but most likely 3rd in class.

The weather was significantly better than the event at North Weald a year previously. The practise runs went well and I improved which is always a good sign! My first timed run was also an improvement and this continued with me getting quicker on the second and third timed runs. Unfortunately, my times were only good enough for 3rd in class but this didn't really surprise me and I was happy that I'd improved throughout the day in a car I've only competed in a couple of times in the past.

 

News - Micra Building - ongoing

As The Preston Micra survived The Preston, and with me looking at expanding the events I've done and really enjoying course closing on the EACS Enduro, I have decided to build it into an Enduro Rally Car. As things stand, the car is all stripped out ready for the rollcage to be fitted at the end of May and over the first May Bank Holiday weekend various work has been completed on the car including fitting the new steering wheel, pedal covers, rewiring the horn, stripping out everything for the rollcage to be fitted, making the tank guard and various other necessary work. The car is still going to be used to compete on some of the 7oaks autotests whilst work is ongoing in ready for it's first Enduro event, The Bullnose in September.

 

Event Report - 7oaks Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent - various Thursday evenings during May, June and July

You always know Summer is coming, as the 7oaks evening autotest series starts! The courses get harder as the events go on and so doing the first few is always a good way of getting back into things and into the swing of it. For the first evening I decided to use the The Preston Micra and it was a lovely evening, though rather slippy.

It took me a while to get used to it all again and the understeer etc, so I didn't think I had a very good night results wise. I was pleased to find I had finished 6th in class and 9th overall, which was on par if not slightly better than previous years. Autotests aren't my favourite discipline but I ended up doing all 6 evening grass autotests [I couldn't make the final whole day event] and was pleased to finish 6th in class and 23rd overall in the championship, which I didn't think was a bad result seeing as it was quite a large class [26 competitors in the class] so 6th isn't bad!

 

Event Report - Miglia Quadrato, London - 9th / 10th May 2009

A late entry from us, and we decided to enter the Miglia Quadrato again which was my second attempt. Matt and I decided we would share the driving between us and drove for about 50% of the event each with it being my first time driving in London. Our team was made up of us, CMC's Tony Michael who we'd been in a team with last year, and Wessex MC's Lizzie Pope.

The evening started off well with a lovely Chinese in the Docklands, but went downhill rapidly from there. I managed to stay awake this year, unlike last where I slept through all of the plotting etc, but we struggled with finding clues. At 3am with only three clues we knew it was never going to be a good night, and I found it harder than previous years. In the end, we finished up with 11 answers and believe we finished second from last [although we are still waiting for results to come through in the post].

After our poor performance, we now have a strategy in place for next year's event, and will definitely be back to improve!

 

Event Report - CMC Gymkhana, RAF Honington - 7th June 2009

This was my second event driving Matt's rally car, and I was hoping it would go better than the last time when it had been very tail happy! As always seems the way, it was a damp, windy, cold day on the airfield. 

The car was handling much better than when I had driven it properly as it had a much better tyre setup, and throughout the day I was improving on my times. There is still a lack of confidence with this car but something that will grow with time and events. I noticed on my last run that the yellow "centre marker" for the steering wheel seemed rather off centre, but I didn't really think anything of it. However, we got back to the paddock and parked up and Matt noticed the n/s front wheel was at an odd angle. It turned out the front strut had snapped at the weld.... Luckily, and kindly, someone lent us their trailer and car so we could get the car home rather than having to call the RAC. So we finished, but it wasn't the best end to the day! I finished 7th in class, 11th overall as a navigator and 16th in class, 30th overall as a driver.

 

Event Report WAC Essex Charity Stages, Essex - 5th July 2009

I was rather nervous ahead of my first stage rally, especially as it was a multi venue event and I had no experience of using roadbooks at that point either. It was a good weekend - Goodwood Festival of Speed on the Friday, marshalling the stop line on the rally stage as normal, scrutineering for the rally on the Saturday and then the event on Sunday.

The first stage was cancelled, due to two cars off in the same place, and so we started with SS2. Unfortunately, a combination of nerves and stupidity saw me still on the diagram for SS1 and being unsure of where to go at the split. Thankfully it didn't cost us too much time! It was very rough and bumpy, especially along the sea wall which is what everybody had warned me of, and I was pleased I hadn't had breakfast...

Our day went well, a mixture of grass, tarmac, gravel and other surfaces, as well as being a multi venue event, meant it was good fun. We were getting quicker and quicker during the day, especially on the airfield stages in the afternoon, so we were pleased to finish 2nd in class and 23rd overall. 

A video of us competing is below - this was the second stage we did, but is actually SS3.

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Event Report - 7oaks Autosolo, North Weald, Essex - 26th July 2009

The 7oaks Autosolo was once again lucky with the weather, with beautiful sunshine! We were using Matt's road car, due to issues with the rally car. Unfortunately not being "on it" enough for the first test cost me 3rd in class,  I just need a bit more aggression when driving! I was still pleased with my times though and to finish 4th in class and 22nd overall, in a 1400 standard road car with old, "need to be used up" tyres on....

 

Event Report - OMC The Bullnose Endurance Rally, Oxfordshire - 5th September 2009

The original plan had been that The Bullnose would be my first Endurance as a driver. However, due to events over the Summer, my car was not finished in time and so we decided I would navigate for Matt instead.

I was slightly apprehensive about navigating, due to my limited experience in the left hand seat. There were many tests of different services, length and difficulty - the "cow shed" tests were great for being so tight and twisty and lots of calling for me to do, but equally fun was the longer and more open Green Down tests as well as some of the other stubble fields.

We seemed to be doing ok throughout the event, and we didn't get lost - always a bonus! We finished 7th in class and 11th overall - slightly disappointing not to be in the top 10 as we were given a 1 minute penalty for a missed codeboard [although we had been there and had 5 out of 6 letters correct]. The idea of codeboards is to provide correct route / prove you've been there, which we had, but there we go! It was still good to be out competing again and get a good result.

 

Event Report - CMC 12 Car, Essex - 25th September 2009

The first 12 Car of the CMC 2009 / 2010 Winter Series started somewhere near Colchester. Having just bought an Eunos we decided to use this 12 Car as it's first event, with me driving and Matt navigating for me.

The route was a good one, with some elements familiar from previous events. However it defintely taught us one thing - not to use the Eunos on a 12 Car again! It is far too low and stiffly sprung and just made us feel like we were on The Preston again.

 

Event Report - CMC Stage Rally, RAF Woodbridge - 10th October 2009

The CMC Stage Rallywas my first single value stage rally, and so I thought this would be slightly easier than the Essex Charity Stages in July!

By now, I'm reasonably familiar with Woodbridge having done lots of events there. This event was what we had expected - some tight and twisty bits through the buddleia section as well as some open, fast and flowing sections over the airfield.

We had a trouble free day, with no major dramas, and finished 4th in class and 22nd overall. We then headed home ready for an early start the following day for the next event....

A video of us [SS8] competing can be seen below:

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 Event Report - OMC Autosolo, Silverstone - 11th October 2009

The OMC Autosolo was the second event for the Eunos. Unfortunately, it was wet, very wet! It didn't dry out at all until the very end of the day as the rain kept coming down.

With limited experience in RWD and wet conditions, it was a steep learning curve for me. A few spins, and many sideways moments, was the nature of my day although I gradually got the hang of it. It was probably one of my worst results in recent times, but I definitely learnt lots, and finished 4th in class and 48th overall.

