When I started writing this blog post (I’m not very good at staying focused and writing them), none of our planned motorsport events were cancelled and the world felt slightly more normal….
After over two months of no competing it was time to get back out competing. January and February I was on the other side of the sport helping support events like the stage rally at Brands Hatch and the Bath Festival Rally.
After a long drive after work round the M25 to Kent, it was time for some good ‘pub grub’ at the start and then on to the event. The clues were soon on the map and then it was on out into the lanes of Kent. Kent has some great quality lanes, which has mostly been lost to the world road rallying, but a small scatter allows us to use them. The weather on the run up to the event and even whilst plotting was very very wet. The lanes were probably the wettest I have seen for a long time on an event. Many had large puddles and many had large flooded sections. Kevin (my nav) asked me at the start how good the car was in the wet, I said not really sure but we will find out tonight! Luckily the car performed faultlessly. It felt like a tough night as some clues were hard to find, and some we couldn’t find at all, and some we couldn’t get to as the road they were on were just too flooded. We got back to the finish quite early having given up getting to our final point due to flooding. As the results came in it turned out we got one more point than the second placed crew and we had won overall. This makes my third 7Oaks MC Scatter win in a row now as a driver 🙂
After driving home from the Scatter I got home at 1am, which wasn’t the best prep for less than 24hrs later when I was out navigating for Suze on a Boundless (nee CSMA) 12 Car rally. The event was starting about an hour from home and we got there with plenty of time to spare. As a novice navigator I had to do plot ‘n bash navigation i.e. this is fine when I can get it to work but does often mean we have to stop to allow me to plot the route but this clearly costs time. The rally didn’t start well with us losing 10mins on the first section due to me mis-understanding one bit of navigation. This then set the tone for the rest of the night. We ended up OTL at two controls but we got all boards and were only OTL by a handful of minutes. Other crews found it a tough night (many others were OTL as well), though more sleep may have helped me get round it better. We ended up 5th overall and 2nd in class.
A week later it was on to a brand new event a South Oxon Car Club 12 car, this is a new club and their first 12 car. It had a full entry and plenty of marshals supporting the new club. I was out driving with Suze on the maps. The night really did ‘just click’ right from the start, the navigation was tough but do’able. Suze did a top job of getting it to work, and I did my share of ‘making back time’ where required. The lanes around Witney were new to me, but they are mostly open fast and flowing, which made for some really enjoyable driving and allowed me to open up the ZR. By the end I was just happy to get round, we made all our slots, enjoyed the roads and got all the boards and only dropped 3 minutes. As ever on road events you never really know how others are doing till the results come out. This time it was pleasing to find out we had come 1st overall Novices.
So within a week it had been two overall wins as a driver, and a mixed night on the maps.
When we were planning these three events, I could never have known that they would be the last events we would do for quite some time. We should have been doing a targa rally at Wethersfield with two new navigators, and then our first British Rally Championship round at Clacton. With all motorsport stopped until May (as of 17th March), we really don’t know when we will be back out competing or taking part in motorsport.
This will allow me time to get jobs done on both cars including some jobs I have bee meaning to do for a while (yes I have been stock pilling car parts!). I will try and do some car work progress updates (see ‘the list’ for what I will be doing) and we have bought a PS4 and DIRT 2 to keep our eye in, so watch out for us online!
Stay safe out there, and hopefully see you on an event soon.