A week out and about. Monaghan, Pirelli, Hamsterley & the IOM.

Last week was a busy one. A quick jaunt around a few stages with a couple of ferry’s thrown in. Well sort of. A few people have been asking about some of the events coming up, so we thought that a short blog would suffice.

The week started with a trip down to Monaghan for the next round of the Dunlop National Championship. It is well known that the rally is very popular. The combination of the tricky Monaghan roads, a compact route and its central geography have always appealed. A full entry with a reserve list is confirmation that it continues to draw interest and we will have a fuller account of the entry in Irish Notes on Wednesday. As for the stages and making the Patterson Pacenotes it couldn’t have gone better. The route is a joy. Deceptively fast for Monaghan. COC Paul Hughes along with Ronnie Hawe have somehow found a combination of fast and technical stages that will offer a real challenge to the Championship regulars with the added bonus of the highly rated local drivers thrown into the mix. Notes and DVD are available now for pre-event despatch at this link

Next up was a run across to Cumbria for the Pirelli. With the loss of Rally North Wales, the Pirelli is now the starting point for the BRC. On paper the event looks slightly more compact than before but of course this can be deceptive. Three real proper Kielder stages combined with a combination of Newcastleton and Kershope have all the ingredients needed to deliver a real scorcher. The stages are fast and flowing and in great condition, with the irony that the heavy snow has almost improved the surface of the forest roads. The notes and DVD are being prepared now and will be available for despatch next week. You can order online at this link

The Tour of Hamsterley has been growing in popularity in recent times and this year it steps up as full counting round of the RAC Historic Championship. This was the next event on our list and just as it moves up a gear, so the route has got a little more ambitious. COC Stave Waggett has come up with a considerable amount of stages from the pretty Hamsterley forest complex. The demands of the RAC championship seem to have been fully met with a great combination of fundamentally fast forest tests with the added bonus of some mileage that hasn’t been used for a very long time. In conclusion the rally offers the RAC boys and girls their first exclusive event and add in a few locals and the fact that the word on the grapevine is that the entry is full, speaks volumes. The Patterson Notes and DVD will be dispatched this week (Thurs) and can be ordered online here

Once Hamsterley was polished off it was off to Heysham for the Ferry to the Isle of Man. The Manx National is nearly upon us and it was a good opportunity to use our own car for the recce. Our own vehicle has all the video equipment and cameras plus the Jemba Interia Pacenotes system. Often when you here on the DVD commentary “plus one” or “minus one” it is the difference between what the Jemba system has measured and what we have initially put in the notes. Sometimes it’s a little faster and sometimes a little slower but in overall terms they are very close and it fine tunes the notes so precisely. Hence the reason why try use our own equipment when we can. Anyway, back to the Manx. Again the organisers have made some fairly big changes to the format of the rally. It is much more compact, but still offers a huge challenge. Without going into it too much, we thought the route was brilliant and it even has stuff that we have never done before! As a footnote, the big shock on the Island was the snow. There is still shed loads off it. At one point we couldn’t get through a road as it is still totally blocked. It won’t be a problem for the rally but it was a reality check as to how badly hit the IOM was. Again the notes and DVD are all being worked on at the moment for despatch within the next couple of weeks. Online ordering is available here