Saltire ABC Rallying Lion Rampant
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Snowman Rally - Saturday 23rd February 2002

Snowman 02The car had a bit of work to be done over the close season and it took until 1:30 on Friday 22nd before it was all done. The gearbox had gone back in on the Wednesday and the engine was started for the first time since the trackday in January on the Thursday. This left lots of little jobs to be completed before heading off to Inverness. We were on the road by 2:00 and got into Inverness not long after 6:00.

The new championship season started in easily the worst conditions we have ever competed in. The snow was very heavy on the first road section and the car even got stuck briefly on a hill on the way to the first stage.

The first stage was a sign of how the day was to go with the team quite a bit off the pace and really struggling to find any traction in the snowy conditions. Every time the power was applied the wheels would just spin irrespective of what gear was selected or what speed we were doing.
The team just kept doing the best they could as there were lots of examples of what would happen if you you tried too hard with cars off on all of the stages. The only drama on the first five stages was a slight overshoot at a corner on stage three which cost around 15 seconds.

Stage 6 was made quite difficult by the gear selector breaking on the road section meaning that first and second gears weren't available. Gordon managed to select first gear when the engine was off while waiting at the stage start. This allowed the car to get off the line reasonably well but after that third gear was the lowest that could be selected. It wasn't too bad apart from a tight hairpin with an uphill exit in the middle of the stage. The car really struggled to pull out of the corner and it was a good half a mile away before we were able to pick up the revs and get the car moving well again.

There was a service halt after stage 6 and the Sam and Brian were able to reset the gear selector giving us full use of all the gears for the last stage. The last stage had turned to wet mud and this seemed to suit the car a bit better. After half a mile we caught a mk2 Escort which had been off and unfortunately it took us over half a mile to get past it. We lost quite a bit of time behind it as it was going a good bit slower than us. To be fair to the driver of the Escort he had nowhere to go and there wasn't much he could have done about it.

All in all it was a very difficult event and the team emerged with a good result of 4th in class and 36th overall.

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