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Whickham and District Motor Club Limited

Solway Historic Rally 16th Oct 2016

2011 Berwick Classic PM-GW 2

30 Historic cars lined up at Kirkbride Airfield in Cumbria along with 22 modern cars tackling the separate Targa Rally. I was in my usual 1966 Mini with Guy Wickham in the passenger seat. The first first 4 tests were at Kirkbride and were surprisingly slippery but they passed without mistakes and filled us with confidence for the rest of the day. The next test was in Wigton and was slippier still, but we pushed a bit harder and enjoyed skidding around. There was then a long treck to Rowrah Kart circuit where a short test around the paddock was followed by a lap of the circuit. By this time it had started raining . The circuit was well soaked in two stroke oil and rubber - mixing this with water made for a very strangely slippery surface that seemed to bring out the worst in every car’s handling characteristics. Survival was the aim and we took a very cautious approach which judging by some of the spins we saw other cars perform was a wise plan!


This took us to the lunch halt where the results showed we were a surprising and very welcome 5th overall. We were only 3 seconds behind David Agnew/Rose Shaw in 4th so it was all to play for. A car park test followed lunch before we returned to Rowrah for a two lap test on the circuit. The track was almost dry by now and the grip level was much better allowing us to push on and enjoy riding the kerbs. We then headed to the only test that couldn’t be described as smooth, at a quarry in Workington. The surface suited us well and we had a really good run. A big Autotest type test broke the journey back to Kirkbride where 4 more tests completed the route. The final test was a mile long with some good fast sections which would have quite an effect on the results. Going into this last test Andy Beaumont’s Sunbeam Rapier was 1 second ahead of Archie Simmonds in his Midget but Andy went the wrong side of a cone and handed the win to Archie.

The final results showed that we had overtaken David Agnew in his Porsche but David Ruddock/Paula Brown and John and Marian Sloan had got past us. We were delighted to finish 5th overall and first in class (up to 1968 cars) which is our best result yet in the Mini. We were especially pleased that we had set joint fastest time with Andy Beaumont/Sam Wainwright on the quarry test, our first fastest time!

The event was great fun, competitive and straightforward and we’d recommend it to anyone.

Peter Metcalfe

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