Long days are a big feature of the ROTT and long may they continue, it’s how the crews react to the good and the bad – today would turn our rally on its head.
Back to Swynnerton and a couple of tests and a chance to look at some of the roads we used the previous night and a chance to thank Shon & Pam for their efforts.
The tests included a Le Mans style running test – now with one disabled navigator and a driver – prop forward – of 21 stone, it was a sight to behold as Ryan performed a Usain Bolt style start, only to flag as he tried putting on his belts. It was a great addition but not sure I would want to do it….
The first regularity kept you on your toes with a tricky speed change, crossing over a B-road and finding some farm lanes – our major problem came when we left the final control in front of the land owners cheering us on, Ryan decided he would like to visit their pond/lake, ala Peter Clark/Tony Mason style in the 1970 RAC Rally at Woburn! Well the organisers did say they wanted to recreate the RAC’s of old… not sure they meant quite like that.
The second regularity went okay, but I had a slight doubt of confidence as the route I had plotted did not quite tally with the instructions we were given and after turning round twice went found the IRTC but with a loss of 22 seconds. Darn it!
We had good fun at Oulton Park on the handling circuit having the Gopro of David Winstanley fixed to the bonnet following a Porsche round lap two – hope to be on the programme now!
But as we pulled out and started the next road section we had a problem Houston the trip and speedo packed up – nothing no matter what we did – Our only solution was to battle on… But fair to say it did distract us as we tackled the showground and then the lanes and the tricky little triangle… definitely not our best but fingers-crossed we could fix it else we would be struggling.
Lunch halt turned into a race against time with the clock but as usual Peter Banham and the team pulled out all the stops and replaced the cable.
Again this makes the event watching a true pro at work while I huddled under any shelter I could find, due to another heavy downpour. I was nervous as the number of cars started reducing and it was time to leave I booked in to the control and looked up and to my relief saw Ryan driving down the car park to pick me up. A quick test on the next road section proved and it was working fine and was accurate – a bonus!
Where next and what time was it? I can’t remember, but it was safe to say I was getting wet, as my window got stuck and we had a massive downpour. My job was to try and protect the paperwork but my attempts failed – feeling cold we soldiered on a little bit damp in the cockpit and now with steaming up issues.
With everything going on the next regularity was a chance to be precise with no pressure or dodgy slots and just admiring the scenery as we headed into the night… at 5pm in the afternoon.
Plotting Lune Valley in the hotel was difficult enough but I must admit to not knowing where we were on the map as this seemingly straight bit of road had plenty of twists and turns to keep us occupied – oh, and had I mentioned it was chucking it down now… and as we looked at joining the main road – we guessed their might be a control and we were a little down on the clock but it was the wrong moment to speed up as the spray of a huge puddle started going over the car Ryan did well to keep going not only was it deep but it was long it was then that we realised the water was coming into the car as in fixing the speedo we had to access the gearbox tunnel and we had not plugged the whole. You could hear it in our voices as the water filled our seats and then started slowly but surely rising up our backs – I must admit to a few yelps and expletives – It was freezing!
The car started misting up again I thought I had missed a slot but luckily I had not…. we also managed a tricky slot right which confused some of the crews behind us as we headed to a tea halt with soggy bottoms!
Now, here’s a plea from us poor unfortunates running at the back of the field, we don’t mind using delay allowance or running behind time, but please when we arrive at a halt it would be nice to have a cup, some hot beverages and a scone ready to go! But this time the tables were empty, no lunch, now no tea, time for emergency chocolate rations!
A couple of ace tests around the Shap area and then on to Warcop!
Never been here before, but I knew I had to be on my game and unfortunately I was not. Confusion, tiredness and simple mistakes meant we got caught out with people running late, distracted by cars that had gone off and tempted by cars following every track they could find… If I was on my own I could have coped but we ended up in a train of around 10 cars and too many minutes dropped 8 in total….
Then the sting in tail Pendragon and the other 2 regularities heading back to Windermere. The were awesome, right locations a great mix of tricky slots and on private land it was ace but not what I needed running low on sugar and sustenance. I will not say much on this apart from we found everything and even had our first ‘you said’ ‘I said’ as we hunted for a long way round triangle with a secret check. The controls were all in ‘fair’ places and the instructions were plenty good enough – including the helpful hint on how to get out of the farmyard.
I was pleased but knew we had dropped a minute or two which we shouldn’t have – but that’s rallying!!