13th Rally of the Tests - Part 1

November 08, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

13th Rally of the Tests 2014 – Part 1

What a ‘Tests’, the mistakes, sorry, penalties that the leaders made, resulted in a nail biting finish at Bristol.  How could you do it boys?

Over the four days several crews lead, only to collect penalties for errors and then another crew take the lead, four times, yes four times.  The saying ‘it ain’t over till the fat lady sings’1 was never more appropriate!

Guy Woodcock and Anthony Preston laid on a fantastic route, and the navigational challenge gauntlet was well and truly thrown down again.  When the Official Map Book is peppered with, ‘Not as Map Loop’, ‘Use farm road’ and ‘Use Car Park loop on left opposite Chapel, you know it’s going to be a challenge.  The Classic Rally Association had another 'cracking Tests' ready. 


From reading various competitors FB posts, you couldn’t have written a better script as the event unfolded.  As second place Paul Bosdet said Swapping the lead with them no less than four times until they got the better of us by a mere 8 seconds after 3 and a half days of tough rallying. It was the forest in Epynt that really did it where we lost 7 minutes - Howard and Tullie lost 7 in there too. Ryan went shopping on the Sunday which nearly did it for them’.  One to definitely go down in the history books, no one really sure who had won when the cars went under the Finish banner outside the Grand Hotel in Bristol.


Ryan Pickering and Andy Ballantyne, in their Triumph TR4, were the eventual worthy winners, by just 8 seconds!  Andy’s blog is deserving read on how they won/lost/won the 13th Rally of the Tests.


Finally, the Finishl to r, Guy Woodcock, Ryan Pickering, Andy Ballantyne & Jeremy Dickson

As for Mick & I, we managed to find some great locations to get us to get the shots we wanted with the usual preparation of a recce and experience helping.

First the Prologue, 2 regularities interspaced by a test around a Stock Car Racing Track.  The afternoon recce showed an ‘interesting’ route on the first regularity after crossing the Errwood Reservoir Dam, right then left into a Car Park!  The Car Park of course having another exit at the end of it, back onto the road further on.  Whilst I’m sure it would have been amusing to watch, any flash would have given the route away, so we moved on.  Likewise the second regularity, although the impossible hairpin in the farm would have been interesting, we knew the Italians would be there so that just left the Stock Car Track test.  A chat there with Andy, the security man, gave us the access route to the infield. We were now setup for where to go on the Prologue, after photographing the top 10 leaving the start. Ready to goThe cars lining up in front of the Pavilion in Buxton waiting to start the 13th Rally of the Tests


Back to Buxton, and a brief Media Briefing from the Clerk of the Course, ‘don’t drive into the Forests, and don’t try to get into Caerwent, you’ll only get arrested!’ preceded the start outside the Pavillion in Buxton.



Then it was up to the Stock Car Track where luckily Graham Parkinson was Test Commander, so with a ‘help yourself, you know what you’re doing’ ringing in our ears we took up position on the infield ready to flash away.

Car 1, the Fraser Nash Sports driven by Jason Dearden with Catriona Rings on the maps tackle the Prologue Test 'Taking Stock'.

Everyone managed to find the Test, eventually, several competitors lining up for the start of the second regularity, instead of heading for the Test!

Back at the Palace Hotel HQ the bar was full of stories from the short Prologue, admissions of wrong slots, nearly missing the test, and the devious nature of the navigation.  And this was just after the Prologue, 3 full days to go, but enough competition had been completed to set the restart order for Day 1, which would be in reverse order.

Positions after Prologue:

Lowest Penalty: Howard Warren/Iain Tullie, Porsche 911, 00:15

Overall: Ryan Picker/Andy Ballantyne, Triumph TR4,  00:23

Second: = John Abel/Andrew Duerden, Alfa Romeo Guilia Sprint, 00:29

              =  Jonathan Hancox/Richard Lambly, Triumph TR4,  00:29

Fourth: = Jan Ebus/Jan Berkhof, Porsche 356 SC, 00:35

             = Richard White/Richard Scott, Volvo 122S, 00:35


Day 1 – Buxton to Llandrindod Wells, via Weston Park for lunch

Having had the route a week before we had a good idea of where to go, and with accommodation in Buxton the Thursday night being scarce, we booked B&B at the Lathkil Hotel in Over Haddon.  This was ideally situated as the first regularity went almost past the front door, well around the edge of Over Haddon.  Talk about fall out of bed and pick up a camera!

