Saturday, 20 April 2013

London Rally for Heros

I first heard about the London Rally for Heros whilst at Brooklands earlier this year. The first rally staged near London for a couple of decades. As the date got closer more details came out and it turned out the majority of the stages were being run on MOD land and out of bounds to the public. The only two spectator stags would be at Brooklands and at Rushmoor Arena, home to the Tempest Rally in November. I appreciate the event is being run to raise money for a charity, but the organisers wanted £20/car to get into Rushmoor (compared to £5/person for the Tempest) and a further £10 each to get into the Mercedes World stage adjacent to Brooklands (museum entry was included, but I've been too many times to count!). As I had no takers to come with me I abandoned the idea until about 11pm the night before when my brother decided he fancied a run out in his Caterham in the sunshine. So at 9am we were set, 7 loaded and away we went.

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As we arrived and paid our carparking fee we were asked by a marshal to "give it some stick" when we got in, the land is private and a long tarmac straight. I think he heard us all the way! Parked and loaded with cameras we headed down to the spectator area.

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As we got closer a fellow Caterham driver stopped for a natter and said that the views weren't that good with a long straight and a gravel curve all that could be seen, however he had been told by the marshals, the service park was nearby and we were welcome to wander in. Ducking under the warning tape and hiking through the forest we came across the park, in the usual Tempest location and empty of anyone except mechanics and marshals. Apart from sliding rally cars, mechanics beavering away changing tyres and servicing ready for the next stage is the part I enjoy most. A chance to get close up to the spannering action and the see the cars head off to the next stage. It had the added bonus of being alongside a couple of nice corners of the stage too!

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Soon the cars were heading out onto the tarmac stage. We found a spot behind a fence that faced a daunting 180° corner that was up hill on the way in, then over a yump through a gate way and back down a straight, plenty of tail out action. There was also some serious three and on occasion, two wheeled antics!

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With the first double run through complete, we headed for the car to nab some food before walking down to the far end of the stage for the short gravel curve. In the afternoon the loop would run in reverse so our gated corner wasn't going to be as good. A small display of Lanicas was set out along with a few food stalls, not really the "Rally Show" that was advertised, but interesting enough.

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Soon the course car came through and we found a spot at the end of the gravel section, the first car flew in, spraying a cloud of dust across everyone, we decided to move round a bit more!

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Tired of getting a dusting, we headed back along the straight to the chicane at the end for some more three wheeling.

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Our final viewing spot for the day was the 90° right onto the finish straight. With an adverse camber in the middle and a gate to get through it was more sliding action.

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With the final double run delayed by at least 30 minutes, we decided to call it a day. As a first running there are a couple of things the organisers need to address from a spectator point of view. The entry fee, set it per person otherwise it puts off the lone spectator. Make a proper path to the service park so the public can see what goes on in there. Other than that a good entry and some fast action.

The rest of the photos can be found here