Running a standard exhaust system we are usually the quietest car up in Wales, but we were surprised to go through noise with 4 or 5 quieter! Bit of a different bread of cars down in the South West!
The scruitineering and everything all went as smooth as ever with a good start venue, the organising team were more then happy to answer questions at the start which was good!
As there was no plotting to do it seemed all very relaxed at the start with crews chatting with each other.
Then it was off on the run out to the start! Got a little confused in Upavon on the run out due to the little one way road, but we managed to get to the start on time!! As soon as we were off the dust was horrid! The previous few days of weather meant the plain was nice and dry, but had a massive layer of dust covering it! Also no wind at all in places caused the dust to just sit there, it was a bit of a nightmare to see, but oh well! Push on!
All OK up to the first tests. It seems like the little Tigra is sitting a little too low for Salisbury! We were bottoming out a lot around the test and just after where Andy from M&H Photography was stood we launched into a massive whole which stopped the car dead. This pushed the front of the sump guard up a little, but the back down, so we were hitting everything from here for the rest of the night! Even driving along some of the smooth bits the rocks and gravel that had assembled in the middle of the road were being pushed along!
On we go though! Just after PC2 we had to slot into a forest and then the marked map just had a wiggly line coming off a track to another, not completely understanding what this meant we slotted left onto the road we thought we had to go down but oh dear! Up and down, through what I can only describe as mini lakes due to the depths of them! We saw a Rover/MG up ahead so thought it was right, only to get to a spot where we saw other cars on a track through the trees! So turned around to go back, as we were doing this we saw the others heading back as well, they had gone another way at a cross roads, and then the Tigra sunk! Half in one of the puddles we just lost grip and momentum and on a attempt to change down to first we got bogged down. But some good revving, spinning the steering wheel and some trial style bouncing up and down we crawled out at the slowest ever speed! By this time the rover was right up behind us and wanting to get past, but I think they got pretty bogged down as well! We managed to find the right road from here and pushed on to try and make back some time, down around 6 minutes by this time!
Having been on the Myotis a couple times I remembered that sometimes you get multiple roads running along the same direction parallel to each other, something which caught a few others out, but we managed to push on and do quite well, choosing the right roads! Most of the time…
Then we looped back to where we started, passing TC2 again. I really have to take note of the TC numbers! We were looking for it for ages along with 1 or 2 others! Only to then realise that the last TC we passed was 7 and that we had just done a loop! Not happy with myself!
The little bit of tarmac after PC7 was good fun, chance to get up some speed, only for a 205 to not pull over even though we were right up behind, its surprising how much the dust made people not want others to pass! There were several moments in the night were cars are scapping for clean air!
Through the night we missed quite a few PC and RC’s due to the difficulty of the terrain so we weren’t expecting a good result, but we wanted to finish, so just had fun and didn’t worry too much!
We got to Petrol halt to find most of the other cars there as well, good to have a catch up and see what others thought! Few stories of Army men with guns stopping cars! But the general talk was about the pot holes! There were a hell of a lot on the route, but the rest of the terrain makes up for it! It was just a shame as you would pick up speed you would have to keep slowing down and swerving holes, and with the sump guard so low we had to avoid them!
The old army camp near Bulford was a great little section! The best way to describe it is like a chess board, with roads going around each square, so some lovely little 90’s with a wide open space to chuck the car around! Then onto the clump of trees just after! There was no track on the map and the hand out just had a circle drawn around it, we were also following another car at this point so there was a lot of dust, with no corner calls and not much viability we managed to come off the road and head off down a bank sideways, but some good driving from Alex pulled us back up onto the road, only missing one of our side skirts!
Tests 3 & 4 were good fun as we remembered it from last year but just the other way, brilliant little section, was quite surprised to see a Corsa lost on the second run though as it wasn’t the biggest of tests!
RC39 was a good little section with some gravel hairpin turns with a lot of grass run-off to chuck the car in! Again this was a test last year so we knew where the slots were! Always handy!
NTC23, last control until the neutral back to the start, and 4 of us all wanted the same minute! Luckily the first section was a brand new, more compact section so no dust, was nice and wide and had a lovely 90 in there to get the back end out, then a little bit of mayhem at a 5 cross way, 2 of us going one way, one going another and the other either breaking down or having a good old look at the map!
Then we hit the finish! Brilliant, but as tough as ever! Awesome roads, even with the pot holes! And it was back to the finish to hear some stories!
I have to say, the Breakfast at the end. WOW! Best rally breakfast ever! Next year that will be a good intensive to get the car to the end! Was surprised not to see Lucas Redwood in the new Mk2 and Pat Thomas, both being taken by the plain, Pat being OTL and Lucas losing a windscreen! Not the best thing with all the dust about! I hear the drive back home in -1 degrees was quite interesting!!!
Fair play to Phil and Liam up front!! Won by 20 minutes! That’s one hell of a lead! Top peddling!
Thanks to Devizes & District MC for putting on another fantastic event! The only thing I would say is to work on the marked maps. Not the clearest at points!
Thanks to all the Marshalls as well! At times it was down to -2 and the dust was horrible!
Will definitely be back next year and encourage a few others to come along!
Daniel Pidgeon, Nav Car 29, Blue Tigra