Driver : Stu Wilson, Co-driver : Steve Dargon
This was the first event since last years Pendragon stages, the venue is an old airfield close to Melbourne near York. The surface is a mix of good tarmac and concrete, poor potholed tarmac and concrete and some loose rough(ish) sections.
For this one Steve Dargan was back in the hot seat. We headed off on Saturday lunchtime and arrived just before noise and scrutineering opened. Door numbers on, passed noise and scrutineering no problem. Then off for a walk round some of the course to see where repairs and improvements had been made.
Sunday morning we had to make a choice on which tyres we would run, would it be worn gravel tyres or tarmac moulded slicks. We went for the tarmac tyres.
Stage 1 we caught the car that started 30 seconds in front of us with in the first loop of the stage, for some reason he didn’t seem to want to get out of the way even though it was obvious we were faster. Eventually we got past him then caught the next car in front passing him much more easily. We finished the stage leading the class, so very happy with that.
Stage 2 was a repeat of the first one, no problems on this one, but again catching the car in front again, but this guy gave us room and we got passed. We completed this stage 30 seconds quicker than stage one and were still leading the class.
Stage 3 was a longer stage with three splits rather than two. About two thirds of the way round the first loop we had a noise appear and the straight away lost second gear. Checking I could still get all the others we decided to carry on and finish the stage. The gearbox problem will have cost us a little bit of time but we were still leading the class. In service the gearbox cluster was changed in about 15 minutes thanks to Garry Salmon who was our spanner man for the day.
Stage 4, this was a repeat of stage 3. no problems this time until the third loop where we hit a pot hole and got a puncture on the nearside front tyre, we continued on with the flat tyre and finished the stage. We lost about 30 seconds but still managed to keep the class lead.
Stage 5 was the first to be run in the other direction, we went out and didn’t do to badly again leading the class. But I wasn’t sure about the tyres, it didn’t feel as if we had as much grip as on the previous ones. It was decided we’d give them another go on the next stage then decide whether or not to buy some new ones.
Stage 6 car was going well tyres were now working very well, no problems at all. We were still leading the class and pulling away from the car that was second in class
Stage 7 as we were just about to leave service Garry noticed one of the rear tyres was looking a touch soft, so a quick change of rear tyres to the worn gravel ones and we were away. Not sure how the car would handle on them we took the first chicane a little steady to see how it felt, it was no problem they were working well. Finished the stage taking more time from the next car in class and almost catching the car that was starting in front of us on the stage, arriving in the finish control right behind him.
Stage 8 the final stage, we just had to get round and finish to take the class win that we’d had since the first stage. The car was still going well and the tyres working very well, on this stage even had time to wave to one of the many photographers who were out taking pictures. We pulled in the finish control right behind the car in front again. We’d done it we’d finished first in class and 17th overall, a good result to round off a great days motor sport.