Just having a bit of a rant this morning ( As I have Man Flu “according to Julie”)I have been Rallying since I was about 21 (only because I had a very bad Motor Bike accident (Not my fault as usual a Van diver pulled out of a side road) when I was 19/20 and spent 9 months in Plaster, otherwise I would probably have raced Bike my first love of SPEED) having gotten told that the neighbours around were I lived with my parents had a collection for my wreath as the local rag (The Grantham Journal) had reported my Death.
I thought that a “Square Box” around me would give me a better chance should I have another accident. My great friend Tony Wright who had also moved from Bikes to Cars a little soon (probably because he had more sense) advised me that a Mk1 Escort was the way to go and having been with him in his Pure White Big Wing 1300 screamer, more than sideways, I decide this was most definitely the correct decision and great FUN so we scoured the “Motoring News” or rather Tony did as this world was all new to me
Tony visited me at home one night mid week only to find that I was in the Bath (probably my weekly scrub up) he could not wait until I got out, so excited was he that he charged into the bathroom to say “I found ONE it’s not far In Sheffield should we go now?”
“No mate at least let me get dressed we may cause a bit of a riot with me like this how about we arrange to go tomorrow?”
We left early that night for Sheffield I still was not able to drive at that time so Tony drove in his Mk1 we arrive to find this White/Blue and Orange big wing Mk1 with as the seller said “a full blown out and out 1600 cc push rod on 40 DCOE’s” with a spaghetti junction of an exhaust manifold that looked the Dogs Bo***ck’s (What did I know!) We went for a test drive and Tony drove I was convinced this is the one so in those day’s a large amount of cash was parted with (cannot remember how much) and Tony arrange to collect the car
when we finally got it home it wasn’t what we had been told it was by the previous owner it needed quite a lot of TLC but the only saving grace was the shell and roll cage were in very good condition
My memories of the motor club were having drinks down the Pub (at that time I think it was the Bee Hive) with like minded people of all ages from 17 through to 70 all with a tale to tell of their experiences either Marshalling, Navigating or Driving on events all around the country and abroad (If you could call the Isle of Man abroad)
My first experiences of Motorsport were Table Top Rallies for the uninitiated these consisted of would be Navigators sitting around tables with OS Maps in front of them and an elder of the Motor Club issuing Rally Navigation Sections these would consist of sheets of paper with strange instructions on things like Herring Bones, Black Spots, Map references and Tulip Diagrams plus many other confusing descriptions of how to get from one location to another on the Map.
I remember my first event was as a Navigator for Tony in my own car as I had still not recovered enough from the Bike accident starting from I think somewhere in the Wolds at around 11 o’clock at night with scrutineering at a local garage to the start reference I have pretty much NO idea what I was doing the first Sheet was passed through my window and off we went all of about 100 yards then we stopped to try and work out what the hell this was all about
We managed to work out the map reference for the end of the section I think it was a herring bone or Circular Tulip which ever it was beyond me and Tony we guessed the route (bear in mind that there would be code boards along the correct route to collect and we would need to fill these in to prove that we had travelled the correct route I think we missed them all (but who cares we had a great time charging around the country side flat out and sideways were ever we could (must have been terrible for the locals as the route we had taken would not have been PR’d by the organizers) we arrived at the finish control only to find that we had missed all the code boards and were nearly OTL (Out of Total Lateness) this is the maximum time allowed for the correct section at 30MPH we then had a non competitive section to take us passed some major roads and houses onto the next competitive (You are not allowed to make up your lateness in these sections) The next sheet is thrust through the window and again we set off (another 100 yards) and stop again we had NO idea the following car passed us after a minuet (as was there start time) to which I shouted “FOLLOW THAT CAR” Tony set off after the mini with great gusto saying ” THIS SHOULD BE EASY TO KEEP UP WITH IT’S ONLY A FERKIN MINI!” how wrong could we be that so called Ferkin Mini was very very fast and well driven we struggled to keep up through whites(Small passable tracks on the OS maps) and “B” Roads and nearly had a crash but we arrived at the finish control about three minuets behind the Mini (A great effort from Tony) only to clock-in and find we were OLT the end of our Rally
We proceeded to half way (a petrol station in the middle of know were or it seemed so at 3 o’clock in the morning) to be told that we were out of the event, but as the officials said a good effort from a couple of pure Novice’s (It seemed that most Novice’s started out with an Expert Driver or Navigator in the other seat).
That was the start of something that has lasted for both me and Tony to this day we are both activly competing in stage rally’s me in my trusty Sierra Cosworth and him in his Subaru
Sorry seems this has turned into my Rallying History not the problem with Rallying Today but I guess this is some of the problems
Below are a couple of photo’s on early outings in the Mk1 (Ronny) on the Uniband Multi Venue Run by the Great Poachers Motor Club of GRANTHAM
Then we had two Motor Clubs in the Town The Poachers (Rallying) and Phoenix Motor Club (Bikes and Light Cars) Them were the Day’s
MORE RAMBLINGS TO FOLLOW ON THE NEXT PAGES (This one is getting too large)