It had been 18 months since the blue Peugeot 205 XS (Betsy) had been out on a rally. The last event being the Hall Trophy rally in November 2016. She has been modified to compete in Ireland and the Galway summer rally was both mine and her first event over there.
There were three stages, each repeated three times. We had chosen to use Pattersons Pacenotes and it has been a while since we last used them on tarmac. We made a few minor changes during the recce on the Saturday, but were happy with them overall. After the recce we headed to scrutineering. It felt a little strange not to have to go to noise check first. As usual scrutineering made us a little apprehensive but the scrutineers put us at ease and explained the paperwork we had to fill in to give the specification of the seats, belts, fire extinguishers etc. The car then had to go into Parc Ferme and remain there until the start of the event.
Sunday morning was an early start to pick up Frank, who had kindly volunteered to be service crew for us. He dropped us off at Rally HQ in Galway for the drivers briefing and headed off to the service area at Tuam. After the drivers’ briefing we got a lift to Parc Ferme from a friend of Frank’s to go and start the event.
The first loop of the three stages went well. It was nice to be back in the blue car on some good, fast roads. After the fourth stage the car wasn’t ticking over very well and cut out a few times. Frank and a friend of his who had come to help out changed the spark plugs and that seemed to cure the problem. The next time we came into service there wasn’t a lot to do, just a quick change of tyres and re-fuel. We had started the day on wets in case of rain, but these were no longer needed.
The second and third passes through the stages were excellent fun and we really enjoyed them. It was a very nice surprise to find out that we were running 1st in class. We finished the day 1st in class, which we were very happy with. What a great end to my first Irish rally. It gave us a boost after the disappointments on previous events this year.
Thanks to Galway Motor Club for a fantastic, well organised rally and some great stages. We hope to be back next year. Thanks also to Frank for so much help and advice on rallying in Ireland and for being service crew.