Saturday, 7 November 2015

Drenched on the Tempest

After last years damp Tempest Rally I was hoping for some good weather. Sadly the day dawned overcast and got worse as the hours ticked by. Between my brother and I we had decided not to waste a day chasing the cars through the stages. I had to drop Kim and Lily off to collect our car and was half way towards the first stage so decided to chance it. With wellies and coat and camera gear stowed under my jumper I trudged through the trees. Our usual corner on the Warren stage was being run in reverse this year and had new green and white tape. Following some serious incidents on stages around the world, marshals were being cautious and keeping spectators even further back than usual. The places we watched last year were now deep within the tree line offering virtually no view, coupled with some new trees that have grown up it was not a good start.

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The 2WD cars came blasting round the hairpin. Mud and gravel kicking up as they struggled for traction in the worsening conditons. I swapped from side to side of the corner trying to get a good view.

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Looking for a new angle I clambered through the undergrowth back up the stage finding a nice spot high above an uphill straight. The cars came down a short hill through a big puddle before coming up hill and past a little ridge and on to the hairpin I'd just been stood at. Following the safety instructions it looked ideal. Above the road and on the inside of the gentle curve. The marshal on point had different ideas though and I was asked to get "photos of a couple of cars then move on as it wasn't a spectator area" Also in this area were the marshals friends. Two teenagers with a go-pro style camera stood right on the edge of the road and what looked to be their dad with his SLR wandering back and forth across the road and standing on the outside of the turn. They were there long before I arrived and were still there as I left the stage at the end. I only want to spectate where its safe to do so and always follow the guidance from the marshals, but I felt he should have asked the same of his friends as well. Rant over! I got a few good shots as the cars bottomed out in the dip.

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Heading back to the car I was damp all over, but the rain had eased and almost stopped. I decided to chance another stage so headed for the Rushmoor service park to see the 4WDs. The 2WDs were just entering service as I arrived so I headed in to the park. Mk1 and 2 Escorts were being cleaned and spannered along with various MGs and an old Ford Anglia.

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As the last car headed out of service the rain lashed down even harder and the wind got up. My plan to hang around for the 4WD stage and service looked like being a mistake so I started to head for the carpark once more to shelter and have a think. My mind was made up as I came to the exit of service and one mighty gust of wind resulted in several displaced portaloos. I got back to the car and headed for the warmth and dry of home.

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Later that afternoon the sun was out and sky blue!


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