The Tour of Caerwent fitted quite nicely into my rallying plans for this year and is only an hours travel from home, so was a good choice for my third event as a driver. Before submitting my entry I watched some YouTube video’s from previous years and was pretty excited at the idea of doing 10 mile stages without laps, splits or merges. My entry was accepted and I was seeded at car 81. The day before the rally the scrutineers, the ladies at signing on and fellow competitors all had the same piece of advice for me – ‘don’t cut!’ The roads all have kerb stones which are ready and waiting to cause damage if not respected. As I’d never been to Caerwent before one of the ladies at signing on gave me lots of advice about how to drive there, including the apparent randomness of the junction numbers and a warning about the infamous ‘quarry’. If I wasn’t apprehensive before I was then!
With the words ‘don’t cut!’ still ringing in my ears I started the first stage and promptly cut a corner…thankfully the kerb was kind to me and no damage was sustained. I found my first visit to the quarry a little nerve racking, but I got through it o.k. On each subsequent pass I managed to go a little faster. After the first two stages I was really enjoying the challenges of Caerwent, despite getting a little lost on one of the stages and ending up doing a bit of mud plugging trying to find the road again. On one of the stages I had a spin at a 90 left, but, despite stalling I didn’t loose too much time.
I had track day tyres on the car as I’d had trouble getting any heat into the slicks I used at Blyton. On the track day tyres I managed to get heat into the fronts and even the rears were luke warm! I felt like I was going much better on this event than at Angelsey and Blyton.
On the last stage of the day I had a near miss when I lost the car under breaking at a 90 left, slid onto the grass and nearly tipped over the edge of a bank. I avoided rolling as the car wedged on a tussock of grass and finally came to a stop teetering on the edge of the bank. I hardly dared to move in case it over balanced and we ended up on the roof. We eventually got the car back on the road and carried on to complete the stage, managing to drop only 3 minutes 15 seconds, which meant we didn’t get a stage maximum. It took a while for the adrenaline to subside though!
I ended the day 51st Overall and 16th in class 3. And I now have enough signatures on my upgrade card to get a National A license! Happy days