Severe gearbox problems and an off could not prevent the Rally2Raise team of Rachel Clark and Caroline Lodge from finishing the Speyside Stages rally last weekend.
The drama started almost immediately for the team in stage 1, Teindland. Their E.Watson and Son, Pirelli, AW Motorsport and McPherson Document Solutions-supported Nissan Micra 1300 hit a rut which bent the sumpguard and forced it into the gear linkage resulting in the loss of fifth and reverse gears and a third gear which was extremely difficult to engage.
The car was nursed through the next two stages before a service halt at Huntly where the Clark Motorsport crew of Barry and Archie set about repairing it sufficiently for it to continue in the rally.
“The rally did not get off to a good start for us,” said Rachel. “We hit the rut with a fair bit of force. With the gear linkage damaged I didn’t think we’d make it through the next two stages before service but we did and the service crew did a great job to allow us to continue.”
The crew completed stage 4, Gartly, with no further problems and headed to stages 5 and 6, two stages which shared the same start line but which split after a few miles. The girls’ rally almost came to an end in stage 6 as the Micra slid off the road into a ditch. Fortunately some spectators were on hand to push the car back onto the road.
After another service halt the rally was completed with three more stages. These were successfully negotiated and the team headed to the event finish in Elgin city centre.
“The Gartly stage was absolutely fantastic, it’s my new favourite stage. Stage 5 was ok but we were very lucky that there were some spectators nearby in stage 6 otherwise we would not have got out of the ditch, huge thanks to them for helping us.”
“I was very happy to get to the finish. It was a tough event for us, the dust and heat made the inside of the car like the Sahara at some points. It’s disappointing that the gearbox problems meant we couldn’t go as quickly as we’d have liked but we made it to the end when many crews didn’t and we were 65th which isn’t too bad from a start position of 97. Thanks to Caroline for a superb job on the notes, thanks to Barry and Archie for servicing, thanks to the 63 Car Club for a brilliant event and thanks to all our sponsors for their support. ”