Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): No such file or directory in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-content/plugins/easy-contact-forms/easy-contact-forms-database.php on line 145

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): A link to the server could not be established in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-content/plugins/easy-contact-forms/easy-contact-forms-database.php on line 145

Warning: Attempt to assign property of non-object in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-content/plugins/easy-contact-forms/easy-contact-forms-baseclass.php on line 659

Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-content/plugins/easy-contact-forms/easy-contact-forms.install.php on line 380 and defined in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1246

Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-content/plugins/easy-contact-forms/easy-contact-forms.install.php on line 1007 and defined in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1246

Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-content/plugins/easy-contact-forms/easy-contact-forms.install.php on line 1048 and defined in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1246

Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-content/plugins/easy-contact-forms/easy-contact-forms.install.php on line 1070 and defined in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1246

Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-content/plugins/easy-contact-forms/easy-contact-forms.install.php on line 1202 and defined in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1246

Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-content/plugins/easy-contact-forms/easy-contact-forms.install.php on line 1235 and defined in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1246

Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-content/plugins/easy-contact-forms/easy-contact-forms.install.php on line 1289 and defined in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1246

Warning: Attempt to assign property of non-object in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-content/plugins/easy-contact-forms/easy-contact-forms-baseclass.php on line 659

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /vhost/vhost11/h/o/t/hotwheelsmotorsport.com/www/wp-content/themes/CleanResponse/admin/admin.php on line 427
News Rob Jones, Gary Kinghorn

Rally news

News-HotwheelsMotorsport sponsored Historic Grp4 Rally car.

This car has performed perfect after some experimenting with wheels and tyres. The engine had a minor water leaking problems but the fault was found quickly and we have since had no problems. The engine is producing 300 Hp with some nice torque response. New setups on dampers are my next priority as well as fixing the few small dents when a wall came out and hit me?
Gary Longhorn my new co-driver is performing much better than we both had hoped for, especially as Rallying is a new discipline for him. I will try and catchup with more facts on all the rally’s. I hope you find it interesting.

Gary’s blog

After our first event together where we claimed 1st place in group D and 5th over all we were off to Brean stages near Weston Super Mare.

Longmoor was a small event and Brean a step up. Not up to the Manx and such like, but a step up all the same. This one was also open to 4wd cars, meaning a large number of Subarus, EVOs and some Ex WRC stuff. It was also open to the public and had proper commentary and such like.

When we arrived at Brean  After this all that was left to do was to get signed on, then down to our hotel for a pint and a curry.

Without Mark to help me this time, I was on my own where the paperwork and notes were concerned and I got cracking with sorting things on Saturday morning. The one thing I have learnt about Rallying so far is that they love their rules and regs and one false move and you can be out. So for an hour or so I sit in the car studying the maps and getting the first couple of stages written out. If I forgot everything else I must remember the split. Go the wrong way there and your rally is over. Knowing Rob did it last year put extra pressure on. He is known to have the red mist come down with a car in front and that’s what happened. He followed it the wrong way. This couldn’t happen again, not on my watch……

Stage 1 and 2.

It was wet. It had rained over night and although drying it was wet. So we started on wet tyres, seemed reasonable enough.

Off to time control and the nerves returned. I knew this was a step up, I knew I had to get it right, I knew these were bigger stages, I knew there were some fast and dangerous sections. I couldn’t get it wrong, I just couldn’t. And then it happened, just as it was our turn to go through the first checkpoint the recovery trucks rushed out and everything stopped. After 10 mins of sitting around a really rather poorly Mk2 was dragged in. Rob had pointed the car out to me before saying it ran a Millington and was a quick car. Not this weekend.

20 mins later and we were sat on the line.

5,4,3,2,1 – GO, GO, GO – except we weren’t going anywhere. The stage was so greasy we short shifted through 2nd and 3rd before we found any traction and not a lot even then. But even so we were on our way. The first mile or so took us through the caravan area and the car was properly everywhere, but Rob held it well. Then came a narrow 400 straight with a ditch either side. The car was moving so much that again Rob was short shifting and struggling to keep it straight. I later learnt that this was where the other Mk2 met its end. It was horrible and I will admit pretty scary.

