Llandrindrod – Llandrindrod
When looking at the provisional route both Ryan and I had decided that today would be key and maximum concentration was needed – complete with a leaking water bottle wedged between us meaning space in ‘our office’ was even more snug.
Ryan was being ace on the tests and our favourite ones at the Sweet lamb complex were so nearly perfect off the start line into a 720 was like being in a Russ Swift show except the last 90 degrees where we went wide costing us a second but it was still good enough the net second fastest overall. The next test had a highlight moment of a ‘flat call’ which Ryan did – such a rush when it comes together.
But by lunchtime there were even more tales of woe in the navigating department, first was the green box scenario coming out of a lay-by after finding the IRTC was fair enough but I then couldn’t get to grip with the distances. Seeing Howard Warren and Ian Tullie head in the other direction didn’t even send the alarm bells ringing until…. so we turned around and okay it wasn’t a minute but it was 37 seconds compared to ones or two’s from other top crews.
The next was a simple, if you don’t think its right then don’t go down there you muppet! Yep, one of those junction – turn right – a simple thing mileages work, and we saw a board so we were on the right route… not for much longer. “This isn’t working”. I said to Ryan so we turned round and came back and then spotted another turn right no more than 20 yards further on – jeepers I couldn’t believe I feel for yet another ‘shopping trip’ – feeling lower than the low my mood slightly lifted when I returned to the car after lunch and above my door was a makeshift sign with ‘Aldi’ written on it – Yes, Guy we have a great idea for next year…
When we arrived at Buxton route planner Anthony Preston said to me that every crew could make one mistake – so far we’d made 4/5. Well, its at times like this the driver is important – despite what you normally think – the last time I had a pep talk like this was with THE ‘Owen Turner’ on the 2007 Lombard Endurance Rally. It pepped me and the after there were difficult forest type slots and hairpins as the rally intensified and got harder for some reason we got better even the tricks on the road sections around Abergwesym not phasing us and we headed to tea halt before night leg 2.
Every known and again there are bits you really look forward to and Epynt has to be one of them every since my days competing on Y2K’s, Gremlins and Retro’s Epynt has to be the mecca for road rallying.
So here we go… up the road from the airfield hairpin turn right into halfway and we make the 2 TC’s, turn right and cross Dixie’s Ryan suddenly shouts out ‘Up there?’ ‘Noooo, carry on going’. I replied and as I looked left I spotted there was a stuck Mk 1 Escort – well stuck…
But the time we got to the end of the Burma Road our only slight blemish came, a slight overshoot as we tried to find the entrance to the lay-by behind the building meant 10 seconds over our optimum time but only 1 minute dropped.
Now onto part 2 of Epynt basically a reverse of the classic monument stage starting with a couple of tricky slots as we basically started by going off-road down some fire breaks as we spotted the headlights of Howard Warren and Ian Tullie we were now first on the road and pulling away spotting our minute but then as we came up to a 4-way junction we took the 3rd left I knew it as soon as I looked up the road was heading up to the jump –we turned round but by this time Howard had got back his position on the road – by now the weather was really turning for the worse as the time card was coming back absolutely dripping wet – So Thank YOU to the marshals who braved the worst weather four our enjoyment.
But, the drama for the evening wasn’t over quite yet congratulating ourselves on a job well-done as we made our way off the ranges but Ryan had spotted steam and the gauges were way off the scale.
We stopped and opened the bonnet and water was pouring out – had we done a head gasket we refilled and thought okay water’s holding maybe it was the radiator again but as we went to restart the engine there was a deafening silence. The electrical life being sucked out of the car – Everything turning to black; from the dash-board lights, the trip meter, and the potti.
An anxious wait for more competitors to come as I counted down the clock we had 10 miles to do back to Llandrindrod… but the beauty of our fellow competitors is that not one of them didn’t stop to ask if we were alright and in the case of Kevin Haselden/Matt Fowle in the mini they were prepared to give us a tow! But, seeing this and despite being on 3-cylinders themselves John Abel /Andrew Duerden – Alfa Romeo Guilia Sprint came to our aid.
In the pouring rain they pushed the car turning it around on a steep hill so we could have a go at a bump start and she fired into life.
Phew… phew… phew… we stayed with John & Andrew in convoy to make sure we both made it we owed them so much.
But it also meant another long night out in the car park fixing the car taking the radiator out and making a more permanent repair this time round.