 

Event Report - B19 Car Trial, Chapmans Hill, Kent - 18th October 2009

The B19 Car Trial was another event for the rally Micra, and good to get another event under her belt so to speak. Matt and I were double driving for this one again but unfortunately he beat me.... I think this was one of my best Car Trial results to date, being 6th in class, 19th overall and taking home the Best Lady award.

The Weald Trial was due to use the hills after the Car Trial had finished and so we stayed to help marshal. It was dark by the time they'd finished, as can be seen below:

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Event Report - CMC 12 Car, Essex - 23rd October 2009

I decided to make my debut navigating on a 12 Car, having done the CMC Table Top rally to learn how to navigate. I think it's useful to learn how to navigate because I think this will help and give me a greater understanding of when I'm driving of how hard it can be in the left hand seat!

The start was near Billericay and I was rather nervous before we set off. As a Beginner, eg the lowest class, we got pre plot time which was useful. The event seemed to go well, and we picked up all the codeboards which is always a bonus! When the results were announced I was surprised, but pleased, to have found we finished 2nd in class and 3rd overall - not bad for my first time navigating!

 

Event Report - 7oaks 12 Car, Kent - 13th November 2009

Having done well on the CMC 12 Car we decided to enter the 7oaks event with me navigating again. Unfortunately I found this much harder than the North of the river event I'd done previously and struggled with the navigation, having to hand it to Matt at one point - and then finding he couldn't do it! You also had to open each envelope at the control meaning you didn't get the chance to plot on the move to an earlier control or anything. Although we did follow the correct route, which is always a bonus and so got all the boards, we dropped too much time plotting and came 3rd in class and 10th overall.

 

Event Report - CMC 12 Car, Essex - 27th November 2009

We organised this 12 Car for CMC, and so got to know the route quite well! I marshalled the first control with Ed Scott who then navigated me round as course closing. It was a good evening, and I laughed a lot due to Ed's funny sense of humour and jokes. People seemed to enjoy it which is the main thing.

 

 Event Report - CMC The Preston, Norfolk & Suffolk - 5th & 6th December 2009

Having finished The Preston in 2008, I decided to give it another go in 2009 with Matt navigating again..... The car has had lots of things done to it since the last Preston, nothing performance enhancing, but was now an Endurance spec rally car rather than a standard car like the year before.

As ever, The Preston was tough - very, very tough! Before the first PC of the first section, I'd managed to lose both my front number plate and bumper - not a good start! On the first section we managed to get stuck behind a number of other cars - they were all stuck in the mud, we couldn't drive into the field to go around them for fear of damaging the farmer's crops, so tried to go up the bank and round but got beached. It felt like it took forever for recovery to come [it wasn't that long, thanks again to them] but finally we got going.

The rest of our event had the normal Preston challenges, again having to run the heaters on full like the previous year due to the radiator being full of mud due to the bumper missing.... It was as challenging as ever, but extremely pleased to have finished it again - a real sense of achievement. We had to cut a fair bit, due to running close to OTL having got stuck early on, but was pleased to have improved on last year's result and finished 4th in class and 23rd overall.

 

Event Report - 7oaks Scatter, Kent - 10th December 2009

Well there's not much to say about this one - we thought we'd make it, we were looking forward to it, and then we joined the stationary A13...we were still sat on it at the time we should have been starting the event an hour away. When we finally got to a junction and could turn around we headed home....

 

Event Report - SCMC Longmoor Loco Stages - 28th December 2009

Having heard lots about the Longmoor Loco Stages, but never having done it, we thought it would be a fun and different thing to do during the Christmas and New Year break. We decided to go there from my parents as we'd been there for Christmas, and also meant Dad serviced for us which helped!

It was good to be able to walk the stages before the event as we're used to doing them blind. It was as everybody had described - rather icy. I was navigating for Matt in the Rover which was it's first event for a while.

As we left the service area for SS1 someone warned us about a particular hairpin being very icy - and it was! Even having been warned, it was slippier than expected - far slippier than anywhere else on the stage. We completed SS1, and subsequent stages, without any dramas - bar where Matt carried a little too much speed into a 90R before the finish [again, it was cautioned...!] where I did think we were in the trees, but we somehow just avoided them.

We finished 5th in class and 32nd overall. It was another good event, and a great round off to the year.

2008 Results, News & Event Reports

 2008 Results

  • CMC Brockley Road Bodyshop Gymkhana, RAF Woodbridge, Suffolk. 20th January 2008 - 1st overall navigating in Rover 214 SE, 6th in class driving Nissan Micra
  • B19 Car Trial, nr Meopham, Kent. 10th February 2008 - 10th in class
  • SDMC Scatter, Kent. 21st February 2008 - 4th overall
  • MMKMC Scatter, Kent. 20th March 2008 - 1st overall
  • CMC Javalin Jumbo Jymkhana, RAF Woodbridge, Suffolk. 30th March 2008 - 1st in class navigating in Rover 214SE, 6th in class driving Rover 214SE
  • SDMC Scatter, Kent. 3rd April 2008 - 3rd overall
  • SDMC North Weald Sprint. 6th April 2008 - 3rd in class
  • SDMC grass autotest, nr Farningham, Kent. 8th May 2008 - 8th in class
  • Miglia Quadrato, London. 17th May 2008 - 64th overall
  • SDMC grass autotest, nr Farningham, Kent. 22nd May 2008 - 9th in class
  • CMC Scatter, Kent. 25th July 2008 - 4th overall
  • SDMC Autosolo, North Weald. 27th July 2008 - 6th in class
  • SDMC North Weald Sprint. 31st August 2008 - 6th in class
  • B19 Car Trial, nr Meopham, Kent. 12th October 2008 - 6th in class and Best Novice
  • CMC Halloween 12 Car, Essex. 31st October 2008 - 7th overall and 2nd Expert
  • SDMC 12 Car, Sussex. 14th November 2008 - 4th overall and 4th Expert
  • CMC Mick Bliss Memorial 12 Car, Essex. 28th November 2008 - result n/a, course opening car
  • CMC The Preston. 6th / 7th December 2008 - 26th overall and 7th Semi Expert
  • SDMC Scatter, Kent. 11th December 2008 - 6th overall


Championships and Awards 2008

Basil Elkington Trophy [services to Acorn for 2008]

7oaks Boadecia Bowl [best lady for 2008]

7oaks Paul Brooks Johnson Trophy [for most promising newcomer to rallying for 2008]

 

News - 2008 season plans

During 2008 I am going to continue competing in my Micra which served me well during 2007, as well as making a couple of appearances navigating for Matt Endean in his Rover 200.

The Formula Vee is being sold and so circuit racing plans look limited unless I decide to do an arrive and drive later in the year, but as things stand I will be competing in sprints, gymkhanas, Car Trials [new name for PCTs], a multi-venue trial, scatters, autotests and whatever else I find that takes my fancy.

The Micra will stay pretty much the same spec as last year with no real major development plans and I will then evaluate the 2008 season before starting to make plans for 2009......

 

Event Report - CMC Brockley Road Bodyshop Gymkhana, RAF Woodbridge, Suffolk - 20th January 2008

My first event of 2008 was the Chelmsford MC Gymkhana at Woodbridge. A gymkhana is a series of skills and driving tests, and I entered the Micra with Matt Endean navigating for me and agreed to navigate for Matt in his Rover 200.

My navigating experience was limited having only done a scatter previously, however I found it much more enjoyable than I expected. Likewise, the driving was epic fun - though I did manage to hit a cone, keeping up my poor autotest and PCT "tradition."

