The crews are now assembling for the start of the London to Lisbon Classic Rally 2017 in the wonderful and hallowed grounds of Brooklands. The work carried out here is extremely sympathetic and Mercedes-Benz should be congratulated on the effort and care they have invested into the historic site.
Some crews have already experienced mechanical issues with Tim and Anne Riley breaking a rear leaf spring on their MG SA whilst driving to the measured distance check. A call to a supplier in Hull saw a new unit despatched to be fitted later tonight by the HERO Assist team. Feeling cranky isn't something we have come to expect from Derek and Susan Skinner, their Porsche 356 cried 'no more' and snapped its crankshaft whilst driving down to the event yesterday, being an avid 356 fan though saw a trip back north to retrieve their other car and allowing them to start the event.
More as we have it
Good afternoon from the stunning surroundings of Wilton House where the sun is shining and the skies here are light azure - It has been a long morning for the crews with Bill Cleyndert / Jacqui Norman leading the 78 crews away from the start at Brooklands. We were honoured to have His Excellency, Manuel Lobo Antunes, Portuguese Ambassador to the United Kingdom to start crews away, several television crews were present to watch the proceedings and it wasn't long before the first action of the event took place. Out from the start arch and into the first test up the Hill at Brooklands saw Daniel Gresly / Elise Whyte take a wayward line in their Porsche, with Elise's mother, Pam, watching on the 911 mounted the grass bank almost emulating the parabola at Brooklands!
We are awaiting results, more posted when we have them.
It's been a nip and tuck morning with Paul Crosby / Martyn Taylor taking the lead from Michael Moss / James Ewing and David Roberts / Joanna Roberts by just one second in the run up to lunch. Results up to tonight will be live later on this evening.
This has been a fairly long day but nothing compared to the transit sections through France we are about to embark on, we have covered some 319 Kilometres into the final control of the day, there has been some action and mishaps along the way in a leg that contained four regularity sections and two tests. As mentioned earlier, Gresly / Whyte decided to go grass cutting at Brooklands, but at Wilton House, a tree chased the MG Midget of John Gearing / James Gearing and assaulted it, happily, neither the tree or the crew were hurt - the Midget is now sporting some experimental aerodynamics as a result.. In a rush of blood to the head, Nick Maris / Ian Canavan have had a fuel issue at a petrol halt, mistaking a diesel pump for unleaded they decanted 15 litres of fuel into the tank. Luckily they were able to get assistance from the HERO Assist team and they are back underway.
It's been a stunning day here in the south of England with bright sunshine and blue skies the order of the day. We will post more as we have it.
Good afternoon from what has turned out to be a beautiful day after a bad start to the leg. Spirits were high as we crossed the English Channel during the night and crews woke to a stunning sunrise as we entered the port of St Malo.
There was a delay in getting the cars and crews off the boat and this set the day’s proceedings back by about 20 minutes, the early risers of Dinan were treated to the sight of 70 and more classic vehicles setting off on their day’s competition. Overnight leaders Paul Crosby / Martyn Taylor are having ignition problems in their Porsche 911, the six-cylinder motor apparently only running on five.
Today is a long day with just under 400 Kilometres to cover to get the event through the relatively flat and uninspiring roads in the north west of France and into the spectacular driving roads of the southern part of the country and beyond. Setting off from Dinan the event took in two regularities in Brittany before skirting Rennes and Chateaubriant before the third reg of the day north east of Nantes. Mike & Helen Tanswell were on the ball with a great performance here, an easy to miss left that appeared to go into a farmyard couldn’t fool them, the TR3 of Nicholas Harries / Catherine Cullen however did fall into the trap.
Drexel & Pat Gillespie started the event in a poor vein of form, they have got their act together now and are “rocketing through the other competitors” in Drexel’s words, the results will either confirm or deny this! Mike & Paula Donald are another crew that have shaken the cobwebs off this morning and are going well up to lunch, Morris & Fina Ku in the Arrive and Drive Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV have changed the way they are navigating from the roadbooks with very positive results.
Results to lunch are now being collated and we will post them as soon as they are finished.
Wow.. what a real nip and tuck day that has been. Paul Crosby / Martyn Taylor have an intermittent ignition fault that is causing their 911 to drop onto five cylinders. This is causing them concern and is allowing Jayne Wignall who is partnered by Martyn's Uncle, Kevin Savage to really turn the screws on them.
