Some photos I thought you would like

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  • The Rally Team of unpaid helpers (Plus Paul Bonas!)
    The Crew The Rally Team of unpaid helpers (Plus Paul Bonas!)
  • Stage unknown but it was very wet!
    WyeDean Rally 2014 Stage unknown but it was very wet!
  • Fitted some 'proper' suspension!
    DMS Dampers Fitted some 'proper' suspension!
  • This is the Hole that wrecked our engine and ultimately caused our retirement :(
    2015 WyeDean Rally This is the Hole that wrecked our engine and ultimately caused our retirement :(
  • Stage 6 (Haye Park) at speed
    Woodpecker 2015 Stage 6 (Haye Park) at speed
  • Stage 1 (Porlock)
    Somerset Stages 2015 Stage 1 (Porlock)
  • Stage 2 - Route 60
    Nicky Grist Stages 2015 Stage 2 - Route 60
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  • Somerset Stages 2015
  • My First Gravel Rally with my wife (then girlfriend) Kate Johnson
    1983 Nicolet Stages My First Gravel Rally with my wife (then girlfriend) Kate Johnson
  • Car with 18" Tarmac Wheels (And Rob Jode Peeping over the Roof)
    2013 Somerset Stages Car with 18" Tarmac Wheels (And Rob Jode Peeping over the Roof)
  • We almost didn't compete in the 2014 WyeDean as the seats were out of date!
    New Seats We almost didn't compete in the 2014 WyeDean as the seats were out of date!
  • Paul Woodford (Presenter from Special Stage TV) is fascinated that we Rally an Estate Car
    Nice Arse Paul Woodford (Presenter from Special Stage TV) is fascinated that we Rally an Estate Car
  • GREAT photo of the car spitting flames!
    Woodpecker 2015 GREAT photo of the car spitting flames!
  • The end result after damaging the engine & gearbox :(
    WyeDean Stages 2015 The end result after damaging the engine & gearbox :(

Some videos you may also find interesting

A summary of the 2015 WyeDean, which was the first ever rally with my son.

I had high hopes of a very enjoyable day. Unfortunately, our rally ended on Stage 2 with a broken gearbox and a blown engine!

I loved this stage! It was the tarmac stage of the 2015 Somerset Stages rally where we drive up Porlock Hill (usually a private toll road) near Minehead.

Great Fun!

A short clip of us (ok me really) managing to throw the car off the road at a hairpin on Stage 3 (Penmachno North) of the 2015 Cambrian Rally.

I have no excuse as I just got it 'completely wrong' as the car gained traction on the exit. Schoolboy error!

Although only the Dash Camera was working, I thought you may like this clip as we were 17th Fastest on the Great Orme Stage of the 2015 Cambrian Rally.

I wanted it to be a good stage to finish on, particularly as I knew it was going to be the last one for Russell. By his reaction at the end, I think he enjoyed it!

5th September 2015 (Woodpecker Stages Rally) Report

We headed to Ludlow Racecourse hoping for a 'Finish' after breaking down on the second stage of the Nicky Grist :(

My Co-Driver Russell Joseph and I towed the Rally Car to Ludlow on Friday using the Nissan Navara of Phil Goulding from GB Motorservices as usual! Apart from a pretty loud exhaust level of 99dB (I think the limit was 100 but more of that later) the car sailed through Scrutineering. We even managed to leave the Impreza and trailer in Ludlow overnight at the kind suggestion of Paul Gunter.

We had a rubbish start number of 89, but at least it meant that we didn't have to get out of bed very early, so we set out on Saturday morning with 'The Crew' from GB Motorservices in Ross-on-Wye. 'The Crew' for this event being Kev Goulding, Pete Fitzgerald, Rob Jode and Jack Goulding. Your Service Crew are the backbone of any team - Without them, you are not going anywhere!

We set ourselves up next to Paul Bonas as arranged. Paul was seeded at Car 54 so we didn't see much of him all day as he was always leaving over half an hour before us!

I had decided to 'get back to basics' on the first few stages, so switched off the Launch Control and Anti-Lag Systems for Stage 1 (Bringewood) I had been struggling to get to grips with the Anti-Lag particulalrly. Switching off the systems made no difference anyway because it was just like driving on wet cobblestones and I drove like a 'Granny'!!

