2011 AVO Suspension Promenade Stage Rally
|My Journey to the Promenade Stages – Sandra Bates / Kari Bosworth – Car 82
Well where do I begin? Probably, going for a scheduled 3 year scan for breast cancer. Over 50 you are automatically screened every 3 years. I went for my 3rd scan at 57 a little early but that proved to be very fortuitous for me. I had no worries or symptoms and was therefore very surprised to receive a letter calling me back for a re-scan.
To cut a long story short, after further tests, scans and biopsies I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and 5 days later had my op at York Hospital. Luckily for me the cancer was caught at a very early stage and my prognosis is very good, unfortunately the radiotherapy that I underwent for a month triggered off Rheumatoid Arthritis, which to be honest is very painful but infinitely better than facing a death sentence.
Now to business——————as Bill, Kari, Katy, Gordon, Bruce and myself with the kids running round a challenge was thrown at me….( I have to say after several glasses of wine ), to drive the promenade Stages alongside Bill and I foolishly said yes… I can do that.Little did I know that a throw away remark would be picked up and taken very seriously by Bill and Kari, so here starts the story of the Prom.
Friday am Geoff Simpson, Mick Johnson and Bruce set off early with the Evo while as usual the bates (Lampoon family ) didn’t set off till much later, due to us having 2 cars , vans and the usual paraphernalia that goes with a weekend event. It was at this point i suddenly realised that the moment of truth was upon me, (“i had been rather like an ostrich with my head in the sand for 3 weeks”). But hey ho we were all doing it for one reason and that was to raise awareness for the importance of going for scans when you are asked to and to raise money for the Breast Cancer unit at York hospital and for the oncology unit at Clatterbridge Hospital on the Wirral, in memory of our sadly departed and much missed friends carol and Ritchie pearl who both died from cancer and were both heavily involved and highly regarded in the Rally world.
We had a great journey over, Bill towing the Lotus and me the Peugeot on a trailer kindly loaned by Paul Atkinson. Scrutineering went well with no problems and the day began in earnest. Overalls on lent kindly by my Sister, Nicky and a helmet very kindly donated by a complete stranger who had seen Kari’s plea for the loan of a small peltor helmet, so a very big thanks to Simpsons of Kirbymoorside for their generosity.
My aim for the evening special stage was to just get round safely by pretending to myself I was just having a quick drive to the “shop”, (those who know me will have a laugh at that, I like shopping). Kari was navigating for me and Katy for Bill, as the stage was running in reverse order seeded 82 i was off long before Bill & Geoff. The moment had arrived, getting in and out of the car was a sight to behold, I had to have help all day getting my right leg in and out of the car and I am sure any passer-by who witnessed this palaver must have had a chuckle.
Down to the start, this was only the second time I had been in the car (i did about six laps at Blyton on a test day 3 weeks before), and the first time i have had a start with the Traffic light system. On the way to the start line I suddenly felt very calm and focused and was more determined than ever to finish, while still trying my best not to look like a 58 year old granny with an illness. Kari was also calm and just kept talking me through the first series of bends, while we were waiting our turn to start. On this special stage 2 cars were starting together and we were next to car 81 On the start line-lights-5,4,3,2,1 and go. I beat him off the line WHOOPEE ! and we were away. Kari was brilliant and with much flapping of hands by us both we made it to the end without a wrong slot or damage to the car. The other car beat me by seconds but that didn’t matter to us. Part 1 of the mission was accomplished, just as it was for Bill and Katy who was in a rally car for the first time and had never read a map in her life. Bills comment at the end of the stage was that Katy did fantastically well and was a “natural”.
All back to the hotel to prepare for the next day, this of course entailed a few drinks a meal and then a few more drinks and to bed at midnight. Up at 6.15 the next day and away we went, we left the rally cars at the venue under the watchful eyes of Chris wise and Tracy Taylor- West guarding the cars next to their camper van.
Still both very calm and onto stage 1, good start of the line ( I like the traffic lights) and the day got off to a great start, the downside to rallying came back to me the minute i took the helmet and balaclava off——-steamy wet hair plastered to my head ( not a good look ), which when dried in the wind took on the look of old rock chick crossed with poodle and as the day progressed I turned into full poodle; Bill as complimentary as ever suggested a black smudge to the nose and a red bow on the top of my head would complete the look perfectly.
As the day progressed I got quicker each time knocking seconds of my previous stages, I didn’t baulk anyone or slow them down, I moved over several times even though I had the line—-they were chasing points and I just wanted a finish. On stage 7 on one of the hairpins I got a bit crossed up letting a car past, felt like an octopus, arms everywhere getting us straightened up, then I got the giggles which must be contagious as very soon Kari caught them and couldn’t call the map for laughing which continued to the end of the stage, the finish marshals must have thought we were two hysterical women, with smiles ear to ear!
The day went by in a flash and the car didn’t miss a beat thanks to Bills hard work in rebuilding the car and engine after the test day. The car had developed an oil leak due to a dried out seal during the cars long layup, and he has spent every night for the last 2 weeks preparing the car for me, thanks Bill.
We finished the event in 66th place out of 92 starters and we had a fab time finishing with car with no dings and still running really well. Thanks Kari for the best ever event, I now know why you are in demand as a navigator. Bill and Geoff both had good finishes with cars intact, but we were all gutted for Chris and Tracy who went out having had an argument with a chicane drum, at one point they were leading the event.
Huge thanks to everyone who helped on the day, first to Bill for the car, Kari for the wonderful navigation, Bruce and Dave for servicing, Jackie and Claire for cooking all the food, especially as they didn’t realise that is what they would be doing ( communication breakdown between men ! ) They raised nearly £300 in the food donation bucket for drinks and burgers. To pat and Anna Marchbank for taking the collection buckets around and getting the spectators and competitors to contribute (I think a few people will have gone home with twisted arms), they raised an amazing sum of £375 to Sara for helping me in and out the car and helmet all day, to Lottie, Wendy and Jayne for also taking the buckets round.
To Mick for his cheery support all day and to all our sponsors.To name but a few – Procter’s Coaches, Thos. Armstrong, Tomrods, Kevin Kettlewell, John gill Ltd.,Londonderry Garage, R n R Ice Cream, Bare Earth, Yorkshire Soup Co., Imex, Holmesterne Foods, County steels, Hares of Snape, Snigwig, Ennell Welding, Sinderby Stainless, Greenwood ElectricalAnd everyone who contributed through Kari’s just giving page. We haven’t had the full total yet but
believe we may achieve in excess of £3500 by the end of this collection.
Huge thanks and well done to Wallasey Motor Club for a brilliant event which was thoroughly enjoyed by us all. The Organisers deserve a huge pat on the back. To the mobile screening unit at Thirsk for taking such good x-ray’s, that my problem was picked up so early. Finally the biggest thank you of all to the dedicated staff at York Hospital.
Kari’s donation page is still open until the end of the month at www.justgiving.com/karibosworth. Any further donations would be very much appreciated, no matter how small.
When asked when my next outing would be, the answer was “my helmet is hung up forever”