Unfortunately we didn't realise that I had received a wrong test when actually it was a mistake and should have been for another car. As this wasn't realised until after the event, I still had a maximum test time in the overall results meaning I missed out on the Fastest Lady award which otherwise I would have won. However, it is a lesson learnt for next time - query the results!

Whilst Matt and I thought we had won our class in the Rover, we had a huge surprise when we were told we had won overall having been trading times with Ian Mepham / Samm Keeley in the Peugeot during the day. Although we'd set the 4th fastest times, second drivers aren't eligible for the overall win and as the three cars above us were all being driven by the second driver, we picked up the overall award.

A great result and my first overall win was really pleasing, and fingers crossed there'll be more to come.

 

News - Sevenoaks & District MC Annual Dinner & Awards - 2nd February 2008

Saturday 2nd February was the SDMC Annual Dinner & Awards held at Hadlow Manor, near Tonbridge, Kent.

I picked up the Basil Elkington Trophy for services to Acorn [the club magazine] and the website and so another trophy joins my collection. Hopefully there will be some more trophies added during this coming season.

 

Event Report - B19 Car Trial, nr Meopham, Kent - 10th February 2008

First proper competition damage, but overall a better result than previous events.

The hills were reasonably dry, and double driving the Micra with Steve Thompson, we both managed to clear quite a few hills in the morning. We both made mistakes - I cleared a hill but clipped the 8, and later on Steve just didn't put his foot down enough and got an 8 as we got stuck with no grip when a clear was possible so everything was pretty equal. However on the last hill, the car was to gain a few dents and scratched paintwork.....

A tight test with trees on each side of the course, Steve rolled very gently straight into a tree in the middle of the bonnet so we were never going to make the turn. Whilst this didn't cause any damage, his reversing into a tree did - a pretty bent rear quarter panel and scratch marks all down the side of the car. At first I thought it was a "minor scuff" as he first described but when I got out and had a look I realised it was a little more than that....! My turn on the same test, and I managed to hit a tree stump on the right hand side of the car which put a dent in the sill.

At the lunch break, I had 3 points less than Steve - and the lower the better, so all to play for in the afternoon. The afternoon hills were harder, tighter and also had a lot less grip as the hills were really cutting up. Steve got a couple of points back on me but with the last hill of the day I still had a point lead. Lack of grip lead to understeering into a flag and picking up a six, so overall Steve beat me by 4 points. I also managed to melt a fuse so sorted that before I left, which only seems to happen on Car Trials, just like last year....

The class result was better than I've seen before, being 10th out of 22 entries so running mid class rather than nearer the bottom is an improvement. Next time I'm aiming for a similar class result - and no damage!

 

News - Formula Vee sold - 20th February 2008

The Formula Vee Sheane MKII sold this week to a newcomer to Vee, so I'm now back to owning one car and concentrating on club motorsport events. The next event in the Micra is a scatter, a navigational exercise around Kent, and Saturday will be spent trying to get the dent out as best as possible from the recent Car Trial.

 

Event Report - SDMC Scatter, Kent - 21st February 2008

First time driving on a scatter and what fun.....! A scatter is a navigational exercise around the countryside and for this event I had Dave Town navving for me. Having plotted all 36 clues we set off, and with 45 mins left we were slightly worried we'd only made about 14 plots. However, the idea is that you can't visit all clues and just have to pick the best route. Returning to the pub we found the other crews had visited a similar number of plots and so we had nothing to worry about.

The result was pleasing, as we had visited 20 clues so could have finished with a maximum of 200 points - and we finished up with 195 points meaning we were accurate in our answers. The Micra was on good form whilst, although still complete with dent, bulbs, fuses and other bits and pieces had been sorted the day before.

We finished 4th out of 6 crews and just made it back to the finish on time. The plan is to try and do the two remaining Weald MC scatters for this side of the summer and do more back in the autumn / winter when they start again. 

 

News - Car sorted - 23rd February 2008

The dent in the Micra from the recent Car Trial has now been sorted and whilst not perfect is looking a lot better than it was before. There's still a few little ripples etc but the scratches have mostly polished out and a touch of t-cut will hopefully sort things. All other little jobs on the car have been done in the past week as well so a short to do list - for now. 

 

Event Report - MMKMC Scatter, Kent - 20th March 2008

My second scatter and what a night! At one point things weren't looking good - the traffic on a Thursday night of a Bank Holiday weekend when you've got to use the Dartford Crossing and M25 is always going to cause a few problems, and with the M25 being shut near Sevenoaks and a series of other issues I didn't expect to make the start at one point. Thankfully, however, I did and met up with Dave Town who was navving for me again to do my second scatter as a driver.

I enjoyed the event, and as there wasn't lots of stopping to get out of the car, hunting around for clues and heading off again, it felt flowing although not all the clues were easy to spot. I felt that the evening was going well but "nothing special," and we made it back to the finish venue with a couple of minutes to spare.

We thought we had visited a reasonable number of clues but expected others to have done better, so when it was announced that we had won [having got 340 points with 300 needed for a maximum score] we were extremely pleased, if not a little surprised! It was very pleasing again to have got all of the clues we visited correct as well as having won the event. The second placed crew had 295 points [10 points available for each correct answer] and so we had won with a reasonable margin, which was also good.

Although we were both surprised, to have won the event was fantastic, and I'm now looking forward to the next and final scatter of the series on 3rd April.

 

Event Report - CMC Javalin Jumbo Jymkhana, RAF Woodbridge, Suffolk - 30th March 2008

So, my second gymkhana and this time I'd entered in Matt's enduro spec rally car, a Rover 214SE. I hadn't driven the car before the event so there was a lot to learn. Having PAS was a nice little "bonus" but, whilst being able to tell from the convoy runs that the tests were slippy, I didn't learn much else about the car until it came to the tests themselves.

I was navving for Matt as well so I got an idea of what things were like from the navs seat but then it was my turn. A couple of spins early on, just from lack of grip, were quite amusing [and there is video footage, so this might get uploaded at a later date!]. Later on in the day I managed my first ever tank slapper, as well as managing to loose the back end in some bushes resulting in a little work needing to be done to the car.

Matt was having a good battle for the class win with a couple of others, and in the end got it by just a second so I got another trophy to add to my growing collection. I finished up 6th in the class out of 12 runners - but when the people ahead of you are seasoned competitiors and it was in a car I hadn't driven before, that was pretty pleasing. Fingers crossed I'll be allowed to drive the Rover again now I've got a little more confidence in it!

 

Event Report - SDMC Scatter, Kent - 3rd April 2008

My third and final scatter of the season, and a change of navigator as Dave Town was off rallying in Belgium and so Daren Hall stepped in. This time the scatter was in a part of Kent I didn't really know that well and so I was looking forward to a bit of "exploring."

The clues were all very spread out and meant we mainly stuck to A and B roads. Wherever we went, we seemed to be following the pairing of Andy Elcomb and Ian Crocker for the evening, so we knew we were on a par with them. Out of 40 clues, we only managed to visit 17 plots due to them being so spread out, and were pleased when we returned to the pub to find that the majority of people had visited about the same number.

Annoyingly, we managed to get two of the answers to the clues wrong and so finished up with 150 points, in 3rd place. Not quite as good as last time, but still a good result none the less.

