The Bournemouth Endurance is a brand new rally to the Endurance calendar for 2014, run by Bournemouth & District Car Club headed up by Graham Dance, one of the minds behind the famous Carpetbagger Road Rally.
My usual seat in with Pat Thomas is currently in another car with several other parts of the Nova scattered around the country on different cars after breaking it on the Myotis this year, so up stepped Tony McCarthy in the little Nissan Micra.
There was quite a good build up to the event with everyone getting quite excited, also a few different names were popping up on the entry list including Eamonn Byrne from Ireland and Jamie Jukes and John Davies heading down from Wales.
So the morning of the 16th of August I find myself heading towards the George Albert Hotel near Dorchester for the start of this new event. A brilliant start venue just a stones throw away from the first test. Scruitineering and everything went without a hitch and we soon had all the paperwork for the day. After the first test there was a short section of Jogularity to take the competing crews to the next test. This was provided as tulips and also a map print out of the route back from the main test area to the hotel was provided, so I took the chance to plot the route down on the map as a backup in case we got lost!
The Hotel is situated next to the Clay Pigeon Raceway, one of the leading Kart Circuits in the UK and also the training ground for a young Jenson Button. This is where the first test was, 2 laps of the circuit in reverse (the track, not the cars…) including going through the pit shed at the start. A great little track for the endurance cars, wish we had another 2 laps at the end of the day to finish it off to be honest! Jamie Jukes & Ross Whittock were quickest around the circuit in the hired Daihatsu Sirion Rallye 2 with a time of 1.42, 2 second quicker then Steve Conner & Paul Stephens (205 Rallye) and the novice crew of Conrad Bos & Oliver Bos (ZR). John Davies & Mark Appleton were 4th quickest another second behind in another hired Daihatsu Sirion Rally 2 and 5th went to both Jamie Turner & Matthew Fowle (ZR) and Eamonn Byrne & Anthony Preston (Starlet).
Then onto the Jogularity which started down the road just the other side of Dorchester. The road book was very clear and showed several junctions, signs and bridges along the route as well as the distance, time, total time and any other information so it was easy enough to follow along the route. The average speed was consistently changing and with a healthy amount of tractors and holiday makers scattered along the route you had to keep on your toes with your time and where you were. It wasn’t going too bad for us at first, dropping 4 seconds at each of the first 2 ITC’s while we were getting to grips with how to get into the control on the perfect second! A little hiccup along the next couple dropping 24 seconds and 11 seconds respectively. I was trying to work out the times we needed to be at each tulip and before I noticed we had passed several of them as they several were less then 10 seconds apart, but we got there in the end! I made a little boob at the end though… Not realising the end of the Jogularity was at any of the last few tulips, I thought it would be at the end, also without a decent trip we thought we had missed some 30mph signs and we were clocking in at the end, slowing right down as we were way too early, only to find it was the 3rd tulip from the end, meaning we were 43 seconds late. But live and learn! Could have gone a lot worse! Poor old Peter Engel & Mark Dunkerley meeting a holiday maker who wouldn’t reverse for 2 tractors and trailers, Mark ended up getting out and carried out a little bit of emergency traffic control!
Paul Sharpe & Gruff Parry (Rover 25) and Mike Saywell & Nick Clarke (106) were the best at time keeping through the Jogularity being only 4 seconds out of their due times through the whole section. Then it was up to Bovington Camp for the rest of the days tests!
Test 2 & 8 – Millicent’s Up (3.45 miles)
This test was on the North Side of the main road which was separating the event. A nice long straight for the cars to open up their lungs started all the crews off with a code board 3/4 of the way down to slow the cars down before a steep step down onto a cattle grid and then back up onto the gravel. We did see parts of a sump guard here on test 8 so I think someone took it flat and probably regretted it afterwards! Down to an array of 7 cones with 1 which caught a lot of people out, the natural route to take on most enduro’s is the long way around all the cones, Graham and his team placed in a cone here where the correct route was to take the short way around, which apparently all bar 3 crews didn’t do! Few a few more chicanes along a long sweeping right hand corner and then split right up into the woods and split left fairly soon after. Another long fast section with a couple ditched that were filled with loose stones that slowly turned back into the ditches throughout the day and then back down to the road just after the large amount of cones. Back to the first split, again going right, and then splitting right at the next one up a steep stony track, I did wonder if we were going to get up there and it was cut out of test 8 so I think some crews did struggle then a last dash upto the first split, going straight on this time to another chicane and a drop down into a large gravel area keeping to the outside of a few cones before a 90 right 90 right into the finish.