02-RT14_0508Day 1, Regularity 1/1 'Bakewell View'the Jaguar XK120 DHC of Phillip Haslam & Peter Fletcher on day 1. The crew won the Concours d’Elegance - Pre62 Award.

After seeing all the cars, well almost, 4 failed to appear, although one did turn up later that day, we headed for south of Ashbourne and a test at Darley Moor Race Circuit.  Again the recce had shown us where to go, the test diagram helped us visualise the best angles for this very fast motorcycle circuit, although the test only completed 9/10ths of a lap.

Traffic in Ashbourne dropped us some time, so it was a bit of a rush to get setup before the first car arrived.  But help from Chris Fieldhouse marshalling the start, and Ian & Sue Butcher at the finish saw us get to the positions we wanted.  60-RT14_13554Ian and Sue Butcher on the finish of the 'Circuit Training' test at Durley Moor.

Considering it was the end of October it was still very mild, so much for needing winter jumpers, it was very pleasant standing photographing on the Race Track.

'How low can you go' CliveRenault 5 crew Clive Baty & Henry Carr eventually finished 5th overall.





Plan A had been then to go to Weston Park, and photograph the watersplash, but it was a bit of a stretch to get there for the first run, but no problem I thought, we’ll be able to get in between the two goes of the test before the second run.  Wrong.  I hadn’t realised that the tests were being run concurrently, with the second run starting before the first one had finished.  The cars running on 30 seconds and with headlights on to help the marshals differentiate.  So on to Plan B.

 Now many years ago when the RAC Rally ran through Weston Park, (who’ll ever forget the ‘problem’ Vauxhall had there with the Astra’s low air intakes), I covered it and had a Press Pass.  But to stand and photograph on the stages you needed a tabard, of which there were only ever a small number issued.  Back then I wasn’t high enough up the pecking order to get one, but that didn’t stop me and a colleague managing to get to the watersplash.  I won’t say how, but remembering how we did it then meant I knew how to get to the finish of the test, which we duly did.   

'Park Life' Taking to the grass in Weston Park, Dermot Carnegie & Paul Bosdet, before a shopping trip.

Next was a long drive over to the ‘Farmyard Frolics’ test which we had been told had a cracking watersplash in the middle, so off to the other side of Knighton we went.  As the Test wasn’t due to run until 1750 we decided to pick the route up at Church Stretton and follow it, all for future reference of course!  Along the way we bumped into Trina Walsh and Sue Shoosmith marshalling and Graham & Sue Parkinson too.  The usual ‘funny seeing you here’ greeting, in the middle of nowhere, beginning to wear thin after a while.

Arriving a hour before the test started meant we could see it in daylight, the Test Commander letting us drive through, and our up to then clean car coming out a completely different colour afterwards.  The test wasn’t called ‘Farmyard Frolics’ for nothing!  The watersplash was great, with Tomas de Vargas Machuca firing his orange Porsche 911 through creating the biggest splash, and achieving fastest time by one second from the yellow 911 of the Powleys.

Incoming!Tomas de Vargas Machuca and Sean Toohey enjoying the 'Farmyard Frolics' test. and another 911Roger Powley & Leigh Powely trying on the 'Farmyard Frolics' test to.
























After capturing all the cars getting wet, and managing not to ourselves, we then set off for the night halt, whilst the competitors went and enjoyed themselves in nearby Sarnau forests in the dark.

A buffet meal in the HQ Metropole Hotel saw lots of tales being recounted after the first full day of the 13th Tests.  What had Guy got in store for the Day 2 Welsh loop they all wondered?  The night time TC Section around and over Epynt was much discussed.


Positions after Day 1 – Buxton to Llandrindod Wells

Lowest Penalty: Howard Warren/Iain Tullie, Porsche 911, 03:49

Overall: Dermot Carnegie/Paul Bosdet, Volvo PV544, 04:32

Second: David Morgan/Martyn Taylor, Volvo 123GT, 06:05

Third: John Abel/Andrew Duerden. Alfa Romeo Guilia Sport, 06:11

Fourth: Ryan Pickering/Andy Ballantyne, Triumph TR4, 06:21

Fifth: Frank Fennell/Kevin Savage, Mercedes-Benz 300SE, 06:29


to be continued........



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