Walk Motorsport – surviving Killer Keilder!

Part-Box are a keen supporter of Matt & Ade Walk in their rapid Ford Ka, and here is their latest event report:

The Kielder Stages

We made our second trip North for Round 4 of the BTRDA Rally Championship, The Kielder Stages. After being 1 stage from victory on Round 1, suffering problems with the throttle cable on Round 2 and missing Round 3, we needed a good result.

The stages in Kielder are classic RAC Rally Stages and have put an end to a number of World Champions Rallies in the past; and from the DVD we could see why. The stages are lined with deep ditches from start to finish, with corners over blind crests. Any mistake here would be punished.

Our Rally started on the Friday with the long drive up the M6. The trip was made even longer as the motorway was closed, turning a 4 hour drive into an 8 hour drive! After the ceremonial start at Chipchase Castle on Saturday it was out to the first stage of the day, named The Bower. We started 1 minute behind a TR7 V8, but 3 miles in we were stuck in their dust. We almost missed a Square left causing us to overshoot and stall. Despite the problems we were second in class going into Stage 2

Stage 2 was the 7 mile Bewshaugh test. Starting behind the same car meant we caught them again 3 miles in and had to follow in their dust. We were second fastest in class again but by now had lost 43 seconds, but at least we could start stage 3 ahead of the Triumph as we were on the same minute.

Stage 3 was the final stage before service. Falstone was another 7 mile stage with some rough sections before the finish. We started to catch the car infront after 5 miles and were being held up by their dust. With 1 mile to go we nearly became a victim of the Kielder ditches, running slightly wide on a tightening left hander over a crest. The right rear wheel dropped into a ditch, but we got away unpunished. Worse was to come 5 corners from the finish, the screen misted up and we could smell antifreeze. As we got to the stop line smoke poured out from under the bonnet. A heater hose had come off and we had lost all our coolant. The marshals donated 4 litres of water to keep us in the Rally. Despite our problems we had set our first fastest time in class, taking back 9 seconds.

The second loop of stages were a repeat of the first. Stage 4 had a feeling of Déjà vu; we caught the car in front at the same point as the first pass and overshot the same corner! We ended the stage on the same minute as the ZR we were now behind which allowed us to start ahead for Stage 5.

The second run through Bewshaugh was our first clean stage of the day. We had no problems with dust and were able to push on. We covered the 7 miles 2 seconds faster than our class rivals to win our second stage of the day. We were 39 seconds off the lead and 42 seconds clear of third, second in class looked safe at this point.

With 1 stage to go we had planned on a neat and tidy run to the finish, but Kielder had other ideas! 2 miles in along one of Kielders long straights the car began weaving, then on the Right handers the car was getting more sideways. The smell of rubber was all we needed to confirm we had a left rear puncture. With 4 miles to go we decided to press on to the finish. We narrowly avoided all the ditches but we couldn’t avoid losing 43 seconds to third in class and with it our second place; by just 1 second!

We couldn’t help leaving Kielder disappointed, had we had better luck we could have been heading down the M6 with a class win. But we had taken on Killer Kielder and survived, only sacrificing half the rear bumper and a tyre. This result means we really need to win the Nicky Grist Stages in July to have any chance of the Championship.

We will be giving it everything we’ve got!

Matt Walk

Walk Motorsport

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