Tuner/Fowle were quickest through test 2 with a time of 7.31 and Byrne/Preston quickest through on test 8 with 6.18.
Test 3 & 9 – Chamberlayne’s Short (6.15 miles)
Chamberlayne’s Short started off with a merge and down to a wide chicane to test all the drivers arms, a few fast corners and then to another wide chicane with cone 32 being out in a slot right and then 33 back on the opposite side of the original track (this one somehow got tighter and tighter throughout the day!) and then down to a very cheerful PC before heading over another grid and a long way around a triangle. Down to another PC and then winding out way through a series of gravel mounds before heading up the hill over a rough section into a tight slot hairpin left. Up the hill a little more to a 45 right into 90 right, unfortunately this is where Freddy Camp & Graham Lacey got stuck in their MG ZR on the inside of the 90 in the stones. Soon after was a keep right of cone to take the crews onto another track for a short distance and then a couple 90 rights to head up back towards the tight slot hairpin left. 90 right to a large open area and into a follow arrows section through a large natural chicane before another long way around a triangle, going through possibly the only puddle of the day. A couple more chicanes and then to the bumpy sandy area, which looking at the picture of the clarkes, some took flat! And then slot 90 right to drop down into the infamous sand bowl. This was a large sandy area with a couple cars stuck in it, I think thats the best way to describe it! Then almost wrong slotting but being pointed in the right direction and down to another PC, 1 codeboard and then down to the merge at the start for another lap! Second time around was a little more cut up but we knew where we could pick up speed and knew where to look after the car. Also the sections that caught us out first were tackled a lot better like the slot tight hairpin left. Just after the sand bowl it was a split left and down to the finish.
David Lobb & Lizzie Pope (Corsa) were quickest through test 3 with 13.48 and Turner/Fowle quickest on 9 with 11.08. Just to note, the small section where Freddy was stuck was cut out on test 9.
Test 4 & 10 – Goddards & ETS (4.5 miles)
Back across the main road now to the south side of the event, dubbed ‘the smooth side’, some people who have done the stage rally down at Bovington will know parts of this area.
These tests started on concrete but after slotting right around a cone the crews soon left the hard stuff and back onto the gravel. Straight on at a merge down a few slippy 60’s through some tree’s and a couple keep right of a cone at junction’s before a long way around a triangle and a chicane before getting back onto the concrete. The crews weren’t there for long with a short straight into hairpin left, another short straight and then slot 90 right back into the trees. A lovely fast gravel section here with 3 parallel roads with chicanes, so you could see who was in front and how far you were behind! So down the first, chicane and then hairpin right, down the second into chicane and long hairpin left, down the third into chicane followed by 90 left into very long 90 right and up to a long way round a roundabout. Down to a PC and then long hairpin right onto tarmac. A nice little fast section before some wide chicanes through some ‘car stopper’ concrete walls before a slot 90 right, hairpin left followed by 90 right. Down to another roundabout, still on concrete, which had a wide chicane on and then down to a codeboard. Another wide chicane at a 90 right before heading up a small hill and slotting 90 right back onto the gravel. A couple 45’s before another chicane and into a PC. 90 right before getting back to the merge at the start. Lap 2! This time after the first PC we went 90 right 90 left and down to a fast finish on the tarmac.
