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2014/11 - Neil Howard Memorial Rally (0 images) - created by Adge on 13/11/2014 at 00:47:20
Saturday 8th November and it was time again for the NHMS rally held at the Oulton Park race circuit. Having competed on this local rally for the last 2 years finishing 5th and 10th O/A since it was reinstated to the rally calender after many years of not being held due to the Circuit owners choice and also having competed at Oulton Park several times in the early 90's in the Sunbeam, when it was a popular venue for rallying with 3 events usually held at the end of the year.

Not having rallied since their excellent result on the Mewla rally back at the end of August Team Adgespeed of Adrian Spencer and Mark Hewitt decided to do the track day, the day before to get some seat time and do some testing. This proved to be a good decision due to the very wet weather allowing them to test the wet and intermediate tyres just in case the conditions were similar on the rally.

The rally day started with damp conditions and going for the soft intermediates they were immediately on the pace setting 5th quickest time behind 3 world rally cars and an Escort Mk2 on stage 1. Stage 2 was a repeat of stage one using the race circuit in the normal direction and the decision to stay on the intermediates was the wrong one as the rain started and with a few off track moments saw them drop to 6th O/A with the 10th quickest time, however with no issues with the car it was back to service.

For stage 3 the circuit had built a water splash off the race circuit on an old bit of track which used to be used in rallies of old so a change to wets was the order. With Mark urging Adrian on they blasted through the water splash and most onlookers gave them a 9.5 for speed and commitment through it. Setting =7th quickest time though wasn't enough and they dropped to 7th O/A at the end of stage 3.

Stage 4 was going to be a repeat of 3 but then they had to go and do stage 5 which was the extremely slippy drift track loops in the middle and with no service between the tyres would have be suitable for both stages. Staying on wets they continued going well and with 6th quickest on stage 4 and 12th on the very slippy infield stages they moved back up to 6th O/A

For the next pair of stages 6 and 7 the stage was reversed running the wrong way round the track and with Mark encouraging Adrian on and keen to improve a big push was in order and this was definately delivered with 4th quickest time on Stage 6, 8th quickest time on stage 7 and with there nearest rivals retiring because of engine failure to their Escort Mk 2 Adrian and Mark moved back into 5th O/A still behind 3 Subaru Impreza's and 1 Ford Fiesta World Rally Cars.

With the 4 World rally cars in front which unless they had problems and being 30 secs behind the Subaru World rally car of David Turnbull staying 5th was the order of the day.

Stages 8 and 9 saw a return to the water splash but run in the opposite direction and with 6th and =9th fastest times they went into the final stage 10 back on the slippy drift circuit and with 13 seconds over their nearest rivals only a error or problem could lose them the position over the short last stage and taking care not to make any errors they kept 5th O/A.

A great result finishing 5th O/A with the rally being won by Steve Simpson in his Subaru Impreza S12B WRC, Kevin Proctor in his Subaru Impreza S9 WRC 2nd, Graham Coffey in his Ford Fiesta WRC 3rd and Dave Turnbull in his Subaru Impreza S11 WRC only 43 seconds in front after 65 miles of rallying, a really great result.

Adgespeed are now re preparing the car for next year, with the Tour of Epynt likely to be the 1st rally in 2015