Rushmoor used to be a regular stage on the Tempest Stages, but hadn’t seen any rally action for a while. However Farnborough and District Motor Club know the venue well, running a Sprint at the venue once a year. It was another extremely well organised event by Farnborough for their second Targa Rally, the first being a baptism of fire with the Bramley Targa running during “The Best from the East” in March!
Attention to detail was fantastic, even the MoD approved burger van had a great view of the Tests. The event used many parts of the venue which hadn’t been used before for competition, offering some very varied surfaces, but not rough. Tests were laid out using pairs of cones to form “gates” to drive through.
Test 1 started with some tight-ish turns through cones, in to a more open but deceptively slippery area where crews were meant to double back on an adjoining road. However gate 8 caused confusion for some, it must have been the sight of Marshals to the left which sucked crews in, even though they had to go the opposite direction before returning to the Marshals. Assuming crews were on the right route, they then headed towards the general direction of the Start, then turned up a small bank to an incredibly slippery area. Those with LSDs were complaining that their wheels were locked or dragging them all over. The edge of the area, some kerbs, bushes and cones directed crews where to go, but many ventured where they shouldn’t and some cones suffered! A small “up and over” bank followed which required some respect, back on to slippery asphalt for a hairpin left then two 90 rights. Cones were suffering due to the slippery surface and the over exuberance of some. A tight slalom section led to a straight where the arms could recover a little. A 90 right, some more cone dodging and Stop. Around a one mile Test. Relax, until the next Test a few hundred yards away!
Test 2, a short straight, over to the right side to open up the turn for a 90 right. An even shorter straight, hairpin left and on to a cautioned slippery section through the trees. A long 90 left at the end in to a 90 right, 90 left, 90 left, 90 right combination on soft gravel. Another slippery 90 left, a short straight to hairpin right, 90 left, 90 left and 90 right on to a decent straight, the first straight as used on the Sprint course. Slight right and left, down to a 90 left and 90 left, playing to the burger van on the nearby bridge! Left the 90 right, a few yards then 90 right and in to another slippery area – slight right, 90 left, 90 left, then up a bank with a route cut through the undergrowth to reach a 90 right to slalom and Stop astride. You got all that? Nothing difficult for crews, apart from gate 8, but many cones waiting for those who went nuts.
It was then back to wait for Test 3, or swap roles and do it all again in the other seat. Many took this option, a full day of driving and navigating for £50 is fantastic value.
Alan Wakeman/Ian Hazleton in their 1275 Micra set fastest time on the first Test from Adrian White just 3 seconds back. Times were close with the top ten being separated by 7 seconds. Test 2 saw Antons Kuzenko/Dimitry Ivanov take fastest time in their 206 GTi, but a cone had been hit and 10 seconds were added, handing fastest time to Adrian While/Lewis White. Wakeman picked up a cone as well, but after two Tests Wakeman/Hazleton led with Simon Phillips and wife Nicola in second place overall in the 205 Rallye. Cone penalties were beginning to have an effect.
Test 3 and 4 were re-runs of Tests 1 and 2. The Whites were fastest on Test 3 from Keith Pettit/Lynne Pettit in their Frogeye Sprite, there was every car at this event! Dominic Worsfold/Matt Fowle was third fastest in Matt’s 106 Cup car. But again times were close with the top 10 split by only 6 seconds. Worsfold/Fowle were quickest on Test 4 from the Whites, but again the cone penalties came in to play, leaving Wakeman/Hazleton to share fastest time with Steve and Rebecca Groves.
Tests 5 and 6 combined the two previous individual Tests, giving a something crews could get their teeth in to, but they still knew where most of the Test went. Zach and Charlie Lower were quickest on Test 5, but with two cones to add. The Groves were next quickest, but again with two cone penalties to add. The Whites and Antons Kuzenko therefore inherited fastest time. Worsfold/Fowle would have been up there, but six cones had a huge effect on their time. Wakeman/Hazleton was a second down, with Jace Shawley/Jem Mead setting a quick time, but picked up a massive penalty for a wrong Test. Barney Lower/Ben Greenfield finished off the top ten times on the Test. Test 6 saw Charlie and Zach Lower fastest from the Pettits. The Groves were next from Wakeman.
Tests were now run in the opposite direction. Zach and Charlie Lower were fastest on Test 7 from the pair in opposite seats! Kuzenko/Ivanov set an amazing 1:34 on Test 8, 7 seconds faster that the Pettits and 4 seconds faster than third placed crews Fowle/Worsfold, the Whites and Wakeman/Hazleton. Test 9 threw up the same suspects for fastest times, but again times were all very close. Test 10 was again very close with Pettit, White and Wakeman topping the times.
A short break then followed, enabling everyone to make the most of the burger van and let the sun fall – the last Test would be in the dark! As the route criss crossed the venue, auxiliary lamps were not allowed to avoid dazzling other drivers. But everybody knew where the Test went, even though Test 11 joined Tests 9 and 10 together to form one long Test.
Zach and Charlie Lower were fastest from Worsfold/Fowle, but Dominic had been hitting cones again! The Whites were 10 seconds down, then a host of other crews split by 7 seconds.
The Results crew crunched numbers and the results popped out. Cone penalties made a difference to the overall result, but Wakeman/Hazleton held on to their first Test lead and took the overall win. Their Micra was effectively standard with upgraded suspension but no underbody guards, demonstrating what can be achieved driving tidily in a standard car.
Antons Kuzenko could have ticked one of his bucket list items off his list, but he finished 7 seconds adrift, just one cone less and the win would have been his. But others also missed out with their cone antics, being quick and tidy was the order of the day.
Alan Wakeman, Driver – Car 41, Nissan Micra – 1st Overall
Thanks to M&H Photography (www.mandhphotography.co.uk) for all of the images. Make sure you check out their page for more examples and for details on how to purchase yourself a copy!