Set in the majesty of the Peak District, HERO Challenge One promises will set the bar high for an intermediate rated competition, as contenders not only fight each other for honours, but also have to combat the high temperatures.
Despite it only being a one day event, the 145 mile route with 10 tests and 8 regularities is sure to take it’s toll.
As Robert Robinson said pulling his arm back sharply off the boiling body work of his 1983 Audi Coupe, “Yes it’s very hot, these old brown cars with plastic interiors seem to soak it in for you. Finger s crossed our car is alright, but there could be a few overheating problems for a few of the cars if it carries on like this. We are going to keep ourselves well lubricated and carry spare water as well.
“We enjoyed HERO Challenge Two, in fact I won the ‘Test Pilot’ award which was great but how I’m going to keep that up I don’t know!”
We caught up for the first time with Angus McQueen and Mike Cochrane (BMW 323i) before the start of an event, this time in Chesterfield at Scrutineering, instead of after an event. So how were they feeling? Angus; “Nervous now you’ve done that, but still excited to be here, in competition and out of lockdown. We have been on these roads twice before in previous Summer Trials, so some of the roads are familiar.” How was Mike going to tackle this one, especially as they are leading the HERO Challenge Cup? Mike; “The same way we always do, yes we are leading at the moment and long may that last, but we are just going to keep our fingers crossed that we don’t get caught out by anything! There are lots of tests but it’s something we have got a lot better at recently, it used to be a weak point but not now, bring them on!”
Sarah Darwent, navigator car 25. “We hope the Alfa Romeo is ready! We were out on the Summer Trial but lost the brakes on the second day and had to retire. Since then she has had a full suspension and brake refit but she is only back on the road in the last six weeks, so we hope she is ready. I think I’m ready too, I love navigating, but I just want to get the road books now and start planning! We work very well together, James is very good at listening and he is an incredible driver, as long as I make the right call, I just have to be confident in what I’ve planned. We seemed to go very well together last year.”
Paul and Gwyneth Steddy,1967 Ford Mustang. Paul; “Great, the Mustang is running fine, no I haven’t done much preparation work on it, it’s American, they never break down, allegedly! Some of the really narrow lanes can be a bit difficult for the Mustang. Compared to a Mini it’s a big handful but it’s got lots of power, good for getting it a bit sideways on the tests!”
Gwyneth; “ I hope the navigation is not too tough, we have done a few before so I’m not a complete novice, but I’m not far off it! We are going to bring lots of water, I think it is going to be as bit steamy in the cockpit, probably from the temperature caused by the arguments!
Dick and Harry Baines, 1965 Austin Mini Cooper S. Harry;” Yes we have been improving, fifth overall on the last event and first in class, which was my third ever rally. We won’t say too much but we hope to have a good go on Sunday! I’m getting more used to the rally books, the timing, the whole thing, although it is all still a bit new. It was the first map that I plotted out on the book, so that was another new thing, everything is always a bit new so the more you do the more you get used to it! “Dad has good driving experience which counters my lack of experience a bit, but we get on well together and have a good crack!”
Summer Trial winners 2019, Steve and Thomas Robertson are paired up again, but this time in the Triumph TR3 not the winning vintage MG. Steve; “Yes, we have a young brain in Thomas, it just depends whether we get it all together as the big issue for us is that Thomas is not going to get the road book until 30 minutes before we start which will cause some stress.”
It was suggested to Thomas that that was the penalty for being a winner and both having to move into the Masters Class! Thomas “It’s heartening, yes that’s good, but it will be fine. The roads are inspiring, I am quietly confident that we will do moderately, respectably well – maybe!
Curtis Jacoby, Graham Tuer, 1982 Jaguar XJS; “Yes we were very pleased with our result on the last challenge and it’s good to be out again, in the sunshine for once! We are moving up the charts slowly, we are taking it step by step. We recognize our mistakes each time we go out, we cleaned a few sections last time but we think we need to be a bit more consistent. We are not sure the long XJS will be suitable to the twists and turns of the Peak District but it’s got plenty of power, so we won’t be struggling up the hills.”
Graham; “ I tend to analyse where we’ve gone wrong each time and try and find out how we can improve, but it’s usually obvious where we can make improvements, it’s a learning exercise.
Paul Hernaman, ‘Crow,’ 1972 Porsche 911, Paul; “We have been doing OK, we got first in class on the last HERO event even though we had not done anything for 18 months. We had been up to fifth overall in the morning before finally finishing 10th overall after a mistake at a junction, otherwise, yes, we have been doing OK!”
‘Crow’; Was asked if he was the instigator of the famous Table Top Rallies, “Yes! It’s been my life for nearly forty years. For the last 10-12 years it has been on the internet, you can look at the maps directly online without any paper in front of you”. Ray was also asked about his nick name!
“My nick name ‘Crow’ has been with me since my schooling days when I was about nine years old, it eventually evolved into even being on my competition licence. It stuck!”
Andy Ballantyne, navigator 1969 Volvo Amazon; “ It’s been a good 18 months since I last sat in an historic rally car. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be exhilarating and it’s going to be hot!”
80 cars will be starting at 8.00 am on Sunday from the rally HQ, the Casa Hotel in Chesterfield. That could well be the coolest time of the day as temperatures are expected to reach 30 degrees at the height of the rally, so crews will need to keep their own cabins and temperaments as chilled as possible to achieve a good result.