Its been a long time since my last post, mostly due to the fact that all my spare time has been taken up with prep for doing Wales Rally GB. Here is my report.
Two Day WRGB National Rally – Matt & Suze Endean – Car 294 Red Micra M 99 SLE
So here goes…..
We (Suze & I) went into this very much as an ‘adventure’ and for the ‘experience’ of getting to do the same stages and event as the ‘BIG’ WRC boys. Our BIG aim was to get to the finish, to complete all the stages, with times and results being very much second fiddle. With it being our first ever forest stage rally, and only second time on notes, it was always going to be a learning curve…..
By the third bend of the first stage i realised just how much i had to learn! Rallying in the woods is a whole new ball game, even with some limited gravel experience from endurance rallies, the Preston etc… it was very much all VERY new to me.
The first stage was about learning how the car would work.
The second stage was just hard work (long!) and with very little grip i didn’t enjoy this much.
However by the third stage, I was getting the hang of things and ABSOLUTELY loved it, by the time we got there it was quite dark, the atmosphere of the spectators and the flowing stage made it fab, it really did feel like this was ‘it’ living the dream of driving the event like i had watched as a child on the old RAC’s etc…. 🙂
Chirk was delayed (for good reasons), not sure it was that great a stage, and by the time we got there most people had gone home, but we got round all ok.
Saturday night the service crew worked hard, checking everything over on the car, thanks to father in law Andrew and mate Ian for their hard work, servicing just out of my MGZR and an estate car we didn’t have much to go with but we made it work.
Sunday started off great with another run of my favourite stages with more experience and time in the car i had the confidence to carry the speed through the corners which was needed as we were losing loads of time out of the tight corners with no ‘diff’
The next few stages i loved the flowing and flat out sections, a real test of my (limited bravery!)
Clog was epic fun, fast flowing and SOOO many spectators.
Kimnell park in my mind was AWFUL, rutted, full of massive car breaking rocks by the time we went round, i was dog slow in here as by now we were very much aiming for the finish. As someone who has done the Preston Road Rally many many times, this has to be the worse section of rallying I have ever done, even worse than Foxpin!
The Orme was great fun, think i may have cooked the brakes by the end, judging by the smoke coming off them !
We finished which was VERY much the aim for us.
Marshals : Everyone one of them we meet were fab (especially the guy on the service in/out road!) they were very helpful in sorting out details when my road car/service barge MGZR was hit on Friday night, very efficient and very helpful. Thank you to all that turned out. In many ways a big thanks to those doing all the thankless jobs like manning a lonely gate on a access road on their own just watching rally car trundle by. All stars 🙂
The event : A fab experience to be there with the atmosphere, the crowds (service Saturday night was manic !) and the people on the stages and on route, even getting to sign autographs for kids – epic fun and some great memories 🙂
The car : Doing nearly all the prep work outside our garage on the drive, i was a little concerned with how Muriel would stand up the test of it all, but she never missed a beat, drank a bit of oil, but that’s all.
Many thanks to Suze for a fab job on the notes, and road timings we were never late or early (thankfully the road timing was a lot better than i was expecting!) and for supporting me in what was a childhood dream.
Lessons learnt : Stage rallying in the woods really is a big step up, and i still have a lot to learn about driving fast on gravel, a diff really is needed for much more forestry work, testing in all reality we should have done a days proper gravel testing to a) learn about driving on gravel, b) set up the suspension and c) learn how to get the tyres to work fully for us, given the little tyre wear we had i suspect our lack of grip was compounded by tyre selection and pressures. After all this is forest rallying really is a BIG BIG buzz 🙂
Biggest question we now have is what to do next ? More forest events ? Or off to Belgium to sample what they have to offer ?
Some limited on board, which is a bit poor as we ended up using my iPhone 5 as our camera battery died….