A Ryemoor to Remember
Having moved from its more traditional March date the Malton Laser Ryemoor Trophy Rally now served as the season opener for most competitors as 33 crews made their way to the Stillington start. Unusually for a plot and bash event there was a fairly even split of crews between the classes with 14 experts, 9 semi-experts and most encouragingly 10 novices including 5 crews contesting their first National B event. After a short run out to east of Brandsby a simple tulip handout took them west of Terrington with nearly all crews clean. The restart at the other side of Terrington took crews into the first selective through Terrington woods, past Castle Howard and up to the side of the A64 via a little used white that crews were advised to take with gusto to avoid becoming stuck. The gridlines handout caught out a few with several wrong approaches to NAM1. Richard Hunter and Gary Evans in car 1 struggled with the plotting on the fast roads then had to double back for a secret check before eventually reaching the white only to slide straight on at a 90R and lose time trying to extract themselves. Ade Green and Ian Gibbins in car 2 took full advantage of local knowledge to arrive at STC5 first on the road and fastest by 47s. Second quickest were MMC’s Bevan Blacker and Niall Frost with Richard Hemingway and Sam Collis 3rd just 3s back. The second selective restarted east of Kirkham Abbey with a coloured roads only herringbone testing the navigators. The usually quiet hamlet of Menethorpe became the source of much confusion with most drivers not realising the road went 90L whilst navigators had their heads down plotting, resulting in numerous about turns on the farm track straight on. Peter Sharples emerged from said farm track with a 20ft length of electric fence attached to his car having had a longer excursion than most. Green/Gibbins were quickest again by 33s to open up a near 3 minute lead over car 1 Hunter/Evans who were now firmly on the pace. 3rd fastest at STC7 were another MMC crew, Adam Campbell and Simon Taylor with Adam taking advantage of a route that passed within a few hundred meters of his former residence.
The third selective took crews from Leavening south briefly onto Map 106 then looped back north past Acklam, through Birdsall and on towards Setterington. It was here that last year’s winners started to make their mark, pulling 50s back from leaders Green/Gibbins with a time 10s quicker than Hemingway/Collis and 20s quicker than Phil Burton and Mike Petch who were no doubt making the most of knowledge gained from Beverley MC 12 cars. Current ANCC champion Stan Featherstone with stand-in navigator Sasha Heriot was 4th fastest as he passed his sisters farm just outside Leavening. A seemingly simple spot heights handout caught out some of the later runners with the latter spot heights being several miles apart, whilst some crews negated to make use of the map handout for the two junctions on Map 106 and subsequently missed a codeboard. The appearance of a Police car at the start of the section also slowed some crews but with sensible driving from those involved nobody was stopped.
In all of the 20 awards on offer Malton Motor Club members walked away with 13 of them clearly demonstrating the dominance of the club on home roads all the way through the classes no doubt helped by the proving ground that is club 12 cars run on many of the roads utilised on the night. The short selective 4 from Eden Camp to Kirby Misperton only had two junctions but with some slippy farm lanes and numerous manned passage checks to contend with all crews dropped time. Fastest again was the now flying car 1 with event sponsor Charlie Corner and fellow MMC navigator Kevin Bardon showing a clean pair of heels to their semi-expert rivals with second fastest time, just 12s slower than Hunter/Evans. Third were Hemingway/Collis, fourth Featherstone/Heriot while Green/Gibbins maintained a lead of 1:41 despite only posting the fifth fastest time. The final selective of the first half was from Great Barugh to Marton then east over Riseborough to Aislaby. Fastest time of 24s was posted by Dan Sedgewick and Sam Ambler but codeboard penalties suggested they’d taken the wrong loop around Riseborough. Hunter/Evans were therefore quickest on the right route and moved into the lead after Green/Gibbins miss-plotted the final junction missing the final slot left and by the time they had reached the A170 and doubled back they had dropped 3:44 and slipped to 3rd at the halfway mark. Second fastest and now second overall were the seemingly most consistent crew of Hemingway/Collis, third fastest was Blacker/Frost after a storming run in the little 1600 to hold fourth with Burton/Petch rounding out the top five at Petrol. Corner/Bardon were 6th and led the semi’s by just over three minutes after a first half of bumper to bumper battling with Stuart Newby and Russell Waller who in turn were a mere 6s ahead of Campbell/Taylor. Martin Bayes and James Greenhough led the novice class by nearly six minutes from club mates Danny Sadler and Aldis Blacker with these two crews the only novices still fail free.
