Well it’s not all doom and gloom – one needs a distraction after all – and this years Rally of the Tests was a cracker.
Starting in Bournemouth and winding our way down to Exeter, Taunton, up to Malvern and then further up to Stoke on Trent before heading west to North Wales for the finish in Llandudno, it was 4 days of frenetic fun.
Big Mike and I have done the event twice before together and he’s done it several more times. Each time the real challenge is to finish without breaking down….it’s not called a Reliability Trial for nothing.
In 2005 in my BGT we managed to brake hard enough to shift the engine forward so the fan could try and corkscrew it’s way through the radiatior. This was in the Derbyshire Dales and we had to be towed back to the control in Buxton, where we (well, the rally mechanics to be more accurate) stripped the radiator out, fixed it and off we went again. We’d lost a lot of time, so our result was not tip top. But we finished.
In 2007 in Mike’s BGT on a particularly rough stage in a Scottish forest we managed to crush the fuel line on a rock and have a puncture at the same time. We got to watch all the other rally cars pass from a nice wet spot at the side of the road. Car fixed again by rally mechanic Andy with a jury repair that probably is best explained over beer…. We lost a bit of time there too….and I still needed to get two new tyres as we had another puncture on the way home… But we finished.
This year, with the fuel lines now running safely out of rocks way inside the car we were going very well, until I started to have gear selection problems. Eventually this worsened to the point we had to stop and have rally mechanic Peter rebuild the clutch master cylinder….the problem? The clutch return spring had disintegrated….Grrr.. We lost some time, but made it to the special stage at the army camp that night which was a cracker, the headlights giving out just as we completed the last section..
But we finished and we’ll be back for ’09.