There are many motorsport disciplines, but the most dramatic has always been stage rallying. Racing a car through a Welsh forest at 03:00 on a Sunday morning in the pouring rain has always held a certain charm for me, and there is no doubt that driving a forest rally car is one of the great thrills of my lifetime. Below is a brief rundown of my rallying career so far - if anyone out there is interested in taking up the sport and wants more info, send me an email.
This is my first rally car - a group A Skoda Estelle, bought locally in London for just £1,000. It needed a new (steel) roll cage, and a few bits and pieces, but was basically ready to go. Steve Morgan and I (pictured) took turns at driving in various events in the South East of England, including the Kent Forestry Stages, Breckland Forest Rally and other tarmac events at Goodwood and Snetterton.
Then at the start of 1992
we entered the Shell Skoda Trophy, with me driving and Steve as
navigator. The events in this series were;-
Kerridge National (Wales)
Kayel Graphics National (Wales)
Artemis Yorkshire Stages (Dalby and surrounds)
Midland International (North Wales and Midlands)
Our best result was first in class A1, on the Midland rally (won overall by Colin McRae, 2nd was Tommy Makinen, Richard Burns was also in the top 5.). It was great to compete at that level, in a car that was now worth all of £750. In then end we finished second in the championship, behind a guy called Terry Douse, a Skoda dealer in Surrey.
The next project was an attempt at the Peugeot 205 GTi Challenge, this time with Steve driving. The first event (Breckland Forest rally again) went by without too much drama, but we managed to roll heavily on the Somerset stages and that was that - the car was destroyed.
Following this set back, I reverted to co-driving for a period, helping out Charles Hutchinson in his beautifully prepared Skoda Favorit, again in the Skoda Trophy. Some good class results were attained, before going separate ways, and the purchase of my favourite rally car - a Talbot Sunbeam Ti (which incidentally cost £1450). This was bought primarily to compete in the Philips Tour of Mull, which my company had kindly agreed to sponsor me in (Philips Communications and Processing, now Atos Origin). Here is the car on the first stage of Mull, with two very scared occupants (this time I was co-driven by Paul Bartlett, another work colleague). For a full report on the rally, see the Tour of Mull page.
Heres the same car during the Saturday afternoon stages, taking the jump on the Calgary Bay stage. This was the fastest we got all weekend, the brakes were totally useless and would have failed an MOT - the pedal needing two pumps before any effect was noticed. In the end we were happy with our 80th overall finish.
After Mull, I went on to compete in several local South East events, including tarmac events at Goodwood, Longcross, Snetterton, and the Tempest and Kent forest events. Here is the car (with co-driver Ian Bradbury) on the Tempest Stages, organised by my local Motor Club - Sutton and Cheam.
In December 1996 the car was sold to make way for a house purchase, and I co-drove that year in a Vauxhall Nova in the BTRDA series (driven by Ian Bradbury).
See the second rally page for loads more pictures!