Another mile or so on and we hit the 600 straight with a long left near the end then a tight chicane. Traction was an issue again and even when hooked up the car was travelling at 20 degrees and fishtailing for pretty much the whole way. This didn’t seem to worry Rob, but I was a little nervous. I’m guessing we would easily be hitting 100mph and the spectator bank was very close. I wasn’t keen.

Past the commentary box and we took the square left by the grandstand. When I say we took it we fishtailed through it and almost wiped out a huge iron and brick gate. We got the split right and finished the stage. Through time control we both sat breathing heavily. We hadn’t liked or enjoyed it. However, I subsequently found out that of the finishers we were 3rd fastest over all.

Back to service we had a chat and decided to start tinkering with the tyres. Although wet and muddy in some areas, the rest was dry. The wets were getting really hot and had probably gone off. It was decided that we would go with wets on the front and drys on the back. A full tank of fuel and reducing the rear pressure and we did the same stage again. This time we had a half spin and still finished 9 seconds quicker, but more importantly we felt better and more comfortable.

Stages 3 and 4.

The stages change every 2, so there was a slightly longer service time, while they did this. Rob’s concerns over the water usage was still there. We were ‘using’ 1 1/2 litres every 4 mile stage. This was not good. I’m no techy, but the car wasn’t smoking, there was no sign of over flow, no gunge in the oil, no loss of power. The block had been checked and was crack free, the usual head gasket checks carried out prior to the weekend, yet still the water kept going somewhere. This was niggling at Rob and I could understand why. A new engine wouldn’t be far short of £20k, even a crank is £4.5k. Hotwheelsmotorsport would be looking at this at the end of the Rally, but for now we would continue

Before we started the stage I had the whisper that we were running 8th. I was amazed, the stages felt ok, but not great. We had been seeded 40th yet here we were running with the big 4wd stuff. I kept it from Rob – need to know basis etc.

Stage 3

Not massively different from the first stages, but different enough to catch us out. I think we had moved to dry tyres all round and on the run in to a square left things went wrong. The car was pointing in the direction we wanted it to be when we arrived at the corner, unfortunately though, it was still travelling far to fast and we missed the corner. BANG, we hit a couple of massive hay bales, sending one of them flying through the air and into the deep water pond they were there to protect us from. I was looking at the sky. We had half landed on the other one. I thought we were done, but bang, bang, bang Rob found reverse and we were off.

We finished the stage and back into service to lick our wounds. At Longmoor we did the passenger front wing, this time it was drivers wing, door, rear wing and arch. Oh and Rob’s elbow bent the inside of the door on impact. It was back out with the big hammer !!! Once again we were hugely lucky, nothing mechanically had been touched. We could carry on.

Stage 4 we were a few seconds quicker, but relegated to 17th overall.

Stages 5 and 6.

Fully dry, even the 2 long straights were less slippery. By now the commentator had started to notice us. From his position at the chicane after the big straight he said the following ”And now coming down the straight into the long left hander we have the crazy man Rob Jones. Get a grip of him Gary” and as we went through the chicane he said ”But by god he’s quick”.

From the passenger seat I remember it slightly differently. Flat in 6th we would have been doing somewhere in the region of 115 mph. The back stepped out a long way as we entered the left. Rob then waited for the 50 yard board for the chicane, hit the brake once unsettling the car. From that point he banged it down the gears and used the side to side momentum of the car to fishtail through the chicane.

Note to self – Epynt is next and that has a lot of long straights, jumps and chances to get serious speed up together. Wear brown trousers.

Stage 6 was the last on Saturday and we hooked everything up.

We still managed to wipe some tyres out, doing the rear light cluster, but it was a good one. We were starting to work together. I have always been able to call the corners, but now I was able to add in extras. Steady on the exit, water….stay right for 50 yards and miss the jump, that sort of thing. We finished the stage and smiled at each other, we had done well. We were 6th fastest of the finishers and back up to 13th over all.

