Autumn Stages - Sunday 14th SeptemberThis was the first rally of the year for the team and as it is a 2 wheel drive rally it saw another outing for the Nova. The transmission had been damaged at a rally time trial earlier in the year and the team had fitted a standard crown wheel and pinion to get it going again. This meant that the gearing wasn't quite right and the car would do about 50mph in first gear. Fingers crossed there weren't too many uphill starts.
The rally started in front of Drumlanrig Castle and consisted of 10 stages.
Stage 1 went fine, the only problems were getting the car moving on the uphill start and then avoiding the suicidal pheasants at the first corner. Other than that it went well and eased us into the rally after a 10 month gap.
Stage 2 was a short stage which was slippy in places but again went well. The times weren't spectacular but we were managing to have a nice clean run.
Stage 3 was cancelled so it was off to the first service. There wasn't too much to do other than fix a stripped nut which had been keeping the suspension attached!! Good job we noticed that before heading out again.
Stage 4 had the steepest start we had seen in a while, climbing steeply for the first half mile or so. Unfortunately we needed to slip the clutch to get the car to go up the hill at the start. Once we got moving things went well. The stage was a bit bumpy in the middle but the wee car managed to run over the top of the bumps without too much trouble.
Stage 5 was very close to the fourth stage and again went well. There were a few hairy moments in here with deceptive corners tightening over blind crests but we got to the end OK.
Back to service and again no major dramas and just a few routine checks before doing the rest of the rally. Stages 6 and 7 were a rerun of 4 and 5.
Stage 6 was going fine till the very last corner. it was a left hander over a crest and the car went a bit airbourne landing heavily on the drivers side. Gordon managed to sort it out and get the car back into the middle of the road but we discovered when we stopped that the front tyre was flat. We think it maybe got pushed off the rim because of the heavy landing.
We had a short delay while we changed the flat tyre and then started stage 7. Again no problems and we had a good clean run through the stage.
Stages 8 and 9 were the same stage run twice. Everything went fine other than a missed note on stage 9 which meant a tight right hander came up quicker than expected.
Only the last stage to go. On the road section going towards the last stage there was a vibration from the back of the car and it then felt quite unstable. Fortunately we were next to a layby and could pull in straight away. Some loose wheel nuts on one of the back wheels was the problem so they were tightened up and we were on our way.
The last stage passed without incident and we were able to finish the event 14th overall and 1st in class.
We had a GPS logger in the car and the maps of the stages are available here.
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