Mixed Conditions on the Get it Sideways Stages.

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The morning stages got off to a very slow and slippery start as a combination of overnight rain, leaves and mud on the broken concrete created ice like conditions. Several cars were returning from the 6 mile stage with bodywork damage, including the rallycards Peugeot 205. After breaking too late after an 80 mph straight, all the wheels locked up and we slid into a wall of tyres and an earth bund. Marshalls pushed us out and we managed to drive through to the finish of the stage. Despite loosing over a minute with our excursion, we were surprised to see our times were very similar to the rest of the field, many of whom suffered similar incidents.

SS2 was a re-run of the first stage and for most, a much more cautious approach was taken. We managed to keep the car on the road, avoiding some of the incident spots we noted from the first stage. The times were encouraging, and as the sun started to shine, the surface was beginning to dry out as we headed into the remainder of the morning stages with greater confidence.

We made the decision to stay on forest tyres, not wanting to take any risks with the deep pot-holes which were starting to open up on the long straights. Some competitors braved intermediate tyres, but there was still a good deal of mud and water on the stages to leave them unstuck on the twisty but fast stages.

The lunchtime service holt gave us time to reflect on the increasing levels of traction and competitiveness. The stages were well arranged, with flowing sections and not too many tight chicanes. The organisers were quick to raise to our attention the water hose used on one of the corners, leading to a depth of 6 inches of water ‘to increase the challenge’. This was carefully noted, and the only problems this was causing, were cars spinning in front of us.

The afternoon stages saw us stick with our trusty forest tyres which had given us the consistency in the morning stages. They allowed us push harder on the muddy sections, but it was quite clear we were loosing time on the higher speed corners and braking after the straight sections. The results showed that we weren’t loosing too much time to those similar cars on slicks, but we were confident in the handling of the car.

After 10 testing stages we were pleased to simply finish unscathed, and pleasantly surprised to take 33rd place overall and 12th in class. Some minor works are required before the next event which we expect to be the Azigmhur Stages in July.

Photograph provided by Graham Robins.