Into Parc Ferme, the car was left and we went to the hotel for a well deserved beer and meal.

Sunday morning we both had a bit of a thick head. Neither of us drank much, but obviously it was enough that we knew we had indulged in beer. That’s the last time that will happen (famous last words.)

Red bull down our necks and my travel sickness tablets and it was off to the event. Seeding had changed over night and we were now 13th starter. That sandwiched us between 2 Subarus, but also meant we would be on stage with the WRC cars. We were going out at 30 second intervals and with longer stages on the Sunday we would be out with the leaders. This concerned me slightly. Rob is an interesting character and his competitive nature would mean he would not be keen to let anything past. We would cross this bridge if we came to it.

The weather during the night had been horrible. There were puddles everywhere, but the wind was blowing hard. It was down to tyre choice again. We decided on full dry tyres. This concerned me, but I convinced Rob to take it steady on the braking zones after the fast sections until we were sure what was going on out there. Heading out early meant not so many cars had cleared a dry line.

Stages 7 and 8.

Get into the car, team plug us in, ready to go. ”Rob can you hear me?” Nothing …….. ”Rob, can you hear me” nothing. We forgot to turn the intercom off the night before and the battery was dead. Luckily we had a spare battery which the guys scrabbled around the find. We arrived at time control just in time.

5,4,3,2,1 – GO GO GO

We were doing the long straight the other way and right at the start, which meant we arrived at a very slipperly square right at the end. We took it very steady feeling the grip and things felt ok. The problems came this time in the tighter sections between buildings. Drainage was bad and there was lots of standing water on a couple of corners. This made their exits emotional and we wiped out the passenger rear wing. Just the front one to go for a full set. 2 corners later and we do 100 yards on the grass, luckily travelling in the right direction. Even so, grip was better than expected, when you stayed on the tarmac

Stage 8 and I’m earning my keep. I have marked up the areas where the water is and know the corners which are slippery on entrance and exit. I feel like i’m part of a team. Rob is changing his driving style very slightly too. He is finding that a quick flick of the handbrake on the entry to the tight square corners – rather than just chicanes sets us up nicely and we are quicker out. This is good. We are by now well known by the marshals as well as the commentators. They stand with hands above their hands clapping each time we pass. Rob has a certain mental style to his driving. He goes in very quick and sorts out whatever happens in the corner on the way out. He is incredibly brave. I know this isn’t ideal I’m used to slow in, fast out. However I also know that what makes him quick is his bravery and car control, it’s a fine line.

15 Seconds

10 Seconds

(7 seconds, select gear – find wrong gear, find neutral, find second, turn off, turn back on again)

2,1 GO GO GO

The same as the last stage but this time we know the danger areas. We are going well. Back up the internal straight with the ditch either side, Rob lifts early and goes for the brake. I shout for him to keep on it, he does and brakes again later. However, the delay means we arrive at the square left too quickly. We skid to a halt and stall. We start again and are off. I take that one on the chin – my fault. We finish the stage a couple of seconds slower than the last time. Still ok though.

Stages 9 and 10.

Dry track and clear blue sky. We are running 13th overall and 1st in class. We just need to hang in there.

The stages are longer. 5.4miles doesn’t sound like far, but the stages are very technical and draining. It’s really taking it out of us. When we get to time control I talk to Rob but there is no response. He has been concentrating so hard he is mentally knackered. Ten seconds later he comes round, I slap his shoulder and tell him that was a great stage. We are enjoying it.

On the 10th stage we catch another mk2 a mile from the stage end. He is going well, but we are gaining. This is where there is the most danger. Rob could stop listening and chases the other guy. If there was a split here and the guy went the other way Rob could follow. I would have to shout LOUDLY. There isn’t, he is going to the stage end like us. Even so we clout a large cone fully sideways on the exist of a fast left. We catch him one corner from the end and I tell Rob to sit in, we aren’t passing him. There is no point, we would lose more time getting by, then letting him go over the line and us follow.