 

Event Report - SDMC North Weald Sprint, North Weald, Essex - 6th April 2008

My third event in a week was the 7oaks sprint at North Weald airfield. The "buildup" to the event had been quite amusing having been receiving and sorting out the entries, and some people's queries will never cease to amaze. For the first time ever I'd actually turned up to the event fully prepared - a fully cleaned out, washed and polished car, everything packed up properly etc - not normally my style! Even my license had managed to arrive a couple of days before the event, despite the MSA delays.

The weather forecast was, according to the BBC, for a clear day with it turning nasty about 4pm and when I left home it was raining but that soon turned to snow once I hit the M25. The nearer I got to North Weald the worse it became, and by the time I reached the M11 I could see it was really nasty and starting to lay. I didn't have to leave the car in the paddock for long before it started to get covered.....

The start was delayed by approximately 45 minutes and having cycled the course in the morning, a lot of it was still covered in snow. By the time of the first practise run, the snow from the course had all been brushed away or had melted but it was still very slippy. I was the second car to run and could tell it was still obviously very slippery from the skid marks left by the car before me on the straight where it had locked up! The first practise run was "interesting" with a couple of lock ups for me and a very near spin but I managed to catch it - at least I didn't manage a full on spin like Andy Elcomb who was double driving my car, and spun at the first corner he came to.

I struggled with a couple of corners all day, one where the car wanted to understeer, and the other where I nearly spun every time. I never did quite get either of them completely sussed and so never did put in a "perfect run." The course started to dry out by lunch time and whilst still slippy, after the lunch break and in time for the first timed runs, it was definitely drier. My first timed run was 3 seconds quicker than my best practise time, but Andy put a blinding time in - a time that I think would have won the class if he hadn't wrong routed.

My aim for the day had been to beat Nigel Mead - competing in a similar car [a Polo] he, and Andy, were really my biggest competition. The other cars in the class had more power and I expected them to finish ahead of me. After the first timed run I was a few seconds ahead of Nigel but still had to put in another good time. I really didn't feel the run was that good at all due to a couple of mistakes, and didn't think I'd improved my time, so I was very pleased to find out it was 3 second quicker. I then had to watch Nigel complete his run - and he finished just a few tenths slower than me. Andy wrong routed again and so didn't get a time.

I finished 3rd in class behind a Mini and a Metro and was very, very happy with the result. It would have been good to have got a 3rd timed run and to have seen if, or by how much, I could have improved my time. The conditions were horrible especially in the morning, but it made for an interesting and fun day.

 

News - Karting & EACS Enduro - 16th, 19th & 20th April 2008

A busy week with karting on Wednesday and the CMC EACS Endurance Rally over the weekend. We went karting at Lakeside for the first time, which was my first time karting outdoors, and a good and fun track. We had 30 mins in the twin engined pro karts and really enjoyed it. Admittedly having not been karting for a while, I was aching for a bit for a couple of days afterwards!

The weekend was spent helping on the CMC EACS Enduro doing signing on, navving the course closing car on the day route and marshalling one of the night tests. It was a good weekend, but I think I'm going to have to learn how to do tulips etc and the other nav that appeared at night so I can compete next time. Although I was fine with the day time navigating I would have struggled with the night nav, so a little learning will be needed and then can compete in the future.

 

Event Report - SDMC grass autotest, nr Farningham, Kent - 8th May 2008

The first autotest of the 2008 season had a good turnout and I was looking forward to it. It was a bit of a mad dash to get from the office, via home to pick up my car and to Farningham on time but we made it. The Micra was out competing once again although I have been offered the chance of double driving the Rover later in the series if I want to.

The event itself had good and bad points. The tests were all fast and flowing and it was good to get back into it, although my first few tests could have been a little tidier! About halfway through I realised I had a problem with the car but I just couldn't figure out what was wrong apart from the fact I knew on one test I'd lost drive. As the evening went on it kept happening and when it happened for the second time I'd realised - it kept jumping out of first gear. The first time it happened I thought I'd stalled so automatically put the clutch in and must have just done the gear as well. It only happened on the really rough, bumpy stuff but unfortunately that was four tests out of six! I will now be looking to fit a new front engine mount before the next event.

I finished 8th in class out of 13 which was "ok" but could have been a lot better if it wasn't for losing time with the gear issue, a pain trying to hold it in when also operating the handbrake with my left hand as well. It should be sorted in time for the next autotest on 22nd May, though in the meantime I'll be out competing on the Miglia Quadrato, a treasure hunt around the City of London.

 

Event Report - Miglia Quadrato, London - 17th May 2008

The Miglia Quadrato is one of those events that I'd heard of and always fancied doing. Having heard a couple of others were interested as well we put in an entry and decided to do it in a Subaru Forester, with our team comprising of Tony Michael, Dave Leadbetter, Tom Ward, Matt Endean and myself.

Pre-event prep was a little different to usual - drinking wine and eating pizza - and it didn't get off to a great start when people visiting our neighbours hit Tony's Subaru which we were doing the event in, and just drove off, leaving it dented and with scrape marks all down the driver's side of the car. Tom and Dave arrived at ours not long after that and shortly afterwards we decided to head into London to find a Chinese which Tony had been told was very good - after a lot of searching we found it was full and so headed off to Pizza Hut instead.

None of us really knew were the start was and even once we had established where it was, with a maze of one way streets it took us quite a while to get into Finsbury Circus. I managed a nap before the start whilst the guys all plotted the route and not long after midnight we were off. The clues ranged from easy to hard and ranged from signs on walls to the manafacturers of drain covers so you really had to check everything you could see. Whilst the clues were plotted on the map, they were North East of the plot, within a range of 10 square meters so you never knew quite where to look. The hardest thing is that whilst you are provided with a map, it doesn't mark one way streets and no entry signs etc so all calls were provisional until you knew you could take the turn.

We were doing really well until about 2.30am. Tom managed to set the car's alarm system off which upset the immobiliser. Tom, Matt and I headed off to look for a couple of clues on foot expecting Tony to have fixed it by the time we came back. Unfortunately this wasn't the case and we didn't get moving until 4am, an hour and a half later. Tony thought it could have been something to do with a local transmitter interferring with the immobiliser so we tried to push it down the road and around the corner, and then found it bump started! Lucky, and it saved a call to the AA.

We had to hand our time cards in between 4.30 and 5am so we decided to head back to the finish and tried to pick up a couple of clues on the way. Provisional results apparently were available at the finish however we didn't want to wait and hang around and headed home. We've been told that results will be posted out but not for three to four months, so it's a bit of a wait to see how we did - just a shame we sat going nowhere for so long, as that really cost us.

My next event is 22nd May, another autotest, but before then the Micra needs a new front engine mount to try and cure the issue of it jumping out of 1st gear, so I better get working!

19th June, results update - we finished 64th, out of 69 crews! Surprised we weren't last having sat around for a couple of hours but a shame as we could have done much better without that time lost.

 

Event Report - SDMC grass autotest, nr Farningham, Kent - 22nd May 2008

After the first round of the 7oaks autotest series, there had been some time spent trying to sort out the Micra's gear issues. The front engine mount had a lot of play in it and so I ordered a new one to get it fitted before the second round.

Having taken the old mount off it was apparent that there was plenty of play in the old mount compared to the new one and I was hopeful that this had cured the problems. However, during the first test it became apparent that it hadn't cured the issues as the car was still jumping out of first gear when driving across the ruts.

It was a frustrating evening trying to once again hold it in gear again and use the handbrake all with my left hand. The tests felt a lot tidier than the previous event but there were a couple I lost time on although I was on the pace elsewhere.

