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.
On Friday 25th January, the OUMF team of Ding Boston, Ahron Becquart and Niall Geoghegan set out to West Berkshire for the annual ‘Frostbite’ 12 Car Rally held by the Dolphin Motor Club. This would be the Toyo Golf’s first outing of 2019 after its success at the Stanta Targa rally at the end of December. With the event being designed for Beginners, I would travel in the Golf’s unique 3rd seat to learn the ropes of rally navigation. Despite Ahron’s experience as a stage rally navigator, he is classed as a beginner in road rallying, so we would be using marked maps which promised to make it a fast and fun rally.