These are pretty good stages for us.

Stages 11 and 12.

Thoughts turn to starting to pack stuff away and we don’t keep enough of an eye on the weather. It turns out neither does anyone. We get to time control on dry tyres and it starts. The stage is around 6 1/2 mins long and if it comes down lightly we will be off and gone before it’s properly wet. It doesn’t come down lightly. It throws it down from the off, with hail thrown in for good measure. Our nearest rival in group D is running around 20 cars behind us, he has time to put wets on, we don’t. I talk to Rob, asking him to take it steady and bring the car home, he agrees.

Stage 11

We are off, steady down the long straight we are using 75% throttle, more was impossible. We arrive at the square right and even though we have been really cautious spin and stall. By the time we have the car going a Corolla WRC is on us and we have to let him go before pulling back on track. We sit in behind him for a bit and although quicker, he isn’t going mad. We lose him at the split. Now we are behind an E30 which is going very nicely. I say to Rob to stick behind him, but not push for the overtake. There are cars off everywhere.

Emma was watching from the grandstand and said we were one of the cleanest through the section she could see. It felt pedestrian, but we got off the stage damage free. Some of the cars behind who had gone for wets took 30 seconds out of us.

Stage 12.

I don’t know how far behind the 2nd place group D guy is. I haven’t seen the stage results yet. We talk tyres. It’s stopped raining and will dry quickly, but I don’t think it will quick enough. Rob want to go out on dry tyres. I think wets, but he is the driver. I try to convince him to at least go with wets on the front, he’s having none of it.

It’s a better stage for us, we are quicker. We don’t spin, or fall off, but it’s still wet and we struggle for grip. We get to the end and Rob is knackered. There are back slaps all round, but I’m nervous. If the other guys took 30 seconds out of us on each of the last 2 stages he could beat us.

We put the car in the trailer and walk down to control in time for the provisional results to go up. When they do it transpires that our nearest rival had an issue and didn’t even get out for stage 11, let alone 12. We had taken group D by nearly 6 minutes and finished 13th Overall. We were happy but knackered.

All that was left was for us to collect our trophies and drive home.

So here we are, 2 events in and with 2 group wins. It is a massive high and I’m looking forward to our next event which looks like being The Tour Of Epynt in early March. Bring it on !!!

regards
Gary

Gary Kinghorn    Co-Driver

Killarney Historic Rally 2013 Rob Jones and Gary Kinghorn in the HotwheelsMotorsport Sponsored Grp4 Historic Mk2 Escort.

Killarney Historic Rally 2013

It started with a trip to Wales to meet up with Gareth Lloyd from West Wales Rally Spares. He was going to Ireland with his service crew and we were tagging along.

We didn’t get off to the best of starts. Rob managed to write off a Discovery in his garage car park in the lorry before we even left and we got 30 miles down the road before we realised we had left our Hans devices at home. Couple that with a nasty crossing in really stormy seas and we arrived a little worse for wear at nearly 1am on Friday morning.

Up at 7.15am on Friday when Robs phone rang – a customer asking about an escort he had for sale, At 7.15am for crying out loud!!

Breakfast down our neck, we started the rigmarole of getting signed on for the event. Luckily we had booked into the Glenneagle, which doubled as the rally HQ. Gareth had been kind enough to say we could use his service crew to help us during the event. We had been struggling to get someone sorted for ourselves and thought we would have to do it alone. Boy were we glad Gareth helped out. We would never have survived without it.

Friday was Recce day, so after signing on and picking up the hire car we were off to have a look at the stages. We had both seen a few videos on You Tube, but they were nothing to what we found in real life. Killarney national park sits in some pretty big hills / small mountains, with large lakes and plenty of mad twisty roads. Killarney itself sits below the mountains and has its very own climate, which doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s going on when you get higher.