Having checked the rear engine mount, it looks as though this could be causing issues as well and so now I need to decide if I will change it before the next autotest on 19th June, or just live with it as this issue is only apparent when autotesting and where it is very rutted. The front engine mount made a noticeable improvement however it still hasn't cured the issues so we shall have to see what happens.

 

News - Car and Event update - 26th June 2008

It's been just over a month since I last competed, and during that time the Micra passed it's MOT with flying colours and no work to be done - a big relief after the amount of work it had to have done last year! I'm undecided as to whether to carry on with the summer autotest series at the moment, as the rear engine mount needs replacing and as the issue is only appearing on the autotests, I'm not sure in the short term whether to do it or not. Unfortunately I couldn't compete in the CMC Gymkhana last weekend which I'd been looking forward to as I went to a family memorial service in the USA, but CMC have announced they are running a summer scatter and so I've decided to enter that as so far I've enjoyed them and had good results. Unfortunately that now means I am classed as an expert!

 

Event Report - CMC Scatter, Essex - 25th July 2008

It had been a few months since I'd competed on a scatter and for the first time I had my boyfriend, Matt, navving for me. The start was a good hour from home but thankfully the Friday evening traffic was fine and we made it in plenty of time.

The navigation was different to other nav I'd seen from similar events and considerably harder, but we plotted most of the clues before we set off. We only visited about ten or eleven plots so weren't confident of a good result however it turned out other crews had found the same so we were still competitive and finished 4th overall out of 9 crews, not a bad result at all. We were only a few points behind 3rd place and had an enjoyable evening so I'm looking forward to the winter and competing on more scatters and hopefully 12 cars too.

 

Event Report - SDMC Autosolo, North Weald - 27th July 2008

A new event for me in the form of an autosolo. They're very similar to a tarmac autotest however have slightly differing rules regarding length and turns etc. I decided to use Matt's road Rover 214 which is pretty much a bog standard car, instead of the Micra, so this was the first time for me driving it in competition.

The courses were all defined by cones and reasonably straightforward to remember. North Weald was very different to when I last visited it in April - for this visit it was sweltering hot, as opposed to snowing! The first run in the car went well - there were four tests and the best two of three runs to count so the pressure was on to put in good times and not wrong route as there was little room for mistakes.

I struggled with the second test and if I had got to grips with this feel I could have had a much better class result as I was significantly off the pace when compared with other cars in my class. A tight 90 right into 90 left into a tight slalom was my downfall - the first part of the course I had mastered but not being able to get the right lights into the 90 right and 90 left compromised my speed into the slalom in comparison to others. The third and fourth tests went well though, a wrong route on the first run of the fourth test certainly put a bit of pressure on as I knew I could not afford to go wrong on the second and third runs, but whilst I was cautious, I put reasonable times in.

I finished 6th in class, 0.8 secs behind 4th and not too far off 3rd - certainly something to aim for next time - but I did pick up the Best Junior award.

There are a few videos of me competing on youtube:

Test 1

Test 2 which I couldn't master [proven by a bit of an "off" into the gravel!]

Second attempt at Test 2

Third and final attempt at Test 2

 

Event Report - SDMC Sprint, North Weald - 31st August 2008

My final sprint of the season was to be at North Weald. I had been hoping to make the trip to Debden in October for one of the final 7oaks Speed League rounds of the year but unfortunately a change of jobs meant that I could no longer make it. I used the Micra again, and this time my boyfriend Matt was double driving.

There was no snow as there was at the earlier 7oaks event in April, but it was wet with light showers on and off during the day, leaving the course damp. The Micra was in good shape and handling well, and competitive within the class which included another Micra, a double driven Mini and a Suzuki Swift. I improved during practise and again on my first timed run. I found a little more time on my second timed run and was looking forward to my third, as I had a good idea of where I could make up the time.

As I went to line up for my third and final timed run of the day, the heavens opened. Unsurprisingly, I didn't improve on my earlier times however I only lost one second in the conditions - compared to others in my class who lost three to eight seconds, it left me 6th in class and rueing what could have been if the course had stayed dry.

 

Event Report - B19 Car Trial, nr Meopham, Kent - 12th October 2008

A weekend home from a month working in Edinburgh meant I could do the B19 Car Trial. I had originally thought about doing the Weald Trial on the same day but it was a long day in 2007 and I decided that as I was heading back to Scotland on the Monday, I would "compromise" and do the Car Trial instead.

Matt was double driving my Micra again and I was hoping it wouldn't pick up any more body damage, as it did at the B19 Car Trial at the same venue in February. The hills were similar to previously and I managed to clear quite a few - including the one I hate with the huge dip in it - which was really pleasing. Matt drove well with fewer mistakes than me during the day, and picked up 3rd in class. I finished 6th and picked up the Best Novice award which was a really good finish to the day and another enjoyable event.

 

News - New car, "The Prestonmobile" - 30th October 2008

Having decided to compete on "The One and Only Preston" we needed to find a suitable car. The entry went in as soon as entries opened, and I am going to drive and my boyfriend Matt Endean navigate for me. Matt has competed on The Preston many times as both a driver and a navigator and I decided now it was my turn too.

As The Preston can be a bit of a car wrecker, the hunt for a suitable vehicle started. We decided to look for another Micra as it can be broken for spares for my everyday road car once the event is over, I am familiar with the handling of the car, they're not too expensive and easy to work on. After a while scouring ebay, autotrader, local papers etc we finally came across one. A long drive to Norfolk on a wet and windy Thursday night saw us pick up the Prestonmobile ready to start prepping her for the event at the beginning of December.

 

Event Report - CMC Halloween 12 Car, Essex - 31st October 2008

Having picked up The Preston car the night before, we decided to use it on the CMC 12 car. Nothing was changed on the car apart from removing the seatbelts and adding some 4-point harnesses and filling her up with fuel so we were ready to go.

This was my first 12 car and I was driving with Matt navigating for me. Although I hadn't competed before, classes are based on the navigator's ability and previous results - meaning we were classed as Masters, the highest class possible. Matt said the navigation was difficult, but we got around and I enjoyed it. The car was good to drive - a few things better than my every day Micra - with only a couple of things needing sorting for The Preston - namely the tyres [which will be changed anyway] and the brakes. Apart from that, it was a pleasing evening and event and we finished 7th overall.

The Preston Micra will now be prepped and worked on ready for the big event itself and will be seen out as the course opening car on the next CMC 12 car which Matt is organising and I am helping with, the Mick Bliss Memorial 12 Car at the end of November.

 

Event Report - SDMC 12 Car, Sussex - 14th November 2008

Having enjoyed the CMC 12 car a couple of weeks previously, and with the 7oaks Car Trial on the 16th being cancelled, I decided to have a bit of a trek and compete in the 7oaks 12 car. This was another shakedown event for The Preston Micra having had a few things changed, tweaked and added to it and once again the car proved reliable - touch wood that shall continue!

The navigation was easier than the previous 12 car and once again Matt was navving for me. There were some great lanes and it was a thoroughly enjoyable event. We finished 4th overall with 0 fails and 7 minutes so a much better result than previously, although unfortunately we lost a few minutes in the final section but still a very pleasing result. The Preston Micra will now be used on a couple more events in forthcoming weeks before the big event itself.

