Laser Tools Racing Rally Team Report
Malton Forest Rally 2021
Peter Outram reports on
Sunday 7th November saw the Laser Tools Racing Rally Team head up to the North Yorkshire forests for 2021 Malton Forest Rally, and with the cancelation of last year’s event due to the pandemic it had been two years since we had last competed in the forest on gravel roads. With this in mind we knew that the first stage would be a sighting run to find the grip levels and settle us in for the remaining stages. With Jemma still out for the rest of the year, Mick Munday was once again sitting in the navigator’s seat for his first forest rally on pace notes, so this would be a massive learning curve for him on this one!
The rally had in fact started for us a couple of weeks previously when the pace notes and DVD had been delivered. We could now look at the stages and make any amendments to the notes as we thought necessary. As these were the descriptive instructions, Mick would be reading to me as we were driving against the clock on the special stages — detailing the direction and severity of the corners as well as any other information such as crests, log piles at the side of the road and narrow gate posts, etc.
Sunday morning was dry and bright but heavy overnight rain had made the stages very slippery, so a bit of caution would be needed on the first stage to get an idea of the grip level on the forest tracks. After a 20-mile road section from the service area we arrived at the stage-start for the first run through Gale Rigg, a six-mile stage with some nice open flowing corners as well as some fast straights and tight narrow sections. We both got prepared to start the stage with Mick on the notes and myself visualising the stage from the DVD to give us the best chance of setting a good first stage time. We set off and the first few fast corners were good but unfortunately Mick lost his place in the notes which is a common thing on being the first time using them! So I was relaying where we were on the stage as well as driving as quick as I could on memory of what the next corner was (which made for some interesting lines in the corners!) but we got through without any issues, just clipping a bank on the outside of a couple of corners. Therefore although the time was not great (we were 59th overall out of 120 competitors), it could have been a lot worse.
There was a short road section of two miles to the next stage, so not much time to gather our thoughts, and we were in to stage 2 where Mick had got to grips with the notes this time and was delivering them much better. We were hoping our time would reflect this and it did, as we had moved up to 51st position until an eight-minute penalty was added for booking in early to a time control.
We now had a 20-mile road section back to a 15 minute service where we refuel the car, have a quick check over and grab a bite to eat and drink. We changed the rear tyre where we had hit the bank as some gravel had got lodged in the bead and could have caused a puncture but other than that all was well with the car. To get to stage 3 we had an eight mile road section to get there and all was well as we pulled up to the time control and booked in ready to start stage 3. Mick was now getting even better with the delivery of the pace notes and was able to pick up his place if he got a little lost. But as we approached a tight 90-degree right-hand corner and accelerated away there was a loud bang and we had lost drive! A broken half shaft was the culprit, so the rally was over and we had to park up at the side of the road. This was so disappointing as we were just starting to get used to the grip level and pace notes but that’s the highs and lows of rallying!
Massive thanks to the organisers Malton Motor Club, the marshals, recovery crews and to the medical staff. Our thanks also go to family and friends who all make it possible to go rallying, in particular Anthony Windle on the tools in service, and to Dawn for the food and supplies for the crew. And of course to Laser Tools Racing for their continued support in 2021.
See you all at Donington Park for the final rally of 2021 on Sunday December 5th.