As usual the rally base was at Cara’s Diner, Greendale Business Park just outside of Exeter. With a small but strong field of 25 cars there was plenty of time to get through noise, scrutineering and signing on so it was all very relaxed at the start. 2 Hours to plot the route according to the time card so I was a little nervous to what organiser Pete Barnard had in stall for us all!
21:30 soon came and crews were picking up their route, some choosing to stay in the cafe in the warm while others did it out of sight in their cars. A lot of the first half was very tight to plot with several points in the same grid square, the rubber was used a lot! But finishing in 70 minutes gave us some time to relax before the start and warm up a little in the cafe.
23:30 and car 1 was waiting to head into the lanes at MTC1 which was at the back of the business park, no run out what so ever! Out of the start and down to the B3180 before slotting into Nigel Mansel’s golf course. Following the white around the back towards ‘Barry’s Farm’. ITC2 was hidden on the white and we had only dropped 10 seconds so I was happy with that! Down to Barry’s farm which was brilliant, wide enough on the hairpins to swing the back around but still tight in places to slow you down, always a popular little spot with competitors as well as spectators! Back towards the entrance of the golf course and down a couple whites before RFTC3 back on the B3180.
Already down a couple cars by this point with navigator illness in car 22 and car 25 heading off on their own route. Several crews also picked up costly error’s not getting the first PC signed, even local crew Adrian Beer & Nathan Coles in car 1. Tim Owen & Jake Ramsden (106) were quickest through the first section dropping 03.19 with Dave & Ross Whittock (Rover 25) close behind on 03.25. Third at this point were David Thorpe & Andrew Lowe in the newly built 106 with a time of 03.51. No class 1’s in the top 3… Quickest class 1 was Phil Harris & Liam Burns in the borrowed Nissan Micra dropping 03:55. Second were fellow South Hams MC members Kevin Wills & Richard Brooks (Peugeot 206) with 04:08, over a minute ahead of third in class runners Scott Jones & Chris Perry (MG ZR) dropping 05.41. Class 3 was being lead by Gareth Andrews & Luke Quinnell (Proton Compact) dropping 07.39, quite a way ahead of local crew Tom Pile & Kevin McCarron (Fiesta) on 11.39. Jon Issac & Darren Stevens (Sirion) were one of the crews to pick up an early penalty on PC1, they were third in class on 13.04.
A run up the B3179 took the crews through Woodbury before TC4 which lead straight down another white and slotting left at the farm, not right… Car 11, Peter Stimson & Dion Casey heading down the wrong white and getting very stuck in their Sierra XR4x4. A disappointing early end for the local crew! A little loop around Woodmanton before TC5 on the edge of Exmouth. Back up across the B3180 and onto Lymptone Common, slot 90 right and back down to the main road to TC6. Up over East Budleigh Common to a couple of diagrams (there were a lot all night! 4 pages with 8 on each page) at PC11 & 12. PC12 was a large triangle with tall ferns on, the diagram read 30 right, slot 90 left. GW right, slot 90 right, GW left. But on first attempt we only found the first 90 left and ended up heading down the wrong road. So turning around and doing it slower showed us a small track in the middle of the triangle with a codeboard stuck deep in the hedge opposite, definitely one for the locals! Along past Yettington towards East Budleigh before slotting right down a couple long whites and into TC7.
Only 3 crews cleaned the section, Adrian Beer & Nathan Coles (Cordoba), Mike Burrows & Peter Blackett (Puma) and the class 3 crew Lucas Redwood & Rob Newall (Mk2 Escort). The top 5 were still in the same order with Burrows/Blackett taking over the third spot in class 1 with a total time of 06.20. Redwood/Newall had moved up to second in class 3, still 05.12 adrift of Andrews/Quinnell.
Through East Budleigh and to RSTC8 which was round the back of Bicton College. Up to another diagram with a very tight hairpin right on a triangle then up to another 2 which were some slalom’s through the trees. Slot onto the white triangle on the edge of Colaton Raleigh Common which includes 2 fords. Back on the black stuff and past Kingston before getting the ITC9 which had a slight re-route. It cut a section of whites and took us straight up to the next TC so we had plenty of time to look at it and make our way there. Another crew lost on this section, Harris/Burns snapped the rear drop links on the axle causing them to retire.