 

Event Report - CMC Mick Bliss Memorial 12 Car, Essex - 28th November 2008

The final shakedown event for The Preston Micra was running as course opening car on the Mick Bliss 12 Car, which I had helped Matt to organise. Traffic on a Friday evening meant some competitors were a little delayed in getting to the start but the event went ahead as planned.

It had been raining heavily for the previous few days and even within the first 5 minutes of starting out we came across some rather large puddles. We got around in one piece, a lot better than previously thanks to some new Dunlop tyres, and only dropped a few minutes - not bad considering we had to stop and put out all of the codeboards.

The competitors seemed to enjoy themselves and the car didn't throw up any new issues so we're all set for the big event itself - The Preston.

 

Event Report - CMC - The Preston - 6th / 7th December 2008

So, time for what was probably the biggest event I'd ever competed on - yes I've done National B status events before [sprints and circuit racing] but The Preston certainly has the most hype. Based in Norfolk and Suffolk we left home quite early as we had to be at scrutineering for just after 7pm, but apparently it's also "tradition" to visit The Little Chef for some dinner first too.

Everybody kept telling me that one of the main aims with The Preston was simply to finish, and I was determined not to retire. I've only ever had to retire from one event before, a CMC autotest, and being ever so slightly competitive by nature I didn't want to repeat that.

We started at dead on 11pm, and headed for the first section - what an introduction! It gave me a good taste of what was to follow - ruts, mud etc - you name it, it was there. We were going well, and caught the car in front so had made up a minute which was very pleasing. Driving down a reasonably muddy / boggy track we were flat in second and started to lose power. I thought we could be bogging down so changed to 1st and zilch. I pulled over, popped the bonnet and Matt couldn't see anything wrong and decided we were overheating so the heater was put onto full power which was how it was to stay for the rest of the night, to try and get some heat away from the engine. Whilst stopped we were overtaken by four or five cars which was disheartening, but we were pleased to finish the section after a few "moments" of sidewaysness.

Having completed the first section the car then deve

loped a "coughing issue" which stayed with us all night - we think the cats were breaking up, so 1st gear was getting to 20 / 25mph [normally 30mph] and 2nd gear was getting to 40mph [normally just under 60mph]. Thankfully, due to the conditions this wasn't too bad but when you're in the smallest engined car anyway and only have 998cc of "grunt" [if you can call it that....] you need every bit of power you can get!

We made it to first petrol and had a few minutes to fuel both the car and ourselves and were lying 27th overall. Up until second petrol, about 4am, all went well too and we were lying 21st overall which we were pleased with. After second petrol though, things started to unravel.

We lost a reasonable amount of time looking for a control, which we then found had been scrapped at the start [the nav had forgotten this....!], so we lost quite a bit of time and decided to cut a section out which gave us 4 fails, as otherwise we would've been running quite close to OTL and we decided not to risk it. We also lost quite a bit of time with a route blockage before we decided to cut, which didn't help, but such is life.

Having cut out a section, we continued onwards and completed the last few sections, including the very rough Fox Pin - the only part of the event that Matt asked me to slow down on! Unfortunately, the last section didn't go so well for us, just like at the very beginning of the event. Leading up to the start, there was the world's biggest puddle with some rather nasty mud on one side and a forest on the other. I decided the mud looked pretty bad and, not wanting to get stuck, ventured slowly through the puddle - and then the car died. I felt it going and gave it all the revs the car had left but unfortunately it just died. Eventually we got her going again, and then I cocked up the very first corner of section - a hairpin right, I thought I'd get it round on the handbrake, it didn't want to go, and ended beached on the bank. Anyway we got around in the end, and a fun section it was too! A big thanks to the guys with the Land Rover for towing us and the marshals for their help too.

It was a VERY tough event, and very rough, and I know understand why / how people talk about it. I'm pleased with my driving having never done a road rally before, and the nav wasn't too bad either. The conditions were like nothing I have ever driven in - never driven on ice, it was very icy, never driven on bad mud, it was very muddy, never driven on bad ruts, it was very rutty and rough, etc [!!]. We finished 26th overall in the end, but the fact we finished was a big achievement in itself.

 

There are now quite a few bits damaged on the car - we lost the nav mirror early on which I have no idea where or how, spotlights are cracked, missing mudflaps, coughing / cats issue as earlier mentioned and maybe other things yet to be discovered. However, all of the issues should be able to be fixed and we plan on keeping the car to use in a few Car Trials etc over the next few months and then use again on The Preston next year.

The aim was to finish, I set another of finishing top 35 [this was the day before the event] and thought top 30 would be amazing....now of course I wish we finished in the top 25!

 

Event Report - SDMC Scatter, Kent - 11th December 2008

The final event of my season, and as we were leaving home I offered to nav for Matt and swap seats for the night - he's navved a lot for me recently and not been driving so I thought I'd give it a go on the maps for the second time - brave or foolish, who knows!

The start was in Kent and most of the clues were relatively easy to plot. We decided on a route and set off, and soon discovered it was very icy and snowy. Apart from starting to feel a bit rough near the end, navving wasn't too bad although I definitely prefer being in the driving seat. There were a few clues that didn't quite seem to plot but I wasn't sure if these were me [although some people later said they also had problems] and there were a couple of clues we couldn't find.

Not knowing if I was judging the time well or not, we arrived back at the pub 15 minutes early so we definitely would have had time to find a few more answers, but there we go. We finished 6th overall, not last, but still room for improvement in the future!

 

 

2007 Results, News & Event Reports

2007 Results 

  • SDMC PCT, nr Maidstone, Kent. 25th March 2007 - 15th in class
  • SDMC sprint, North Weald Airfield, Essex. 1st April 2007 - 5th in class
  • SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent.  10th May 2007 - 3rd in class [collected first competitive trophy!]
  • SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent. 24th May 2007 - 6th in class
  • SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent. 7th June 2007 - 12th in class [dropped score for championship]
  • SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent. 21st June 2007 - 6th in class
  • SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent. 5th July 2007 - 9th in class
  • SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent. 19th July 2007 - 6th in class
  • SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent. 29th July 2007 - 10th in class
  • UK Formula Vee Championship, Silverstone. 18th August 2007 - 31st out of 36 starters
  • SDMC sprint, North Weald Airfield, Essex. 26th August 2007 - 2nd in class
  • CMC Grass Autotest, St Lawrence, Essex. 9th September 2007 - retired [mechanical].
  • Weald MC "Weald Trial", various locations, Kent. 14th October 2007 - 18th in class
  • SDMC scatter, Kent. 18th October 2007 - 5th overall
  • SDMC PCT, nr Maidstone, Kent. 18th November 2007 - 16th in class 

SDMC PCT – 25th March 2007

 

My first ever motorsport event was a PCT on a farm near Maidstone, Kent. A PCT is an event held on medium to steep hills, often muddy, where the aim is to get as far up the hill as possible without hitting any of the gates which mark the course. The higher you get up the hill, the fewer the points you score. The winner is the driver with fewest points at the end of the day.

 

At the PCT, I was competing against some fairly accomplished drivers including a journalist from Motorsport News who was also doing his first PCT. Although I had a relatively hard morning, I did much better in the afternoon. The lack of grip and at times delicacy required with the throttle and clutch was a whole new experience to me but one which I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

Overall I finished 15th in class – but a few places above the lowest placed competitor, which was the main thing.

SDMC Sprint, North Weald, Essex – 1st April 2007

 

Just over a week after my first event came the sprint at North Weald. At only 45 minutes drive from my house it’s one of the closest events on the calendar for me. The car was ready having spent the day before in the local garage have new tyres fitted and a new back box.

