Competitor Profiles
Steve Barber
Profile Index
I am married with 4 children, 3 boys (aged 6, 5, 2) and 1 girl (1). My daughter was born in June 2003 midway through the Clover Leaf TT event that year.

I work for BT Consulting and Systems Integration (BT C&SI for short) in Sunbury overlooking the end of the M3.

I have a lot of experience competing in 12-car rallies as this is the cheapest end of motor sport. I started out with a friend swapping seats for each event but eventually settled down to navigating. I have occasionally ventured out through the night on road rallies and even weekends on single venue stage events such as the Abingdon Carnival. I have also spent a lot of time marshalling. Before kids I marshalled each year on the “Welsh Rally of GB” or whatever it was called then, the Rallye Sunseeker in the Bournemouth area, the Mini Tempest stages round Hampshire, various Longcross events including Historics to name a few, performing general marshalling, crowd control, start and finish time recording, etc. Hart Motor Club, to which I have been a member since 1993 are celebrating 30 years this year and are known to put on a good 12-car event, also used to put on the Resolution Road Rally, I say used to as this sadly has not run consistently over recent years. I have in the past produced the navigation for this Road Rally and a number of inter and intra club 12-car events. I have also competed in Scatter rallies and for the “Five-Maps Scatter” championship when there was a lot of competition for this type of event as well as producing the clues/navigation for some of the Hart run scatters.

Why did I do the Championship? I like maps and the huge amount of detail in OS maps. I guess I am competitive. I enjoy logical problem solving. Table Top rallies are an ideal way of doing all of these and the entry fees go to a good cause.

I like the challenge of working out the route cards and the satisfaction that I have cracked the code. I like the fact that you have options to not do two of the route cards as I usually find that some are impossible, but that is probably because I wind down a bit after cracking the required 10. I dislike finding that I have missed something when the results are announced or that I was careless in entering my answers, as has happened on a couple of occasions. It was comforting to find that many other competitors make similar mistakes in the plotting in that their answers where the same wrong answers, for instance, I failed to re-read the rules this time round and found that the distance to telephones had increased from 50 yards in 2003 to 200 yards in 2004, fortunately this only caused one wrong answer.

I generally tackle each event by first plotting everything that I possibly can. I have a tick sheet so that I can keep track of the where I am with each route card. Once the straightforward plotting is complete, I start to tackle the harder ones and to break this up I start to put together the answers for the cards already plotted. I check the routes plotted and check the answers before submitting each solution. By plotting the easier cards first it narrows down the options for the harder ones as it closes off the possible routes to take.

I usually sit at work at lunch times with my map out on my desk, Basic Roamer, a pile of pencils and rubbers along with a magnifier of some kind and a pencil sharpener. My work colleagues return from their lunch with some comments like “still trying to find your way out?” or “lost again? or “I used to live in xxxxx very nice place, and Auntie used to live just round the corner etc, etc” then after a long one way conversation about the merits of living there I’d have to pack it all in and get back to work. I don’t think they understand! When time is running short I get the maps out at home in the kitchen when all the kids are in bed. I have a Potis, which I bought from Tony Reynolds in 1993 (“Basic Equipment”, you may have met him sometime) and a table lamp and sit at the breakfast table plotting hard, sometimes into the night if I’m on a roll.

Some time ago, the kids got hold of my Potis and I caught them playing with it. They had broken the lamp holder. That was the end of my 12-cars for a while as I had trouble finding a suitable replacement and a new Potis was out of the question. Then came a bit of luck. After seeing that this years Table Top Rally championship was being sponsored by The Basic Roamer Company I had a browse on their web site and found that the history section mentioned the designer of the Basic Roamer, Tony Reynolds. Ah-ha, may they know something about my Potis as well then. I emailed them about the bulb holder and was amazed to learn that they had two replacements sitting on the shelf gathering dust. I was offered them free of charge and postage. Needless to say, I am now back competing in the Hart 12-cars, the last of which was run on April 8th in West Sussex.

After the last seven or eight months I do feel exhausted after all the brainwork. I hope to now catch up on some of the jobs around the house that I have put off for so long, getting down to the local DIY store at lunch times, etc.

Steve Barber
April 28, 2005