Quickest through here were Beer/Coles dropping 01.28 with Redwood/Newell only 1 second behind! Owen/Ramsden still had the lead dropping 06.07 in total with Thorpe/Lowe moving up to second 45 seconds behind. Whittock/Whittock were down to third on 07.01 and rounding off the Semi-Expert class. Burrows/Blackett had moved up to first in class 1 on 08.26 with Jonas/Perry in seconds on 10.22. Wills/Brooks were still fighting for the top just 3 seconds behind in third. Class 3 was still lead by Andrews/Quinnell on 11.36 but Redwood/Newall were closing the gap, now down to 04.44. Pile/McCarron were in third on 20.09.
A little run out along the A3052 through Newton Poppleford before TC13 which was behind the Bowd Inn above Sidmouth. Up to the end of East Hill Strips with a diagram in the car park and then back down some fast open roads to Sidford. Through Sidbury and up around the back of the Manor house towards East Hill Strips again. A triangle at PC29 caught out car 10, Daniel Richards & Daniel Pidgeon (Mk2 Escort), getting stuck in the newly built triangle. Unfortunately car 15, Paul Prance & Derek Drayton (Rover BRM) got stuck in the same place completely blocking the triangle. Loose stones caused both cars to just dig holes and cost the crews just under 45 minutes and Richards/Pidgeon’s clutch.
Along East Hill Strips above Ottery St Mary which included 3 diagrams and then into ITC15. Crews headed towards Putts Corner before slotting hairpin left towards Alfington. One more diagram and then into RFTC16. Jonas/Perry were quickest dropping 01.36 with Owen/Ramsden only 3 seconds behind and first timers Simon Heywood & Sam Treleaven another second on from that. This section also lost Wills/Brooks and Ian Orford & Bob Jones with clutch issues. This changed the top 3 moving Whittock/Whittock up to second and Burrows/Blackett up into third overall. The comeback in class 3 was down to 02.37 between Andrews/Quinnell and Redwood/Newall.
Under the Iron Bridge and along the old A30 before heading up past the Bartletts Farm Shop towards the top of Gittisham and TC17. A tight hairpin around a large triangle and then onto the A375. Slot 90 right up a white around the back of Honiton and up past the back of Manor House school before doubling back to Honiton golf course. Along Offwell Common through TC19 before slotting left down into the valley and back up to the A35 on the other side. Down to Cotleigh and back to a couple triangles including one at the end of the woodyard white. Crews then headed along a fast section through the avenue of trees and down to a ford followed by a tight 90 right with a ditch on the outside and up past royal oak to the 7 mile straight.
Down through Shortmoor with another couple diagrams and down to a sharp food followed by a 90 left, hit it quick and it could of ended badly. Down to the back of Stockland and back up around the back of Millhaynes where a double junction was used, if plotted correctly! Around the bottom of Shore Bottom and through Ham for RFTC23. A very long section with several triangles and PC included with both fast and tight sections. Thorpe/Lowe were quickest only dropping 01.36, 24 seconds in front of Alan Frame & Shaun Layland (Corsa) and 51 seconds ahead of the leaders Owen/Ramsden. Thorpe/Lowe were back up into the top 3 with a total of 17.35. Jonas/Perry took over the lead in class 1 with Burrows/Blackett picking up a costly penalty at PC44. The class 3 battle was getting tighter with Redwood/Newall now only 01.16 behind Andrews/Quinnell.
Crews headed along the 7 mile straight before heading down to Wilmington for TC24. Through a tight section and then up to Northleigh before skirting Knowle Hill where another couple diagrams were waiting. Following the river Coly down the valley to the edge of Colyton to another diagram and then up to TC26 with had another diagram, if the crews hadn’t had enough. A small run out from here to Petrol which was at the top of Seaton. Marcus Revington & Stacey Clifford (Triumph TR5) were still going, not following the correct route as such (and outside OTL) but after only doing a couple treasure hunts in the past they were still smiling and having a good night!