Sharp/Parry were quickest on test 4 with 9.46 and Byrne/Preston were quickest on test 10 with 9.17
Test 5 & 11 – Woolbridge (4.5 miles)
Again starting on concrete and slotting 90 left almost straight away onto the loose stuff. Down to a 90 right followed by a PC and then slot 90 left through a gateway. A wide track followed with a keep right at cone next to a hut and then into a chicane at a 90 right to slow the cars down before heading along a massive straight with 2 chicanes and a codeboard. 90 right and then downhill into 90 right and into some lovely long sweeping corners. These were used 4 times in total through the day and it was good to see how quick you could take the corners before you started to understeer into the undergrowth! 90 right uphill at a gate which got a little cut up as the day went on before another chicane and into a PC followed by a hairpin left. Down to a 45 right, 45 left, 60 right. The first 45 was the only thing missing on the maps the whole day. They were hand drawn maps which were near enough spot on, giving the navigators an easy job at calling out the corner. Well Done to the person who drew these! Back to the test, down into a hairpin right onto tarmac and up a hill into another set of wide chicanes with ‘car breaker’ walls. PC and then at the merge right at the start for another loop. Back to the hairpin right onto tarmac, but this time 90 right 90 left and up to the finish.
Lobb/Pope were the king and queen of Woolbridge being quickest on both runs through with times of 9.00 and 8.38 respectively.
Just an update of how everyone was getting along after test 5;
1st – Turner/Fowle
2nd – Lobb/Pope
3rd – Ben Smith & Simon Harris (MG ZR)
4th – Jukes/Whittock
5th – Byrne/Preston
Leading Class 4 – Rob Kitchen & James Savage (Rover 200)
Leading Class 5 – Tony McCarthy & Daniel Pidgeon (Nissan Micra)
Leading Class 7 – Oliver Keates & Gavin James Bull (Peugeot 205)
Test 6 & 12 – Golfcart (3.9 miles)
BDCC tend to make you think you are doing a test all on concrete and then slot you off into the gravel almost straight away! A wide chicane on concrete and then slotting onto gravel, down to a 90 right back onto concrete and then hairpin left, down the hill into a fast entry chicane followed by a PC. 90 right at a T-Junction and up along some very long sweeping corners on gravel, passing a codeboard before going 60 right down into a couple tight 90 lefts through some concrete bollards. Then up to a 4 cross way with cones on the right and straight on, all the way around them and eventually going left from where you started into our favourite section of the day. Massive wide concrete sections through a couple 2 cone chicanes (you could take them flat!) and then over a brow and down into a 3 cone chicane with a really fast entry. Up the hill the other side to a long 45 left into chicane and then a very long hairpin right which was good to test the tyres concrete capabilities! Slot 90 right into a large square section similar to a carpark, keeping right around the outside of 4 cones in each corner and then back out onto the concrete and soon into a hairpin left around a cone. Into a split, this time going left and back along a gravel track that followed the very long hair right from earlier, but time time obviously going very very long hairpin left. Through a chicane and then back up to a PC and to the T-Junction from earlier for another loop. At the split after the carpark this time going hairpin right, 30 right and up to the finish.Test 6 was mastered by Turner/Fowle with 7.19 and the test 12 victory went to Smith/Harris with 5.51! A whole 1 minute 15 seconds quicker then the second fast time!
Test 7 & 13 – Bath (2.35 miles)
This test actually started on the concrete and stayed there for a while with a couple wide chicanes and keep left of cones pushing you to the end of the track. A long 45 right followed by a couple other very wide and quite tight chicanes using full advantage of the extra concrete for the layby on the side of the road. Up to another fast chicane and then a slot 90 right into split 90 right onto gravel, through a few sweeping corners and past a code board before entering a ‘up and downy bit’ as we called it. Its a section which the tanks use and if you took flat it looks like you could take off on one mound and fly straight into the next. Through there and a tight merge back onto the merge at the start. Up to the split, this time going 90 left on the gravel which was hard to spot as there were 2 gravel tracks, if you took the second you went the wrong way! Drop back onto the concrete through a fast chicane and then slot left off onto the gravel running along side of the tarmac, it was tempting to just jump back onto the concrete as there was nothing between the two tracks, but a penalty wasn’t worth it! Few a chicane and a long 60 right, another chicane and then into a little dip with a codeboard in the bottom and then up to the finish.
