It’s not everyday you have Motorsport on your doorstep, especially at a national and televised level. Yesterday, that was the case for me, literally a two minute walk from where I am was one of the forest stages of the MSA British Rally Championship round 6, so obviously I took a stroll down to catch some action.
Upon my arrival at the stage the first car to come into sight was pronounced by the glorious sound of a Ford 2-litre bounding towards me, popping over the bridge on throttle before dropping the anchors for the 90 degree bend up ahead, using the classic Scandinavian flick to enter properly…..a real initiation into rally 101.
The next sound to come bellowing through the forest was a much more unexpected sound when it comes to rallying, albeit a common one, I still wouldn’t want to choose a Porsche for rally duties if it was me, takes a certain person to try and tame a rear engined, rear wheel drive car on loose surfaces.
The most welcome sight for myself was seeing Mini’s on their home ground, there were a few to pick from, all running the proper A-series engines and what sounded like some meaty carb set-ups, Mk1’s and MK2’s aplenty, the best example I spotted being a MK1 cooper, the driver seemed to be going hard catching a nice bit of air over the bridge and powering right up to the corner.
The red MK1 on throttle after taking the bridge, such a cool little car.
Not all the cars went by sounding as healthy as the rest, this MK1 Cortina was only firing on three cylinders and popping some pretty big misfires as he slowly drove the remainder of the stage, don’t worry though, one my way out I just so happened to follow him as he was on his way back to the Rally HQ and the car was firing perfectly, must’ve just been a small issue.
Back to the escorts, and after moving myself up to the corner to improve my shots, this MK2 came along, battering me and my other half in about 3 tonnes of mud and rocks, personally, I thought it was pretty awesome, someone else wasn’t so impressed though.
Watching the escorts into the corners was fantastic, each one with a different approach, some using power over mid corner to meet the apex and some just turning in early and counter-steering through the entire bend, then the scandi flicks, which were very entertaining to watch, but generally seemed to be used when the bridge had thrown them off line somewhat, still, when you’re a few feet from the road and a car is aiming straight at you, it’s pretty cool.
And by a few feet, I mean literally a few feet, this Twingo had gone a little off line and I managed this shot whilst I was moving back to avoid getting battered by the kick-up from the front wheels
There was no avoiding this Subaru’s barrage of dirt and rocks though, some even getting me in the head whilst trying to take the shot, so this is pretty lucky to say I wasn’t even looking at the camera, that’s what you get for 4wd on full throttle with opposite lock applied, all four wheels spitting the ground at you.
Strangely enough, the best sounding car of the day would be this Hyundai Accent, it was pretty mental, running some pretty wild cams and a very open sounding exhaust, turns out not all Hyundai’s are dull runabouts then.
I’ll round up with this shot of a MK2 from a local team getting a bit of a slippery entry into the corner under braking, might be something with being a little over zealous on the bridge beforehand.