PROCARE STAGES RALLY, 3RD MAY
Another early start was in order for the Mini Road Runner Rallying crew of Nev Astbury and Andy Elliot when we tackled the ProCare Stages Rally at the Three Sisters Circuit near Wigan. With the weather not being particularly kind departing from Moreton, we were hoping things would change by travelling northwards. Sunshine greeted us at the circuit and, as one of the early arrivals, we had the pick of the service area. The Mini sailed through scrutineering, and soon we were lining up for the first stage. Having competed here before last October, hopes were high that we could secure a good result again. The first couple of stages passed without incident, other than a couple of one-on-ones with a Citroen Saxo (who was to make an appearance later, but for rather different reasons) where his superior 1600cc power was sufficient to squeeze past us on the long back straight. In spite of this, we were able to keep tabs on him amongst the tight and twisty in-field sections. A missed gear on stage 4 cost us a few seconds, but the real drama was at the end of the stage as we came to a halt to get our stage time. The car kept stalling when Nev depressed the clutch, and the oil pressure gauge was dipping worryingly low, so we just about crawled back to the service area and decided to preserve the engine by calling a premature end to an otherwise-promising day.
As we loaded up the Maverick, ready to watch a handful more stages then put the car on the trailer and head home, the driver of the Saxo sauntered across to us. Whilst sympathising with us on our retirement, he too was in a similar predicament