Test 7 was completed quickest by Turner/Fowle with 4.16 and quickest on 13 was Byrne/Preston with 4.05
Positions after test 10;
1st – Turner/Fowle
2nd – Lobb/Pope
3rd – Smith/Harris
4th – Byrne/Preston
5th – Jukes/Whittock
Leading Class 4 – Kitchen/Savage
Leading Class 5 – McCarthy/Pidgeon
Leading Class 7 – Keates/Bull
PC9 was after test 7 with a set of times for the current leaders which were as follows;
1st – Turner/Fowle – 2:38.49
2nd – Lobb/Pope – 2:40.48
3rd – Byrne/Preston – 2:46.11
4th – Owen Turner & Bob Blows (MG ZR) – 2:47.26
5th – John Davies & Mark Appleton (Daihatsu Sirion Rally 2) – 2:49.13
Leading Class 4 – Kitchen/Savage – 2:49.23
Leading Class 5 – McCarthy/Pidgeon – 2:54.32
Leading Class 7 – Keates/Bull – 2:59.49
MTC10 was after test 13 with a set of times for the current leaders which were as follows;
1st – Turner/Fowle – 4:59.58
2nd – Byrne/Preston – 5:06.29
3rd – Turner/Blows – 5:11.38
4th – Davies/Appleton – 5:14.01
5th – Lobb/Pope – 5:15.57
Leading Class 4 – Kitchen/Savage – 5:18.17
Leading Class 5 – Jon Isaac & Andrew Lowe (Daihatsu Sirion Rally 2) – 5:42.00
Leading Class 7 – Keates/Bull – 5:37.10
Test 14 & 18 – Millicent’s Down (2.75 miles)
Millicent’s Down was back across the main road on the north side (or the rough side as most people called it by the end of the day!) running very similar to Millicent’s Up (2 & 8), this time after the large area of cones there was a chicane at the end of the down hill and into a PC, then slotting right to do the loop in the opposite direction. Just 2 loops this time, not using the section that was previously cancelled. Unfortunatley for the organisers this northern side of the main road was now very cut up and personally we were taking it steady to save the car. Some of the quicker crews were pushing on just as hard, fair play to them all for making a car that withstands so much abuse!
Quickest on 14 was Turner/Fowle with 5.26 and 18 was completed quickest by Byrne/Preston with 5.20.
Test 15 & 19 – Chamberlayne’s Long (6.7 miles)
This test was the worst, by the time of test 15 it was really bad and in places we were crawling at low speeds. It started at the same place as Chamberlayne’s Short but this time going hairpin right first of all and up over the long hill to a small clump of trees where the was a slot 90 left just before. Down to a codeboard and then to the end where there was a 90 right followed by a long way around a triangle. On test 19 we spotted one of the marshal’s taking a ‘rally selfie’ with us in the background driving past at this point, please send it in if it was you, wouldn’t mind seeing it! Back over a cattle grid and down to a PC before the tight chicane and almost back to the start with the wide chicane using full advantage of the missed slots. Back up to the merge past the start and up over the hill. Missing the slot left this time and heading up to a PC before dropping down into the dreaded sandbowl! The hill that we drove down earlier in the day was now being used the other way and it took us and several other several attempts to get up the stoney track. We would have been alright on the first attempt but we bottomed out half way out and the stones knocked it out of gear! Sorry to anyone stuck behind us! Through a chicane up on the top and around the sandy dakar section from earlier. Another chicane followed by a 90 left through chicane and down to a long way around a triangle. Again Freddy’s corner was cut out so we slotted left down the hill, over the rough section and through the mounds of gravel. Down to a PC where we saw Jukes/Whittock parked up after a gallant effort through the day, unfortunately their engine had given up of them! Around a cone after a 60 left and then up to a slot 30 left, through a chicane, by this time we had caught a car ahead, slot hairpin left (which the car ahead missed!) and down to a 90 left and to the top of the sandbowl again but this time from the other side (photo of the 3 cars coming down the hill). We waited for a few seconds while we saw Gary Ward & Tom Pile struggling to get up the hill and having to come back down again, but when it was clear the flat out method was taken. Flat over the rutted sand in the bottom of the bowl and we managed to get enough of a run up to make it up the other side first attempt. Another loop of this section followed and the third time at the top of the rocky hill we slotted 30 right at a triangle, through a 45 left 45 right and into the finish. A very tough test on the car and driver!!Test 19 was cut down quite a lot with the sand bowl and the second loop section missed out, just passing by the top of the bowl and into the finish. We picked up a puncture on test 19 somewhere near the end of the first loop so we limped her back to the finish as it wasn’t too far. It was bottoming out quite a lot at this point!
