Tuesday, 3 April 2012

31st March-1st April- Club Triumph Historic Counties Rally

After a lovely fish & chip supper, a freezing cold Saturday evening saw me driving Gertie round in circles and attempting to throw tennis balls into a plastic bucket while Dave operated the steering from the passenger seat. Third crew member Mark Thompson filmed the debacle on his phone. No, this wasn't one of my many bizarre dreams, this was part of the skills test at the start of the 2012 HCR. We didn't get any balls in the bucket but we did hit it three times.
The event hadn't started well and we managed to miss the start location due to some dodgy directions! To assist us once the rally started, some highly technical equipment was fitted to the dash board to aide Dave in his directional instructions!

With the theme of the rally being race circuits we set off in search of photographic evidence that we had visited these locations and whatever counties we could prove we'd been through as well. Our first stop was Bentwaters Park Sprint Course in Suffolk. We arrived there with others only to find the park closed and no access to the course. We settled for getting pics of the security guys van that had Bentwaters Park written on it.
 Next on our list was Snetterton Race Track in Norfolk and after leaving here we diverted off through Newmarket and managed to photograph the county sign of Cambridgeshire to add to our list. Rockingham Speedway in Northamptonshire was our next location although the satnav didn't agree with the road signs on this one, so a few twists and turns were made before finding it. 

The counties of Rutland and Leicestershire were snapped next and we even went up as far as Nottinghamshire before heading back to Donnington Park.

We were getting tight on time to make the halfway point deadline at Corley Services on the M6 in Warwickshire, so we made a quick a dash and managed to get there at 1.30am.
After a mandatory one hour break we started the second half and captured West Midlands and Worcestershire before eventually finding the Prescott Hill Climb Circuit in Gloucestershire.

Knackeredshire was suddenly a place that all three of us were familiar with, so a ten minute 'freshen up' break was taken in a deathly quiet and pitch black lay-by while drinking energy drink crap and looking up at the stars. Quite surreal really.

Our next port of call was Castle Combe in Wiltshire, before cutting across Hampshire to make Thruxton Race Circuit. By now it was starting to get light so the driving was a little easier. (So I'm told. Mark and Dave were upfront now and I was asleep on the back seat!)

After leaving Thruxton I jumped back in the hot seat and set off for the final circuit Goodwood in West Sussex. We managed to get to this before the crowds built up too much as there seemed to be some event going on there. Then it was off to the final location at The Greyhound Inn in 'Cocking' in West Sussex. (yes we've had all the jokes!)
Our time card was handed in, but then we had to skip breakfast and get on the move again. Dave's young son was taking part in an event at the Olympic Stadium and he understandably wanted to be there for it. So we rushed over to Gatwick airport so he could get the Gatwick Express to London, then the Tube over to Stratford.  
A brilliant time was had by all and our three man crew certainly had some laughs. I have to hand it to Gertie as well. That's yet another high mileage rally completed with no real issues to speak of. This was also her last event before her engine gets removed in favour of a rather 'tasty' one. It almost seems a shame to remove the standard 2 litre lump really because she goes so well, but she does bog down a bit on the climbs. Particularly with a three man crew, spares, tools, about 50 kilos of biscuits and apple pies and about four gallons of energy drinks!


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