ACSMC Rally Championship Newsletter – May 2022

After being unable to attend the second round of the Championship at Bovington, it was great to be back in the Service Area at Down Ampney for the Corinium Stages. Surprisingly, entry numbers were down a little on the event which has been traditionally very well supported. The same was true from an ACSMC point of view, with only three competitors in attendance. However, the beautiful sunshine after a cold start and the buzz of activity at the event more than made up for this.

Carrying the Number 23 were Roger and Cameron Ray and were saying that all was well and they were looking forward to the day. However, at the end of SS2, Roger was struggling with his brakes. “We put new discs and pads on last year and have had problems since.” They were having to bleed the system after every stage and he was just not getting a solid pedal. “It looks like we are probably going to have to do the same again today as it also seems to be sticking a little on one side”. The problem was to persist throughout the day with Roger quite perplexed. “Brake fluid is spilling everywhere each time we bleed. We are not really sure what is, which is frustrating”.

The ever-smiling Pete Wilkins and Caroline Brampton were back at the venue and seeded as 38. They had been at the ‘Get it Sideways’ event at the event which was said to have been icy at first and then raining in the afternoon. Pete said “There was very little grip as the concrete seems to have a layer of something on top of it”. He was therefore hoping that it would stay dry. Having changed tyres after SS1, Pete described the feel of the car as “like going back to a pair of old gloves, it feels really comfortable. So, we will stick with these”. He explained that there was hardly any water on the stage, just some in the usual place and it was OK there as long as you did not accelerate too hard immediately afterwards. After SS4, Caroline said “that one flows nicely” after they gained a full 10 seconds over the previous run.

The other ACSMC Competitors were John and Sharon Mills and after the second stage John felt good “especially on the straight where in other cars I have previously felt like I was gliding. I just need a slightly heavier right foot!”. John had a little trouble with the cones in SS5. “They seemed to be everywhere!” he said, which cost him a little time as he picked his way through them. Luckily, the next stage saw them over 40 seconds quicker. Sharon commented that it was a “hard stage, reading the map whilst the car is going up and down”.

Others were experiencing some difficulties, with a number of damaged cars emerging from each stage and eight cars already retired by the end of stage 4. This included Matt and Richard Arnold in the Number 33 Skoda Felicia. Matt had been complaining of tramping and explained that he had problems before, so had changed suspension parts. Despite this, the car was continuing to tramp once warm. SS1 was fine, but thereafter it just worsened. Unsure whether it may be a clutch or differential problem, or even something else, they decided not to continue.

Jimmy Milligan & Mark Bradley, on the other hand, in the number 42 Peugeot 206 XS which was one of the damaged cars, were very relaxed despite having hit a barrell. “I have a new bonnet for it at home!”. They managed to continue and finish 18th overall.

By the end of SS6, just 36 cars remained, including all of the ACSMC Competitors.

At the conclusion of the rally, Roger and Cameron Ray were able to claim 15th overall and 2nd in Class despite their issues. This scored them a maximum 40 points as they had nominated the round as one of their Jokers. Pete Wilkins and Caroline Brampton finished 22nd overall and 4th in Class, with John and Sharon Mills ending the day in 31st overall and 6th in Class.

Philip Hopkins and Sam Allen were the overall winners in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI (pictured at the top of this newsletter), just 6 seconds ahead of Will Nicholls and Nick Broom in their Ford Fiesta R5+ (pictured below). Will and Nick had actually gone into the last stage with a 1 second lead, after trailing by 2 seconds at the end of SS6, so it certainly went down to the wire!

My congratulations to all of the Competitors that took part at Down Ampney and subsequently at the TSH Stages. Excitingly, as you will see from the points, Roger & Cameron Ray and Pete Wilkins & Caroline Brampton are separated by just three points, so the Championship is far from decided! My best wishes to all of you that will be going to Abingdon and enjoying the stages at CAR-nival in two weeks time.

I am sorry that I cannot be there. It would also seem that the Wethersfield Stages will not run this year, leaving us with just two further rounds. These are the Challenger Stages on 13th November and the South Downs Stages on 3rd December. I do look forward to seeing all of you at some point in 2022 and so watch out for the entries opening for the remaining rounds.

Mark Baulch

Rally Championship Coordinator
ACSMC

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