Monday, 6 May 2013

Brrmmm, Brrrrmmmmmm!

The long weekend is nearly over but it has been fantastic! We spent Saturday evening and all day Sunday throwing a 1960s Sprite round the potholes of north Northumberland and the Borders.
The Car in all its muddy glory at the end of the weekend

In the  middle of nowhere - near East Horton in
Northumberland waiting for our turn on a test

The car use to belong to my father-in-law, but when it lost two wheels back in 1981 it was put in the garage and stayed there until four years ago. When my father-in-law, John, was diagnosed with cancer, the car in the garage worried him. We knew pretty early on that his illness wasn't going to have a happy ending, and he didn't want my Mother-in-law to have to worry about the car after he had gone. He happened to mention these concerns while my Dad was around. Dad has always been interested in cars, and has built a kit car (he has his own blog for more photos!). For a nominal sum he bought the car and towed it to the opposite end of the country. For a less nominal sum he doubled the size of his garage and spent two years getting the car back on the road. Last year the car was ready for the Classic weekend, but my brother-in-law very inconsiderately chose the weekend to get married! This year was the year when the car would be back on the road and rallied in anger for the first time in nearly 30 years! It's also worth mentioning at this point that my Dad has never driven in a rally before. We've marshalled at the rally for many years - it was one of the first weekends I spent with my future-in-laws back in 2004 - and I navigated for John in a Cavalier (another interesting story from our family history....) in 2008 .
Unfortunately this was how we spent quite a lot of the weekend in 2008... bonnet up!

The cavalier didn't enjoy rallying so we didn't get round every test! This was a test we ended up marshalling rather than driving!
John marshalling at the Berwick Classic 2008
after the car objected! We marshalled this test  two years ago
when I was learning to drive, and I drove dad's car into a hedge!

Not to be left alone, my Uncle-in-law and his son decided to take part as well. Uncle Gordon use to rally with John 30 years ago, but hadn't rallied since. And Ben wasn't even born. So it was pretty new for them too. And then my husband, Michael, wanted to play along, so bought a 1998 Corsa to throw around the course. He was joined by a university friend. It was quite the family event as Mother-in-law and Aunty-in-law marshalled!
Uncle Gordon, Benji and Aunty Barbara trying to
plot the Sunday route - it was a bit of a team effort!

The countryside in north Northumberland and the borders is fantastic! Beautiful hills and coastline. And the route of the rally tries to avoid busy areas so you travel roads that you would never normally travel. But of course, these are also the roads with the biggest pot holes. I wish I had got a picture of the pot hole with a traffic cone in it! But unfortunately I was busy making sure we didn't get lost - no way were we going to get any comments about female map readers! Over two days we completed 24 tests (throwing the car round a farm yard around cones as fast as possible), 3 regularities (following grid references or clues around the country side at an average speed trying to get as close to the required time by the end as possible - we weren't as good at these) and driving a total of 200 miles! The car had a bit of a hiccup at the final test, but we couldn't have picked a more spectacular  spot to break down - Gin Head at the entry to the Firth of Forth with Tantallon Castle in the background. But we got going again....

Our one break down - if you don't count the point when
Dad turned the fuel pump off accidentally! He'll be moving that switch before next year!

All three of the family teams made it through all tests and got to the finish. None of us came last in class and all of our results were "respectable". For first-timers we did a really good job! Roll on next year!

(Normal service will be resumed shortly - although I spent a while this weekend throwing the car round the countryside, I did fit in some sewing too).


Lin said...

Glad you found time to sew as well - sounds like a fun weekend.

pennydog said...

Did you FIL ever see the car all restored?