Bumper entry of 92 start the three day event from Chesterfield Hotel Casa
In a packed pre-event briefing at the Casa Hotel HQ, HERO Competition Director Guy Woodcock said of the rally which encourages beginners, provides a platform for intermediate crews and yet also caters for experts; “we will ease you in gently today but it will get harder day by day.”
Clerk of the Course Nick Reeves who has been responsible for planning the event from the beginning added his words of welcome;” It’s great to see you all, we hope you enjoy the event that we have been working on it since March, it’s good to see it all coming together. The Summer Trial will start easy but increase in intensity. For example, the controls will be easy to see today but they won’t be later on!”
Nick handed over to HERO event Competition Liaison Officer, Seren Whyte assisted by her highly successful and experienced navigator sister Elise, who imparted their joint expertise. This was hugely appreciated by the many beginners and intermediate crews who lapped up their advice prior to the start.
Tom Robertson navigating father Steve in their 1936 MG PB said; “ That was very useful, especially as it is my first HERO event. I was a late replacement for Steve’s navigator who couldn’t make it.” The pre-event briefing must have worked as the pair ended the day first overall!
Danes Esbern and Asger Jakobsen driving their 1966 Triumph TR4A were equally happy to get some pre-event tips. Esbern; “The briefing was really helpful as this is our second ever event, our first was the Summer Trial last year! We loved it so much we are back. Asger; “Last year was enjoyable but also stressful, particularly the first day when we made a few mistakes which we hope to avoid this year.” They certainly managed that as they were delighted to end the day third overall.
Nigel Mason and Ian Marston in their 1973 MGB were also happy to be back for more. Nigel “This is our sixth HERO event. My first ever event was the Summer Trial with my son, that was great but I must say it’s good to see so many new people out on the event.
For some, it was lastminute.com preparation as engines for their rally cars were only finished last night! Bent and Martyn Jakobsen, UK domiciled Danes in their 1934 Alvis Silver Eagle Special, worked late last night, Bent; “We only just finished rebuilding the engine around 10.30pm last night.” “But it seems to be working well” added son Martyn. Clearly! Father and son duo were sixth overall.
Darren Everitt and Susan Dixon arrived just before scrutineering to visit the Technical Assistance team as Darren too had only finished rebuilding his engine the night before of their 1965 Triumph 2000 Mk 1; “ I only had two hours sleep last night fitting our spare engine, it was all a bit of a rush which left a part pushing on the steering and the horn wouldn’t work.!” The team made a few adjustments and the Triumph sailed through scrutineering.
A three day event covering 400 miles, the first ‘gentle’ day covered three Regularities and two Tests on former national rally champion Steve Perez’ estate. A treat was for crews to be able to view his collection of fabulous rally cars which includes his short-wheelbase Audi Quattro S1 whilst scrutineering their cars in the farmyard of the same estate.
Crews were treated to some spectacular scenery on a glorious English summer’s day as the cars traversed the beautiful Peak District National Park. They weren’t just dazzled by the wonderful countryside as they circled the super Danflask Reservoir, but also the names of some villages such as Wigtwizzle!
However, just as some crews were really getting into the swing of the Summer Trial the very nature of the countryside caught them out. A slow herd of cows were being ushered across the narrow lane holding up at least six cars on the second Regularity. They had to wait patiently for the lumbering traffic to graze its way through the opposite gate, but the clock was ticking!
To add to the timing woes on their very first event and Regularity rally, Timothy Downs who was stuck behind the cattle with his navigator Roger Annis in their 1964 Austin Healey 3000 Mk 111, then needed the Technical Assistance crew’s attention for their exhaust. The exhaust box and pipes were already hanging off supported by string, but they got back into the action to finish fifth in class at day’s end.
Although they are not eligible for overall results, some of the top Masters crews are out on the event either tuning up their navigational skills or shaking down their cars for halo HERO events later in the year. Paul Dyas who has already scored a podium finish at the HERO One event earlier this year, is shaking down his Volvo for Rally of the Tests and Le Jog later in the year. His navigator is Le Jog Gold Medal winner Amy Henchoz who already proved her worth today. “This morning I wasn’t so good, knowing where the controls are and then the countdown, but Amy shouted them at me this afternoon and we started to get zeros! We got a ten second penalty but it must have just been a mistake as Amy put in a query and it was soon sorted out. She is certainly proving her worth, we are first Master after day one!”
Second overall today went to the very happy crew of Malcolm Dunderdale and Anita Wickens in their Mercedes Benz 190E. “ we really loved the Tests, it was great touching the odd fence along the way!” Said Malcolm. Anita, whilst incredibly happy with the result was thinking about day two; “The pressure is really on now!”
A great performance too from Bronwyn Burrell and Suzanne Barker in ‘Puff the Magic Wagon’ Bron’s original Maxi that she competed in on the World Cup Rally 1970. The pair were second prior to the last tests of the day where power proved crucial, but they still ended the day seventh, a brilliant result. “There’s still a long way to go” added Bron.
Finally, credit has to be given to the absolute ‘newbie’ crew of Porsche 911 of Damian and Sarah Lawrence, not least for their powerful full throttle, squealing start on today’s Tests. “ I loved it! It’s not all about speed though, as with the navigation and averages it can be quite intellectual which is why Sarah is doing well with the navigation. The trip meter is a godsend, once you can get your head around it! Said Damian. Sarah;” It can be tricky at times, there was definitely a name of a place on the road book very close to another and it threw us! But it has been a brilliant day with a nice group of people. We are looking forward to day two”
Photos by Blue Passion
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