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Old 11-25-2005, 09:56 AM
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Cooper_si Cooper_si is offline
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Default The Cheviot Stages Rally 2005 (uk)

THE CHEVIOT STAGES RALLY 2005

Well, this has to be the fastest and most tricky rally we have done in the new Cooper. The whole event was as the organisers and 'old hands' were saying it would be. A roller coaster of a rally with special stages of 10 and 16 miles in length very wet, wery slippery, very very fast, HUGE yumps, deep dips, mad mad twisty downhill sections, zero visibility fog on the higher sections of the stages and darkness for the last stage........unbelievable stuff!

We got the car down to Otterburn for scrutineering and documentation on the Saturday afternoon. It was already lashing with rain but the crazy keen service crew were undeterred. We met Simon and Nealee from ESSENTIALMINI.CO.UK and got stuck into the weekends motorsport.

Click the image to open in full size.

First up was a leaking tyre valve on one of the tyres and before you knew it the car was up on its stands and the dodgy tyre was whisked away to the tyre barge for repair. Meanwhile the car sailed through scrutineering with only mild bafflement from the scruitineer who couldnt find the cars throttle cable......... there isnt one and now he knows! Great bunch of guys, very cheerfull in the draughty shed.

Back from scrutineering the crew, had the car back on the stands to set the suspension. We needed it raised at the rear and lowwered at the front so it was even for the event. With the rally being a tarmac rally the cars suspension needed to be low and stiff. The pace notes showed loads of cattle grids so we kept a wee bit of height on the car until we saw what the grids were like.

Click the image to open in full size.

By this time, the service crew were suitably wet and muddy........and we hadnt started rallying yet. We repaired to the B&B and pub ready for the competition to begin in the morning.

Rally day was free from rain and we had the service area set up by 7.30am and the car ready to go and already the car was attracting its now customery attention from other teams and spectators. Me and Al would like to think its us.....but deep down, we know its the car thats the pull!

The car was on slicks but the stages were quite damp, some sections of the stages were also green with moss! Must try to source some intermediate and wet tyres someday!

Click the image to open in full size.

The first stage was delayed apparently after a Metro 6R4 clobbered a sheep and then we were away. Stage 1 was a baptism of fire. Slippery was the understatement of the day. The wheels were spinning on accelleration, the car was understeering on the bends and a touch of the brakes locked the wheels, but wow it was a fast stage!

A few cars had already bitten the mud as we came through the stage so we had to get the measure of the conditions quickly!

Stages 2 and 3 followed straight after and we were back into Service, now with our eyes as big as saucers! The speed of this rally was amazing. On the straights we were flat in top gear but then suddenly a crest would appear and depending on the pace notes we could take them flat but equally as often, immediately over the crest the road would plunge madly downhill, narrowing to barely the width of the car and twist and turn all over the place. If you had the opportunity you really had to hook the inside wheels off the tarmac to keep the car on! It works if you can do it.......but there were a few cars embedded into the moorland 30 odd yards off the outsides of bends!

The Service crew performed the usual checks on the car and all was fine. The suspension height turned out to be ok but we lowered the tyre presures as they were increasing by as much as 8psi when hot. The brakes were also working fine with a small adjustment to the bias. They were smoking at the end of every stage which seemed to amuse or frighten the spectators!

Click the image to open in full size.

Back out for Stage 4 and a few dry lines were appearing on parts of the stage that had previously been used so the grip improved...but not much! We also had to dodge a meandering cow! On Stage 5 we had the biggest 'moment' we have had so far with the Cooper.

As the speed is so high, we found that Al needed to deliver the notes much much quicker than usual, however when there is so much to say when the car is going so fast, its difficult to get the calls out in time. For instance heres a small quote ".....100 and caution bump, dip, bump, grid stay left into left 3 and downhill and 120 jump, bump, keep right, caution jump and right 3, danger big jump and dip...." Al has to get all this meaningful stuff out at the right time, delivered at the right speed, and I have to translate it into what I do with the car.....and still go as fast as we can without chucking it off the stage! Hilarious!