We would have a run through the infamous Molls Gap first. A cracking stage which is part rally stage and you could say part race circuit too. The roads are reasonably wide in places and driving the right line important. From there we had a 25 minute drive to the start of Ballaghbeama, another famous stage, but in stark contrast to Molls Gap. This one starts out through narrow twisty lanes – think farm track – and continued through the national park granite sided / walled high drop roads. If we were going to get things out of shape, this wouldn’t be the place to do it. From there we were off to Kilgobnet. Another narrow stage, past houses and farms with minor roads, both smooth and VERY bumpy. This concluded our first loop of stages and in true co-driver fashion, I got us lost about 6 times. To hell with the stages themselves, I couldn’t even get us from the end of one to the start of the next !! Our thoughts turned to fuel. The loop was around 80 miles long and on full chat the Escort does a litre a mile, hmmmm. We wouldn’t make it.

Back to the hotel we needed to pick up a warning triangle for the car and have a bite to eat. The car hadn’t been scrutineered yet, but the lads had fitted our new intercom and the night navigation light. They had done a good job.

Back out again we did Coolick. The stage we would be doing twice at the end of the day. Once in daylight, then back to the service area, before going back out at night. Back at service the car had past scrutineering and was in Parc Ferme, where it would stay into Saturday morning.

Another run round the first 3 stages where we started to think a little more about what the recce meant and marked down a few brake zones, places we felt we could keep it flat and where extra caution was needed. We finished these just as it got dark. A long day, with another to follow. We returned the hire car to the rental company, threw a Chinese down our necks and went to bed. Nervous, oh so very nervous.

When the alarm went off at 5.45am we were both already awake. This was a big event and we were both a little nervous. Breakfast was a cereal and fruit job, neither of us fancying a full English / Irish. A last chat with Gareth and his Irish co-driver and we got ourselves up to Parc Ferme to prepare for our ‘out’ time and the drivers briefing.

It’s hard to describe the scene up there, but there was talk from the Irish crews of having never seen so many Escorts at an event before and that the entry list was missing only one name they could think of. Everyone was there. Past, present and future champions. The cars were amazing, outside of the 100 odd escorts there were a few Mini Coopers, Sunbeams, Volvo, Audi and a hand full of Starlets. Yes Tim, there were some ricers there to.

The drivers briefing was quick and painless and the cars started to leave on their exit times for the short drive to Service. There was a lot of road time on this event and no leeway, if you were late, or early you would be penalised – end of. It was probably what I was most frightened of, making a silly mistake that would effectively drop us out.

In to service we had only 15 mins prior to our ‘service out’ time and the run to Molls gap. Neither of us had tried our Hans devices onto our helmets, or in the car, so we had to get that sorted quick. As well as this we had a tyre choice to make. We would be out for 2 hours and although the hills looked fog drenched, there was no rain around and the forecast was good. We run Dunlops on the car and Rob had opted for a full set of cut tyres that we use as intermediates. However, we decided to leave the inters on the front and go from for something un-cut on the back.

Service out and we were on our way to Molls Gap. This all felt very different. The traffic was stopped to let us out, there were spectators watching us go. A couple of miles along the way the marshals had the road closed and waved us through while stopping the normal traffic. We were on our way to the start line.

 

SS1 Molls Gap.

We had watched this stage about a 100 times each, but always dry runs. We were seeded 115th out of 150.

5,4,3,2,1 and we were off.

The first couple of miles were pretty technical with plenty of tight sharp corners on the edge of the lake with granite walls all around. The problem was the road was wet. The fog was only just clearing, the road was wet and as we climbed to the gap itself it got wetter still. We pushed as hard as we dare, but could have been going quicker. At the peak we went through the gap. We knew this was where the crowds gathered with their cameras and we had to put on a show. And so we did, we went through at a fair old lick, in true sideways fashion before preparing for the 6 left over the peak. The remainder of the stage was pretty open and flowing. We pushed on as much as we could and crossed the line. The first stage (16km) done, we were on our way.

We had posted an 11.39, enough to put us 88th overall and 31st in class. We weren’t overly happy and knew we could do better. In comparison the winner posted a 9.33, nearly 2 minutes quicker than us on just one stage.

