oldSTAGER No.106
October/November 2007

 

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West Essex Car Club


Cloverleaf Historic Rally - August 12

This is the original report, not the edited version for oldSTAGER.

With gaps left in the HRCR Clubmans Championship by the cancellation of the Alan Rogers and Late Summer Run, the newly created Cloverleaf Historic Rally ran as the seventh round of this year’s Championship.

Conceived by last year’s Clubmans Champions – Paul Hernaman and Ray Crowther – for West Essex Car Club, the Cloverleaf had last run 30 years ago as a fast night rally in Norfolk, and many of the original organising team had come out of retirement to help with the event.

The territory was new to HRCR crews: a rally HQ just south of Cambridge; a morning route that mainly visited Hertfordshire and Essex; and an afternoon in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.

Seeded at one were Colin Evans/Nigel Raeburn since Nigel had won a previous Cloverleaf back in 1967. Second away were Kevin Haselden/David Kirkham, David having won the 1977 Cloverleaf with Geoff Lobb, who on the day was driving the sweep van for the event. Next were HRCR Championship leaders Jim Deacon/Dave Wilson. In total 46 crews took part including those entered in a separate clubmans category.

The action started immediately from MTC1 at Abington Hall Conference Centre in Granta Park with a unique driver-only/navigator-only regularity. The driver had to tackle an Insularity (named from Is Navigator Superfluous?) – a 1.5 mile tour around the Park private roads. Meanwhile the navigator set out on foot for a Pegularity (Pedestrian regularity) on footpaths for 0.27 miles at 2.7 mph. Both sections finished at a common control.

A speed calibration course had been set up for the navigators to practise walking speeds beforehand, which was a great source of amusement to onlookers. On the Pegularity many approached the challenge light-heartedly, particularly Shon Gosling who started the course with his ankles chained together. Less amused was Mick Briggs who thought he had picked up a Fail for not circumnavigating a tree.

So that the opening fun didn’t affect the results too much, the Pegularity/Insularity penalties were pegged to the minimum of the Pegularity penalty, Insularity penalty or 30 seconds.

Insularity 1: Peter Brewerton 3; Cliff Porter 8; Tony Sheach 9. Pegularity 2: David Kirkham, Mick Briggs 1; Ralph Lodge 5.

The first special test immediately followed and had little effect on the standings since all but two crews scored a maximum on an overly tight test. Crews then headed west towards Royston via three conventional regularities.

All the route was defined by marked-up copies of OS maps, so the navigator pressure was applied by frequent speed changes appropriate for the road conditions plus the need to halve the average speeds through the occasional (and often short) signposted 30 and 40 mph sections. This complexity ensured that penalties were soon accumulated although having a crew member called Wilson was certainly an advantage.

Regularity 3: Deacon/Wilson 1; Paul Richards/Peter Cox, Jerry Hutton/Clare Hutton 3. Regularity 4: Keith Wilson/Dave Cooper 3; Hasleden/Kirkham, David Barker/David Killeen 7. Regularity 5: Deacon/Wilson, Wilson/Cooper 11; Martin Neal/Mick Briggs 12.

After regularity 5 just four seconds separated the top three crews: Hasleden/Kirkham, Wilson/Cooper 1:29; Neal/Briggs 1:33.

Next up was an hour long visit to Bassingbourn Airfield with eight tests and a regularity. On the way there competitors were asked to optionally text-in their time card details to rally HQ, but this didn’t prove popular and was completed by a member of the results team while crews were busy on the airfield. The varied tests at Bassingbourn meant that honours were well spread giving a slight advantage to Jim Deacon with two test wins. On the three-lap regularity around the perimeter road, navigators had to first solve a cryptic problem to calculate the required speeds. Thereafter pacing should have been straightforward but only David Taylor kept his penalties under 10 seconds.

