Sunshine and Showers in Grizedale

Good day out at the Malcolm Wilson Rally on Saturday, marshalling Special Stage 4 (Grizedale North) in mixed conditions.

Approaching Hawkshead around 9.00, after an easy drive from Garstang in not much over an hour, it seemed a bit early to sign on, so hung around in the car park for a half hour or so, listening to the radio and to the sound of rain drumming on the car roof; at that point it looked as if we were in for a pretty damp day.

Made my way to the stage start for around 9.45 and after a brief wait was assigned to Junction 6 where I found a fellow Oulton marshal already in attendance. Looked like a pretty good position: fairly sharp right-hander in an open spot with good views of the approach. (Wish I’d remembered my camera!) First car was expected around noon, so we had the usual bit of hanging around; some chat with speccies as they began to arrive. Weather began to look a lot more hopeful as the morning wore on.

Zero car came through about 11.50 and the first group began ten minutes later; we were surprised to find it was not the top guys, but the third group, and it seems the running order for the three groups had been reversed. This was a good thing, IMHO, as it means the day gets more interesting as it goes on, but can’t help thinking the fast boys would prefer to have first go, before the surface gets chewed up!

Weather took a turn for the worse just after 1 o’clock, with heavy rain and a cold wind for a while, but eventually brightened up, so we had bright sunshine for best part of an hour later on.

Our only bit of marshal activity came about two thirds of the way through the second section, when a Mk II Escort pulled up with throttle problems. We got him off to the side until the next break and then pushed him back into the junction. Pushing cars is a lot easier on a circuit than a muddy forest track!!

A good day’s rallying was enjoyed, despite the nastier bits of weather. The final bit of interest came when driving out of the stage: we were held up while a recovery team dragged a Corsa back out the forest, where it had dropped off a steep slope after negotiating about 75° of a 90° corner.

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