The atmosphere here in Poitiers is nothing short of electric, a real sense of camaraderie and fun is apparent with the crews and the stories of the day's derring-do have been going on into the early hours of the morning. It's been a long day - 399 kilometres with tomorrow stretching out to 439 km as we head towards the mountains of the south.
News amongst the crews.
Marcus Anderson / Matthew Lymn Rose have had a storming day to lie third, those familiar with past Classic Marathon's will know and understand the heritage of the pairing, they are a force to be reckoned with and if their car remains reliable, they could be the ones to upset the apple cart.
Jorge & Maria Jose Frias had a steady start to the event in their MG B and have started to get to grips with the regularity instructions.
The 'Maxi Girls' of Bron Burrell / Tina Kerridge-Reynolds and Seren Whyte have slipped a little to 19th overall after a day when oil fumes were coming into the car and causing the trio some headaches on the sections. Seren's sister, Elise is having another great run with Daniel Gresly after their 'bank cutting' antics at Brooklands, lying fourth they are still a crew to be reckoned with.
Despite a tricky start to the event and the oil-cooler of their MG B providing some issues, Gary and Susan Johnson are starting to climb through the ranks and are really starting to get into the event.
That's all for tonight, we'll catch up with you tomorrow as we journey through France to finish the leg in Montauban.
We're delighted to see Gert Paul Vant't Hoff and Maurice Felsbourg back to the event with their Porsche 914 - a ten hour drive from Holland to France saw the pair arrive with us here at Futurescope in Poitiers just in time for Dinner and a well-deserved beer!
Crews just leaving now and we hope to be live on Facebook from 12:30 from the beautiful town of Brantôme. www.facebook.com/herorally
Car 32 - Marcus Anderson and Matthew Lymn Rose appear to have slept through their alarm and checked out of Poitiers approximately 22 minutes late, this means 11 minutes in penalties and will see them in freefall down the leaderboard.
We're sat in the beautiful town of Brantôme for lunch with bright blue skies, the River Dronne flowing gently past with day old ducklings cheeping merrily - and the odd splash of a canoeist who overturns their craft on the rapids to the delight of our competitors! This delightful Ville situated in the Dordogne has been in existence for some 1400 years and the Abbey which sits overlooking the river is a thing of real beauty - it is reputed to have one of, if not the oldest bell towers in France.
We can confirm that Marcus Anderson / Matthew Lymn Rose did indeed check out late from Poitiers this morning, the penalty for being 21 minutes late being 10 minutes and 30 seconds, cutting their chance of an overall placing or award massively.
The route is starting to evolve from the flat expanses of the north into slight climbs with open and flowing roads to keep the crews enthralled and entertained as we head ever further south. We have a couple of crews experiencing mechanical difficulties, Mike Kirk and Mal Capstick are nursing their Sunbeam Alpine due to a grumbling wheel bearing with father and son crew John and James Gearing having undisclosed mechanicals with their MG Midget, the crew are fine, it is just the car that is being problematic.
Results now live with the top five separated by just 14 seconds and the top ten by 22 seconds, Jayne Wignall / Kevin Savage are chipping away at the leaders, Paul Crosby / Martyn Taylor and are just two seconds adrift.
The cat has been well and truly thrown amongst the pigeons today with a real turnaround in the overall leaderboard - more on this later.
Three Aston Martin mounted crews went back to their vehicles roots today - by resembling the original tractors once produced by David Brown and falling into ditches! Happily, all three cars and crews escaped unhurt and with minor scrapes, but both the DB5's of Mark Shipman / Mike Tarr and Alan & Tina Beardshaw overshot a slot and fell into the same ditch! The DB2 of Amanda Johnson / Karen Turner suffered a similar fate but at a different spot.
Derek and Susan Skinner had some intricate Halda surgery to complete after the re-set button came adrift, Derek's deft touch and what he describes as the 'world's smallest screwdriver and a lot of cursing'...
The Austin Maxi of Burrell / Kerridge / Whyte had some mechanical issues on the run in and some truly heroic efforts on the ladies behalf mean that they didn't lose their position. Mike & Helen Tanswell are having a blinding day with an excellent three zero penalty timing points, Hellen is rightly over the moon with her performance today.
Finally, and the big news of the evening is that we have a big change around at the top of the leaderboard. Stephen and Alexander Chick fell from grace spectacularly with a line fault and a scenic tour dropping them to 13th, unlucky for them. A stunning performance from Daniel Gresly / Elise Whyte saw them take the lead from Paul Crosby / Martyn Taylor after a line fault error at the final timing point on the first regularity of the day cost them 10 seconds. Jayne Wignall / Kevin Savage lie in third with just seven seconds between the top three.
