Part 1: CRA HERO Rally of The Tests 2013

Tired before we start

Tired before we start

Wow… what an event!

It’s taken me this long to recover and just get a grip on a.) what we achieved and b.) to actually get my thoughts round the Rally of the Tests.

A fantastic mix of regularities, TC sections, secret checks, long days and brilliant marshals.

So here is part 1 of 3 – Hopefully the rest will be up over the weekend!

How will this fit in a TR?

How will this fit in a TR?

It was my second attempt, the first last year ending in gearbox failure, this year I would sit with Ryan Pickering in the TR4A.

The fun and games started about an hour from Southampton realising it was too late to turn back for paperwork so a few emails and find a printer was the first job of the day… as we pulled into the hotel at Chester a chance to collect some of the route and fill in those gaps.

I settled down on one of the few tables and off we went – I say we because it soon became apparent that mistakes made already of just subtle differences in maps and route meant there were plenty of options of which way to go on certain regularities!

All sorted just about… time for the Prologue…

Prologue Chester – Chester:

Marked maps couldn’t be any simpler honest gov?!

Well when it’s a mix of a 1960’s map transferring onto a modern map then the simple things can be missed like certain turnings behind pubs or finding tricky slots it wasn’t easy.

Proof in the first couple of miles; already down on time, a white on the map – but a good through road with a ford, hairpins, and a Halloween party to boot.

Some seconds lost but pretty good, others already struggling, passing some break downs and others stuck after taking wrong slots.

Turning hairpin left 50 yards before a check point – meaning a half mile wrong slot – didn’t help!

Antony & Guy hats off I fell for every trick in the book – on the Prologue… 😉

3rd in class and 18th overall time to up our game!

A simple Sunday drive

A simple Sunday drive

Leg 1 – Chester to Stoke:

Up bright and early with the reverse seeding we would be running around 50th on the road.

The first real test came on the first regularity the instructions seem pretty simple but with variants in trip meters and where you zero etc etc a regularity where you have to be precise. Throw a few farm tracks in and it is easy to lose time. Catching some cars and other wrong slotting and getting involved meant you have to be on the ball running in the middle of the pack!

Clocaenog was next a mix of forest, roads and tracks which didn’t start well having to reverse nearly back to the start for a member of the public – so did the car in front – we made up our time in the next mile or so as did the Mini only to go by and then sit there in front of us, which was a bit weird as obviously he was a minute down – we kinda guessed that there might be a control at the beginning of the forest section but we had to tackle the double ford first luckily the mini wrong slotted so we skipped ahead and got the control losing a dozen seconds.

We followed a Cortina who decided it was best to pull over and we kept going, not missing a beat or a slot which carried on throughout the day, the only frustration was a control just as we were about to turn into a forest loop, unfortunately the marshal waited for all 7 cars behind before chipping our time card and allowing us to continue – leaving 48 seconds late will nearly made it to the next control only missing it by a 15 seconds – If only we had another tenth! The next control was a short loop again cars all over the place including car number 3 who saw us come out of the loop but continued straight on and missing the control.

The next beauty of a Regularity ran along the newly resurfaced whites and a few dirt tracks Dolobran and into the village of Dinas Mawddwy (the home of a very famous rally driver), not only being spot on with the twists and turns and overtaking a few cars that had  not spotted the correct turnings in time then up the side of the mountain looking at the beautiful waterfalls before settling down to making sure we were on time for the final control on Lake Vyrnwy.

The rest of the afternoon/evening was fine with us plodding along and counting down the miles to our TC leg at Swynnerton – whoever designed this section is a genius!

Congratulations to Shon & Pam Gosling and any other helpers I don’t know them all by name, radio crews and marshals.

The lay out was superb… a chance ‘have a go’, make mistakes, but no excuses as long as the driver followed your every word. Ryan did exactly that – it went really well only one moment of doubt and a competitive total of 5 mins lost.

Junctions thick and fast, coming up quicker than you can say them staying on track with the maze of routes, catching cars, passing cars it was the best – I’m afraid unless you were there you wouldn’t understand – All I will say is that it was worth the entry fee alone!

Regularities  Overalls:

RS 1/1   Halkyn Mountain:            15th         Total = 10 secs

RS 1/2   Clocaenog Forest:            2nd           Total = 38 secs

RS 1/3   Ffestiniog:                           20th         Total = 2 secs

RS 1/4   Coed y Brenin                    10th         Total = 33 secs

RS 1/5   Dyffryn Dyfi                        3rd           Total = 17 secs

RS 1/6   Bury Walls                           =4th        Total = 7 secs

RS 1/7   Staffordshire Lanes         +30th      Total = 11 secs

Day 1: Test Overalls

TS 1/1 = 5th          TS 1/2  1st             TS 1/3 = 3rd          TS 1/4  3rd

TS 1/5 = 3rd          TS 1/6  2nd            TS 1/7 4th              TS 1/8 = 1st

TS 1/9 = 2nd         TS 1/10 1st            TS 1/11 2nd           TS 1/12 = 2nd

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