The second half started with a short run out to Appleton le Moors where selective 6 headed east to south of Cropton, north past Cropton forest, across Hartoft Rigg, down into Rosedale Abbey, up Chimney Bank then south to Hutton le Hole. The handout was a seemingly simple mixed grid of map features, grid lines and spot heights but with six not as map diagrams that didn’t plot exactly all crews seemed to struggle. It was here Hemingway/Collis made their move into the lead with a fastest time and no boards missed despite nearly getting stuck at NAM8. Featherstone/Heriot were second fastest, 17s slower with Blacker/Frost again setting a top 3 time. Hunter/Evans failed to find the elusive NAM7 incurring a 5 minute penalty and this along with the time lost looking for it dropped them to 9th. This section also saw the end of the Burton/Petch challenge for overall or class honours. After stopping to record the code board at NAM8 their Proton rolled forwards off the road just enough for it to ground out on the sumpguard and precious minutes were lost until the amicable Tony Harrison pulled them back on. Also, succumbing to bad luck on this section were James Taylor and Ian Graham who began to suffer the early signs of alternator failure so opted to limp to the finish rather than risk getting stuck on the moors.
Selective 7 was just short of 3 miles and ran north from Hutton le Hole taking in two NAM’s, before an unseen slot left onto the infamous Little Lowna white, straight over the road and down the full length of Long Lowna white and up to Gillamoor. The whites were in the best condition for years and running downhill meant even the standard unguarded cars were able to traverse them without damage.
Heminway/Collis further extended their lead with yet another fastest time ahead of Hunter, Green and Burton with Chris and Trevor Faulkner posting their first top 5 time of the night. An error on the herringbone from NTC19 to STC20 saw the section scrubbed although most were clean anyway. The penultimate selective headed south from Beadlam towards Harome, slot left to the crossroads with a clockwise loop towards Wombleton and Welburn brought crews back the same crossroads then south through Nunnington and down Caulkley’s bank with the obligatory long way round triangle at the bottom. Fastest time here went to the semi expert leaders Corner/Bardon who were 11s quicker than Green/Gibbins the latter having had a minor disagreement at the crossroads thanks to a cunningly placed codeboard that made it look like they should have turned right not left. Third fastest were Burton/Petch on a charge to make up lost time whilst Campbell/Taylor posted another stunning time, just 1s slower than Burton in their 1600 205 GTi.
The final selective was the longest of the night at nearly 18 miles and proved to be decisive right through the results. The London roadbook handout seemed straight forward but required accurate plotting of the approaches and departs and with the slots coming thick and fast in the latter half of the section there would be no easy run back to the finish. Stan Featherstone made full use of local knowledge as the section took in all his local roads and even went past his own front door, posting a time 16s quicker than second fastest Blacker/Frost although the latter’s time was due in part to a wrong approach to the cross roads at Yearsley Gravel heaps which also saw them miss a codeboard. Third fastest were Green/Gibbins but there time 47s slower than Featherstone/Heriot meant the 205 crew snatched second place by 13s with the early leaders having to settle for third. Thankfully the 5 minute penalty for the late missed code board didn’t cost Blacker/Frost an overall position as they came home a very respectable 4th overall, their best result to date while the top 5 was rounded out by last year’s winners Hunter/Evans, the missed codeboard ultimately costing them another win although it was their first finish to date when running as car 1. And so, the spoils went to the ever-consistent Richard Hemingway and Sam Collis in the Proton Satria GTi. A small disagreement over the validity of a call into a suspect looking slot didn’t lose them enough time to let Featherstone steal it at the last although the winning margin was just 14s after a night a close battling at the top.
