|My first ever rally was the Stockport Motor Club Rally at Weeton Barracks, Preston in the very impressive Sapphire Cosworth. This was a very tight twisty circuit with vicious
wheel-breaking kerbs. We were car 69 of 80 entries, ranging from WRC Subaru Impreza's down to Fiesta XR2's.
The first time I saw and drove the car was on Stage 1 of this 12 stage rally. I struggled with the gearbox in the first few stages and could only find 1st and 3rd gears of the 5 speed rally box. As a
result, my times on the first 2 stages were not very impressive, finishing 56th and 43rd fastest. After a quick lesson from Dermot on how to use a rally dogleg gearbox, the times improved and we managed to break
into the top 30 fastest times by Stage 3 and 4. As the day progressed we got quicker and quicker, regularly running around 20th fastest. Towards the end of the day, my lack of fitness started to show, with
aching muscles and loss of concentration. On Stage 9 the car ran wide whilst overtaking a slower car and I broke a wheel on a kerb. I then had to limp to the end of the stage hoping it would hold out till the
end. Stages 10 and 11 went very well, culminating in a 11th fastest time on Stage 11, elevating us to 16th overall, only 30 secs from a top 10 placing. On the first corner of stage 12 we came upon some gravel
that wasn't previously there. I missed a gear and span on the gravel. After this I perceived that the car didn't feel the same to drive, so slowed the pace until the end of the stage. This cost us around 3
places overall, in finishing a very pleasing 18th place overall, 11th in Class. Dermot inspected the car after the rally but found no problems.