Ride along with Spookworks on our "Stage of the Gods" - when we upset all the form guides to post the fastest overall time on Stage 10 of the 2014 Rockingham Stages.
Sunday, 25 January 2015
Saturday, 24 January 2015
Spookworks have significantly upset the running order by finishing a spectacular 5th overall at the Rockingham Stages rally held on 6-7 Dec 14.
The 100 stage miles split over 12 stages and 2 days proved to be a fantastic end to Spookworks 2014 campaign as the team set no less than NINE top ten times over the weekend including a 3RD FASTEST on Stage 7 and unbelievably setting the FASTEST OVERALL time on Stage 10!
Spookworks was seeded at 18th (co-incidentally the same as 2013) for the Northamptonshire event which drew its usual strong entry list packed with no expense spared Mk 2 Ford Escorts, numerous Imprezas and Evos, and a few special limited edition cars like a 306 Maxi and a Proton S2000. Getting a good finish among this sort of crowd was always looking to be tall order.
|Ready to go for Stage 1 - the Spookworks Service Area is manic with activity......guys? Anyone?|
A quick recovery minimised the damage and the remainder of Stage 1 was relatively uneventful resulting in a time of 7 mins 15 secs good enough for 18th overall and 5th out of 11 in Class 5. A good start.
|Sunny conditions belied a greasy and slippery stage.|
|Keep the camera still or bump it to 400 ISO. Amateurs!|
The first half of Stage 3 was spent chasing a rapid Mk 2 Escort around. Sadly he was too quick in a straight line despite the Spookworks Impreza filling his mirrors on every bend and corner. Once he had peeled off to finish the stage the remainder was spent discovering that the Spookworks Subaru could actually go round most corners in 4th gear despite the protests from the Super soft Michelin tyres. Despite being held up (only marginally) it proved to be an incredible run and it showed on the time sheets with a 7:36. That's good enough for 6th fastest overall and 3rd fastest in class!
|The poor Michelin Tyres took enormous abuse but hung on like a leech.|
|The low setting sun make for great photos but not great for driving. The lens flare is intentional we are told.|
Thankfully it was a brief encounter and the momentum and speed carried the car through to the next drama. As luck would have it to guide us through the impending darkness an escort was provided by an Escort (!) and using his lights for reference; gave us extra visibility in an otherwise pitch black environment. A few corners later and a super quick 306 Maxi decided to overtake on the outside of Turn 1 - a rapid machine which soon disappeared into the distance. It was sometime then that the outer beams decided to switch off and the stage was lit only buy the normal headlights and a twin beam of light that came from the 2 centre spotlights. Great for a longer view but the immediate left and right of the view were now complete darkness giving no reference at all of the inside or outside of the road or corners. Arriving back in service, it was a relief to discover that most competitors also had some form of trouble and the time was good enough for an amazing time of 9:25 - 9th fastest overall and 4th in class to move Spookworks up to 8th overall on the leader board.
|The crowd goes wild as Spookworks blasts through Stage 5.....|
|The lights looked pretty good as far as the cameraman was concerned.|
|Finally some activity in the Spookworks Service Area....|
|QUICK LOOK BUSY WHILE HE TAKES A PHOT................too late.|
|Flying machine - who ever thought we could set 3rd fastest!!|
|A little bit of rain seemed to make us even faster!|
Stage 9 saw Spookworks set yet another Top Ten time with a 8:11 good enough to set the 7th FASTEST TIME OVERALL and another move up the leader board to 6th.
|Anyone guess where we are?|
How this was done to this day remains a mystery but the timing sheet tells no lies. This represents the best ever stage result for not only Spookworks but an RAF rally car in all recorded history; an epic achievement. If you don't believe it simply read the table below or even visit the results website yourself here . We beat EVERYONE. Our very own "Stage of the Gods"..
|Position||Car||Crew||Stage Time||Total Time||Diff O'all||Diff Prev||Class||Class Posn||Class Diff O'all||Class Diff Prev|
Luckily the results for Stage 10 were not known to us by Stage 11 and another quick run resulted in a 7th overall with a 6:57. The leaderboard showed Spookworks now sitting at a ground breaking 5th overall.
|We were going so fast even the camera man couldn't keep up...|
The final stage of the day seems a blur of expectation and excitement. No one can remember what happened but it must have been trouble free as another 7th fastest time was posted. As the Spookworks Impreza rolled into Service for the final time it was an amazing and emotional experience. 5th overall on a rally filled with top rate rally cars - a true underdog story. Fastest time on Stage 10, no less than nine top ten stage times from 12 stages, first stage win for an RAF crew, highest recorded finish for an RAF crew.
|We are so fast the front of the car is quicker than the back half....|