The navigation on the Regularities was now getting a bit more tricky, with at least partial navigational instructions being provided only shortly before the off. Not quite plot and bash, but no time to over-think things. The final Regularity of the morning was going well until we reached the lunch stop – and realised we had maybe missed a further IRTC. Sure enough we had, this one on a narrow white detour easily missed. Oh well, another forced error – and a further 30 mins of penalties.
Lunch followed by a further two tests were at Askham Bryan Horticulture College, again rather tight and on tarmac where it was difficult to get the Sabre moving around – but other crews were finding the same and we held our own.
Then it was on to three further tests in the grounds of Murton Livestock Centre. Again, all rather complex but we weren’t the only car to get bamboozled by the cone layouts and we came out OK. And bumped into Brian, aka b.c.flat hat who was watching the fun and confusion. Nice to say hello Brian and thanks for popping across – only sorry we had to dash to the next and couldn’t stay and chat!
The afternoon completed with a further three Regularities, all of which we did pretty well on. The final one was a monster with nine IRTCs, with the navigation for the next section only handed out upon arrival at the previous IRTC. This plot and bash was really challenging and Steve did a wonderful job plotting the next section in real time as we were driving, against the clock. Each section used different navigation clues – spot heights, OS map symbols, herringbone, tulip, OS grid lines etc. It’s all a bit of a blur now, but I remember driving through the grounds of Castle Howard of Brideshead fame. We scored well on all the IRTCs, apart from the final one where the navigation was particularly tricky. But this time we did the right thing: stopped, thought about it, turned round – and ended up dropping just 4 mins rather than picking up another 30 mins max for missing a control.
So that was our rally! In the end we finished 46th, but it was those two missed Controls and the resultant 60 mins of penalties that really cost us a mid-table finish. But that’s OK – it’s all part of the learning curve and we had a great day’s sport.
The car never missed a beat, sounded lovely and I lost count of the number of people who came up to ask about the Sabre. So it was back to rally HQ for the early-evening buffet and a chat with the other competitors, and then we jumped in the car and drove all the way back. I arrived home at about 2am Monday morning completely exhausted
Next up, the Hughes rally in Kent in early June where we’ll try and put into practice all that we learned in North Yorkshire!