My fourth historic event of the year was the Palladwr, which is really a reincarnation of the Great Bustard Endurance event – but without the night rally and with daytime regularity instead. Of course the rougher stuff would have to be tamed down, but the promise of Worthy Farm was too much to ignore.
Andy Lees and I entered his Nova in the Targa section of the rally running alongside the historic. I couldn’t take my 205 as they’d put a 1400cc limit on the Targa entries. The event was on a Sunday, so we travelled down on the Saturday afternoon, had the car scrutineered, signed on, then after a bit of map work headed off for fish and chips at Whitstone’s in Shepton Mallet (well recommended!).
The navigation for three of the regularities was handed out 45mins before our due start time, and it was a bit challenging, but do-able (or so I thought). Then it was off to Worthy Farm for the first two tests around some cones in a gravel car park – nice to get on some gravel (8th/4th). The next regularity was around Worthy Farm, and we quickly found ourselves catching up with the historics – not a big deal and we were expecting it.
It was fantastic fun though! The Regularity then left the farm complex and I took a while to real- ise that there were some via’s on the front page to follow. We then overcompensated for my plotting delay and collected collected a 75s early penalty (not good).
A particular challenge was that Andy’s Nova did not have a proper trip meter fitted, and the motorbike enduro meter in the car was only working to 1/10ths of a mile, not calibrated, and had no reverse function – I’ve made this priority one on his list of things to fix…. This definitely impacted our regularity performance as we ended up trying to estimate compensation for the trip running fast and any deviation or missed slot was very hard to work out.
Regularity 2 went better and we only dropped 3s/6s. Two more tests followed using farm tracks (2nd/3rd) which were then repeated (3rd/1st – beat the bogey) – at least the tests were going well against the 52 strong field!
We dropped a fair bit of time on the longer regularity 3 and a bit more on regularity 4 mainly due to the trip meter issues – the longer the section, the bigger the penalty we picked up. Also the Sunday drivers were out. Back on the tests, we were right up at the top. This set the course for the rest of the event, however we were doing better than the rest of the Targa field as we were winning at the lunch halt.
Andy Lees Nova Photograph Courtesy of Richard McLachlan
Following lunch came our downfall; regularity 5. It was my fault as I’d failed to see a shorter route than the one I’d plotted, so we missed two time controls. The last regularity went fine, and we were 5th fastest on the fabulous Worthy Farm test which finished the event. Unfortunately the regularity 5 mistake saw us pick up an enormous 3600s (1 hour!) penalty, which cost us the Targa rally win. Without this we’d have actually finished 4th on the historic, which considering the trip meter issues would have been amazing. Anyway, we’ll have to try again another time. The event was really good fun, and it was great to get such a variety of tests on a historic rally.