Results at Petrol:
1st – Tim Owen & Jake Ramsden, Peugeot 106 – 10.13
2nd – Dave Whittock & Ross Whittock, Rover 25 – 13.583rd – David Thorpe & Andrew Loew, Peugeot 106 XSi – 17.35
4th – Scott Jonas & Chris Perry, MG ZR – 17.39
5th – Mike Burrows & Peter Blackett, Ford Puma – 18.33
6th – Chris Pratt & Jeff Brown, Peugeot 205 GTi – 20.49
7th – Gareth Andrews & Luke Quinnell, Proton Compact – 23.09
8th – Paul Price & Alf Chanter, Peugeot 205 – 26.30
9th – John Considine & Glynn Hayward, Peugeot 205 GTi – 27.00
10th – Lucas Redwood & Rob Newall, Ford Escort Mk2 – 30.25
Class 1, 3rd – Adrian Beer & Nathan Coles, Seat Cordoba – 46.07
Class 3, 3rd – Jon Isaac & Darren Stevens, Daihatsu Sirion Rally 2 – 35.12
Back through Colyton after petrol to TC27, up to the top of Parenhayne Hill and doubling back to Watchcombe. Hairpin left back under the railway line and up to TC29 just before the A35 near Shute.
The route then followed the A35 to Kilmington where the remaining crews slotted left, following the River Yarty around the back of Dalwood. Another diagram, this one just after a large triangle (viable on the map) with an approach dictating which was to come into the diagram. Over Case Bridge and slot left through a tight twisty section. Up to Webble Green and down past what was Longbridge Inn, a deceptive bridge at the bottom on the fast road would have thrown some crews in the air before heading up the hill towards Stockland. Slot hairpin right towards Yarcombe and slotting left. Through a series of 90’s and along the base of Rower and up to RFTC32 just before revisiting the 7 mile straight.
Down onto the A30 and to another visible triangle on the map, again the approach when plotting giving the correct route to get the PC, a tight slot hairpin off the A30. Along the fast roads to the top of Monkton before dropping down through Blue Bell woods to TC33 back before the A30. Straight across and up to Humpton Hill. A small quite section took crews through Hillside and up to Shelvin White which claimed Redwood/Newall, catching the ditch on the inside of the 90 right and bending the steering arm a little too much to carry on. Remaing crews headed back down to the main road at Langford and into TC34.
Pile/McCarron went OTL in this section, another crew on the DNF list! Beer/Coles were quickest dropping just 01.10. Owen/Ramsden were still out in front with a time of 12.35, second were Jonas/Perry with 19.27 and in third were Whittock/Whittock on 23.57. With Redwood/Newall and Pile/McCarron dropping out, Exmouth MC crew Steve Pearce & Kevin Clarke (Corsa) moved up to 2nd in class with a total time of 52.59 and Jon Issac & Darren Stevens (Sirion) 16 seconds behind on 53.15.
A long neutral took crews up towards Dunkeswell before slotting left and up to Sheldon White, back around the woods towards Kerswell and then north up to another diagram at PC71 to check crews were still awake (not all were!). Another diagram at TC37 before crossing the A373 and looping back to Dulford and heading south to TC38. Beer/Coles were back in the swing of things cleaning the section with 4 crews dropping just 1 minute.
One final section starting at Colestocks and down over the railway to a large double triangle at Beacon cross, yet another one decided by the approach during plotting. Through Larkbeare and down to TC40 next to the A30 bridge south of Wimple.
And that was it! A run back to the start after a massively challenging rally for all! Pile/McCarron and Revington/Clifford finished the route, unfortunately outside of OTL and Stimpson/Casey took over from closing car duty after being recovered from the early white. Also Prance/Drayton managed to get back in front of OTL and got a finish after getting stuck on the triangle, so it wasn’t completely over for some! I think everyone at breakfast had felt like they had done a enduro, but everyone was smiling!
Congratulations to Tim Owen & Jake Ramsden on their first win, to win by almost 5 minutes as well! Full results can be found here. Also well done to Exmouth MC! A very small team putting on a very tough and challenging route for the competing crews. Thanks to all the Marshal’s who stood out in the freezing conditions to let everyone play! Some were seen 3 or 4 times so thanks for the effort! Thank you from me to Daniel Richards for making the 430 mile round trip from West Wales to Devon, just a shame we got stuck halfway through the first half.
Guy Fawkes in a couple weeks to see who will win the ASWMC Championship on the tight lanes of map 202! See you there.
Daniel Pidgeon, Nav – Car 10, Ford Escort Mk2 (DNF)
Thanks to George Mingham (www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007387725451) & Marc Treleaven (www.facebook.com/marc.treleaven.1) for all of the photos! Unfortunately the official photographer pulled out a week before the event so there are no action shots. Head to their pages to see a few more examples though!