Trackrod Forest Rally – 30th September 2017

Rally Yorkshire was the next outing for Ian and Gordon in the Nova. Following the braking and handling problems on the previous event on the Woodpecker Gordon decided to get the car set up for the event at ProTec performance to make sure everything was right for this event.  Gordon got the car back on the Wednesday before the event and everything was looking good and ready to go.

The event was based in Filey in Yorkshire with the service area and the stages in and around the Dalby forest complex.  The main objective was to confirm that the handling and brakes were ok and to get more practice in before Wales Rally GB at the end of October.

Our first stage was over 13 miles so no time to ease yourself in.  It all went well with the only real problem catching the car in front after 3 miles. They must have had a problem as they seen us quickly and moved over at the next junction. The car was handling well and braking nicely as well.  We ran wide at a couple of corners but overall everything went well with no problems.

The pictures below show Gordon taking it easy and confirming that the handling and brakes are working fine 🙂  Gordon will claim that it was a late note from Ian.

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Pics by Jason Taylor –

On the second stage we had a brief stall at a hairpin and the only other problem was catching the car in front just before the finish.  We couldn’t get past them but followed them directly over the line.  This must have confused the timing gear at the finish as we were given a time 40 seconds behind the car that we caught. It was checked at the stop line but couldn’t be changed. It would have to be reported once we got back to service.

In service everything went smoothly right until we tried to leave.  The car wouldn’t move forward or backwards as something was sticking.  Brian and David quickly got the wheels off and found that one of wheels was fouling on the brake caliper.  A quick change and and we were on our way again.  Another learning point for the new car, 2 of the wheels had a different offset and would only fit on the back.  We were late out of service and had used up 8 minutes of lateness out of the allowed 15.

The next 2 stages went well although there was a lack of grip from the second choice front tyres after the late change and there were some very big bumps starting to form which was lifting the car off the ground as we hit them making it difficult to judge how hard to take the corners.

However no issues and a good run over the 2 stages and then back to service.  A temporary repair was made to stiffen up the gear linkage which was becoming a bit loose making it difficult to select gears.

We left service and headed to the last stage. Unfortunately we turned in too early and were on the wrong road.  We tried to turn but couldn’t select reverse probably due to the temporary repair. All gears had been working in service including reverse but something must have moved and was stopping us using reverse.  We had to do the three point turn by pushing the car back and driving forward.  We got it round though and made it to the stage start in time without incurring any more lateness.  We were able to get the gears working before the stage started. You never plan to need reverse but its good to know its available just in case!

We started the last stage and the first couple of miles were exceptionally slippy and muddy, it was a real effort to keep the car on the road.  After that it dried out with only the occasional muddy patch but again it was another really good fast stage and the car went well and was handing great.


Pic by Jason Taylor –

We got to the end with no dramas and then headed back to Filey to the finish.

Our dodgy time from the second stage still stood but the 40 seconds wouldn’t have made any difference to the results so we decided just to leave it as it was and get packed up and on the road.

Thanks to Brian, David and Samantha for looking after us and the car all day.


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.

New Nova Shell

The team picked up a new Nova shell at the weekend. The hope is to have it ready in time for the Galloway Hills Rally at the end of October.