 

A sprint is an event usually held on a racetrack or airfield or other large, open, tarmac space. Cars run one at a time and compete against the clock around a set course and are separated into classes depending on engine capacity and modifications etc.

 

The day started off with a couple of practise runs – a chance to learn the course and feel what the car could do. Although I started off relatively gently, it was interesting to see how the car felt and handled as it was very different to normal road conditions. North Weald is a relatively bumpy course compared to other venues but the car handled nicely – just unfortunately did not have enough acceleration!

 

My class comprised of myself, Sam Collins who was double driving the Micra, a couple of minis and Nigel Mead in his Polo. Although the Polo had a marginally bigger engine than the Micra, it was also slightly heavier and so didn’t have too much of an advantage.

 

The three afternoon timed runs went well and I managed to improve on my time each run, to find approximately 16 seconds over the course of the day. North Weald is a fairly good venue to start at as there is very little to hit and it is nice and open – although this can cause some problems when looking for turn-in and braking points. 7oaks & District MC are holding another event there in August over the Bank Holiday weekend and I hope to improve further on my times from the April event.

SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent – 10th May 2007

 

The first round of the SDMC Summer Autotest Series started at the beginning of May. Again a new event to me, an autotest. Autotests can be run on tarmac or grass but SDMC run grass autotests. Cars run one at a time and you have to drive against the clock around a series of cones. They also include reversing! Thankfully as my first autotest was also the first round of the season, no reversing was involved, but as it had been raining all day the grass / mud was very slippy.

 

There were two other people driving my car – Sam Collins, and Charles Armstrong-Wilson, his boss. Competing against others in the same car is good as it gives you some sort of idea as to how you compare to them although both Sam and Charles have considerable experience of competition. The first couple of tests were a case of getting a feel for the conditions and trying to have as little wheelspin as possible when pulling off the line. Being a short wheelbase car the Micra handled very well and was perfectly happy when being slid around corners.

 

Just like the sprint, I managed to improve on my times on each test and was running slightly quicker than both Sam and Charles. I finished my runs as dusk set in and waited for the results….for a first timer, I expected to be mid to bottom of class and was extremely pleased when I came 3rd, out of 10 entrants. I received my first motorsport trophy, or in this case an engraved glass, and even managed to get a mention in the issue of Motorsport News which followed the event.

SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent – 24th May 2007

 

The second round of the SDMC Summer Autotest Series was a dry event, which certainly pleased myself. Having had such a good result in the previous round I was expecting this time to be a little harder. Once again, Sam, Charles and myself were all sharing my car and the two men were determined for me not to finish ahead of them again.

 

Whilst for the second event in a row there was no reversing involved, all the tests were a lot faster and tighter and proved more challenging. The Micra had a few issues earlier on where it looked like it was overheating but, once the radiator had been cleared out as it was full of daisies [thanks to my handbrake turn lessons in the adjoining field earlier that evening], it settled down.

 

I wasn’t as quick or competitive as I had been a couple of weeks previously, but I finished 6th in class – two places behind Charles, but still ahead of Sam. A couple of crucial little errors and wrong routes early on combined to put me slightly further down the pecking order, but still looking forward to the next event on 7th June.

SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent – 7th June 2007

The third round of the Summer Autotest Series did not go as well as previous events having started badly with overheating issues with the car. The tests were all still forwards motion with no reversing and made a change from previous weeks as most were fast and flowing rather than tight. The evening was going reasonably well and I was running on par with Charles, who was also driving my Micra and we were only taking a tenth out of each other here and there so the competition was on.

Unfortunately, towards the end of the event, the evening took a turn for the worse. Having completed my first run around one of the final tests and clipped a cone, I was determined to improve for my second run. As far as I knew at that point I only had a penalty (ten seconds) for clipping a cone, having hit a rut going towards the corner and having gone straight into it. I completed my second run which whilst I still pushed, I concentrated on to try and ensure it was correct. When collecting my timecard after my second run, the marshal said "you wrong routed again." Unfortunately, I was unaware I had wrong routed on my first run therefore leaving me with no time for one test - which is criminal in terms of results.

I finished up bottom of class [but only just even with the penalty!] as the penalty for a wrong route is the fastest time plus 30 seconds therefore putting me out of contention. Without that, I think I would have been running around fourth or fifth in the class which isn't bad for a third event. Thankfully I am doing all of the championship rounds and can drop one score, so I think this one may be the one to drop!

SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent – 21st June 2007

Due to electrical problems with the Micra, with it not starting and the engine occasionally cutting out, I decided to sit out the autotest and marshal instead. I hadn't marshalled for around 10 months and thought it could be some good practise for the rally stage the following day at Goodwood. Having signed on and being all ready to go, I was offered the chance to double drive Daren Hall's Nova - a very competitive car which normally gets fastest time of the day. Having originally thought he was joking, I soon realised he wasn't and went and signed on to compete.

I'd never driven the Nova before and have driven very few cars so I did a quick couple of laps around the field. Compared to the Micra, the steering was slightly heavier and it had a much harder throttle pedal but by then it was time to go and do my first competitive run in the car. Slightly apprehensive, the first run went ok though I was well off Daren's time. Knowing Daren had a very strong chance of winning, I also wanted to make sure that doing my runs didn't get in the way of him competing!

We went round and both did all our runs with me receiving tips from Daren as we went. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I think I could have made up more time by being more brutal with the car - I was told you needed to be but I don't think I was quite hard enough. I was slower than Daren on all of the tests but that didn't surprise me in the least, him being a very quick driver and the Nova being a car I'd never driven before.

I didn't want to be bottom in class, and finished up 6th out of 9 , in a different class than I normally compete in in the Micra due to the length of the cars. I was pleased with the result having not driven the car before and really enjoyed the night - and am extremely grateful to one Mr Hall....

SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent – 5th July 2007

A wet Kent evening made for some challenging driving conditions for the fifth round of the autotest championship. The Micra was back up and running and whilst the evening started off well, it went steadily downhill from there.

The venue is located on a hill, so when it's wet traction for some of the tests that run up hill can be a challenge, and likewise when going downhill it's imperative to ensure you get your braking points right before you go sailing on through the finish area.

Unfortunately for me, a little over enthusiasm on one of the downhill tests saw me sail through the finish area with nothing I could do about it. For my second run, I braked earlier and thought I'd be ok - but the conditions were tricky and the car slid in a manner which I couldn't control and I hit one of the cones in the stop box. As per the rules for autotesting, I incurred a 10 second time penalty putting me out of contention for any awards.

My mistake spoiled what was otherwise a very good night, as I would have been running around 6th in class instead of 9th where I finished up - but live and learn!

SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent – 19th July 2007

The Micra was back to having issues for the last evening round of the autotest series, and so Daren Hall kindly let me double drive the Nova again. This was the first round that had involved reversing, and after a bad first run at the reversing test where I struggled to engage reverse, the second time I got the gear in properly and it didn't go too badly.

I was running closer times to Daren which was pleasing, and it certainly helped that I had competed in the car once before. One costly mistake on a test, meaning I had to go back to go around the cone the right way, cost me twenty seconds. I was sure before I set off that I had the correct route in my head but clearly didn't and whilst I had a map on the dash, there's just no time to check and by the time you do you're losing time.

Sixth in class could've been better, but I felt it was an improvement from my previous Nova adventure and so not too disappointed.