The time allowed for the road miles from the end of Molls Gap to the start of Ballaghbeama, the next stage, allowed for a quick refuelling stop a couple of miles along the road. Lucky for us another Welsh crew had agreed to fuel us as we passed. It worked out perfectly.

We have a lovely peltor ear defender intercom kit for long road miles, but we were concerned about helping each other put the hans back on and the belts in the correct position. So we decided to keep the lids on all day. We won’t do this again!

Up to Ballaghbeama the roads looked to be drying slightly. The tyres might just start to work properly and allow us to get a wiggle on – not literally.

SS2.

This one scared me. I buy Patterson Pace Notes for these events when possible and modify them as we go. There were several places where the notes mentioned 100 down to 6R, slippery, don’t cut – air outside. Basically a blooming great drop the other side of a 2 foot high stone wall at the end of a straight, downhill section, with a sharp bend and gravel in the brake zone. Marvellous!

5,4,3,2,1

We were off again, which was exactly what plenty of others were on the first couple of miles. On each of the tight bends after long ish straights there was a car planted firmly in trees, down ditches, in walls, pretty much everywhere. The rain had started just before the start and these guys had obviously made the same, or worse tyre choices than us. We ran through the stage and I can honestly say I was more than a little nervous. I remember reminding Rob where these guys were going off and immediately lost my place in the notes. A few corners later I was back on the page. From this point on I opted to keep my head down as much as possible and just let Rob do his stuff.

We posted a 12.03 (89th overall) – the eventual winner a 9.44 !!!

I was glad to be off this one and on the way to Kilgobnet. Although fast, it was more like a country lane stage, without the huge drops. The car was going well, we hadn’t spun, we hadn’t crashed.

SS3 Kilgobnet

This one started and finished very quickly. As we got close to the start the stage was cancelled. Someone had obviously had a bad one, or couldn’t be moved, so we had a ‘drive through’.

We were given a time for the stage and jumped to 84th. Excellent, more of those required please.

Road miles complete we were back in service with 50 mins to work on the car, get some food down our necks and prepare for another run through the same loop. This time we were going to try the Mic on the car, so you could hear big daft me reading the notes. Brilliant, just brilliant. Said in a very sarcastic tone. Rob also decided to go back to the inters front and back. Although dry in service, we knew the Gap and Ballagh would be damp. We wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.

SS4 Molls Gap

This time we had a better run through the gap. The tyres were working well and Rob was feeling the grip. The nerves were gone and he was starting to push on where he could. Don’t get me wrong, we were still way down on the top boys, but we were out there doing a job. Again we made a special effort through the gap.

We posted an 11.12 and were up to 81st. The winner did an 8.26. We weren’t hanging about, he certainly wasn’t.

SS5 Ballaghbeama

I wasn’t looking forward to this one, but with the car showing more signs of grip on the last stage, I wasn’t so worried. I know Rob can handle the car and I trust him. He had also driven a much smoother morning, with less tail happy action. Not the best for the spectators, but it felt quicker and less likely to bite.

We had a good run through. Rob pushed as hard as he dare and it felt like we were flying. I was still all too pleased to get over the finish line and off to the next stage.

SS6 Kilgobnet

This was the one which was cancelled earlier, so we hadn’t done it yet. I was looking forward to it. The tyres were working well, Rob was doing a great job and we were starting to enjoy ourselves.

We had set ourselves a couple of targets in the morning. The first was to finish. The second was not to bend the car.  The third was to get into the top 85. So far we were doing all three.

This one was a quick stage. Properly quick in fact. There were some amazing ballsy sections where you would be flat along very narrow roads, with grass in the middle, over crests, jumps, bump bridges, the lot. Hats off to the Irish lads, they were brave, mad or both, I’m not sure. I do however know one thing. Rob and I pushed hard, yet still they took chunks out of us. We were however pleased that we caught and passed another escort, our only one of the day. He took a little getting by, but we got there in the end.

We posted an 8.35 putting us 73rd, they did a 7.15.

Back to service we had a short break before heading out to Coolick for the first of 2 runs – one in daylight, one at night.

