Well, my normal chauffeur is currently on business somewhere in the USA and much to my delight I was asked to sit in with good friend Richard Nelson for the day.
It was miserable, I mean really miserable, waking up at some ungodly hour to then travel 60 miles to an event featuring muddy lanes, wet marshals and horizontal rain. In usual style though, none of the above were to put us off our day of competing. The wee sprite flew through scrutineering, sign on and a quick coffee were next on the list, thankfully in the warmth of Ballymena Livestock Market. At this point I would like to extend a huge thank you to these guys for not only supplying somewhere dry and warm, but also opening up their cafe so early to allow some of us non-morning people to consume the fuel of gods.
09:30 saw the first test kick off, a field of 48 cars were now en route to a day of fun, tight tests, mud and big smiles. Below is a selection of cars through Test 1 kindly filmed by Adam McAteer.
21 tests across County Antrim and Londonderry managed to show the men from the boys, the real slippy stuff proving to be quite a task for some whilst others hit it running and gathered it up at the other side. Variations of surfaces, yard sizes, tightness and speeds meant there was literally something there for everyone from a championship autotest veteran to a stage rally specialist and the entry list had names from both as well as everything in between.
A massive thank you must go out to those who spent their day soaked whilst marshaling and timekeeping to allow hooligans like us to enjoy a smooth and progressive day with no hold ups, great tests, superb locations and most of all big smiles.
This thank you also extends to those who put in the countless hours required to find the land, organise the staffing, plan the day, make the tests suit the locations and then provide road books, test diagrams and the usual paperwork associated with events of this sort. A top effort in providing a superb event in an area not used before by the club or its members.
Events of this nature are run throughout the year by the MGCC Ulster Centre – for more info regarding them or what the club is about please visit their site – http://www.mgcculstercentre.org.uk/