We are hearing that the weather will break tomorrow and that we will have thunderstorms in the Pyrenees, it could all change once again tomorrow!
Good morning from a drizzly and overcast Montauban. We reach Spain today via the Pyrenees and the weather could be four seasons in one day, whichever report you read varies from snow to sunshine and thunder. The road topography changes today and we will see plenty of hairpins and altitude changes as we head south-west out of Montauban. The last timing point of the day and finish control are in Spain where we will overnight in Boltaña and the Sobrarbe.
With the change in altitude and topography, quite a few crews have been paying keen attention to their vehicle's tyre pressures and having a run out to re-calibrate the sensitive trip meters which are so important to accuracy.
Dan Gresly is delighted with his and Elise's performances yesterday and commented on just how smooth the car ran and drove over the tight and twisty lanes - "It was like gliding, the car, communication and roads all came together yesterday, it was nothing short of perfect".
John and James Gearing had to have their MG Midget hot-wired by the HERO Assist team yesterday and in John's own words " I was a bit of a smart Alec and left the wires connected overnight which led to a flat battery, I won't be doing that again!"
We've made the Pyrenees!
Two crews have hit issues with Marcus Anderson / Matthew Lymn Rose encountering head gasket issues and a distinct lack of electricity due to an alternator problem, they are still going and we will update you when we have more from them. We received a call from the HERO Assist crew telling us about the BMW 2002Tii of Tom & Kieron Hayes and that its propshaft joint had split leaving the crew without any drive. They are about 20 Km from Montauban and trying to source spare parts.
The route this morning left Montauban with a short link section in the Garonne Valley and this has really suited Joel Wykeham / David Brown in another BMW 2002, they are just nine seconds off the lead and improving every day - they came very close to winning on the Icelandic Saga and are one of the crews tipped to do well at this event.
Three regularities brought us to our present location at Bagnères-de-Luchon where lunch is served before tackling the infamous Col De Peyersourde before a further run up the Cold'Azet.
Results to lunch will follow later, we are trying to get to the Cols to shoot some video footage of the cars for you.
The difference between the French and Spanish sides of the Pyrenees was defined by the warmth and relatively dry conditions in France, here is Spain we have rain, lots of it.
After lunch in Bagneres-de-Luchon, the topography went vertical in a very big way as crews attempted the Col de Peyresourde and what felt like the million hairpins that made the road up to the top. There is still a considerable amount of snow on the high peaks of the Pyrenees and this dropped the temperature into low single figures, this made the roads incredibly slippy and this was noted mostly by those with lower power and having to press on a little more.
Even more hairpins and climbs were the order of the afternoon just outside the village of Genos, where a relatively short seven-kilometre section with two timing points and a 658m climb over the section. Leaving France behind and heading into Spain, the rain started to fall and made the already slippy surfaces even more tricky to negotiate.
A change in the leaderboard saw Crosby / Taylor take 4 seconds back from Gresly / Whyte and leapfrog over them back into the lead. A line fault pushed Wykeham / Brown down to fifth with David & Joanna Roberts in fourth and Jayne Wignall / Kevin Savage back to third. Craig Bithray / Steven Hucklesby have mechanical issues with their Porsche 911 and have missed most of today's leg, we are hoping that their maladies can be fixed to allow them to re-join us soon.
Crews are taking lunch at Hotel Xabier in the grounds of the very beautiful Castle Jabier. Once again we can report a change at the top with Dan Gresly / Elise Whyte taking the top spot from Paul Crosby / Martyn Taylor by an estimated four seconds after Martyn suffered a very poor (by his standards) first regularity. Leaving Boltaña behind and heading due west for a change instead of south, the first regularity took in the col of Puerto de Serrablo and ran parallel to the Rio Guara for 18 kilometres, this was where Crosby / Taylor made an error and handed the lead over, however, the error was soon forgotten with an excellent six consecutive zeros over the next section.
We had a non-starter this morning, John & Judith Rowe's Mark II Jaguar's clutch cried 'no more'. We are unsure if they are having the Jaguar repaired or have retired as such. Tom & Kieron Hayes suffered some mechanicals and have not yet joined us at lunch, again, we are unsure of the issue but will report it when we have it.
