I’m pleased to say I’ve now driven in two rallies and not been last in either.
On the Enville Stages rally at Anglesey Circuit in July I was seeded 64 and was happy to finish 48th overall and 19th in class C. I learnt that I need to be more consistent with speed and braking and that the car will go round corners much faster than I was willing to! I managed to improve on my stage times by about 20 seconds on each second pass. One of the photographers took a brilliant photo of me going over a jump with all 4 wheels off the ground, which I’m quite proud of. Overall I had a really good day and didn’t manage to make my Dad, who was sitting in the co-drivers seat, feel travel sick. He did say he was feeling hoarse from shouting at me to go faster and remember to use the brakes though…there were times when I was arriving at corners and forgetting that the brakes existed at all, definitely something to work on.
The Hall Trophy Rally at Blyton on 25th November was great fun. It was a very cold day, but no rain (or snow), so we made the right choice leaving the wets at home. I was seeded 57 with 18 other cars behind me. As we were starting at 30 second intervals I was a little worried about having to let other cars pass me. I was determined that none of the 1L Micra’s seeded behind me would catch me though. I had trouble getting off the line on the first stage, but once I got going I was happy with how it went. I felt much more confident and in control than on the Enville Stages. I was about 15 seconds quicker on the second pass through that stage. On stage 3 I had a big spin just before a hairpin left and stalled the car. Once I got running again I tried hard not to slow down on the rest of the stage. Miraculously, the car didn’t hit any cones whilst spinning. With no spin on stage 4 I was 7 seconds quicker. My time on stage 6 was 4 seconds slower than stage 5. Quite a few other cars caught me up on stage 6 and at one point three overtook me at once. After the break when the stages were turned round I found it more tricky and my stage times were slower on stages 7 and 8. A long righthand corner not far from the start nearly caught me out both times but I managed not to spin. By stage 8 it has started to get dark so I got my first experience of rallying at night. This was a whole different game and a big learning curve. I find it difficult enough to find my way through lots of cones in the daylight, but at night the reflective parts lit up in the spot lamps and made it even more difficult. Add to that, being dazzled by everyone else’s lights and you have a real challenge. On stages 9 and 10 I went faster and put in better stage times than on 7 and 8. Perhaps it’s easier to be brave through corners when you can’t see where your going as easily?! I finished the day 56th overall and 9th in class, which I was very happy with. Now I need to decide which rally I will do next. I only need one more signature on my license upgrade card and I can apply for a National A license.