Great Bustard 2014 – Muddy Fields and Foggy Forests

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With Ashley unable to take the time off work, my dad stepped in to navigate for me on the 2014 Great bustard and what an event it is! There is no doubt that The Great Bustard is one of those must do events, if only to slide around the famous muddy worthy farm of Glastonbury festival fame, a venue unique to endurance rallying. It is also very well run so thanks to all the organisers and marshals. We were really impressed that there were marshals on every PC and no code boards! A great job by all the team at Salisbury and Shaftesbury Car club.

With dad not having been on an event for a while and over 6 years since being any kind of navigator we went into the 14.5 mile long Worthy 1 test with the simple aim to get further than last year (we got 10 miles before the gearbox went bang). The first of many lovely fast jumps had dad’s glasses off his head and under the seat so we had to drive most of it blind, he could see the tulips in the road book but not the ball or arrows showing which way to go!

We got to slate barn and dad remembered it from when we did it years before and convinced me that it was flat along the straight and through the kinks by the tree just after the start, that and a big moment at the 90 left + right at the end gave us an 8th fastest time, I can see why people love this test! We even eyed up a solar installation half way round wondering that if we took some of the panels out maybe we could get Mr Aslett some work!

Onto some lovely concrete farmyard tests which were very slippery then back to worthy for two more 14.5 mile long runs through but reversed and changed this time, with glasses tightly strapped to dads head we gave them really good runs to go 10th and 11th fastest, I particularly enjoyed running around in the twilight with mist just starting to make an appearance in the spot lights on the edges of the fields. I think atmospheric is the right word!

After this the fog descended with vengeance giving pretty poor visibility everywhere, this gave me a horrid headache and I drove like a granny on the first runs around some forestry woods and more farmyard tests, on the second loop we enjoyed them much more knowing where to go in the gloom. Our result after all 85 miles of selectives was 13th overall which is much better than I was expecting. Our aim now was just to get to the end knowing that the night section was going to be tough on dad.

The Fogularity road rally started OK but I wasn’t comfortable pressing on in the pea soup so we took it very easy, after one of the whites we had a massive vibration and stopped to check it out, we found that an OSF wheel stud had sheared and the other three nuts were loose and about to disappear off the ends of the studs. Good job we stopped straight away but it cost time to sort out putting us close to OTL.

We managed to get to the last road rally route section through worthy farm with a bit of time left but a single wrong turn right at the end pushed us over OTL at TC7 so to get a finish we cut straight to the end from there missing the last few miles and 4 TC’s.

If we had not had the stud issue we probably would have just about finished without cutting and I think we would have been around 15th overall, but as it was we finished 1st clubman (out of 2 finishers) and picked up an embarrassingly large pot for basically just finishing. Dad did a great job and I think both surprised and enjoyed himself, only a few times did he get excitable and sound concerned with my driving and I think he was impressed with our pace at times in what is really an underpowered 23 year old car.

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