On Friday 4th October, the largest OUMF team ever to journey to a race meeting set off. With two races at Castle Combe in the Riley 1.5 racer at the last HRDC races of the year, and a bodyshell to pick up from nearby, there was lots of excitement and anticipation from new and old members alike; what a weekend this was about to be! The Riley had been set up on Phillips Tyres superb laser alignment rig earlier in the day, and was ready to go. But first we had to get there…
It was an early (-ish) Wednesday morning as the OUMF student race team pulled away from our shed in Oxford and set off for Chichester, with rising excitement. The team had been spending every spare moment there in the previous 4 weeks following the arrival of the unexpected 11th hour invitation from the Goodwood Revival selection committee to race the 1959 Riley 1.5 in the two part St Mary’s Trophy race.
After a very successful opening to our HRDC season at Silverstone, it was soon time to head back to the track for one of our most important events of the year, the Donington Historic Festival, for no less than three, 45-minute races – the most track time the Riley has ever faced at a single meeting.
On this rally, OUMF were represented by three crews: Oli Grantham and Isaac Jarmarkier in the Fiat Cinquecento; Luke Cozier and Rob Dawson in the BMW, and Ding, Andy Doyle and myself in the TOYO Golf.
We converged on the HQ and completed all the pre-rally checks on cars and equipment in good time, and we were ready to go to Brackley for the start of the rally…but Andy was running late. In the end, with Oli and Isaac requiring their maps to be marked by the organiser before the start, they and the BMW had to set off for Brackley, leaving the Golf waiting for it’s co-driver.
It was a cold and windy night in Wendlebury, a village deep in the rural heart of Oxfordshire, when two OUMF rally crews splashed up the main street. The solid twelve hours of rain leading up to the event had left the ground undesirably wet and caused a number of large puddles to form on the road. Fortunately, the Sign-in and Drivers Briefing were held inside The Lion pub. Perfect for picking up a pre-race snack and drink; an extremely crucial step to success. As were the three whole packets of Jaffa Cakes that we picked up during a fuel stop while we headed to the rally. We arrived at the pub at around quarter to seven, as we had to get our OS road maps attended to by the organiser, and were welcomed by friendly remarks from fellow competitors – many aimed at Ding about actually being on time for once.