Beebe takes top 20 on Trackrod Nuneaton rallying ace Matt Beebe supported by Hankook overcame a series of bizarre and frustrating problems on Saturday's International Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the penultimate round of the 2006 Tesco 99 Octane...
Beebe takes top 20 on Trackrod
Nuneaton rallying ace Matt Beebe supported by Hankook overcame a series of bizarre and frustrating problems on Saturday's International Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the penultimate round of the 2006 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, to finish second in class and maintain his lead in the championship.
Matt, whose trusty MG ZR had to have major work done to it after a coming together with a wall on the recent Phillip White Tyres Ulster Rally, was relishing the return to gravel but after the recce suspected that his MG's lack of outright horsepower would be a major handicap on this high speed event.
With the opening 'spectator stage' around the Pickering Showgrounds being tight and twisty Matt was still able to record a time quicker than both Ford World Rally Team Test driver Roman Kresta and Darren Gass, both at the wheel of Ford Fiesta S1600s.
However once the rally moved to the forests Matt was immediately at a disadvantage and indeed he did remarkably well to only drop 30 seconds to the highly experienced Justin Dale through the 9 and a half mile Cropton stage.
On the run through Gale Rigg both championship contenders ran into trouble with Justin Dale having an excursion into the undergrowth whilst Matt suffered with a loss of both power steering and his alternator when the bottom pulley fell off, forcing him to ease off through the twisty bits.
I'm exhausted now! Matt commented at the end of the stage, you don't realise how much you rely on power steering, but we still managed to make it out of the stage ok.
With the pulley replaced at first service Matt set about making up time but with the next 3 stages, High Moor, Langdale and Dalby all high speed stages it was to be a damage limitation exercise for the 2005 Stars of the Future 1400cc Champion. In fact Dalby was a true test of his mettle and patience as a holed exhaust set fire to the rear bodywork and the inside of the MG filled with pungent smoke on possibly the fastest part of the whole stage! Having survived the longest stage of the rally Matt was relatively pleased to be lying 22nd overall at the mid day service.
Dalby was really interesting! The rear of the car caught fire and Gemma had to clamber around in the back with a bottle of water to put the flames out!
With a tuna can used to fixed the offending portion of the exhaust, and a perfectly shaped pebble fitted into the throttle bodies to cure a sticking accelerator the duo carried on with their charge back up the leaderboard. Through perseverance and true grit Matt and Gemma survived the afternoons run of stages without any real dramas and slowly climbed up the leaderboard so that by the end of 108 miles of some of the fastest gravel rallying in the UK the Hankook shod MG was lying 20th overall and 2nd in class, less than 2 minutes behind Justin Dales far more powerful Renault Clio.
At the beginning of this year I told my family that one of my aims was to achieve a top 20 overall on an international rally and although I went really well here last year I never expected to finish so high up here this weekend.
Full credit to my service crew m3motorsport on sorting the pulley problem out and many thanks to Gemma, my co-driver, for putting the fire out in Dalby!
Next up for Matt and Gemma is the country's premier rally, the Wales Rally GB, an event on which Matt won his class in 2005.
For more informat on Matt Beebe, please to to www.mattbeebe.co.uk
-credit: geoff mayes