The tyre pressures were too high when I checked them before Stage 2 so I lowered them by 3psi but Paul Bonas took 12 seconds out of us! I tend to judge my times against Paul because he has an Ex-Prodrive Impreza and our times have been very similar previously. Paul Bonas' lovely Fiance Mel Eatough gave me a good talking to and I decided to try a little harder!

I had never driven on this event before, and had not seen Radnor Forest previously. Stage 3 (New Radnor) was fantastic, with wonderful views (when you stopped at the end) and very fast!! We had lowered the tyre pressures by another 3psi at the Service Halt and although the car was still 'dancing' at the rear, grip felt a little better so I tried to maintain as much momentum as possible. We must have been going well because we were 'losing' the brakes towards the end of the stage and we beat Paul's time by 35 seconds. I was a lot happier with my driving, and must have been going well because Russell commented that he realised at one point the car was 'twitchy' and that we would be a very long way off the road if I didn't hold onto t!

Stage 4 felt good as well, but we started to lose traction at the rear of the car as well as brakes again before the end of the stage. Then it was back to 'Main Service' for the Lunch Break.

We actually went testing during the previous week at Phil Price' Rally School. We mainly tried different tyres but Phil Price kindly suggested that we didn't have 'enough rebound' on the rear dampers. I had increased the rebound damping before the rally but increased it more at the Service Halt. What a difference! In the afternoon, the car felt 'planted' instead of 'jiggly' ( I thought this was the easiest way to describe it!) and I really felt much more confident with the car. (Thank you Phil Price!)

I was pretty disappointed with our overall position to be honest, but I think we now have a much better car to start the Cambrian and I will hopefully have enough confidence in the car to 'attack' from Stage 1.

Changes needed before the next event are:

  • Re-Pack the exhaust box (I think the Anti-Lag has burnt the exisitng packing - see photo to the left!)
  • Hydraulic Handbrake (I couldn't lock up the rear wheels at hairpins)
  • Harder Front Brake Pad material (Currently Ferodo DS2500)
  • Dot 5 Brake Fluid (Currently Dot 4)

1st September 2015 (Phil Price Rally School) Testing

We have never been testing before so thought we should give it a try!

So we went testing!

I decided to go testing when Paul Bonas suggested that we join him at The Phil Price Rally School. The idea was to test some tyres, maybe make some suspension adjustments and mainly get some 'seat time' as it may sound obvious but I only drive the car on Rallies, flat out from the start when we get to the first stage. You drive your road car every day, in all sorts of conditions so you know exactly what it is going to do.

We started on the 195/65 Kumho tyres that I have been using and prefer to set a 'base' time, driving at around 85%. After making some brief Pacenotes, I proceeded to completely ignore them for most of the day - Sorry Russell! This included turning left when Russell had clearly told me to turn right - Maybe I had better work on this.

On Paul's second run, he had a slight 'indiscretion' and his car went straight back on the trailer for his SVP Team to repair in time for the Woodpecker Rally in 4 days time!

After a couple more runs and tyre pressure adjustments it was a change onto some Michelins that I had struggled with previously. As I had done a few circuits by now, I took Kev Goulding from GB Motorservices out with me. I'm going to blame it on the tyres, but drifted so wide after a small yump that we went up a bank and almost over the top - Obviously I must have been showing off!

We took the Michelins off immediately and put on some 205/65 DMack Tyres. Immediately we had more grip. With some tyre pressure adjustments, I began to really enjoy myself!

And then we had to end the day early - I thought we had a puncture after a downhill right-hand bend and reversed slowly back to the service barge. On inspection, we found that the tyre was fine but we had a hole in the rim!

We worked out that we probably picked up some gravel after drifting too wide on the downhill right-hand bend, and it must have punched a hole in the rim when it became trapped in between the brake caliper and rim. Time to fit some wheel scrapers!

Apart from getting used to the car before a Rally, the most important part of the day was the advice from Phil Price to increase the rebound damping on the rear of the car. If you watch the videos from the Test Day carefully, you can see where the car is bouncing too much. You can read the importance of this advice in the report above from the Woodpecker.

11th July 2015 (Nicky Grist Stages) Report

We were really looking forward to this event, with some of the best stages in the country

This turned out to be a very disappointing event for us.