Sunday, 29 April 2018

Coast to Coast Rally 21st & 22nd April 2018

I'd decided to use 'Bluey', for this event. The car that had been off the road since 1999. It had already taken part in a Chelmsford Motor Club night rally recently, but that was only about 100 miles including going to and from the start, so this was the big one to test the reliability. 
So, loaded with some tools and a few spares I set out on Saturday morning to collect Dave Maton from Cheshunt before starting the long journey up to Anglesey.
It was the hottest day of the year so far so with plenty of  spare water loaded in the boot we set off. We  encountered a bit off stop-start traffic on the M1 and so decided to turn off and attack some breakfast at Rugby. With us suitably fed and watered we resumed our journey at good speed until we hit another hold up at Coventry. The temperature gauge was reading a bit higher than I would have liked, but other than that we had nothing to worry about.......
I spoke too soon. We were on the M6 Toll road when the fan belt decided to let go. To be fair this was my fault really, I'd refurbished most things on the car since its rude awakening from its barn, but the one thing I'd overlooked was the fan belt. Luckily I had a spare in the boot, so within 10 minutes we were on our way again. 
The day continued to be glorious and we arrived at the start location (Anglesey Race Circuit) at around 5pm with 329 miles showing on the clock. After a good catch up with people not seen for a while and a cracking dinner of fish, chips and peas were allowed to do 2 laps of the circuit before heading even further west to fill up with fuel at Holyhead. 
We had decided to run as a two car team with Richard Warr and Enzo who were in a similar car to us. (Mk1 2000 Saloon) With fuel tanks brimmed we started heading back East before following a route around Snowdon and over towards Wrexham on some fantastic driving roads. 
As this was the first big run out for my car we had been using it as a test bed to do some fine tuning on the carbs and timing. It was around Manchester about Midnight that we decided to completely start again with the carbs and reset the jets in a well lit petrol station. (Not the one above, the light was rubbish in that one!)  Once this was done and the ignition timing retarded just a fraction the car was running absolutely beautiful and Dave Maton was lucky enough to enjoy a fantastic drive over Snake Pass and down to the halfway stage at Tibshelf services on the M1. 
After a good rest and a coffee, both crews then started the trek down through Oakham and Melton Mowbray and headed towards the A1 near Peterborough. We stopped for another coffee on route as by now we were all getting quite tired. (No searching routes or county signs to keep us on our toes unlike the HCR) 
We had a fantastic drive across the A47 from Peterborough up towards Kings Lynn and Wisbech, but then realised at this point that we were quite far behind the rest of the pack. Both crews then made the decision to give the North Norfolk coast road a miss and have a slow leisurely run to the finish. After all, these runs are supposed to be leisurely and to be enjoyed. There's no point chasing and getting stressed out with trying to keep up with schedule. 
We then had a thoroughly enjoyable drive watching the sun come up and we finally reached the final location at Southwold in Suffolk. Lot's of crews had made it and we were met by friendly restaurant staff and a welcome hot breakfast. 
It had been a fantastic weekend spent with great company and a good laugh was had by all. Both cars performed well, although by the time I had arrived home my hot running issues had become worse and I had quite a bit of travel on the brake pedal. (New brake linings bedding in I suspect) 
From door to door, the mileage covered was 841. Quite impressive for a car that had been laid up for so many years. Roll on the next event!