Somewhere among the bump, dip bits the car launched into the air, crashed down and basically just bounced! We were all over the place and still carrying some serious speed with no signs of slowing as the wheels generally need to be on the ground for the brakes to be any good....However in the usual rally tall story style as we went sideyways more than we really were hoping for but the road finally opened a bit and we rattled on. Al did say he tightened his belts after that! Eyes were now as big as saucers and the rest of the dinner service....

The following stages were also fantastic and we had got to grips with the lack of grip....if that makes sense?

Click the image to open in full size.

We have to say that the yumps are truly enormous and you can always tell that something spectacular is coming up when in the distance you can see masses of spectators milling about an upcoming 'crest'.....crest? Launch pad more like! All great fun though. One of the best was a 200 metre straight, uphill to a crest, but on approach it is blind. The crest is a cattle grid so you are flat out in 4th, nail the grid (hopefully between the gate posts) and launch into the air. As you come down again (relieved that it is a straight following it) you are hit by what seem like thousands of camers flashes going off! Feels like you are in the WRC!!!

The landings are a fairly violent affair but no damage seems to have been sustained!

Final service came and the crew fitted the spotlamps as the light was fading. We were putting up some very fast times and going well. Al has us on the in car camera at 95mph with about 15 - 20 metres visibility in the fog. He said it scared him when he was watching the tape! (I havent seen it yet...) However he is currently still banging his head on any brick wall he passes. He unfortunately committed the co-drivers worst sin and booked us into a time control early and we were hit with a load of time penalties. Poor chap. It has happened to the best before him but he is still sick about it. I was naturally very graceful about it and only slapped him about the heed while he was wearing his crash helmet.

Click the image to open in full size.

Seriously though, I feel for him, as a co-driver has a lot on his/her plate on a rally. So, as we were going so well anyway we battered on. (Al was telling me to go faster in the fog at some points.....think the phrase included' District Nurse' and ' brake later').

The last two stages were getting dark and the fog was pretty thick at the half way point. We scorched through the last stage, catching the previous two cars and dodged another car on its roof on a bridge......

The last road section back to the final time contol was when we realised just what a truly tricky rally it was. We were presented with rather nice engraved brass keyrings at the end by the organisers. The inscription simply reads "I survived Otterburn".............says it all. We finished an incredible 30th overall. Dead chuffed!

Thanks again goes to all who support us in this mad sport.

Simon - Essentialmini.co.uk, cheers for all your enthusiasm and assistance. Hope the B&B isnt as ropey next time!! The car was ABSOLUTELY FANTASCTIC with the essentialmini tuning parts....
FRAMOR GARAGE BANCHORY for the last minute car prep.
Forfab for the new sumpguard......
The magnificent srevice crew who know who they are. You should be able to bottle enthusiasm like this but then you wouldnt be able to afford it!
Special thanks this time to Shelly who kept us 'hydrated ' and fed all day....BRILLIANT.

>>10 second video of Martin Page here

MINI COOPER...
M7Tuning Throttle body
MTH Exhaust Manifold
MTH TUNER FILE to match Manifold
All parts supplied by EssentialMINI.co.uk
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  #2  
Old 11-30-2005, 03:43 PM
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wow, what a serious write-up, thanks for sharing this! Except the teaser video, come on we want the full run...

Congratulations on the successful run, and can't wait to see more.
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  #3  
Old 11-30-2005, 04:26 PM
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if you were to write up a budget for rallying this cooper...how much do you think it would cost annually and how many rallies do you do a year?
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Old 11-30-2005, 04:46 PM
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Excellent write-up, sir, and congrats on a fine showing...the air pics are superb!
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Old 05-11-2006, 07:00 AM
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so what about a followup here?
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Old 05-16-2006, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollis3
so what about a followup here?
i did....

http://www.motoringunderground.com/f...ead.php?t=1606

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