SDMC Summer Autotest Series, Farningham, Kent – 29th July 2007

The whole day autotest, and once again the Micra wasn't working properly and so I was in another Nissan - the Sunny belonging to the Travers. It handled just like the Micra and so I felt right at home, the only difference really being the size of the car.

It was a whole day event split into differing morning and afternoon tests. After the morning tests, I was running 9th in class. I forgot I was driving the Sunny at some points as it felt so like my car, and brushed a couple of cones on the same test with the rear of the car as I forgot about it's length. The ten second penalty was applied dropping me down the order but whilst some tests were quite challenging and all about the handbrake, it was good fun.

After a rest for lunch the afternoon sessions commenced. I wanted to get back to Brands Hatch just down the road as Formula Vee was racing there, and so elected to only complete each test once as was there for fun. On some tests, I didn't set as quick a time as the car and I could have done due to the differing conditions and so I ended up 11th in class which goes to show why you normally have two runs. But I was happy, and got back to Brands in time to see some Vee racing.

With the morning and afternoon times combined, I finished up 10th in class overall - and I can't be too displeased with that seeing as I didn't complete all of the tests.

UK Formula Vee Championship, Silverstone - 18th August 2007

Having taken, and passed, my ARDs during July I was ready for my first circuit race at Silverstone. I'd tested at Bruntingthorpe to learn the car and get an understanding of how it felt, but coming out into qualifying suddenly things seemed very different.

The circuit itself isn't too hard to learn and I know it from spectating there and also having watched a few onboard videos. However, heavy rain overnight and being only the second session out meant the track was still very greasy with no dry line formed.

Qualifying itself was a challenge - having overtaken someone into Brooklands on my first competitive lap I spun onto the grass as there also seemed to be oil down as well. I got it going again and spent the session learning the circuit and trying to get a feel for the car in the conditions, which proved quite tricky as it didn't talk to you or give you much feedback.

I qualified third from back for the heat and had a good few hours to get myself together for the race. The wait in the assembly area felt as if it went on forever, especially seeing as the race before was red flagged and so they had to clear that up and it got restarted.

We were eventually let out and we formed up on the grid. The green flag lap got underway and it was nice to be driving again rather than sitting there still thinking about getting out on the track. We formed up for the start and before I knew it the red lights were on, off again and the race was underway. I made a poor start and followed the pack into the first corner.

The race itself was fairly uneventful, the flaggies did a good job of showing the blue flags when I was lapped and I got quicker and quicker as the race went on - my fastest lap in the race was three seconds quicker than I had gone in qualifying which goes to show I just needed more track time. With hindsight, I maybe should've tested on the Friday but that's something I know for next time.

I finished 31st out of 36 starters so for a first race, that wasn't too bad - just look forward now to the next one!

CMC Grass Autotest, St Lawrence, Essex - 9th September 2007

Another whole day autotest, this time in Essex. Not much to say about this one to be honest - the Micra cut out on the way to the venue leaving me stranded in the middle of Sadlers Farm Roundabout - a complex of roundabouts - so not a great start at all. The car wouldn't restart at first but thankfully it then did and so I carried on to the venue.

The car was fine once I got there, but during one of the morning tests it cut out in the middle of the test again and it wouldn't restart. I left it to cool and everything seemed ok, before the car wouldn't start again. Though I wanted to carry on, I decided it was better not to as I use the car daily as well. The problem was later proven to be a faulty battery so after that was replaced post event, everything was fine again. But a disappointment having to retire after a reasonable trek out to Essex.

Weald MC "Weald Trial", various locations, Kent - 14th October 2007

The Weald Trial is a resurrection of an old event, a multi-venue trial around Kent. This was organised by the Weald MC and consisted of various autotests and PCTs around the county throughout the day.

The day started early with signing on, scrutineering and the first autotest near Farningham, Kent. We were given map references for the rest of the locations and although they had opening and closing times, we were free to go to them in any order and so Matt, who was navving for me, got busy plotting.

 

One of my favourite venues was a large autotest field – the tests were good fun and fast and flowing [though one had reversing – eugh!] but arriving with the field still covered in the early morning mist and fog made a pretty sight.

 

Having done a couple of autotests and PCTs in the morning, we managed to stop at a petrol station and buy a quick bite to eat before heading on with food to the next venue. There was a mixture of difficulties across the different events – for example the autotest at Headcorn Airfield was incredibly tight and narrow even in the Micra, and the PCT run by MMKMC was very tight and tricky as well. This made for an interesting day with the differing difficulty levels across the venues.

 

We finished up at The Bull in Wrotham to hand in our cards and have a well earned roast beef dinner, before heading back home to catch that night’s episode of Top Gear. We finished 18th in class – a worse result than we had hoped, but as there were many tied results at venues, this had a knock-on effect with our overall position.

 

For £25 entry, the Weald Trial was exactly what a days club motorsport should be about – cheap but fun and competitive at the same time.

SDMC Scatter, Kent - 18th October 2007

Having done the Weald Trial in the middle of October, Chin and I were talking in the pub [as you do] and he mentioned he was doing Andy Elcomb’s scatter that coming week, the first scatter of the season. A scatter was on the list of “things to do” for the 2007 season and when he mentioned he didn’t have a nav so would either do it on his own or I could join him, I decided to give it a go.

 

I learnt how to read maps in school and spent a lot of time studying maps in geography, when I wasn’t having my copy of Motorsport News confiscated Anyway, maps fascinate me and whilst there may be some things I can never remember, for example the difference between churches with the circle / square bit at the bottom of the symbol, I thought I would get on ok. I found out what a romer was as had never used one before and was used to estimating when looking at 6 / 8 point grid references. I checked Chin had the maps which he did and we were ready.

 

I hadn’t seen any scatter clues before and when we got the sheet from Andy and went off to start plotting I was slightly apprehensive but after the first few I decided it was ok. We plotted our clues and looked at the first part of our route and off we went. I know my left from my right which is a good start and bar missing a slot, we didn’t go too badly wrong.

 

We misplotted one clue and got a couple of others wrong – for example “what is blocking the entrance to the field” – well I put “crap” and then burnt fence posts, an old table lamp, logs etc so even gave them detail…..but somehow we must’ve had the wrong field as everybody else had a hay bale, but there we go.

 

Chin understood some quality navving such as “slot right at the right” and a couple of times was told just to “drive, man, drive!!!!” Hopefully he’ll let me back again at some point and I wasn’t too bad.

 

Next plan is to drive on one myself – any willing navs???

SDMC PCT, nr Maidstone, Kent - 18th November 2007

 

For the November PCT, I decided to offer my Dad a double drive in the Micra seeing as it was him who got me into motorsport in the first place. I was competing with Matt bouncing for me and my Mum bouncing for my Dad – bouncing is the name given to the passenger, as they bounce up and down over the front wheels to try and gain that little bit more traction.

 

So that Dad could watch and see what to do, I agreed to go first – a huge mistake. The idea with a PCT is you drive as far up the hill as per the marked course as you can. By the time Dad ran, about an hour after me, the hills had dried out significantly and you could reach the top of many whereas when I was doing them, with severely limited traction, we were only reaching about the 8 score [hills run with scores of 12 >> 1].

In the afternoon, we had the same situation again – the hills dried out as the day went on meaning there was significantly more grip. I finished up the day 16th in class – not a great result, but next time I’m going when I want to and not trying to be nice, so I can get the best of the conditions too!.

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