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Whickham and District Motor Club Limited

South of Scotland Car Club -
William Paterson Memorial Targa Rally

2011 Berwick Classic PM-GW 1

This was the first outing of the year for Peter and me in his Mini and saw a trip across to Dumfries for a compact event that offered 14 tests in two repeated loops of three and four tests. Scrutineering was brief and uneventful and we lined up as car 10 and one of only three historics, in a small field of 16 cars.

First test was a mile down the road from the start at the Bogie family’s Oakbank works and was a 2 lap, smooth tarmac and concrete affair round the factory buildings. The test diagrams were a bit vague so a steady start was in order to ensure we didn’t do a wrong test and avoided the wagons, skips and other assorted metalwork that lined the test. We then moved a couple of miles along the A75 to another piece of wasteland owned by the Bogies. This one with a loop of tarmac and gravel where David has tested his rally cars. The gravel was very dry and dusty and didn’t offer a lot of grip so caution was required, especially as the course was marked by cones placed on concrete blocks. The final test of the loop was a former storage yard on the edge of the old Heathhall airfield. This was another tarmac and gravel test but the siting of the 2nd cone offered a choice of two correct routes round a small tree and our indecision spoilt our rhythm for the rest of the test - although we did the test correctly it wasn’t a good time.

It was then back to Oakbank to repeat the first three tests and we improved our times by 30 seconds over the loop, including a much better run at the 3rd test that was 16 seconds quicker than our first attempt. Next up was a 10 mile road section along the A76 to the Auldgirth Inn for lunch. Unfortunately a mix up with the lunch order caused some problems and the restart was delayed until everyone had been fed.


The second half started with a 2 mile road section and then 4 tests, all on the same estate and joined in total by no more than a few hundred yards of link sections. The first 2 of these were a combination of tarmac and gravel farm tracks with some chicanes, codeboards and a few buildings to avoid. The third was 100% gravel and started with an S bend over a bridge and cattle grids and was then a predominately straight hillclimb with six chicanes to the finish. The final test was a half mile gravel hillclimb through a forest, round a loop at the top and half a mile down again to finish back where you started. This had some very open chicanes and 2 codeboards on the way up and 2 on the way back down. All codeboards on the event had been fixed on the back of the stake so you had to stop and look back to get the board, unfortunately the organisers hadn’t thought this one through for this test as it was possible to see the ‘down’ boards on the way up and vice versa so no need to slow down at all.

We had no problems on the first loop of these and improved our times on all four the second time through, especially on the 3rd test where it was apparent that all six chicanes were open enough to take flat in a Mini. This caused us to arrive at the dip and crossroads on the test much quicker the second time through with what felt like major air being achieved!

With the tests completed it was an 8 mile run back to the finish and the final results. We had finished 5th overall and 1st in class. A very satisfying result for a car that would celebrate its 50th birthday 5 days after the event and on an event where the tests were just a bit too quick and open to suit the car.

2016 William Paterson Mem

Overall the event was great value with 25 minutes competitive driving time in a total route of only 50 miles and with no road timing, was a relaxed day out in the sunshine. The only downside was that although great fun, some of the tests were just a bit too fast with the potential for a big accident. Some better thought out and tighter chicane locations would sort this and it would be a great event for WDMC members who enjoy the Tranwell events to do. Targa Rallies are definitely the future!

Guy Wickham

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