So an entry for the Regis Rally was required and a seat in a car I was last in 10-years ago! Time to be reunited… with 883 GOH.
Looking at the time cards and the few pre-plot references we had been given, it was going to be a tough day! 6 Regularities and 11 tests in total for the 32 crews along some of the best lanes West Sussex and Hampshire have to offer – The sting being mainly plot’n’bash…
So when handed a Mickularity through the window – perhaps the easiest form of regularity you can have what can go wrong – well how about a missed junction and 2 minutes at the next control, not the best start to try and impress your driver.
4 tests followed in the grounds of Goodwood House and the home of Lord March in through the main gate across the Brickyard strip before heading to the tests around the church car park – slippy, no grip but a fairly decent length, one hesitation on a unmarked cone but successfully through.
After 3 others tests that followed a similar pattern we waited for the next regularity, the first seven cars had all turned left out of the car park so when presented with a herringbone it was a case of ‘here you go’ to my driver and handed him the speed tables and said get on with that while I plot.
I got the difficult to see junction but came a cropper when met with a crossroads and the rest would not fit so went through it again and came up with something different but didn’t fit… on the fifth attempt just as Ryan shouted out which way! I had something that looked right!
I had managed to plot a bit more and was confident we had the right route especially when we got a long way round triangle and a Porsche that we were travelling in tandem with didn’t. But then the problems of not having the courage of your convictions set in. “They’ve got left.” Said Ryan. To which I replied fatally “Turn round as I quickly looked at the instructions and had a rethink but then realised we had got it right – I was reading the wrong instruction! Doh…
The control was a few miles later on a long loop and we lost around 33 seconds… but we had gone the right way and must admit to a little bit of smugness as at the next crossroads one of our main rivals approached from a different direction.
Reg 3 again had a little sting using a white track – I asked Ryan to stop as normally instructions will have CRO coloured roads only or No whites but this had nothing but then Ryan spotted the cut through and shortest route again another huge sigh of relief as we saw the marshals and the control board meaning we had gone the right way unlike a few others.
Great views of the Solent followed with lunch at the Forts looking over Portsmouth.
Reg 4 included yyy and yBG etc but no matter what I did I couldn’t get it so reverted to a sound convincing it must be this way!! Luckily there was a junction missed by the organisers meaning the penalty for the missed code board was dropped. Because I was concentrating on this so much I must admit to mis-plotting a grid reference but due to a natural obstruction – cows across the road – we were again travelling in tandem and nothing apart from 2-minutes in time was lost.
Reg 5 was relatively simple matching the symbols the map, one of my favourites and certainly in the results it seemed we enjoyed the afternoon with our top penalty of 6 seconds but quite a few we had a zero next to our name – always very pleasing.
Reg 6 was slightly more complicated with most of the instructions with to be continued, meaning you had to be on the right route. Organisers making sure by testing our mathematical skills adding numbers to make spot heights then finding them on the map – The trick being not to go through any other spot heights on the route! Testing it was again cars approaching from all directions but again we kept calm and carried on going with our last 3 controls totalling 2 seconds in penalties.
Back to Goodwood for the tests completed in the morning but in reverse… then onto to Tangmere to a Pepper factory, 4 enjoyable tests made even more tricky by going round the cone before going back through the gate – we had fun and a laugh especially on a simple slalom we felt something under the right front of the car and suddenly saw this cone shooting 30 metres across the car park, we couldn’t keep a straight face!
So back to the finish for supper and it soon came apparent that a lot of the top runners had got a lot of penalties for missed code boards or time controls and mechanical retirements.
So a pleasant surprise to get 3rd overall and first in M1 – Thank goodness I can still plot!
Andy Balantyne, Nav – Car 8, Triumph TR4
Thanks to Photo by Tony Large (www.tonylarge.net) for all of the photos! Head over to their website for more photos and for contact details to buy yourself a copy!