SS7 Coolick.

We only ran this once during recce, so our notes weren’t as good as they could be, but even so we were looking forward to it. We still hadn’t spun, clipped anything, or had any serious moments, so we were high on confidence and adrenaline.

It turned out to be a good stage for us. Although we were a little cautious in a few of the really fast places, we had already decided that finishing the rally and taking the car home in one piece was a priority. We had got this far and we wanted to get to the end. Even so we had a bit of a tank slapper on one of the fast bumpy straights which made Rob comment, which is normally a bad sign. I don’t usually hear a peep out of him. By the end though he was starting to really push on and we were both enjoying it.

SS7

We posted an 8.26 and the winners a 7.14, so still over a minute quicker than us.

Back to the service area, we had a short break while darkness fell and we headed out to do the last stage. This was to be something new for us. We had never driven in the night and again we were a little nervous. What didn’t help was the fact that the newly fitted navigator light worked only now and again. Luckily Rob had brought a cheap £4.99 magnet light which attached to the roof, but it wasn’t perfect. Still at least we had something. On that subject, the penny dropped when we were halfway home after the event. The service guy had wired the light into the old interior light circuit. Hence when he looked at it, it was on, but when I tried it, it was off. Dohh.

SS8 Coolick (Night stage)

This was a tricky one. Although it was a repeat of the stage we did around an hour earlier, doing it in the dark made it appear very, very different. I struggled with the pace notes. There were some fast sections over a number of crests in a row and in the dark it’s hard to know how many you have and haven’t gone over. It made me more cautious and Rob too. The other issue, although not a massive one, was the flash photography. There were a couple of popular corners, with loads of spectators. When we went through these the flash guns went mad. It was really off putting, but luckily there were only 2 or 3 of these. I can’t imagine what it would be like for night stages in the WRC.

At the end of the stage we were 20 seconds slower than the daylight run, but still very pleased with ourselves. We had finished!

The last bit of Irish documentation meant we had to drive to the service area, check in, then drive 5 miles to Parc Ferme to check in there too, then drive immediately back to the service area. Go figure.

On arriving at the service area the second time we had the choice of going on the finish ramp, or still the car in the lorry. We decided to get packed up. Hindsight being the wonderful thing it is, we should have gone on the ramp and had a picture taken, for prosperity purposes. Oh well we will do that next year.

After getting out of our monkey suits and into something a little more casual we went to the Gala dinner and prize giving. In true Irish fashion it started at 8pm and when we went to bed at 10.30 the prize giving still hadn’t started. We had to be up at 2.30am for the drive home and felt guilty for not waiting to watch Gareth who we went over with pick up his trophy for 1st place in D5, but we need to get some shut eye. When we checked out at 3am the party was still going strong with seemingly more people there than when we called it a night.

The journey home was a long and un-eventful one, basically split into 3 x 4 hour sections. A drive either side and the ferry in the middle. When I got home at 6pm I was knackered.

So what had we achieved?

It’s been almost a year since we embarked on this adventure together. We have seen plenty of highs and lows. A couple of group wins in smaller events. Three crashes, a blown engine while gradually entering bigger events. This one has told us one thing. It’s the big stuff we want to concentrate on. We aim to do a couple of smaller ones next year, but mostly we want to go back to Ireland to do a couple – maybe the Killarney rally of the lakes / Wexford, or the mk2 challenge, the Manx and maybe have a crack at getting into the Eifel Rally.

In the end we finished 62 out of 150 starters. Our early times were down on those around us – we need to start quicker. In the later stages we started to push on and move up the board, but still miles off the pace of the top Irish boys. We don’t get enough seat time to challenge these, but next year we will give it a go. But for now we are happy with the fact that we entered one of the top events in a rally mad country, survived with no crashes, no spins, no mechanical failures and got our names on the board.

Next event – not sure, but bring it on


Untitled from Rory O’Shea on Vimeo.

Leave Yours +

No Comments

Comments are closed.

  • Comments are Closed