oldSTAGER No.116
June/July 2009

 

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A Final "Crow"

This is my 28th and final Nav Notes. My first was in December 2004 so Iíve had a fair innings of over four years and I have enjoyed the experience immensely.

A column which addresses the navigational aspects of historic rallying needs its author to be regularly competing on events. However, for family reasons my availability for events has now become restricted and unreliable, so reluctantly my speed tables may not surface much in the future.

Permit me to reflect Ö

I first came to historic regularity rallying in 2001 after little competition in the Ď80s and Ď90s because of the demands of running a business. My Ď70s were crammed full of night road rallies, and with a declining opportunity, particularly in East Anglia, to revisit my favourite type of rallying, I was immediately attracted to the technical demands of regularity navigation and timing.

My archives tell me that since my oldSTAGER debut Iíve competed on 44 events so I hope my news and commentaries have entertained the readers of the best rally magazine in town.

During this time Iíve stuck mainly to HRCR Clubmans rallies. They were my ideal events for keeping busy in the navigatorís seat with the final results always a true test of driver, navigator and car. And a single dayís competition was just enough rallying to satisfy my passion and still leave time for other activities. With one (Richard Dix/MGB) exception, I did all my Clubmans rallies with Paul Hernaman in his Porsche 911 Ė a magic combination that brought us great fun and some success.

I recall my worst performance was on the classic Targa Rusticana in 2005 when my first exposure to Deeliarities had me going every which way. Sadly the event never did return to allow me to get it right second time around. Gone too are other events I enjoyed like the Alan Rogers and Palladwr, but new events have arrived and the Clubmans series continues to provide a unique challenge.

My favourite memory was Paulís overwhelming joy when we grabbed our first win together on the Hughes in 2004.

I regard my biggest achievement as resurrecting the Cloverleaf Rally in 2007 after a 30-year gap and having the event immediately included in the Clubmans Championship. The organisational effort was by far the biggest Iíd ever undertaken. Iím not in charge this year, but I do hope West Essex Car Club manage to keep my revival running.

I only did one overseas event Ė the Winter Challenge in 2005. This was just after I had sold my business and I attempted to celebrate my retirement by navigating my business partner Ė Chris Towers. Unfortunately our effort was compromised by snow and post-sale problems of the business. Despite many possibilities to go abroad again it never happened, but Chris has since become a regular and successful European navigator.

I kept my hand in on the occasional night road rallies with Roger Dowgill and Clive Baty, who gave me some exhilarating and shoulder-bruising rides on the classic Preston Rally.

I also renewed a Ď70s partnership with Geoff Lobb to tackle a few Enduro events, including the 2006 Lombard. But I was never comfortable with the format since I felt underutilised without route cards to solve and average speeds to calculate. I controversially coined the term polygator for a regularity navigator and nannigator for a co-driver Ė much to the disgust of my stage rally colleagues.

I ventured out on a night trial; another nostalgic return to my Ď70s. I initiated my wife to competitive driving on a navigational scatter. And I bought an historic RS2000 and drove it on the Kent 100 last year. All of which I would love to have repeated.
Overall not the most significant of rallying careers; just grassroots motorsport stuff which Iíve thoroughly enjoyed.

What will I be doing now? Ė Mostly activities that wonít take me too far from home. I shall certainly continue to follow the progress of the Clubmans events. If the demand is there Iíll roll out some local ď100Ē events for the HRCR and you might see me marshalling occasionally.

I shall keep my navigational hand in by organising Internet table-top rallies or striding round Essex with a GPS to locate geocaches. Computing, jogging, and gardening will get their share, and maybe I will now finish my long overdue fourth novel Thalamorph.

Cheers.