Campbell/Taylor took the semi expert class win by over 7 minutes from Martin and Sarah Lindsey Payne in the possibly unique rally prepared Daewoo Lanos with Corner/Bardon relegated to third in class after being one of numerous crews to wrongly approach the cross roads at NAM15 and thus missed a board. In the novices, only one crew made it round fail free and despite 6 missed codeboards Danny Sadler and Aldis Blacker took the win on Aldis’s debut road rally. Second were Martin Bayes and James Greenhough who would have had a comfortable class win were it not for being OTL at STC24 by less than a minute. Third novices were Becca Dawson and Polly Milne who were contesting their first National B event in a bog-standard diesel Astra proving that perseverance and determination are required much more than horsepower when starting out.
Sam Spencer, Clerk of the Course – Malton MC
It seems ages since my last Road Rally, the Clitheronian back in September. I have done others since, not as a competitor but as a marshal, but even counting those that I marshalled on it still seems a very long time since I was last out. There were no plans for me to do the Ryemoor this year. I have competed on it for the past seven years and not managed a finish on any of them. I always managed to c*ck up at least one of the clues and get lost and then fail to finish. So, this year the plan was to Marshal and probably drum up one or two extra competitors for the sd34msg road rally championship at the start. I contacted Sam Spencer and he said he would make space available for me at signing on. During the conversation, Sam slipped in the fatal words ‘I promise I have made the clues a lot simpler this year’. Then to add to my dilemma I get a phone call from Pete Jagger asking me if I fancied sitting in with him on the Ryemoor. After much discussion where Pete was told several times that I would get him lost and we would fail to finish, he was still insistent that he wanted to do it. So, with Sam’s words still ringing in my ears I gave in and said yes. At least Pete was prepared for the inevitable outcome.
Pete lives in Ilkley so I made my own way to the Stillington Start. Started to get a little concerned when at 20:30 Pete still hadn’t arrived but borrowed the Pre-Plot information from Simon Frost and got the Blackspots & quiets all plotted. Only six Black Spots & one Quiet to plot. All on Map 100 and unless I strayed off the map or Sam was telling Porkies about the Route Instructions all, fingers crossed, should be fine. Pete eventually turns up (Large queue at Scrutineering) and I put my bits and pieces in Pete’s Car. Henry Carr (Pete’s usual navigator: who was not available because he was off doing some Classic Rally) is a lot smaller than me and I struggled to get the belts to fit, but couldn’t reach the clip board holder, no place for my drinks bottle and neither Pete or I knew how to set the clock (a complicated affair for regularities) but Ian Mitchell came to the rescue, but I could reach the electric window winder which Henry struggle to reach. Stillington Sports centre does not have the biggest car park and it was the usual scramble to get into the correct order ready to depart MTC1.
Our due start time arrives and I check which way everyone else turns out of MTC1. Needn’t have been too concerned its just a via and the location of NTC2 given as Map Refs. Handout 2 looks easy (a group of 6 Tulips) but to catch the unwary, they are in order, but after the first two they are not with the ’bulb’ at the bottom. At NTC 4 we are still clean but so is nearly everyone else
Get Handout 3 at NTC 4 and it looks very simple. Maybe Sam was telling the truth about making the ’clues’ easier this year. Except it isn’t. What looks like a group of 5 Map Refs turns out to be Grid Lines intermingled with spot heights just to confuse you.
Somehow, I twigged this very quickly and we arrived at STC 5 behind Paul Buckel & Steve Butler (Car 11). And then at NTC 6 it all went wrong when we got handout 5 – a herringbone. My route was brilliant but it wasn’t the correct one and we dropped 10 minutes plus picked up some penalties for missed code boards. Everything going wrong now. Hope to do better on the next bit.
