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2011/03 - Tour of Epynt (1 image) - created by Adge on 18/03/2011 at 01:04:00
Sunday 13th March was the 1st round of the MSA National Ashphalt Rally Championship, set on the daunting Epynt Ranges in mid Wales, Team Adgespeed members Adrian Spencer and Mark Hewitt were looking forward to this challenging rally, although a bit apprehensive after the winter layoff, but eager to try out the car to see if the improvements had worked out.

Seeded at car 29 but eventually moved up to car 20 the boys set off on stage 1 with attack in mind. 15th quickest time on the stage was a satisfying start to the rally. On to the next stage and 1/3rd of the way through the carbon fibre hydraulic handbrake lever broke as Adrian was trying to handbrake turn around a tight straw bale on one of the junctions, this cause a loss of approx 15 secs trying to get round, but resulted in the handling of the car being very loose, which Adrian put down to the tyres going off near the end of the stage.

After attempting to repair the lever, Adrian and Mark set off for stage 3. This proved to be a disaster as a near 360' spin was followed by the car crashing off the road at the 90 right at the end of the Burmah road and into a ditch. After several minutes Adrian managed to reverse out of the ditch and thinking that they had a right rear puncture, they made their way to the end of the stage with a very bad vibration and bent steering.

After checking the car over for damage, which included a bent wing and part of the front bumper missing, the front and rear tracking was out, but there were no punctures evident.

With only 100 yards to the start of the next stage and no time to make any repairs, they drove through the stage as quickly as possible with the car in the state it was to get to service to affect repairs.

At service it was found that the micro switch which opens the diff for handbrake turns when the lever is pulled, was not shutting properly, so effectively the car was in front wheel drive only, which explained the bad handling. At least Adrian was happy that it was a technical problem and not his driving that caused them to crash. (Thats his story and he's sticking to it!!!)

With repairs to the tracking and extensive use of gaffa tape to patch up the bumper, Adrian and Mark decided to carry on and at least get some points. They were now down in the 43rd with the time lost, but a steady run through stage 5 to build back up the confidence that everything was working OK, they moved up to 35th.

With the car almost back to normal a good run through stage 6 was curtailed when they caught the 2 cars in front with 4 miles to go, losing more time as the roads weren't wide enough to pass, but they had climbed back in to the 20's at 27th.

With stage 7, a repeat of stage 6, the last stage of the rally, getting much higher wasn't going to be easy, but with a clean run 20 secs faster than stage 6 Adrian and mark finished 25th O/A.

Although disappointed with the result, Adrian was happy that the improvements over the winter which included a new turbo and remapping to sort the none working antilag, had been a great success.

The car has now gone off to the bodyshop to be repaired and the next outing for Team Adgespeed will be the Horiba D'Isis rally at MIRA on the 16th April in order to get some practice for the Rally of the Midlands later in the year.