The next regularity took the crews over Puerto de Santa Barbara and through the Sierra de la Penna which provided breathtaking views over the village of Bailo on the plain of Aragon. Richard Worts / Nichola Shackleton have had a superb run to leapfrog Till Coester / Chris Moore. We are using a joker system for the first time in this event and only five crews are left with them to play - all of them in the top nine.
More news later from the Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada.
What a day, northern Spain has blown us away with its beauty and diverse landscape after we left the mid-Pyrenees this morning. The views have been more than breathtaking, the sheer scale and size of the country plus the remarkable mountains shaped by glaciers and rivers have a distinct rounded shape that at first is confusing - they almost look man-made as they are sometimes symmetrically perfect. Navigationally, the day has been incredibly straightforward, driving wise they have been very challenging as we traversed some high peaks and extremely (hair) 'pinny roads. The main story of the day has been the epic battle within the top seven if a control is missed or a line fault is incurred, the order will change massively.
Some great news is that Tom & Kieron Hayes have rejoined us after a fraught 48 hours spent in Montauban. They have nothing but praise for the BMW concession in the town who went out of their way to fast-track a part over 24 hours and arrange to have it fitted - even though their workshop was fully booked. A new prop shaft 'doughnut' has been fitted after the one they were carrying was found to be the wrong type, they put all their resources behind the Hayes to assist them in getting back in the rally. Well done BMW Montauban.
There have been two regularities and one test this afternoon, the test was held at the fabulous Circuito de Navarra where there was some pretty spectacular driving on display. The most spectacular went to Joe Pearson / Mark Davenport who flung their SL around the tight and twisty track like they were possessed. Thomas & Marion Herrold were more than magnificent in their VW Beetle, look inside the car and the attention to detail is just stunning - a full cage and very well laid out interior doesn't start to show the detail of preparation, the cornering is extremely flat and watching it turn in was an absolute delight.
The big news is that we go into day six of nine with the top five within 22 seconds and the top ten by a minute, the top two are tied with a joker left to be played by three of the top five, it is that tight.
We'll see you tomorrow between Sto. Domingo and León.
|1||29||Daniel Gresly||Elise Whyte||Porsche 911||3C||1:27||1|
|2||56||Paul Crosby||Martyn Taylor||Porsche 911||4B||1:27||2|
|3||34||Jayne Wignall||Kevin Savage||Sunbeam Tiger||3D||1:45||3|
|4||17||David Roberts||Joanna Roberts||Jaguar XK150||2B||1:46||4||1|
|5||62||Joel Wykeham||David Brown||BMW 2002tii||4A||1:48||5||1|
|6||44||Richard Worts||Nicola Shackleton||MG C GT||3D||1:58||6||1|
|7||76||Till Coester||Chris Moore||Innocenti Mini Cooper||3A||2:01||7||1|
|8||72||Irvine Laidlaw||Tony Davies||Porsche 911 RS||4B||2:10||8||1|
|9||16||Stephen Chick||Alexander Chick||Austin-Healey 3000 MkI||2B||2:24||9||2|
|10||57||Paul Wignall||Annabel Jones||Porsche 911S||4B||2:29||10||2|
|1||1||Bill Cleyndert (GBR)||Jacqui Norman (GBR)||Bentley 3/4½||5300||1925||1A|
|2||2||Sue Shoosmith (GBR)||Trina Harley (GBR)||Bentley 3/4½||4398||1926||1A|
|3||3||Mel Andrews (USA)||Richard Porter (GBR)||Jaguar XK140 DHC||3442||1956||2B|
|4||4||Claus Coester (CHE)||Tjorven Christine Schroeder (DEU)||Bentley Special Sports||4250||1935||1A|
|5||5||Benno Britschgi (CHE)||Nina Britshgi (CHE)||AC March 16/80 Special (A&D)||1991||1938||1A|
|6||6||Tim Riley (Eng)||Anne Riley (Sco)||MG SA Tourer||2300||1938||1A|
|7||7||John Rowe (GBR)||Judith Rowe (GBR)||Jaguar MkII||4200||1960||2B|
|8||8||Amanda Johnson (GBR)||Karen Turner (GBR)||Aston Martin DB2||2580||1952||2B|
|9||9||Manuel Enes (PRT)||Alexandra Pombo (PRT)||Jaguar XK120 FHC||3442||1953||2B|
|10||10||Roy Parmenter (GBR)||Philip Thompsett (Eng)||Austin A30||1275||1955||2A|