Hughes Rally - Sat 3rd June, Kent

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Hughes Rally - Sat 3rd June, Kent

Postby chrisgallacher » Wed May 31, 2017 11:36 am

Next up for Steve Joyce and me in the Sabre Six is the Hughes Rally in Kent this coming Saturday, 3rd June. Details here: Hughes Rally

Don't know details of the route yet, but if anyone wants to come and say hello the rally is based at the Holiday Inn Maidstone/Sevenoaks, London Road, Wrotham Heath, Sevenoaks, TN15 7RS.

This is where scrutineering etc will take place on Friday evening to 8pm, along with the Start on Saturday (we're off at 09.25am) and the Finish at around 5.25pm

I'll post up some pics next week. Wish us luck!
Chris Gallacher
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Re: Hughes Rally - Sat 3rd June, Kent

Postby Roger Pennington » Wed May 31, 2017 11:41 am

Good luck Chris & Steve! :D I'm afraid I won't be able to be there to see you in action, but I hope it all goes well for you!
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Re: Hughes Rally - Sat 3rd June, Kent

Postby Old and Slow » Wed May 31, 2017 12:59 pm

Hi Chris, and Steve,
I hope everything goes OK at the week-end, stay out of the gravel.
Cheers,
Philip N
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Re: Hughes Rally - Sat 3rd June, Kent

Postby heathsabre » Wed May 31, 2017 3:17 pm

Have fun Chris. Look forward to seeing the photos and the results.

We're doing the London to Brighton Classic Car Run on Sunday in the Prototype. Non competitive unlike your event. Starts at Brooklands and finishes in the afternoon on Madeira Drive, Brighton.
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Re: Hughes Rally - Sat 3rd June, Kent

Postby chrisgallacher » Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:36 pm

The next HRCR Clubman’s event for Steve Joyce and me in the Sabre Six was the Hughes Rally based in north Kent in early June.

The weekend didn’t get off to the best start when, driving across country from Hampshire to scrutineering near Sevenoaks – avoiding the M25 which was stop-start following an earlier accident – after several miles of misfiring the ignition just died and we coasted to a stop by the side of the road. This is why I have an allergic reaction to heavy motorway traffic in the Sabre – this would have been no fun and downright dangerous on the M25 with no hard-shoulder.

For a while now I’ve been getting an annoying intermittent ignition fault. Usually you just see a flicker on the tacho and everything feels fine, but occasionally it’s more pronounced and you feel the misfire. I’ve changed various things at different times – swapped the coil, bypassed the cut-off switch, bypassed the tacho, re-made the +12v ignition wiring. Each time the problem goes away and I think I’ve nailed it, only for it to reappear a few days later. I hate intermittent faults. Anyway, on this occasion the misfiring had got steadily worse until the engine well and truly died. Whipping off the dizzy cap and the problem was obvious – the plastic heel of the points had completely melted over, so the points themselves weren’t opening at all. I’d found the real source of the misfire problem at last, which Steve and I diagnosed as a failing capacitor (condenser if you really must) allowing intermittent sparking across the points as they opened, causing the misfire. As this misfire and sparking got worse it caused the points assembly to heat up, to the point where the plastic heel melted.

Failed set on the left:
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Fortunately as every good Sabre owner knows, you never (ever) throw anything away. In the spares bag I had an old and used but serviceable set of points & capacitor which we fitted in a few minutes, guessing at what a 15-thou gap looks like. Sure enough the engine fired up straight away and the rest of the journey was without drama, although I was worried in case it happened again with no spare to hand.

So that evening whilst Steve was hard at work plotting the first few regularities I popped over to Tony Heath in Orpington to borrow a spare points & capacitor set, and to check out and gap everything up properly. All seemed to be holding up so we didn’t meddle too much, and sure enough we had no further problems for the rest of the weekend. But thanks for your help Tony – it gave us a quiet mind for the whole of the rally!

I’ve done a fair few rallies in the Sabre over the years now – three Classic Marathons, several Classic Rally Tours weekends, four LE JOG Touring Trials – but the technical workload for the navigator in particular for these one-day HRCR Clubman events is more demanding than any of the longer events. Come the rally itself, despite not setting the event on fire we nevertheless had a cracking day’s sport which kicked-off with five tests held in Mereworth Woods near Wrotham, private land owned by the MoD. These were great fun - long runs on smooth forest tracks where we could really open the Sabre up. The rally then moved on to Hole Park Estate, which apparently won Visit Kent’s Garden of the Year award in 2016. We thought they were brave allowing 60 rally cars to rag it round the estate tracks, but the tests and regularities there were well thought-out and we endeavoured to keep to the route, even if our attempts at accurate timing went out of the window by this stage.

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Photos: M&H Photography

Mereworth Woods regularity start behind my all-time favourite car:
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Unfortunately the Elite’s rally was to end by the morning coffee halt with suspension problems:
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As expected we were making forced errors on the individual tests & regularities – nothing too dramatic, but where we were collecting huge penalties was on the overall picture. Steve and I are still on a steep learning-curve on these events and we had failed to organise ourselves sufficiently to think ahead, to know in advance what was coming next once one regularity or test completed. How do the individual elements knit together into the overall event? There just isn’t the luxury of time to wait around deciding where to move on to next, trying to decipher the maps or instructions. So as a team we ended up making unforced errors, even at one point missing a whole test altogether and not realising it until the marshalls expressed some surprise that we were still in the rally as we approached the lunch stop.

The afternoon comprised several regularities in the lovely Kent countryside, before returning to Mereworth Woods for two more long regularities on the forest tracks. By now we had no idea what speed we were supposed to be maintaining and we knew we were well down the order, so we decided to simply go for it, give the car a blast and enjoy ourselves!

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Photos: Philip Smith

Come the Finish, on the positive side we completed the rally with the car and crew intact – if a little dishevelled. It was a great day’s motorsport but, although our pride was intact, we were a long (long!) way down the order. Reflecting on this afterwards it’s apparent that so long as the car holds together, the driving and timekeeping pale into insignificance. No novice crew have ever improved by simply going faster. These rallies are all about co-ordinated teamwork, both of us knowing our role and keeping a close eye on the bigger picture – what comes next? Where should we be? Do we have the luxury of time in hand? – in addition to the more obvious immediate challenge of tricky navigation and timekeeping through the current village or whatever. Oh, and – note to self - it helps to read all the instructions, every last detail, and pay attention to what they’re telling us!

Anyway, once home Steve and I kicked our respective cats and we’re determined to learn from this experience. We’re going to put all we learned into practice on our next event back up in Yorkshire, the White Rose Rally this coming weekend. Wish us luck!
Chris Gallacher
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Re: Hughes Rally - Sat 3rd June, Kent

Postby efi_sprintgte » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:33 pm

That last photo looks brilliant!!
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Re: Hughes Rally - Sat 3rd June, Kent

Postby scimjim » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:26 pm

Looks like a Slice "Tailpiece" to me? :-)
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Re: Hughes Rally - Sat 3rd June, Kent

Postby GavinR » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:55 pm

Good to hear you're enjoying the events, and good luck this weekend
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Re: Hughes Rally - Sat 3rd June, Kent

Postby Roger Pennington » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:52 pm

Well done Chris & Steve (& Sabre, of course!) The photos look great. :D
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