Quickest through 15 was Davies/Appleton with a time of 10.41, over a minute ahead of the second quickest (perhaps you don’t have to worry so much with a hired car!) and quickest on 19 was Ward/Pile (Citroen AX GTi) with a quick time of 3.37, 42 seconds quicker then anyone else.
Positions after test 15;
1st – Turner/Fowle
2nd – Byrne/Preston
3rd – Davies/Appleton
4th – Turner/Blows
5th – Lobb/Pope
Leading Class 4 – Kitchen/Savage
Leading Class 5 – Isaac/Lowe
Leading Class 7 – Bos/Bos
Test 16 & 20 – Toby’s Pond & ETS (7.3 miles)
What a great long test this was! Back on the smooth side of the event, this was test 4 & 10 with an extra added section (some bits of previous tests, some new). At the start it was the same as test 4, around the cone on the right and across the concrete into the gravel, this time at the merge going hairpin right 90 left and through a chicane. Through a couple sweeping corners and slotting back into the tarmac which was made a lot tighter using a cone. Down the concrete into some very wide chicanes, used as the four cross way earlier on in the day and then down through the 2 cone chicanes and into the 3 cone chicane at the bottom of the hill, this time a bit further back towards the brow so we had to put the breaks on pretty hard to stop, but no cones were damaged! Back up the sweeping gravel roads running along side and 60 right down the hill, over a bump, back up the other side into a 90 right. Some great fast sweeping gravel corners in this section before a 90 left 90 left into concrete with 3 more chicanes along it. Back down to a very wide chicane followed by keeping to the outside of 3 cones around a roundabout and then down to the chicanes between the car breaker walls. Down to a PC and then slot 90 left onto the gravel and up through the 3 parallel roads again, again followed by the 90 left onto tarmac hairpin right and slot 90 left onto gravel, through the chicane and into a long way around a large triangle. Up through the trees with the sweeping bends and back to the start at the merge, ready for another lap! This time splitting straight on after the car breaker walls to the finish.
Test 16 was completed quickest by Tuner/Fowle with a time of 13.40 and test 20 was quickest by Byrne/Preston with a time of 13.05
Test 17 & 21 – Bridgewool (4.95 miles)
This test was the same as Wookbridge (5 & 11) but running the loop backwards and a extra time, giving the extra miles. It was good to use the sweeping corners at the back so often though as they were a test of driver and tyre!
Byrne/Preston were quickest on both test 17 & 21 with times of 9.33, 9.30 respectivly!
Test 22 – Millilayne’s (15.2 miles)
Due to the tracks being so cut up this last monster of a test was cancelled.
After test 21 it was time for the crews to head back to the George Albert Hotel for the final MTC and for some well earned food before the results were announced. By this time I think 90% of the people involved were covered in gravel, dust and dirt, a few crews looking like they’ve spent a day down the mines!
Got to say a massive well done to Graham, Charlotte and the rest of the team at BDCC for bringing this rally back to life as a endurance rally.It was a shame that the tests got cut up so much, but they weren’t to know as it was the first year running and using this venue. I think we were all the test mules! Thanks also to all the marshals along the route, some of you are probably still coughing up the dust now!
Thanks also to Tony for driving me round the hole day and putting up with my odd mistake here and there! But we got to the finish, something I think we weren’t going to do! That’s a mighty little Micra and I hope it’s all in one piece ready for Jersey! (Well… we did knock off the back bumper, but that’ll go back on fine!)
The final results were;
1st – Turner/Fowle – 8:41.55
2nd – Byrne/Preston – 8:45.56
3rd – Davies/Appleton – 8:55.13
4th – Turner/Blows – 8:55.56
5th – Lobb/Pope – 9:11.03
Class 4 – Kitchen/Savage – 9:24.14
Class 5 – Isaac/Lowe – 9:44.33
Class 7 – Bos/Bos – 9:43.53
Bring on 2015!
Daniel Pidgeon, Nav – Car 28, Nissan Micra (18th o/a)
Thanks to M&H Photography (www.mandh-photography.co.uk) for all the photos! Make sure you head to their site for more examples and details on how to purchase yourself a copy!