Riponian Rally Report
After a very successful 2016 and a new engine that was fitted over the winter the Laser Tools Racing Rally team were looking forward to a great start to the 2017 season, and with the first rally being the Riponian that we had done so well on last year our hopes were high.
One week before the rally had was to start the pre written pace notes and safety DVD arrived and with these we could look over them and make any amendments we thought were necessary. Whilst we were going through the note we could see that there was going to be some very fast stages in the North Yorkshire forests. Below is the stage plan for Cropton 1which is a 10 mile stage to give you an idea of the stages. The red line is the route we will be taking.
With all the notes prepared we loaded up and set off with high hopes and looking forward to a great event and some good forest stages. The car was scrutineered on the Saturday evening to check that it met with all the current safety features and that all the equipment was in date i.e. helmets seats and seatbelts. The weather was absolutely perfect on the day of the rally with the previous weeks rain to help keep the dust down and the sun was shining so visibility wouldn’t be an issue. The crews assembled in the town centre od Helmsley to await their start time and at 09:03 we set of on the 5.09 miles public road section to the start of stage one in Roppa forest. Although we did this stage last year we knew it could be slippy so we decided to have a cautious approach as last year we hit the bridge and broke a wheel so a steady start was in order.
We set off into the stage and as predicted it was very slippy with some deep mud in places but we still managed a respectable time with an average speed of 53mph over the 6 miles and the car was feeling well balanced and no problems with the new engine.
We now had a 19 mile road section to get to the next stage which was Cropton 1 a 10 mile stage that we were both looking forward to. As we got going into the stage we could feel we had more grip than in the previous one so we started to push a little harder and the feeling once again in the car was good and as we predicted it was fast and flowing. Our confidence was high in the car and we were going well then 8 miles into the stage I noticed the engine backfire once but thought nothing of it. Then as we approached a chicane further in the stage the engine started to misfire really bad and we seriously lost power. We managed to get a little further though the stage but at 9 miles in the engine stopped altogether and that was it our rally was over. We got recovered out of the stage by the organisers to the end of the stage where our support crew put the car on the trailer and towed it back to service.
When we had the car back in the garage we diagnosed that the crank sensor had failed which was confirmed when the engine fired back into life once a new one was fitted. This was a disappointment not to finish the rally but the positives we can take from this are that we were on the pace in the first stage and the engine has more to come through the year.
Our Thanks go out to Laser Tools for the support in 2017 and the organisers and officials of the Riponian who work long and hard to put these events on.
Next rally will be the Lookout Stages on the 2nd April 2017 at Melbourne airfield near York.