Test 2: Deacon/Wilson 25; John Ruddock/John Heppell 27; Neal/Briggs, Dave Hughes/David Taylor, Wesley Coleman/Neil Guyett. 28. Test 3: Coleman/Guyett 18; Haselden/Kirkham 22; Neil/Briggs 25. Test 4: David Ruddock/Kevin Carruthers 29; Ruddock/Heppell 35; Mark Godfrey/Sue Godfrey, Barker/Killeen 37. Regularity 6: Hughes/Taylor 8; Colin Evans/Nigel Raeburn 11; Neil/Briggs 19. Test 5: Haselden/Kirkham, Deacon/Wilson, Hughes/Taylor 17. Test 6: Barry Moore/Neil Warren, Ruddock/Carruthers 17; Haselden/Kirkham 18. Test 7: Ruddock/Heppell 21; Deacon/Wilson 24; Hughes/Taylor, Ruddock/Carruthers 25.
Test 8: Five crews on 16. Test 9: Deacon/Wilson 15, Hughes/Taylor 16, Godfrey/Godfrey 17.

Back at Rally HQ, test 10 was cancelled so the lunch halt showed that despite the rigours of Bassingbourn the lead was unchanged except for a different Wilson taking second place: Haselden/Kirkham 6:20; Deacon/Wilson 6:33; Neal/Briggs 6:36.

The first three afternoon regularities took crews through the most interesting roads to the south of Newmarket.

Regularity 7: Barker/Killeen 0; Glen Pearson/Nigel Blackburn, Roger Ray/Paul Ray 2. Regularity 8: Pearson/Blackburn 7; Barker/Killeen 18; Deacon/Wilson 22. Regularity 9: Richards/Cox 9; Barker/Killeen 11; Deacon/Wilson 12.

These saw a storming performance from Barker/Killeen, which leap-frogged them from fourth to first: Barker/Killen 7:09; Deacon/Wilson 7:21; Hasleden/Kirkham 7:29.

The two twisty tests at Red Lodge Karting circuit were the event favourites and particularly for David Ruddock, who won them both in his Mini.

Test 11: Ruddock/Carruthers 9; four crews on 13. Test 12: Ruddock/Carruthers 24; Godfrey/Godfrey 25; James Griffiths/James Howell 26.

Regularity 10 caught out many crews. A secret check at the beginning of a private white led to several speed changes and three controls within a mile. The leading crews suffered penalties of 40 seconds or more, but Kevin Carruthers put aside his earlier regularity problems and scored another section win for his crew.

Regularity 10: Ruddock/Carruthers 23; Jonathan Hancox/Richard Lambley, Colin Hewitt/Andrew Swann 30.

Heading back to Granta Park the total penalties showed that Deacon/Wilson had nudged into the lead by three seconds, but now that the regularities had been completed, another Cloverleaf innovation changed the order – the two worst timing point penalties could be discarded. Introduced to combat the occasional baulking on regularity events, the quiet roads on the day meant that the higher penalties were more likely to have come from navigator error rather than harvesting tractors. Barker/Killeen benefited most from this rule and with just a second Insularity/Pegularity to complete, only 18 seconds separated the top three places: Barker/Killeen 8:11 (was 8:46), Deacon/Wilson 8:18 (was 8:43), Neil/Briggs 8:29 (was 9:12).

After a precision run on the car regularities, David Killeen arrived a potentially punishing 35 seconds early on the Pegularity, but his driver – David Barker – held steady on a twisting course of six hairpins to drop just 13 seconds, a crucial few seconds better than his podium rivals.

Insularity 11: James Griffiths 0; Dave Hughes, Terry Secker 1. Pegularity 12: David Taylor, Richard Lambley, Doreen Sunter 4.

The David duo in their TR4 thus took their maiden victory by only a few seconds ahead of the two drivers currently duelling for the championship lead, with Jim Deacon beating Martin Neal by just seven seconds, although Neal still retained the championship lead.

A new event, with new ideas and new winners; and over £1300 was raised for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

1 David Barker/David Killeen (Triumph TR4) 8:24;
2 Jim Deacon/Dave Wilson (Ford Escort RS2000) 8:37;
3 Martin Neal/Mick Briggs (Austin Healey Sprite) 8:44;
4 Kevin Haselden/David Kirkham (Mini Cooper) 8:56;
5 Jonathan Hancox/Richard Lambley (Triumph TR4) 9:10;
6 John Ruddock/John Heppell (Ford Escort Mexico) 9:25;
7 Dave Hughes/David Taylor (MG Midget) 9:57;
8 Mark Godfrey/Sue Godfrey (MGB) 10:20;
9 James Griffiths/James Howell (Austin Mini 1275 GT) 10:46;
10 Ali Green/Ann Locks (Riley Elf) 11:03.