The first full season is going well in the Association of West Midlands Motor Clubs "Heart of England" championship for the speakerfilters.com team. Best 6 of 9 results count. Here are the standings at the season halfway point:
Tim is leading the overall championship and Class D for drivers.
Neil is second in the overall championship, leading Class D for co-drivers and leading the Novice Co-driver table.
JD TYRES BOB SHAW MEMORY STAGES 2023, BRAWDY AIRFIELD
A very compact and efficiently run event in the furthest South West corner of Wales on a live army airbase gave the team a mix of big open sweeping sections and tight, twisty technical challenges. The surface is mostly smooth, grippy and abrasive, meaning harder than usual tyres are required to keep their temperature and wear rates down. A minor encounter with a lorry tyre on stage 3 was the only glitch in a very competitive event. The team are gelling well together now - the experience of the other events is starting to pay dividends.
Seeded at a start number of 22, a day long battle with championship contenders Furlong / Phennah resulted in the opposition finishing 12th with the Sunbeam in 13th overall and 3rd place in class - the crew's first trophy of the year.
Next event: Jordan Road Surfacing Stages at Fulbeck, 6 August 2023
ABINGDON CAR-NIVAL STAGES 2023, ABINGDON, OXFORDSHIRE
Due to other commitments this weekend for Neil, Tim partnered with Motosport UK's 2023 Academy member Emma Clarke for Abingdon. Despite a painful foot injury sustained on the morning of the event, Emma pushed through and supported Tim to achieve an excellent 11th overall on their first event togther. 4th in class and only 2 seconds away from a top 10 finish.
Next Event: Bob Shaw Memorial Stages at Brawdy, South West Wales, 2 July 2023
RJ MATTHEWS HAULAGE DIXIES CHALLENGE, EPYNT, WALES 2023
27th overall on the first visit for both crew members from a start position of 39. Epynt is a place like no other on the AWMMC Heart of England Champtionship. A place of fast smooth tarmac, blind crest after blind crest and the ability to bite very hard. Its the only event in the championship that uses pacenotes. The other events use simple plans of the stages from which the co-driver advises the driver of approximate distances and approximate corner angles. At Epynt each stage is described in great accuracy - exact distance between road features, the angle of a corner and by how much it tightens or opens through its arc, if a blind crest should be taken flat out or if caution should be taken due to a yet to be seen obstacle.
The idea behind such detailed pacenotes is that the driver can anticipate the road ahead with a great deal of accuracy and confidence - being able to trust the co-driver can make a massive difference to speed and hence results. If the co-driver makes a mistake or the driver mis-hears, it can really impact on competitiveness or worse, cause an "off". This was Neil's first time with pacenotes and both of the crew had never competed on Epynt before - its a place that some competitors visit a couple of times per year and have done so for years, they have confidence probably even without the co-driver's notes.
So there's pressure on both sides of the car and the wet conditions didn't ease the tension. There were some errors made on the notes, thankfully none of them catastrophic although one would've made a major difference if Tim had been pushing hard as though there was full confidence in the note reading. The rain came and went throughout the day, so the safest option was to stay on the wet tyres - aquaplaning is the last thing needed on these roads. Through the day things got easier and more confident in both seats but a measured drive with no offs at all resulted in a satisfying 27th overall and 4th in class.
A very well run event from Forresters Car Club & Forest of Dean Motor Club
Thanks to Mick for keeping the car in good shape throughout the day.
|With many blind crests - some of which are flat out and some with unsighted 90 deg bends afterwards!
|Servicing is crucial to keeping the cars running safely
Next event: Abingdon CARnival Stages, 11 June 2023 at Abingdon
LOOKOUT STAGES, MELBOURNE, YORK 2023
|Car wins the "best presented" award - a tribute to the amount of effort Tim puts in to preparation
|Building in confidence...
|Some parts of Melbourne are rougher and looser than most airfield based events
|Ready for action at Melbourne
|A minor off on stage 3 left the car stranded on a pile of wood. No damage caused but the crew took a stage maximum time.
Next event: Dixies Challenge, 30 April at Epynt, Mid-Wales
NORTHGATE VAN HIRE DUKERIES RALLY 2023, DONINGTON PARK
Opening the 2023 calendar for the SpeakerFilters.com rally team was the Dukeries Rally at Donington Park on 20th March. Sponsored by Northside Truck and Van Hire and very well organised and operated by the Dukeries Motor Club, the 55 miles of stage miles are based on a mixture of the main circuit and some of the infield roads and peripheral service roads. The off-circuit elements are largely tricky, twisty and narrow in nature contrasting significantly with the wide-open spaces of the main race circuit.
The car ran faultlessly through the day with the crew
gradually learning each other on their first event together. A few minor
navigating errors and one minor driver error that resulted in a limited
damage brush with a tyre wall didn't dampen the spirits as much as the
water standing on the tarmac for the first couple of stages. Once a
couple of stages were completed and the surfaces started to dry, the
team got into the swing of things and started to enjoy the event.
Individual stages times improved through the day too with 25th, 29th
(the stage with the minor indescretion), 20th, 19th, 18th and 16th
fastest times. These improvements added up to 20th overall and 5th in
class from a 90 car entry. Both Tim and Neil were very pleased with a
solid outcome on their debut event together.
A huge thank you
to Mike and Matt for looking after the car all day and of course to the
organisers, marshals, officials, rescue crews, emergency crews,
Donington Park circuit staff for a superbly run event.
Event report here.
Full results here.
Next event: Lookout Stages, 9 April 2023 at Melbourne Airfield near York
|2oth overall as a pleasing first result together
Introducing the www.speakerfilters.com supported rally team.
We first supported Tim Baker in his Talbot Sunbeam for the Mully Rally in October 2022. Since then we've confirmed support for Tim and Neil for the 2023 season including their assault on the Heart of England Stage Rally Championship. The pair are also competing in the www.asoc.co.uk Challenge sponsored by Ex-pressed Steel Panels and Neil is registered for the Broughton & Bretton Motor Club co-drivers' championship.
Shell: Talbot Sunbeam 3-door hatchback with Series 2 lights and grille. Modifications include seam-welding, weld-in roll cage and alloy wheel arches
Engine: 2481cc Millington XE, Simpson custom exhaust
Transmission: Sadev 6 speed sequential, rear wheel drive, 4-link Atlas axle with limited slip differential
Brakes: AP Racing
Wheels: 15" diameter Revolution. 7" width for wet tyres, 8" width for dry tyres
Equipment: Cobra seats, Stilo intercom, plumbed in fire extinguisher