The Next handout at NTC8 (handout 6) had me stumped for ages. I just couldn’t get it to work. Eventually Pete said “Do you think that that map stapled to the Clue sheet might be important!” Of course it was! We were going off Map 100 onto the map below and after the first few clues nothing worked on Map 100. It only worked if you used the printed map. I had spent too bloody long looking at the clue sheet and not checking what I had been given! More time dropped and running dangerously close to OTL. So, at NTC 12 we cut and ran to go to Petrol but I worked out that STC 13 (which we didn’t know the location of) had to be on one of three roads before Petrol. So, we went looking for it. Found the time control and picked up a code board along the way too.
At Petrol, we had two fails and a shed full of time Penalties but we were still doing. Got Handout 11 at NTC 15 got it all onto the maps easily enough (even though it was not easy) but struggled with finding the NAMS and dropped loads of time and collected penalties for the missed code boards. Didn’t have a problem with the next section (handout 12) just 6 Map Refs to plot and two NAMS.
Handout 13 NTC19 to NTC 21. Another Herringbone and to complicate things ‘Consider All Roads’. I always have a problem with Herringbones but Consider All Roads adds a huge amount of difficulty to it. Do you include the short track up to a farm? Is it only the whites that go? One way or another about the tenth bit of the herringbone I know where I am on the map but it’s not where I should be because we come across a Code Board that was at least another 5 slots further on. Try to work out where I had gone wrong. Eventually give up and decide to cut and run to NTC 23. We were not alone and we set off as a convoy of three cars. Along the way, we met Rally Traffic coming towards us and the convoy split up as the others decided to turn around and try and follow crews who had got it sorted.
Whilst P&B is not my favourite means of Navigation I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the last section (in truth the whole event was good it was my skills that were lacking somewhat). Another Pre-printed map that used the ’London Map’ system. Everything seemed to be going well but we struggled to find one yellow, just to the North West of Orayke. Drove past it three time both of us convinced it was a white and we also overshot a NAM.
We were both prepared not to finish very highly in the results but at least we had a finish (first for me on this event in eight attempts) 21st O/A out of 35 starters although there were only 28 finishers. A Finish is still a finish!
The Top 3 crews were separated at the end by just seconds having dropped only 21minutes all night. We had picked up 3 fails and incurred Time Penalties of 2hrs 27mins 58s (it could have been years)
Good Roads. Good Route instructions that tested the Navs (Still hate those bloody Herringbones) and I eventually got a finish. The roads were very slippy but at least we didn’t have Fog like last year and the snow & Ice didn’t come out to play either. Thanks to the organisers and Marshals for a very good event and huge congratulations to Richard Hemmingway/Sam Collis on the win
Now for my grumbles. With only seconds separating the top crews, did the navigation really play a part in the final results. I doubt it. If you can do this stuff, then you do it relatively easily. The only crews that this Navigation affected were the novices and idiots like me. Whilst this year’s Ryemoor had a good entry of 35 crews for a ‘Navigational’ Rally, in previous years it has struggled a little. There are more drivers out there than navigators and if the navigator does not want to play out because he gets lost then that’s an entry lost and probably the novice navigator from doing Navigational events ever again.
So why am I involved in running a ’Navigational Rally – The Primrose Trophy on the 22/23rd of April? Well, it’s to show that you don’t have to make the Navigation hard or complex to get a result. The Navigational part on the Primrose will probably attract criticism from the purist as being far too simple but the idea is not to have cars going off route or against rally traffic and get everyone to the finish, including the Novice (and numpties like me too: the navigation side of things is designed so that even I can do it!) and hopefully go on to try the more difficult stuff
An even bigger thanks to Pete for putting up with my stupidity and for pointing out that I should use the Map provided with handout 6. Could have still been sat at that junction to the west of Leavening. All in all, an enjoyable outing (most of the time: bloody herringbones) for a decrepit old crew and an old car. If you add the ages of the crew to that of the car together it totals over 155 years. We are now contemplating seeking sponsorship from ‘Help the Aged’. Needn’t be money. Just a little help with those Herringbones would suffice.
Maurice Ellison, Navigator – Car 19, Peugeot 205 Rallye – 21st Overall