Woodpecker Stages – 2nd September 2017

Gordon has purchased another Nova to replace the MG ZR.  Its a 1600 16 valve in white, very similar to the old Nova.  The first outing was the Woodpecker Stages based in Ludlow.

Nova before Woodpecker

Being a new car there were a few teething troubles in the week leading up to the event when the power steering broke giving Gordon a few late nights getting it resolved.

However Saturday morning came and we set off towards the first stage.  All was not well however as the brakes started binding on and the car was struggling to make progress on the road section.  When we arrived at the stage there was some time available and fortunately we were able to loosen the brakes off.  However the brake balance was all wrong which made the first 2 stages very interesting as the handling wasn’t very predictable.

Service was next and some adjustments were made to the brakes to try and improve things.  Sadly though the brake binding problem re-occurred on the next road section and the car came to a halt in a lay-by.  Repairs were made but unfortunately it took too long and the team and gone OTL and were out of the results before we made it to the start of stage 3.

We continued on to get more time in the car and the next 2 stages went well enough with the main problem being dust from the cars in front. Because we were late we were running in among the slower cars right at the back of the field.

Back to service and then out again for the last 2 stages.

Stage 5 was a short stage and went fine.  Stage 6 was the last of the day and fairly long. We booked in a few minutes late to give us a good gap to the car in front so we wouldn’t get caught in the dust. The stage went well although it showed that there wasn’t much grip left in the tyres and that there were a few handling problems that would need to be looked at.

We got to the end and covered the route but weren’t classified because we went over the total amount of lateness that was permitted when we had the problem heading to stage 3.

Overall it was a good day out and great to back out in a Nova in the forest.

Thanks to Brian and David for their help and service and to Simon and his brother for doing the management service.

Plains Rally – 16th May 2015

The team decided to try a rally in Wales and the Plains rally based in Welshpool was the event chosen. This would see another outing for the MG ZR that Gordon bought in 2012.


The event featured six stages.
Stage 1 was a short stage at around 2 and a half miles. It was going well and the car was handling nicely. After a mile and a half we hit a rock in the road really hard. The following corner saw us nearly go off as the car wouldn’t slow down or turn in properly, it was clear that it had been badly damaged by the impact. We weren’t the only ones as there was a car at the following corner with broken steering and a car off the road. We managed to limp the remain three quarters of a mile to the end of the stage. However when the damage was checked it was clear that the car wasn’t going any further without some help. The passenger side front upright was completely bent and broken. The windscreen had been cracked down the middle by the impact as well.
We took the car back towards the road and the management service crew, David and Anthony. When we got there we were already OTL and out of time. They managed to get it repaired enough for us to get back to main service. When we got there Brian had managed to borrow a spare upright from another MG crew.
We managed to get the upright replaced but by this time we were out of the rally and had missed stage 2.

Stage 3 was another short stage and it took a bit of getting used to with one standard strut and one competition strut on the car. Everything went fine and there were no issues.

Stage 4 was the longest of the day and we were getting the hang of the unusual handling by now. This stage went very well setting the 99th fastest time out of around 170 cars.

Back to main service again and we made some adjustments to the motorsport strut lowering it and softening it to make it handle similar to the standard one.

Stage 5 was unfortunately cancelled so we were rerouted straight to the last stage.
Stage 6 was a rerun of stage 2 which was the one we had missed in the morning. Again everything went well with a good clean run to the end.

It was unfortunate to break the suspension so early in the event but at least we got the milage in and had a good day in the stages. Studying the stage times later revealed that we would probably have been second in class by about a minute if we hadn’t missed stage 2.

Scottish Rally – 29th June 2013

Gordon bought an MG ZR for competing in rallies down south after he had moved to Shropshire. Rather than taking the car straight away the team put in an entry for the Scottish rally in Dumfries.

The MG is a bit different from the Nova and while it handles really well it is a bit down on horse power.

The first stage went well with no real issues and we were able to feel our way into the event.
The second stage was also going well until about half a mile from the end when the car slid off and hit a small tree. There were plenty of spectators and the car was back on the road within 30 seconds or so.

Back to service in Dumfries and while waiting to book into the control the team noticed a leak from the back of the car. Unfortunately it was the fuel tank that was leaking and that was day over.

Albar Kames Trophy Rally – 15th July 2012

The Albar Kames Trophy Rally had a full entry and include the F1000 Junior Rally championship for the first time.

Gordon was entered in the main event driving the white nova with Michelle park navigating. He was also entered in the Junior event navigating for Alex Adams in a Nissan Micra.

Gordon had a hectic day as he was on the stages constantly jumping between the 2 cars.

On the main event Gordon and Michelle finished 10th overall and 2nd in class.

In the Junior event Alex and Gordon were 6th overall.


Scottish Rally – 30th June 2012

The Scottish Rally saw the return of the white nova to a scottish championship event for the first time since 2003.

The first stage went well with no problems and decent pace finishing 3rd in class. The short stage 2 was a bit untidy and we dropped a bit of time but no problems other than a lock up into a tight left 9 which saw the spectators running.

Back to service and no problems so on to the next 2 stages.

Stage 3, Twiglees went fine. Satge 4 Castle O’er is a favourite of gordon’s and even though the heavens opened just as we got to the start we set a very quick time in there to come out sitting second in class.

Stage 5 was the short spectator stage at Heathhall which has not been kind to us in the past. However no issues this time and we went into the last stage still sitting second in class with a 4 second gap back to third.

Stage 6 started well and was very quick. Everything was going well until 4 miles in and coming out of a tight junction we just lost power. the engine just stopped and we were stuck in the stage.  Unfortunately there was nothing that could be done at the roadside and that was the rally over.

A disappointing end to a good day with everything going well up till the problem at the end.  Once we got the car back to the garage the problem was traced to the distributor which had broken down and wasn’t working.

Sam was on holiday for this one so thanks to Brian for stepping up to chief mechanic and to Sam Henderson and Michelle Park for helping out.