Cheviot Rally, Otterburn, Northumberland. The penultimate round of the Scottish Tarmac Rally Championship saw the team head South of the border to the Otterburn military ranges in Northumberland. This event also forms part of the prestigious ...
Cheviot Rally, Otterburn, Northumberland.
The penultimate round of the Scottish Tarmac Rally Championship saw the team head South of the border to the Otterburn military ranges in Northumberland. This event also forms part of the prestigious National Tarmacadam Rally Championship and attracts some of the biggest names in British Tarmac Rallying.
We made the decision to adopted a different driving style from previous events at Otterburn and we used the recce session to carefully pacenote the crests and dips in an effort to maintain full throttle where possible, thus avoiding those vital lost seconds trying to get back up to speed.
The morning started at minus 6.5 degrees with a sharp frost overnight, however, by the time we were due to start the sun had risen over the hills clearing any dangerous icy patches before us. With the Fourteen stages that lay ahead the first two loops of four in the morning and two loops of three in the afternoon, we were sure of a very competitive run with some stiff competition from North and South of the border.
Stages 1 & 2.
Both of these stages started very well with only one minor moment on stage two when we out-braked ourselves into an open right hand bend, fortunately, we managed to slide the car and enter the chicane just right. We stopped the clocks at 3m 30s and 5m 36s respectively.
Stages 3 & 4.
These stages were slightly longer and again, required our utmost concentration. About 6 miles into stage 4 at the end of a very long straight, we were setting the car up nicely for a 90 degree right hander when the rear right wheel locked up whilst braking from around 90mph. The effect of this unsettled the car on the tricky surface and sent it into a 180-degree spin. Fortunately, the car remained on the single-track road, narrowly missing two gateposts and a large rock! First gear was quickly engaged, and we continued with no more problems and only a few seconds lost. An adjustment to the brake bias ensured this situation did not occur again. Stage times were 9m 32s and 4m 01s.
Stages 5 & 6.
These stages were a re-run of stages 1 & 2, and again, a very clean run with no incidents. We managed to shave 3 seconds of our time compared to stage 1 and 5 seconds of our time compared to stage 2.
Stages 7 & 8.
These two stages were a re-run of 3 & 4. On stage 7 we had a perfect run and the car was working very well. The pacenotes were timed to perfection and the teamwork was again second to none. We stopped the clocks at 9m 23 taking a further 10 seconds off our previous run over this stage.
During stage 8 we caught and were being held up by a Toyota Corolla. At one point during the stage, it disappeared over a crest, and as we came over the hill only a couple of seconds later it was broadside across the road! Evasive action was taken as we were no more than 30ft away and we were still traveling in excess of 70mph. We stopped the clocks at 4m 02s,one second slower than the previous run showing us that the Corolla lost us only minimal time.
Stages 9 & 10.
We has a perfect run on stage 9, however, we maintained our full attack despite having a 1m 30s advantage over the nearest car in our class. We stopped the clocks at 13m 01s. This lead was shortly to be given away!!
Stage 10 was a short 2.55m stage with very steep hills and various deceptive corners. None of these areas caused us particular worry during the recce, however, as we entered a tight left 8 around 1 mile into the stage the back of the car drifted out and caught a gully at the side of the road. As Gerry tried desperately to control the slide, the steep sides of the gully sent the car up onto two wheels, and the car stopped on it^Òs side balancing on the edge of the gully. No sooner were we stopped, and numerous spectators appeared and quickly pushed the car back onto it^Òs wheels and bounced it out of the gully. We carried on to the finish line, losing around 2 minutes. This one small mistake quickly moved us from a comfortable 1st in class to 3rd. Suprisingly, the only damage to the car was a broken wing mirror and a small dent in the door.
Stages 11 & 12.
These two stages were the best of the day and with no incidents to report we stopped the clocks at 11m on stage 11and 18m 07s on stage 12.
Stages 13 & 14.
Stage 13 was a re-run of stage 10, and although still trying to regain a top class position overall we took it fairly easy passed the very deceptive corner where we rolled. We stopped the clocks at 3m 14s clarifying we had lost over two minutes by our incident on stage 10.
Stage 14 was the final stage of the day, and by this time, daylight was disappearing. This run was perfect, and again improved on our previous time.
Despite our gentle roll on stage 10, sufficient time was made up to maintain our first position in the Scottish Tarmac Rally Championship.
With FIVE class wins out of FIVE, GMC-MOTORSPORT head to the final event of the year at Crail airfield on the 2nd of November to hopefully, again, win Class one in the STRC.